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    My Goal This Year Is To Stop Impulse Shopping So I Tracked My Spending For A Week And Here's What I Learned

    Spoiler alert: My wallet hates me.

    Hi, I'm Stephanie! This year, I made a few resolutions for myself like eating more vegetables, drinking more water, and saving money.

    Because I really want to start saving up for my dream wedding, I needed to do something I've been putting off for years: tracking my impulse spending.

    TLC

    I'm honestly embarrassed I haven't really tracked my spending regularly before, but I have a feeling I spend more than I want to on random things. I want to be more financially responsible for my future, so as a first step, for an entire week I tracked my spending habits — without changing anything.

    Since my goal is to spend more mindfully and cut back on unnecessary purchases, I didn't track essential expenses, like groceries or rent.

    Here's how the week went down:

    On Monday I did some ~online shopping~ and spent $72.

    White chunky sneakers
    Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

    I was scrolling through Instagram, and I saw someone wearing these absolutely adorable chunky sneakers and remembered how much I wanted them. So I went on Amazon and impulsively bought white chunky sneakers and some AAA batteries. That "Buy Now" button is the bane of my existence.

    I also had a subscription to an online yoga studio get charged to my account.

    Sneakers: $40

    Batteries: $12

    Online yoga studio subscription: $20

    Total: $72

    Tuesday's total came to $40.25, thanks to Instagram.

    A person holding dangly earrings of clay planets and stars
    Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

    This morning I was scrolling through Instagram (I'm starting to see a pattern here) and saw an illustrator selling a workbook to help you figure out if you may have ADHD. My fiancé has never been officially diagnosed, but we suspect he has it, and I wanted to buy him something that could help him. Later that day, one of my favorite Etsy shops listed a new product and I could not resist these solar system earrings.

    ADHD workbook: $19

    Earrings: $21.25

    Total: $40.25

    On Wednesday I spent $22.98 on a couple of subscriptions.

    NBC

    Hump daaay! Overall this was an expensive day: rent and utilities were due ~and~ I had to put down my half of the deposit for our wedding DJ. The whole "getting married" thing is slowly becoming very real (and exciting! Here we come 2022!). But for the purpose of this exercise, I didn't include rent or the DJ deposit because they don't exactly fit in with the kind of impulse spending I'm trying to keep an eye on.

    I did however have my Spotify and Prime subscription debited from my account.

    Spotify: $9.99

    Amazon Prime: $12.99

    Total: $22.98

    On Thursday some more subscriptions hit and cost me $17.98.

    A person giving a thumbs up
    Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

    Did not buy anything today so it felt pretty good, especially since I knew I was documenting this. However, two more subscriptions went through: one for a photo editing app and another for my iCloud storage. I think I need to figure out exactly how many things I'm subscribed to!

    Photo Editing App: $7.99

    iCloud Storage: $9.99

    Total: $17.98

    Somehow on Friday I didn't spend a cent!

    Fox

    WOOHOO! No money spent today!

    On Saturday I spent a total of $57.82 on pizza, and I regret nothing.

    Pizza
    Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

    Saturdays are pizza night for my fiancé and me, so we got our usual order with some desserts and drinks. I also tip over 25% each time I order so that always adds to the total amount. I have no regrets. You can make me save my money, but you'll have to pry pizza night out of my cold, dead hands.

    Pizza Hut: $57.82

    Total: $57.82

    On Sunday I had another no-spend day. Huzzah!

    Warner Bros

    Another day of no spending! YIPPIE! Sundays are typically very chill for me, and I usually don't spend any money as I'm busy doing chores, cleaning the house, and getting ready for the week.

    Weekly total: $211.03

    This experiment was made me realize just how much I spend on things like subscriptions or random things I don't *really* need. It's clear I need to be more mindful of my purchases and adopt some ~adult~ money-saving habits — like budgeting.

    ABC / Via giphy.com

    If I spent this much each week on random things, that's about $800 (!!!) a month on just random purchases.

    After doing some research on my phone's app store I found a simple budgeting app that sounded perfect for me: Daily Budget.

    Daily Budget / Via apps.apple.com

    Unlike many budgeting apps out there, this one doesn't sync up to your bank accounts so it's super easy and uncomplicated to use. You just input your monthly income, monthly expenses, and the percentage of your income you want to put into your savings. Then, it gives you a daily budget of the money you can spend every single day and *still* save money.

    I decided to try it out to see if it'd help me get my impulse spending under control. To set it up, I entered in my monthly income, my expenses, and the amount I wanted to save. Then, it calculated a spending budget: $33.25 a day.

    A screenshot of the Daily Budget app
    Stephanie Hope / Daily Budget / Via dailybudget.de

    Because I'm a freelancer, my income fluctuates every month so I just put an average amount.

    Every single day I don't spend money, the leftover amount gets rolled over to the next day. This means that if I spend less each day, it can leave me with a larger amount to spend by the end of the week! Did someone say shopping spree? I did. I said it.

    On Monday I ended up filling up my gas tank, so that $30 ate up some of my budget for the day. However, you could add that to your monthly expenses and it wouldn't be taken from the allotted amount for the day.

    A screenshot of the app with $3.25 left in the budget
    Stephanie Hope / Daily Budget / Via dailybudget.de

    Since I barely drive my car, I just took it from the daily amount.

    One thing I really love about the app is that it shows you how much money you could have in your daily amount in the next two days. I found it really motivating and it actually kept me from spending money for the entire week!

    An app screenshot showing the daily amount increasing from $84.50 to $117.75 to $150.99
    Stephanie Hope / Daily Budget / Via dailybudget.de

    Let me repeat that. I, a compulsive shopper, didn't spend ANY money all week.

    After an entire week of not spending any money, I treated myself to some sushi and dumplings. I ended the week with a budget of $84.50 after my dinner!

    An empty takeout carton
    Stephanie Hope / Buzzfeed

    I genuinely enjoy the gamification of it. It feels like a challenge to me to try and not spend money and every time I see the numbers go up, I get more excited and motivated.

    Overall, this is absolutely an app I'm going to continue to use (even if the income amount won't always be 100% accurate). I think it's a great way to give myself a daily "allowance" and appreciate the things I buy rather than mindlessly spending money all week.

    If you're trying to cut back on impulse shopping, spend more consciously, and save money, you might want to give Daily Budget a try.

    Do you have a favorite budgeting app? Let us know in the comments below! And in the meantime, check out these other money management apps people swear by.

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