Okay, folks, still trying to get back to a more organized routine, but I’m getting there.
As a reminder, I get paid mid-month, so my financial months are a little different from most folks’.
As with last month, I’m combining my spending for last month with the information about my saving rates from my last check. So let’s see how I did this last month.
The answer here is… not great.
As mentioned in some posts… I struggled a lot last month with retail therapy — and plenty of takeout too. And it appears I spent a lot on junk food, which explains the couple extra pounds I now have.
But let’s see how bad it was.
Well, despite the overspending in some categories, things more or less evened out. But that’s mostly due to the fact that I was laid up with a cold for two weeks. That meant no trivia and missing an 80-minute massage, which would’ve been $105 after tip.
Also, as is my MO, I forgot to pay the city services bill on time so I’ll pay two months next time. So that was $50ish that didn’t get spent this month.
So let’s see that the above dollar amounts bought.
While I technically own my home, I am paying back my mom for the loan she provided so I could could pay off my mortgage. So each month I pay $600, but I also have property taxes and insurance to put aside for semi-yearly payments. As a result, my housing costs are $857.50.
Well, as mentioned in the retail therapy post, I purchased quite a few items from SHEIN. That included several pieces jewelry, four tops, three dresses, a duvet cover and a thin cotton bedspread for the warmer months. All of that totaled just under $122 on its own.
Then the interactive Klimt exhibit was $50.40. While pricey, it was gorgeous, and I’m glad I went.
Other items were:
- Some new threads at Goodwill: about $34.
- Netflix: $10.85.
- A pair of flats for my new dress: about $16.
- $20 got taken out to have cash on hand
- Just under $20 went into Saved Savings
Oh, and the cost of my taxes ($117) definitely hit hard too.
A blessedly cheap month, with the only expense being the protection plans I have on the two HVAC units (main house and guest house). Wish I could say the same about this month, but some repairs hit hard.
Mom was visiting for just under two weeks, and more laundry gets done when she’s here. Partially because she does mine for me, god love her. I had allotted more money for this inevitability, which is the only reason I came in under budget.
This is just the cost of Josie’s Banfield plan. Thankfully, thus far, she’s enjoyed good health, and I loaded up on cat food a few months back. So no other expenses at present.
Well, about $31 of this ridiculously large amount was for my peanut butter, which I have to get delivered every few months. Because Phoenix grocery stores apparently have something against Adam’s peanut butter.
And maybe $50 to $60 was from groceries for/during Mom’s visit.
But the rest was just a lot of snacks, which aren’t cheap (especially right now). I made a ton of trips to the grocery store, and it took its toll.
As a reminder, this isn’t even all of my food costs. I use gift cards that I buy at a discount to pay for about $80 of protein bars a month. However, they aren’t counted here because I put the cost of those GCs in the months I buy them.
You’d think with all of those grocery trips, I’d barely have any room for takeout. But this total shows you’re dead wrong.
I went out to dinner and dessert with a friend at one point. The other 15 (!) charges in this category were takeout or food delivery. (And one — about $20 — was paid for in cash so it’s not even counted in the total.) I used delivery apps seven times and got takeout eight times.
Plus, I got dinged $9.99 because I forgot to cancel UberOne. But honestly, with all the takeout, the discount probably paid for itself.
The only good news is that the food was at least semi-healthy. Two trips to Jamba Juice, one trip to a place that sells protein bowls and several more deliveries/pickups were for teriyaki chicken.
None of this is completely healthy, but certainly better than a lot of fast food options, at least.
I overspent here because I found some good beauty products I wanted to try. So in addition to my monthly beauty service ($40) and tip for a lip wax (the wax itself is part of a prepaid package), I purchased:
- Two more Provacalips lipsticks LINK, which have incredible staying power: about $14
- A new brush at Ulta: about $12
- Some oil-absorbing motion/oil-reducing serum at e.l.f. Cosmetics: a bit over $19 with shipping
- An undereye cream from Clinique: painfully around $42
I’m finally under budget in this category! My super exciting purchases were:
- Cold meds: about $13)
- Flonase: about $23)
- Mouthwash and contact lens solution: Thanks to Extrabux and coupons, about $3 and about $1, respectively
I pay an averaged-out amount each month for electricity. Thanks to the strong need for A/C about half the year, it’s $131.52 a month. My natural gas bill (for the hot water heater) was about $39. It’s usually closer to $25 once things really warm up.
I did depressingly little of this.
I paid about $4 for parking for one trivia event, and about $11 for food at another.
I also went and saw the Batman movie (which was great) for about $12. Then $6 for a drink and tip on a first date, plus about $13 for an Uber back the next day to pick up my car. (The guy was nice enough to drive me home from the bar since I didn’t feel safe driving.)
A large chunk of this spending is the cost of Medicare ($444.10). But I also had an 80-minute massage ($105 after tip) and a 50-minute massage ($65 after tip).
I also saw my medication management doctor, which was a $40 copay, and spent just over $50 on prescriptions.
There are a few other line items that I don’t include here. For example, my business gets charged for my Internet, so it’s “spent” but not from my main account. I also don’t disclose charitable giving amounts, and a couple other miscellaneous expenses.
So my actual total spending for the month was just over $3,508. Which, extrapolated to a year amount, is just under $42,100 — not too far over my goal of $40,000 in yearly spending.
But again, that’s more because I got waylaid by a cold. On the other hand, hopefully I won’t be spending anywhere near that large an amount on food again. So maybe it I’m still okay.
This, at least, was pretty good news.
As a reminder, I have a number of sinking funds, some of which count toward my saving rates and some of which don’t.
The ones that don’t count are either short-term saving goals (like my yearly car insurance premium or Mint Mobile bill) or aren’t for my own use (such as the fund I’m building for a trans relative’s future surgery). Those are:
- Car insurance: $90
- B’s fund: $50
- Mint: $16.78
- Termite protection: $27.67
- Taxes (including FICA): $1,551.75
- And my credit cards totaled just over $1,000
The ones that do count toward my saving rates are:
- Savings: $300
- Emergency fund: $285.46
- Car replacement: $300
- HVAC replacement: $145
- Roth: $500
- SEP-IRA: A ridiculous $2,485.77
Clearly, I was very fortunate this past month. I was able to keep my credit card balances lower, and I’d worked some overtime. Also, my boss just pays me very generously.
As a result, my saving rates were:
My goal is 50% of my income saved, but until I have the house paid off in a few years, I think most months I’ll likely fall a bit short. Still, it’s a good goal to aim for.
As always, I’m just going to remind you that it is completely okay if our saving rates look different. Everyone is in a slightly different financial position. I have a few things going for me that many others may not.
First, as mentioned, my boss is extremely generous with my pay. Also, each month I do at least 16 hours of overtime. So that really pushes up my checks too.
Second, it’s just me. I have no kids and no longer have a husband who comes with a bunch of expenses. Those factors save me a ton of money.
There are other factors as well, but suffice it to say that it’s much easier to keep my spending lower (when I’m not going through funks like the last month or so). As long as you are doing your best to save — and, if you’re financially fortunate enough, still enjoy yourself a little — then you’re doing a great job.
How did everyone else’s finances go last month?