Well, a new month has started, so I’ve totaled up all of last month’s spending (mid-June to mid-July). It’s worth noting that this was a slightly shorter month than usual because my paycheck came later than it normally does. So it was 27 days instead of 30-31.
Anyway here’s the overview of how I did:
(The asterisk for takeout, grocery and healthcare will be explained in those sections.)
This is obviously a catch-all category for whatever doesn’t fit into the rest of the budget. Most months I only plan for $200, but I’d increased it this month to $300 because I knew I’d need to get another discounted Target gift card, which is how I pay for my protein bars every month.
Even so, as you can see, I went notably over. The gift card alone was about $235, so I pretty much underestimated how big of one I’d buy.
In addition, I had to pay about $66 surcharges for filing my state and federal quarterly taxes online. (I still came out ahead with my Citi Double Cash card’s 2% cash back, though.)
The spending in this category also includes $40 of walking around money, mainly for tips for the masseuse.
Just about all the rest was saved savings which came in at $122.49. Saved savings are any savings I get with coupons, sales, store rewards or gift cards on things I was going to buy anyway. So this included takeout (hence the asterisk there), sunscreen with an Amazon gift card my mom had given me, my therapy copay (currently waived for telesessions), store rewards and grocery sales/coupons.
So while this money shows as “spent” it technically was saved. It’s put as extra against my mortgage principal each month.
I… apparently didn’t do enough laundry this month?
I put $3.50 aside each time I do a load of laundry, and those funds go to my washer/dryer fund.
The fact that I only had to do three loads in almost four weeks is a little concerning, to be honest. And I do have rewear each tank top, sports bra and shorts at least once, I don’t feel like I’m wearing dirty clothes. So maybe this category total just needs to be smaller. Time will tell.
No repairs this month, and Orkin only comes every other month. So hooray, $0!
I got a beauty service done for $40. We both wore masks and she sanitizes after each client. But I’m not sure whether I’ll go back next month, given rising cases. We’ll see how I feel/what the numbers look like closer to the date.
I also spent $1.09 on mousse at the dollar store (which seems to be working just as well as drugstore mousse, for the record). And after various CVS Extrabux I had, I paid only $1.42 for the at-home hair dye.
Happy to report that the hair dye wasn’t nearly as much of a debacle as I feared it would be. I missed some small wispy hairs that no one can really see. Also, a bit of the root a few layers in on the side of my head. But no one will really see that either. So all in all, a success!
After Extrabux, I paid a little over $10 for a razor and two bottles of Aveeno lotion (BOGO sale). My old Dorco razor broke (which sucks because I still have several cartridges left, but Dorco itself shut down). I found a bunch of Gillette razor heads, but no razor. So I guess I threw it out at some point? Thus, I had to get a replacement.
Then there was the $6ish paid after the Amazon gift card was applied when I bought two more bottles of sunscreen. I go through a fair amount of the stuff because I use it any time I leave the house, even for a quick errand. I’m too pale to risk unprotected exposure. If nothing else, I don’t want weird tan lines.
And a little over $9.50 was spent for feminine hygiene products. Yay being a woman.
I actually had to refuel for a change. The 35 miles I drove (each way) to a specialist visit — the closest covered pulmonologist was in Mesa — sucked up about 1/6 of my tank alone. Other than that, though, I’m not using much gas and am only filling up every two or so months.
This time, it cost $24.61.
I pay $14.11 for Netflix and $6.51 for Hulu each month. Back in pre-pandemic days, I’d budget for a movie and popcorn once or twice a month but… Yeah, even if movie theaters weren’t shut back down, I wouldn’t be going there any time soon.
There’s an asterisk to this because I don’t include the $76ish I spend on protein bars each month. That’s because they’re paid for with the aforementioned Target gift cards, which are accounted for in the Miscellaneous sections of my budget.
Anyway, I try to keep my overall grocery bill (including protein bars) to under $225 a month. Obviously, this is a kind of big amount for one person. But since I don’t cook (I know, I know) it’s really not that bad.
This month, I indulged in a lot of fresh fruit — usually on sale, but I spent a lot on cherries whose sale price was still $2.99 a pound. But mmmmm cherries. Also, after a particularly disappointing dating site interaction/overall sense of dating doom, one of my grocery trips included about $15 in junk food to console myself.
So at least I know why I went over and that it won’t be repeated most months. Well, if I stick with the dating site, I suppose disappointed junk food nights could be normal? We’ll see.
Normally by now my electric company has raised my averaged-out billing rate by $30 to account for summer usage. But apparently it isn’t doing that this year, so I came in under budget. I’ll lower the budgeted amount next month accordingly.
Anyway, my electric bill is about $131, about $23 for the gas for my hot water heater and $55 for city services. The last one is rounded up because, as long as I’m doing okay, I give some to the low-income assistance fund.
The $0 here looks impressive, but it’s a bit of a misnomer.
I have a gift card I’ve been using at my favorite takeout place. And after a problem delivery with a pizza, I got a free order as an apology. So I got just under $55 of takeout this month. I just didn’t actually pay for it. The money went into saved savings instead.
Just don’t want you guys thinking I magically had the willpower to kick my takeout habit.
Josie’s monthly Banfield plan payment is $33.95. I budget a little over this amount in case of toys or whatever. But she’s not really that into most toys, so usually it’s just $33.95. Maybe I should just lower the budgeted amount overall.
Ugh, always my most expensive category.
This month, I got a three-month fill of my $37/month medication. So that alone was $111. Then there was my insurance premium (a little lower this month at $359ish due to an overpayment in the previous month).
I have an auto-bill for a massage place for $50 a month. I’m probably going to pause this because the last time I went in, the front office and chiropractors (and therefore some customers) weren’t observing the mask mandate. I already have a bunch of credit from not going in the early days of the pandemic. So I don’t want to rack up too much more.
I had a year checkup after my cataract surgery, and the copay was $15. I had another medication for $15. And my dental/vision add-on for insurance was $24.
The asterisk is because I actually spent another $30 for tips for the masseuse when I did go for two massages. But it came out of my walking around money, which is accounted for in the Miscellaneous section.
All in all
So I spent $1,572.63. Sorta.
Because you’ll note that things like my mortgage aren’t listed above. That’s because I pay more than my basic amount each month, so I’d be perpetually overbudget if I made Mortgage a category.
I’m also not comfortable disclosing my charitable giving. In addition, I don’t count my business’s Internet connection or other expenses to keep that sort of thing separate from personal spending. Plus this month there were also a couple of other charges (Ooma and a credit card annual fee) that, as I’m writing this, I realize I forgot to include in the table above.
So as to keep my charitable giving private, I’ll just give you the overall amount spent, so you have a realistic look at my actual spending while I still maintaining some privacy. And that amount is an additional $1,722.38 — most of which, for the record, was my mortgage.
This means that I spent a total of $3,295.01 this month. If I maintained that rate, it’d be a little under $40,000 a year. Higher than I’d like, but still within the realm of okay-ness for my projected retirement budget.
And of course, once I pay off the house, that’ll be an additional $500-900 (depending on saved savings/guest house rent in any given month) that won’t be getting spent. That will lower my overall spending significantly.
So all in all, I think I’m doing pretty well at keeping spending down, given that I don’t live super frugally.
How did everyone else’s monthly spending go? I know some of you are having to scrimp to live on unemployment. For whatever it’s worth, my thoughts are with you guys.