When I was a baby, one of my first words was, “Shopping!” I would say it when I saw my grandma (my mom’s mom). My mom loved to shop. My grandma loved to shop. My sister loves to shop. I also love to shop. We’re bargain hunters. We’re quality-finders. We comparison shop and help friends find just what they’re looking for, and we love it.
Unfortunately, it costs money.
Fortunately, while I love to shop, I tend to feel like I don’t do a lot of it. I felt happy and confident in that notion until I looked at Mint.com and see that we spent over $4,000 in the “shopping” category in the last 12 months.
Our “shopping” category includes things like clothes, electronics, books, and anything we buy from places like Walgreens or Target.
Bryan and I don’t spend money equally. I’m going to guess that I spent 95% of the dollars spent in the “shopping” category. Bryan isn’t the one in our family to buy clothes or to go to Target to stock up on office supplies or to buy a replacement coffee maker.
This is one category…since it’s almost entirely discretionary…that I first cut back on when we need to save some denaros. It’s also one that would make a lot of sense to budget this category more closely. I think I have a good sense of what we spend, but if I had cash in an envelope to spend, I’d be sure to stay on budget. I still haven’t implemented the cash budgeting system, but I may. On the other hand, Mint.com sends me emails when we’re approaching the budget limit, which is pretty helpful.
On the plus side, (according to Mint.com) our family spends less than the USA average on the “shopping” category. And it helps that unless I have someone to watch my kids that shopping isn’t too fun an experience in general!
I spent about $500 on clothes and shoes for Sylvia and Andrew over the last year. That seems like a lot, but then again, much of it is from resale shops…
How does your family handle “shopping” expenses? Do you have a clothes budget for each family member? How do you decide on the best time to purchase things like, oh, a replacement microwave or a new lamp? Are you a compulsive reader of Consumer Reports?