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As a teenager I kept a diary to record my personal thoughts. As an adult I keep a spending diary to record my purchases. Both kinds of diaries can get you into trouble if they fall into the wrong hands.
My husband found my spending diary on a particularly "busy" shopping day and was surprised by how much money I was spending. I turned it around, challenging him to keep a spending diary as well for three days. I told him at the end of the three days we would swap diaries and see how much the other person spent on eating out, clothing or entertainment.
The first day of our spending challenge was on a Thursday, which was a work day. My husband spent $5.88 at a fast food restaurant for lunch. I spent $22.43 at the health food store, picking up several items including my organic and raw Kombucha tea that was on sale, two for $5. We ate dinner at home. He spent $1.07 renting a "Blockbuster Express" movie from a vending box outside the gas station as well as a soft drink and snack for $2.45.
My total: $22.43
His total: $9.40
Friday, my husband spent $5.35 at a sandwich shop where he used a coupon. Friday night is my husband's Magic the Gathering card tournament night. He spent $14 at a game store, and an additional $7.48 at the pizza shop next door to the game store. Meanwhile, I went to the movies with my son, spending $16 on tickets and $11.50 on popcorn and drinks. My cost of the outing, since my son paid his half, was $13.75. During the day, I ate at home to save money.
My total: $13.75
His total: $26.83
On Saturday, I spent time at the book store. Although I did not buy a book, I spent $2.51 on coffee. We ate at home for lunch, but then my husband took me out to dinner. For the sake of our spending diary, we split the bill. I brought a coupon so the meal was half price. Our bill was $25.14, including tip. On the way home, he stopped to purchase an ice cream cone, but I was too full. He spent $2.57.
My total: $15.08
His total: $15.14
By keeping a spending diary, we realized we both like to waste money here and there. Sometimes he spends more, sometimes I spend more and sometimes we spend an almost identical amount. We decided to keep our frivolous spending in check by budgeting $100 a week for each of us. We then gave each other the money as an "adult allowance" so there would be no more need to sneak a peak in the other person's diary.
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