Who says pennies don’t matter? If you see a penny on the ground, do you stop to pick it up? It may seem like it’s insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but when you think about where you spend the pennies of every dollar, you begin to think differently.
I initially began thinking about issuing a challenge to my fellow bloggers just to see if they would share where they spend their money. The Dollar Challenge Invitation Post was posted on October 22. I had no idea what I should expect. I figured a few would join the challenge, but it blew up fast! 20 bloggers participated, one in a different language (Cecile’s Piggy Bank joined the challenge in French – I had to use the translator to get the data – how cool is that!?!). After my post, Money Crush was the first one to post her response. Because so many participated, be prepared for a lot of data! I included some cool charts to help all of you readers take in the data first hand (Some blogs already gave you cool charts to look at like Don’t Quit Your Day Job). I want to thank all of those who participated. Here is a link to everyone that joined the challenge. If you have time, these are great reads:
Help Me To Save
My Broken Coin
Change on a Budget
Word Of Finance
Cecile’s Piggy Bank
Always the Planner
Rambling Fever Money
Savings Your 20s in Your 20s
Broke and Fat
Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
Simple Rich Living
Good Cent Savings
Ultimate Smart Money
Money Q & A
Invest it Wisely
Below are some valuable points that I took away from this challenge. Just as a reminder, none of this is intended to be judgmental or critical – just personal observations.
- Personal Finance Bloggers are self-conscious about their spending habits! About half of the participants worried that their spending habits would “throw off” the data. To me, this suggests that everyone thinks there is a standard level of spending for each category. While there was some trends, there is by no means a standard.
- My categories for budgeting aren’t as universal as I thought! When I initially set up my budget, I knew that I personalized it to fit me, but I figured I had been using universal categories. Oh, how I was wrong. Some participants posted their results in different categories, subtly telling me how difficult or limiting my budgeting categories were for them. **To those participants, I tried to represent your data as accurately as possible within these categories for comparison purposes – forgive me if I did a horrible job at it.**
- Not all personal finance bloggers are saving lots of money and that’s okay! I didn’t expect all pf bloggers to be savers. The reason this is worth noting is because there are many bloggers that are using their blogs to keep them accountable. My Broken Coin, for example, admits to having a spending problem in her post as she displays her nice boots that she purchased. I think authenticity adds a lot of value.
- PF Bloggers’ Lives affect their spending. It was Karen at Help Me to Save that pointed this one out to me. She only pays $.17 of every dollar on housing because her mortgage is already paid off. Good for you, Karen! Because of the different life situations, you can’t just say that people should be spending this or that. It’s not only going to be different, but change for everyone over time.
- Four people spend more money on traveling than food.
- Four people spend more money on entertainment than food.
- For personal finance bloggers (who you would typically expect to be forward thinkers), insurance is one of the lowest expenses across the board. Are you surprised?
- Most are heavy savers – Good job personal finance savers! Kevin at Invest it Wisely went the extra mile and even calculated in his employer’s match.