I know my spending is out of whack. I know it in the moment when I pull out my credit card. So, this is mortifying, especially when I think about how long it has gone on and how much money I have wasted.
I was raised frugally. I know all the concepts (and will talk about the ones that I practice by habit and the ones I’m going to bring back to my life later). So it’s embarrassing to be wasting money like this. So, here in all it’s glory are my expenditures for Q2 2019.
| Paycheck || 8,999.11 || Ultimately, this does need to increase. |
| Other Income || 1,492.18 || See below. |
What is my other income?
I use Ebates (now Rakuten) whenever I’m shopping online. All
my credit cards are cashback cards and I attempt to use them based on the
percentage. This works particularly nicely when I get 3% back on hotels for
work and get reimbursed by my company. My work pays a per diem when I travel,
so if my food costs are under the per diem, I make money.
There are always unaccounted for funds though. I babysit and work as a mother’s helper, but that tends to be cash and is deposited occasionally. I also sell things on Facebook Marketplace and Poshmark, which is either cash or Poshmark credit until I deposit it.
So ultimately, this is a low ball amount, but I’m not great at tracking cash inflow.
|401K||1,457.89||Includes my employer match|
|Savings||1,139.78||Roth IRA and other investments|
If calculated just based on income, this is a 25% savings rate. Which is great! It’s my goal to improve that but there’s a bigger problem below.
|Rent||2,985||My 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment including all utilities.|
|Insurance||899.7||Car and Renter’s Insurance. I need to reach out the insurance company because I think I could be doing a lot better. |
|Groceries||774.47||This is too high for a single person. And it’s because I get lazy. So, I need to really work on using up what I have, not wasting food and meal prepping for the week.|
|Gas/Public Transit||288.68||This is about 11 full tanks for me which is higher than normal. I drove to Florida and back which would explain most of that. I fill up about 3x each month.|
|Car Maintenance||222.22||My tire blew out! So irritated. |
|Medical||310.08||Paid the bill for my yearly varicose vein shots and an MRI.|
|Charity||841.57||This is actually under my goals. One of my goals is to set up a Donor-Advised Fund to get this consistent. |
There are a few opportunities for saving here. If I could get down to about $150/month in groceries I would be saving around $325 each quarter. I’m driving quite a bit right now, but reducing it slightly would probably put me more at $200 a quarter, savings of $88.
I generally don’t have too many medical bills. One of these was a yearly expense and the other was a required scan to investigate some odd blood numbers.
The car expense was definitely not expected. I paid up front for all of my oil changes for a number of years when I bought the car, so in general, any car expense will be highly unexpected.
I’ll talk about my giving goals and strategy at a later date.
|Shopping||420.13||This is a lot. And to be honest, it’s ridiculous, considering it doesn’t including clothing or gifts. So combined, that’s an insane amount. |
|Clothing/Shoes||805.81||A lot of this was bought and hasn’t yet been returned. However, a lot of it should not have been bought in the first place. And I did lose out on money because I returned a number of things too late. After future returns and what I received on a gift card, this value is likely more like $400. So, this should still be drastically reduced. |
|Fast Food||598.04||This is an unacceptable amount. It’s terrible for my health and my budget. |
|Restaurants||46.12||I’m okay with this. |
|Exercise||1527||I’m currently paying for a YMCA membership. I used to use this a lot but it’s less convenient at my new apartment so I think it’s time to cancel. |
Additionally, I paid for 9 months of personal training in bulk during this period. It’s a large expense but I’m trying to put my money where my health goals are in a productive way.
|Gifts||746.37||This was a gift heavy period. |
Mother’s Day $50
Niece’s Birthday $11
Joint gift for Father and Stepmother for multiple holidays $470, some of which my brother should repay
Wedding gift for a high school friend $200
Ongoing gift for father and stepmother of Netflix $21
|Events||22.85||I went to a screening of “Playing with FIRE”. I’ll talk about it in a different post. |
|Personal Care||275||I got my eyebrows threaded and paid for two Life Coaching sessions. I think I’ll probably stop with Life Coaching. |
|Parking||6||I try to avoid these but it happens sometimes. |
|Subscriptions||20.97||Amazon BritBox. Just cancelled it. |
|Fees||78||My Chase checking account has a $25/month fee and I’ve been slacking on transferring everything out. I have a $1/month fee from Acorns which I have closed out.|
So that’s where things got really out of hand. Particularly the combination of shopping, clothes/shoes, and gifts. Yikes. Speaking of shopping, here’s an incomplete list of things that bought:
- Swapping unused subscription box items on MySubscriptionAddiction
- Perler beads off Facebook
- Random organizers
- Shoe inserts
- A gift that ultimately can’t be used as a gift
- Cultivate what matters planner
- Probably junk food
- And obviously other things I can’t even remember at this point
So, drastic cuts are in order. I’d love to get the combination of Shopping and clothes/shoes to under $100 each month. Which would save me $925 in a quarter. Gifts should be much less moving forward, but I should also work on making things as gifts.
Fast food should be eliminated altogether. $600 savings per quarter
Because here’s the bottom line. With an income this quarter of $10,491.29, I spent $10,863.02 outside of my savings. So I took all of the funds to use for savings from savings I already had. So it’s actually a negative savings rate. Which is a punch in the gut.
And that’s not even including a completely separate grouping of items – vacations. I had two trips come up this quarter which were amazing, but I didn’t really budget for them in advance. And in total I spent $986.58 on current vacation expenses and $1,722 on pre-payments for vacations next year. So, I’m around $5,000 in the red this quarter.
So this is my reckoning. Things need to change drastically. This is step 1 of the Frugalwoods challenge and it’s a blow. But it’s good to know. Just based on what I calculated, I should be able to cut out $3,390 per quarter without blinking.
But my goal for the Frugalwoods challenge is to re-set my baseline. To go back to how I grew up and actually value my money and time. And to change my habits around spending money.
Off to Day 2!