I've never made much of an effort to stick to a budget or to really track my expenditures (oops!) but I'd like to change that now that I finally have a job where saving money seems like a possibility. At the beginning of this month I started writing down everything I spend money on each day in this little notebook. I realize a spreadsheet or software like Quicken would be more scientific but I'm finding that this system works well for me. I don't break out each item, I just write things like "$25 happy hour" or "$100 on groceries" so that when I look back at the week I have a good sense of my overall spending habits. Amazingly, I'm finding that just the idea that I'm going to write down the purchase in my notebook has made me think twice about spending the money. The idea for me now is to figure out how much I am/should be spending weekly on different things, and then to try to plan a budget I can stick to which I think should be a good exercise for me.

 Also, in case you're wondering, I have used Mint.com in the past but I actually didn't really get much from it. Not only did the site malfunction with some frequency, but I found I didn't check regularly enough to really stay focused on my spending habits. Maybe the site has improved since then though?

So we'll see. Hopefully in a few months I'll be on track to save for some sweet vacations! And ahem, maybe my retirement as well.

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