This post contains referral links. I will be compensated for any sign-ups through the links.
Time once again to see how I did with my spending during this last financial month. As a reminder, I get paid mid-month, so this is my spending from mid-May to mid-June.
It was a relatively neutral month, I think. Let’s see how I did:
Asterisks will be explained in each category.
This category is exactly what it sounds like: a catchall for any expense that really didn’t fit in any of the other categories.
Normally, I only allot $200 for this section, but I knew I’d be organizing and then pitching in on food delivery app gift cards for two blogger friends who’d just had/were about to have babies. Some of the other folks who pitched in were super generous — as in double or more what I put in — so in each case, we were able to send a $475ish GC. Yay!
Other expenses included my life insurance ($52.60), an oil change ($66.19), Netflix ($15.19), a couple items at Goodwill ($9.93), an extra gigabyte of data for my Mint mobile plan when my Internet being out burned through so much data ($10.50) and a tire gauge ($6.29).
The asterisk for this category is because $40.34 of the total actually went to Saved Savings, which is the account where I collect any money I save from coupons, store rewards, sales, etc. At the end of the month, I put the funds into my mortgage payment as additional principal. So while the money left the weekly funds, it wasn’t exactly spending.
A lot of the saved savings were actually from me finally remembering to use a $25 prepaid gift card I’d gotten from some friends of Tim for my 40th birthday. Sheesh.
Thankfully, this category’s spending has been very low the last few months. Which means I’m probably due for a nasty surprise soon.
For now I’ll enjoy only $30 spending here. That goes to the monthly HVAC maintenance plans for the main and guest house units. For $15/month I get two yearly inspections (which would cost almost as much as the plan anyway) and free service calls. And I think maybe a small discount on services? I don’t remember, honestly.
Each time I do laundry, I put $3.50 into my Washer/Dryer fund, to build up money for eventual replacements of the current machines. Which are 15 years old, eep!
I know $3.50 is too low by today’s standards (it’s what I was paying at the apartment complex we lived in) but the account is nearly fully funded already. So I’ll wait to increase the “cost” of my laundry until the new units are bought and the account needs replenishing.
Anyway, I did four super exciting loads of laundry, so $14 went into the Washer/Dryer fund. The asterisk is because, as with saved savings, the money didn’t exactly get spent but did leave the weekly funds.
With all the socializing I’ve been doing — plus going on dates — I’m back to filling up the car twice a month. And since gas prices went up a bit, I ended up slightly over.
The good news is that I use Upside when I fill up, so I got $3.30 credited to my account. I can redeem the balance for gift cards or money.
It’s a pretty simple rewards program. If I need to fill up the tank, I open the app before going to the gas station and see what discounted rates the local stations are offering. I click the one I want, then go to the gas station, fill up and upload the receipt for cash back.
If you decide to download the app, using my invite code (2TKBA) will get you an extra $0.15 per gallon cash back on your first fill-up. I’ll receive a bonus, as well.
A couple of months ago, I loaded up on litter and food with a special offer at PETCO, so the only cost in this category for a while will be Josie’s Banfield plan for $33.95.
This is a good news/bad news situation.
The good news is that I obviously didn’t spend nearly as much as projected for groceries this month. The bad news is that it’s because I subsisted far too often on cheese and crackers for dinner. Bad for my waistline, bad for my cholesterol and not great as nutrition for my body.
The asterisk here is because I also get about $80 in protein bars each month. However, I use discounted gift cards that I buy at Raise or CardCash, which are accounted for in previous months’ Miscellaneous categories. Thus can’t also be counted here.
I’m annoyed that I went over budget here, since last month I was under budget and hoping to make that a trend. But the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men…
Shortly after Aaron and I agreed to stop seeing each other, we attempted to hang out as friends. He had paid for dinner the last time we saw each other, so I paid $22.45 for Smashburger for the two of us.
I also got takeout breakfast at Cracker Barrel one Sunday. I got French toast and half a dozen biscuits with apple butter (mmmmm), so after tax and tip I paid $18.54.
I went out with friends to brunch to the tune of $14.33.
One Friday, my friends and I visited an outdoor bar complex (a bunch of pop-up stands for food and drink) where a local cinema also has a large outdoor screen and was showing Jaws. I got a pizza there for $15.20 after tax/tip.
That night, I also got some ice cream (and something else I guess?) for $9.77.
The next night when we went out drinking, because my ex-friend was having A Day — I spent $12.50 on some food at one of the bars.
One day I felt truly awful and couldn’t leave the house but also couldn’t bring myself to eat anything here. So I ordered from a pizza place. Normally, I just get a personal pizza and some cinnamon sticks. But to help amortize the cost of the delivery fee and tip, I got an extra-large pizza for $36.21, which lasted me around five meals.
So all in all, not great but not bad.
I guess some of these expenses — the brunch and the food from bars — should have been filed under Going Out. Not quite sure why I put it here. I guess I considered those days where I would’ve gotten some amount of takeout even if I hadn’t gone out with friends? I dunno. I’ll figure it out next month.
I would’ve been under budget actually, but I ran out of my Redken Color Extend shampoo. (As an Amazon affiliate, I am compensated for purchases through my links.) I decided to get the big bottle because it was a much better deal on price per ounce.
The current Amazon price is a better deal, but at the time it was a bit higher. So Ulta’s 20% off coupon (plus 5% cash back from Mr. Rebates) made that a better deal at $33.01 after tax.
Beyond that I got my haircut at the beauty school ($20), an aesthetic service ($40) and the tip for a lip wax.
The asterisk is because I did get a lip wax, which would normally be around $12, but I bought a package and thus didn’t pay anything for the wax this month.
One day, I will stay under budget/figure out the right budget for this category.
There was actually only one line item here, but the purchase was a stock-up. So it wasn’t cheap.
Walgreens had a 15% off coupon, and the sunscreen I use was BOGO50. So I was able to get four two-packs of Neutrogena sunscreen for $40.25 after tax. Even on Amazon, the best price can get on one two-pack is $14 pre-tax. So yeah, I stocked up.
In case you’re wondering why anyone needs eight bottles of sunscreen… Some relatives have had to have skin growths removed. While I don’t believe any turned out to be cancerous (maybe some were pre-cancerous?), I figure I may be higher risk for skin cancer; so even if I didn’t live in Phoenix, I should be protect myself.
Thus every time I leave the house during daylight hours, I first put on sunscreen and (ugh) wait 15 minutes for it to sink in. This sometimes is as long as the errand itself would take, but better to be safe.
Nothing scintillating here. The usual $131.52 for my averaged-out electricity bill. This may go up a little soon as I decided to keep my house a little bit cooler.
Once Tim left and I didn’t have to keep the house around 74 or 75 degrees (which is a ton of electricity when outside temps are 100+) I kind of made a game of seeing how warm I could keep it in the house to save money. I landed on 80 degrees, but recently realized it’s silly to be even slightly uncomfortable so often in my own house. So I’m going spendthrift and turned it down to… 78.
Given that I built up a huge credit balance over the last couple of years — leading to my having no electric bill for four or so months — maybe the monthly average won’t budge much at all. But time will tell.
Beyond that, my city services (water/sewer/trash) was $63.39, and my natural gas bill (water heater) was $26.36.
Hoo boy did I blow the budget here. Though given the uncertain future of my friend group, I guess I’m glad I whooped it up.
I went to one Meetup event where I spent $24.36 for a drink at one bar and food at another.
I spent $17.28 for food to bring to a pool party.
I spent $10.49 for some chips and dip to bring to a friend’s board game birthday gathering.
I spent $51 at the immersive bar modeled to look like a train. That was for two drinks of my own plus my portion of the huge shared drink the group got. We’d had a drink and meal before that bar, which was $27.10. After the train bar, we walked a couple blocks to a different bar and each got one drink (mine was $11.27) but otherwise played board games the bar offered until we sobered up enough to drive. Pricey night, but fun.
The night of the Jaws movie (which was $15.74 — ouch) I spent $52.63 on four cocktails plus tips.
The following night was when two of us took the friend having the aforementioned A Day out. I spent $26.25 at one bar for two cocktails plus tax/tip. I spent $26.22 at the next place for one drink plus a dessert that was two grilled glazed donuts with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel and chocolate sauce and I regret nothing. (Thankfully, one of my compatriots ate the second donut because I would have eaten it.)
I also went to a MeetUp event for drag queen bingo, which was fabulous. I tipped the emcee $3 via Venmo. I didn’t order a drink because I felt a little dehydrated, but I tipped the waitress $2 since she was still keeping an eye on the table/my water.
The asterisk for this category is because that tip came out of cash I already had (which had been accounted for when I withdrew it at the ATM), so it didn’t count toward the total spent.
At one trivia night, I spent $19.54. At another I spent $15.46.
After a date one Friday night, I joined some friends at a bar where I had two drinks for $28.39 (including tax and tip).
A friend who used to be in our trivia group was in from out of town, so one Sunday we went to brunch ($18.48) and then played a little at Top Golf where I also got some pretzel bites ($34.04).
So this month was quite the socializing whirlwind, but given that I went to 11 different events, the average cost per outing was $34.66. So not as bad as it seems, I suppose.
I normally only budget $700 a month for this category (which includes my $407.50 insurance premium and $32 dental-add on, plus the $65 I have to pay to see my doctor while he gets recertified with my insurance). But I increased it this month because I was getting a retainer to stop my teeth from drifting any further. It was $300. Not fun, but a heck of a lot cheaper than the Invisalign-type service I’d have to get before too long as the gaps got pronounced.
Beyond that, part of the spending was for three different prescriptions: $42.55 for my anti-acne one, $26.68 for the med I use to counteract the chronic fatigue and $14.76 for one of my mood stabilizers.
I also re-enrolled in the auto-charge program at the massage place. They charge me $50 a month for one massage (which rolls over for up to three months) and any further massages that month are $40. I only had the one massage this financial month, but there’s an asterisk because I tipped the masseuse $15 in cash which, as with the waitress tip, was already accounted for in a previous month’s ATM withdrawal.
And I had a $25 copay to see my psychiatrist to review how my meds were doing. Which, at the time, was fine because it was before I unintentionally blew everything up.
So all of that added up to $2,392.28. But of course that’s not the only money I paid out that month.
My business pays for my Internet connection, since it’s necessary for my work. I pay $5.61 for Ooma to have a landline in case anything happens to my cell phone. Plus I make charitable donations.
And of course, there’s also the biggie: my mortgage. I don’t put that in the spending table because the amount of extra principal I pay changes each month. So I’d probably always be overbudget.
Anyway, when you add all those things together, my total spending for the month was $4,155.07.
When I use retirement calculators, I assume $40,000 of spending each year, so in that sense I’d be missing the mark quite a bit. But my house will be paid off by the time I retire, so that’s $600+ a month less that I’ll be spending. And I’ll have the guest house rent to pad my accounts.
So overall, I think I did an okay job — especially given how much I spent on going out for food or socializing or both.
How did everyone else’s spending go?