This last month’s spending was super low. But not in an “I was super frugal” way so much as a “There’s nothing to do, nowhere to go and no one to see” way. Sigh.
But anyway, let’s look at the overall pictures, shall we?
Like I said, spending was very, very low. In fact, between January 13th and February 15th, general spending was only around $840 — and $132 of that went to Saved Savings or the Washer/Dryer fund.
But let’s take a closer look at what I spent on:
Normally, I only budget $200 for this category, but my bi-yearly car tabs were due, which were almost $189. So I goosed the budget to $400 this month.
I spent just under $50 on Valentine’s Day stuff for two gal pals having a rough time. Of that, $5 was for cards I’d designed on Zazzle and had printed out, then I spent a little under $19 on some chocolate bars for one friend and, for the friend who’s very adventurous food-wise, about $27 for some unique flavors of Alaskan chocolate bars.
I also got a funny keychain for Aaron ($11.49) because he made a reference to getting Valentine’s Day cards for both me and my friend going through a breakup. I couldn’t tell how much he was kidding — ie, was he going to show up on Vday with something and I’d be empty-handed? — so I went online and found the keychain.
We didn’t end up spending Valentine’s Day together and haven’t seen each other since. (I’ll be seeing him tonight, which is Sunday night. But I doubt he’ll be thinking of Valentine’s Day.) So the gift is seemingly unnecessary. However, it’s small enough to be a “just cuz” gift, so it should be fine.
I got a lovely layered necklace from Free People. I’ve been wanting one for ages but have always been appalled by the prices. But this one was just $19.95 plus free shipping, so with tax I paid just $21.76 after tax.
I absolutely love it, by the way:
Now for those of you wondering about the asterisk by this category’s total…
That’s because the rest of the “spent” amount went into an Ally bank account called Saved Savings. It’s where I put any money that I saved during the month with coupons, sales and store rewards.
This month I saved $16 at CVS with coupons and Extrabux (including my $10 in CarePass Extrabux). I saved another $8.92 wtmy CarePass Extrabux for that and a little candy.
I also saved around $47 at Target between two orders because I buy discounted gift cards and keep a balance on the Target account. So I was able to avoid spending my day-to-day money on those items.
I saved a few bucks at the grocery store on sales for things I was going to buy anyway. And four times I went to a takeout place I have a gift card for, so about $39 was saved there.
I have a $30 monthly charge for my service plans on the main house and guest house HVAC systems. The cost of the plans is only slightly more than the semi-annual inspections I have to get anyway, and there are some perks, like discounts on services.
The rest of this category was the Orkin pest control I pay for. I can’t stand cockroaches, so I decided to bite the bullet on the service. I haven’t seen a single cockroach here in the 10 years since I hired them.
Byeond roaches, Orkin also sprays for things like the gophers who love my yard. I was fine leaving them alone until I was told they can mess with the foundation.
So all in all, a bi-monthly expenses of $84.86 is well worth it to me.
Despite not going to a laundromat, I have this “expense” because I put aside money every time I do a load of laundry. This means I have almost enough to cover the expense of both units dying simultaneously.
Anyway, I did five loads of laundry this month because my life is super exciting like that.
Apparently, I didn’t get gas this month? I knew it had been longer than usual, but I was still surprised to find I hadn’t filled up since sometime before mid-January.
But I guess it’s not surprising as I had almost no doctor appointments, the takeout place I like is only about two miles away, and I had very few trips to the store this month.
I did go to see Aaron at his place, which is unusual and about 40 miles round-trip, because the kittens weren’t used to carriers yet. But otherwise, I went almost nowhere.
Wow, my expenses were low this month!
Of the $471.50 spent, $434.50 was my insurance premium and add-on dental coverage. So the only expense here was a single $37 prescription. Since I get my meds in three-month supplies (except for the one I can only fill monthly), I sometimes have months where there are almost no expenses except my health coverage.
This category is normally just the $33.95 Banfield plan for Josie. But this month, I took her to the vet and had to $19.63 pay for:
- A sedative for her next visit (she was super hostile for some reason)
- Some plastic litter to let me bring them a urine sample. But that was out of stock, so they’re supposed to call me when it come in.
There’s an asterisk in this category because the amount doesn’t include the protein bars I buy from Target every month. Those are nearly $80 a month.
Those aren’t included because I pay for them with my Target gift card balance, which I have because I buy discounted gift cards. Since I already spent the money once, I don’t want to count it again in the grocery category. Hence the omission.
While the amount spent isn’t all that different this month, I’m happy to report that less money went toward food that I should be eating in limited amounts. (Given my emotional issues around eating, I’m trying to train my brain to stop thinking of it as “bad food” since that induces guilt, which doesn’t help the cycle of emotional eating.)
The foods I need to limit more are mostly candy, but also I want to eat less cheese than I have been this past year. My cholesterol is far too high. At any rate, my cheese intake was lower this month, but still more than my goal. It’s a start.
Otherwise, there’s not much of note. Well, except that around $20 of this category’s total were tips when I used Instacart because my back was so bad and when I got groceries delivered by Fry’s because a couple of days after seeing me, Aaron was feeling weird and worried he was infected.
Apparently, Netflix raised its prices? I’m sure it notified me, but I completely missed it. And I use the service so often, I’m not remotely bothered by a $1 increase.
I used to list Hulu as a charge for this category as well, but a couple of months ago, there was a discount if you paid for a year in full. And I’m not going to be going to movies any time soon. So it’s just going to be Netflix in this category for quite a while.
For that reason, I’m actually doing away with this category for now and count Netflix in the Miscellaneous category. I’ll reevaluate when life is safer.
Fun fact: I forgot to pay the city services bill a couple of months ago. Then they notified me of the larger bill last month. Which I somehow still failed to pay? I guess I’ve been struggling longer than I realized.
Anyway, this meant that my water/sewer/trash bill this month was around triple the normal amount at just under $180. If there weren’t a pandemic on, I’m pretty sure I would have received a shutoff notice.
A little of that dollar amount was rounding up for the assistance program — a similar assistance program in Seattle saved my butt when I was broke, so I try to pay it forward a little — but most of it was just my being incredibly spacey.
Otherwise, there was the normal (since I’m on an averaged-out billing plan) $131.52 charge for electricity, and my natural gas bill was a little higher than usual at just under $30.
So close to coming in at/under budget in this category! Every month, I can’t possibly think of a beauty item I’d buy, and every month something pops up.
This month, it was the amazing cream I used for my dark circles. The current container still has at least several months left in it — especially now that I’m not going out and so really only put on makeup when I’m going to see Aaron — but I decided to check anyway. And I’m thankful I did because (ugh) it looks like they’re discontinuing it. (Noooooooooooo!)
So I bought another container with a 20% discount for signing up for their emails. (Apparently, I forgot to put the savings into Saved Savings? I was a little scattered this month.) I’m debating whether to buy one more jar. I don’t want it to dry out, especially since it’s not cheap, but it would be in a sealed container. I don’t know if that would combat any drying-out. But if they’re discontinuing what they admit is a bestseller, presumably they have a replacement product that they think is better. So maybe I should wait? The debate is ongoing.
For this month, anyway, I spent $25.60.
Hold onto your hats, folks, this is pretty exciting stuff.
I got floss, an anti-itch lotion, a new contact lens case and some Halls cough drops. Par-tay.
The drops were actually for Aaron, but we were in a hurry so I said I was going to pay for both.
The anti-itch lotion is because my feet have been randomly freaking out and getting almost painfully itchy some nights. I think the severity is partially nerve damage from when I had Guillain-Barre.
At any rate, the itch won’t stop until I’ve applied lotion multiple times and scratched a fair amount. By which time I have a hard time getting back to sleep. So hopefully, the anti-itch lotion will be dual purpose and quiet the nerves the first time around.
I know, I know. My life is fascinating and exciting.
You know, I really thought $100 would be enough? But of course, there’s fact that make sure that every other time I see Aaron, I cover the takeout. So that means it’s generally $25-30 at least twice a month.
Then I also apparently ordered pizza a couple of times. (I say “apparently” because this past month feels like a blur when I try to recall it.)
Thus I ended up with a busted budget.
It actually should be worse, hence the asterisk. As I mentioned in the Miscellaneous section, I got about $39 worth of takeout that I paid for with a gift card. So I had far more takeout than planned this month.
All in all
Even though I was over budget in five categories this month, the other sections of spending were low enough that I still came in more than $200 under my projected spending amount. Now if only the lower spending weren’t mostly a result of being bored and alone. But I suppose I should just take the win.
Of course, this isn’t all of my spending for the month. I don’t include housing as a category because I pay extra on my mortgage each month, and that amount varies. So I can’t predict what to budget there, and it seems silly to count myself as over- or under budget on my mortgage.
There’s also charitable donations that aren’t accounted for above. And my Internet connection, which I don’t count in Utilities because my business pays for it.
At any rate, those three (which includes my Internet charge going up almost $10 a month) mean my total spending for the month was $3,459.75 — or around $3,329 when you remember that about $130 went into savings accounts.
If I were to sustain that spending for the full year, that would put me at at just barely under my goal of $40,000 per year for retirement.
But my current spending includes a mortgage payment that was just over double the (admittedly very low) monthly amount due. And if everything holds steady, I should have the house paid off in about three and a half years.
So even with ever-increasing property taxes (could everyone please stop moving here???) and insurance costs, I doubt that even 30 years from now I’ll need to set aside much more than $600 a month for those.
This means that means in retirement, I’ll likely pay around $7,000 less a year for housing than I do right now. And that puts me well under the $40,000 yearly spending goal.
Which is good because of course I’ll need some financial breathing room to afford the inevitable repair bills that come with owning a home. Not to mention the likely increase in medical expenses as I get older. (Apparently your body and house don’t care whether you no longer get a paycheck. Rude.)
How did everyone else’s spending go this past month?