I made a spreadsheet to track my 2012 purchases in seven categories:

  • video games
  • DVDs/Blu-rays
  • books/magazines
  • CDs/MP3s
  • theatre movies
  • internet (pay-site costs; I pretty much expect that this will amount to my monthly $10 Wrestling Observer site bill and nothing more)
  • concert tickets

I may add more categories. “Concert tickets” weren’t a part of that list when I started writing it.

Anyway, the idea is to total up how much I spend on each of these groups in a year. I buy too many books I never read, CDs I never listen to, video games I never play, and DVDs I never watch. That money could be saved for trips or home improvements or things that might actually improve my life instead of just cluttering it.

Right now, in a bit of a shocker, books and magazines are in the lead. This started with a trip to Chapters to buy some discount graphic novels, and the lead increased when I renewed my subscription to Games World of Puzzles magazine.

I would like to note that the fine folks behind that magazine, Kappa Publishing, were kind enough to send me a free magazine to replace one that I accidentally left on the plane when we went to Hawaii last fall. I’d even offered to pay but they just went ahead and gave it to me. They earned their subscription renewal with that move.

Anyway, I don’t think books and magazines will stay in the lead for long, as I’m pretty sure that I spend more money on video games than on any of those other categories. I suppose we’ll see.

I’m not sure what to do about money that was spent last year. I have tickets to four upcoming concerts that I paid for last year (Norm Macdonald, Electric Six, John K. Samson, and the Regina Folk Festival, if you were wondering), and I have Xbox points and 3DS eShop credit that I put on my account last year. The video game tally would surely be higher if I had to count all of my Rock Band 3 song purchases that I’ve already paid for. I suppose I need to document those too, in the interests of fairness.

Man, bookkeeping is HARD.

I’m not trying to use this spreadsheet to discourage myself from buying these things just yet. I need to collect data before I act on it. Having said that, I assume that forcing myself to document my stupid purchases will result in me making fewer stupid purchases to begin with.

I did a similar thing once before to back up my assertion that I more-or-less broke even on lottery tickets. I documented every purchase and every win for a year. And when I saw how wrong I had been, I didn’t buy another ticket (apart from Christmas stocking stuffers) for three years.

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