Has the state of the economy changed how you spend? I'm serious. I've been reading personal finance and frugality blogs for nearly two years, and there are a lot of blogs out there on these subjects that have been around for years before that. What that tells me is that there are a lot of people out there who were mindful of their spending before the economy really started to tank and people started to get scared and think about replacing their box spring with bars of gold and sod their living rooms to start work on an indoor victory garden. (Side note - in college, my roommate and I thought that sodding our dorm room and building a sod couch was a brilliant idea. Spill something? Oh well! Sadly, this was not a plan that ever came to fruition.)
Since I started blogging and really tracking my finances, I've been keeping a close eye on my spending. I know where my money goes. And not just the money I actively spend. I also pay attention to my paystubs. This week, I noticed that my direct deposit was minimally higher than normal. I immediately looked at my paystub to figure out why there was a change and where my money was going.
I use YNAB to track my spending, and I have chosen to not automate my finances and instead hand enter every single transaction. It's much less tedious than it sounds, and it forces me to spend an extra few seconds with every transaction, adding a level of awareness I'm not sure I had when automatically downloading transactions. Just a personal trick I use and I realize that it's not for everyone.
What I'm trying to get at here is that I have always been careful to spend wisely and save as much as possible. I do my best to avoid impulse purchases and I research big purchases to make sure that I'm buying the best product at the best price. The economy hasn't changed that. I'm still just as cautious as I was, and still splurge here and there, but they're planned splurges.
I have a feeling that for those of you who have been involved in personal finance and dedicated to saving and paying off your debts as fast as possible, you're in the same boat. But there are many more personal finance blog readers and writers out there now that the economy has taken a turn for the worse, and to you, I say welcome! Maybe that's one good thing that this economic climate has brought us. More people interested in their finances and saving money. It's always good to add voices to the conversation.