Okay, I’m a little behind here, given that my financial month ended, uh, in the middle of last month. But better late than never, right? Right?!
So let’s see how I did…
The answer here is “not well.” I know it doesn’t look that bad, but it’s a bit worse than it looks for reasons I’ll explain below. Asterisks in any category will be explained in the subsection for that category.
The only reason I didn’t go over in this category is because I planned for an extra $450 expense that took place. The pigeon situation has never been great, but it was getting out of control. So I called in some bird guys.
The good news: It seems to have helped.
The bad news: It was $450. Sigh.
Just a reminder that this rather large amount includes my insurance premium ($402.50) and dental add-on premium ($32). Yeah, I wish my premium were lower, but no deductible is pretty great. So it evens out.
Beyond that, I had just one prescription ($29.89) this month, since the rest of my copious meds are filled for three months at a time.
Also included is my doctor’s visit ($85) which is out of pocket until my insurance recertifies him. Because he did something as crazy as move addresses. Ah, bureaucracy.
I also got the oximeters when I had the COVID scare. Plural because there was a BOGO50 sale plus a coupon, and a friend was having a scare too. So I bought one for her as well.
And of course, there was my indulgent 90-minute (belated) birthday massage which, with tip, came to $110. Worth it!
The asterisk here is because I bought a scale ($1`9.61) using my Target gift card balance. Since the purchase of the gift card was accounted for in previous spending reports, I don’t count it here as well.
Ugh, this is so much money by my standards! Between my seeing Aaron more frequently (he 20 miles away and even taking turns with who drives to whom, it adds up) and having trivia all over the greater Phoenix area, I’m putting way more miles on the car than I used to.
I feel a little hypocritical because I used to freak out on Tim that we were using even half a tank of gas ( around 200 miles) each week. Though in my defense, we had no commute and rarely went out, so it really was way too many miles to make sense. And he was just an expensive fellow so I was more stressed about money.
At any rate, I feel like I’m constantly driving all over creation and I’m not loving it. I know my car still has plenty of life left in it, but eesh. So the fact that I budgeted for three fill-ups and still went slightly over makes me grouchy.
Each time I do a load of laundry, I put money into a Washer/Dryer fund so I can be ready when mine die. Given that Tim’s parents bought them the year he and I met (2006), the machines could go at any time. Thankfully, this saving system means I have around $1,600 ready for that eventuality.
The asterisk here is because the money was “spent” out of weekly funds but technically went to savings.
Normally, I only spend $33.95 a month in this category — for Josie’s Banfield plan. But when she had her semi-annual checkup, I had them trim her nails for just over $15. I’m squeamish about clipping nails and Josie puts up a fight, so I prefer to pay to avoid the hassle.
The asterisk here is because I did buy a bunch of food and cat litter this month, but it was done with gift cards I bought from Raise — and discounted gift cards are accounted for in the Miscellaneous section.
Well… Went just a wee bit over in this category, didn’t I?
I’m actually not all that sorry about this overage because it means I was out among people, making new friends. (Which is important, given that I’m now only in touch with two of the members of my previous friend group, sigh.)
Of this amount, about $65 was for various trivia nights, since I try to buy food or a drink to support the place hosting the events.
Another $45ish was for bowling with Aaron — in one case, a $25 Groupon and in two cases food or drink for us while we were at the alleys — and some popcorn (after gift card was applied) when Aaron and I went to a movie.
And the rest was simply two rather pricey nights out sampling the tasty but pricey specialty drinks (plus food) downtown with a gal from trivia. We’re trying to hang out at least every other week, so hopefully I’ve made a new friend. Time will tell.
The asterisk here is to denote that I paid for some of my light rail trips in cash (which was already accounted for in the last spending diary) and that gift cards and two free movie tickets were used for Aaron and I to go see Suicide Squad.
Hey look, a category where I’m under budget (without having inflated the budget number for the month)!
Nothing scintillating here. It was mostly the regular charges:
- I get a beauty service for $40 including tip
- I tip $3.50 for my monthly lip wax (which I get from a prepaid pack)
- My haircut at the beauty school — though that was $15 instead of $20 this month thanks to a special.
Irregular purchases were a texturizing hair spray ($5.31) and some foundation ($3.93 after coupons).
Ever so slightly less success here.
The main culprit was the $79.40 I spent on two huge packages of toilet paper from Costco and some collagen powder I’m trying. Because vanity is neverending. Oh, also it’s good for your joints, I guess.
Also in this category was some lotion ($3.33 after Extrabux and coupons) plus a $20.99 purchase of hair dye, root cover-up spray and some Murine.
I’m now realizing I should’ve separated the hair dye and root spray into Beauty, but I’m not up for wading back through receipts to find the cost breakdown. Also, a stubborn part of me just wants to preserve the one category where it actually looks like I came in under budget. But mainly it’s laziness and disorganization.
This looks like a success, right? But it’s not.
The fact is, I just forgot to pay my water/sewer/trash bill this month. So next month’s utilities will be higher by around $60, I think.
Anyway, the two utilities I did remember to pay were my electric bill (averaged-out payment means $131.52 every month) and $22.33. And by “remember to pay” I mean “automatically deducted from my bank account.”
I’m just a mess, folks.
This brings us to the sole category this month that I actually genuinely came in under budget on. No forgetting to pay something. No accidentally putting this category’s expenses in another spot. No inflating the usual monthly amount in anticipation of higher spending.
I simply actually spent less than projected. Miracles do happen!
Now if only most of the food purchased weren’t utter junk. But at this point in life/the pandemic, honestly I’m just happy to still be vaguely coherent. So I’ll worry more about my eating habits another day.
Did I mention this is the ouchie edition?
Honestly, this month’s takeout ballooned mostly because of Aaron. That’s not laying blame. it’s stating fact.
First, we’ve been seeing each other more days each week, and we get takeout basically every time we see each other. Sometimes multiple times if we’re together for a full day. And since I try to make sure I pay every other time, it adds up.
Further adding to the pain, Aaron is trying to eat more calories to help bulk up, which mean he’s been the king of the add-ons. Extra protein? Check. Sides? Check. Everything adding up painfully? Double check.
While it might sound like I’m complaining, I don’t mean it that way. He’s not doing it out of greed, and he never begrudges me when I have add-ons. Sometimes he encourages me to get some. And he’s not demanding that I pay every other time. That’s my own moral thing. But eesh it does sting when I’m paying $40+ for takeout for two. I may have to break down and get DashPass.
And it’s not all him. Even on my own I would eat a fair amount of takeout. In this case, about $59 of the total was from my own refusal to cook. So I’m definitely not blameless in takeout spending.
The asterisk for this category. is because I paid about $5 for ice cream out of cash in my wallet which, again, has already been counted in other spending reports.
And now we come to the catch-all category.
While I did technically come in under budget, this was once again a function of my budgeting more for this category than usual. There was a sale on Raise, and I wanted to stock up on supplies for Josie. So I bought $250 worth of gift cards for $222.78. And I got 1% cash back through Mr. Rebates.
There was also $20 taken out at an ATM for the aforementioned cash on hand. And of course Netflix for a little under $10 a month.
Happily, a bit over $54 went into Saved Savings — so while it was “spent” from weekly funds, it went to me (and later toward my mortgage) rather than consumerism. For those of you who are newer, Saved Savings is where I put money that I save with sales, coupons, gift cards, store rewards, etc. when I use them to buy things I was going to get anyway.
And here’s why this is the “ouch” edition: While a $200 overage may not sound all that bad, that was the overage after I already increased my projected spending by $650 last month.
So ouch ouch ouch.
And yes, I know some months are just going to suck — without it being a reflection on my own frugality.
The birds needed getting rid of because they were causing a huge mess on the back patio and their poop is bad for the roof and such. So the $450 wasn’t reckless spending — nor was $228 if it meant essentially a 10% discount on whatever I spend at PETCO. (And I try to take advantage of the store’s 20% off $50+ pickup orders to get even better savings.)
But takeout is definitely a runaway category this month. And going out, though again given my social circle dissolution, I think that’s an overage I feel okay (if not great) about.
But that’s not all
Of course, all of the above wasn’t all the spending I did this month. I paid my mortgage, for my landline through Ooma, my business paid for Internet and I made charitable contributions.
So in the end I spent $4,214.98. Which, if extrapolated to annual spending, would be way over my goal of trying to live on $40,000 to $45,000 a year. So that’s a bit disheartening.
But I try to remind myself that once my house is paid off in about three years, I’ll have at least an extra $700 a month — probably more like $1,000. (The range is due to the uncertainty of future property taxes and insurance rates.*) So that will bring spending down significantly.
All in all, I guess it could be worse. But I really hope next month’s end numbers are significantly better.
How did everyone else’s spending go?
*Speaking of which, could everyone please stop moving here??? You’re driving up my property taxes. And since I have no intention of selling, the equity doesn’t matter to me.