Monthly Spending Report: August 2015

 

Hard to believe August is already over! It flew by in a flurry of sports, fun activities and a variety of other events. The State Fair was in town, so I attended a couple of concerts and ate more fattening fair food than I should have. I went back home to visit with my family and friends for a long weekend. In addition, I drove to meet friends for their annual dog show just a few hours from me. I had a blast and got to see tons of very fine looking dogs!

The name of the game this month was “Buy Nothing”. I have a post coming up that will dive into the experience moreso than I will here. That being said, I focused on finding cheap ways of entertaining myself. Instead of going out to the bars downtown, I bought a 6 pack of ciders to enjoy at home. I watched a few new movies at home rather than going to see movies in the theaters (complete with my own popcorn!). I have a very expensive fancy sewing machine that hasn't gotten very much use lately, so I took the opprotunity to work on some of my projects I have going on. I also focused on reducing some of my monthly charges- like eating more lunches from home and leaving the AC off in my apartment.

 

Why do I do a monthly spend­ing report?

I find it best to do a monthly spend­ing report for a few rea­sons. One, it helps me eval­u­ate how I did the pre­vi­ous month. Did I hit a tar­get reduc­tion in spend­ing or did I go way over bud­get for a par­tic­u­lar cat­e­gory? Two, it helps keep me account­able. How can I make an extra pur­chase know­ing I’ll have to explain myself to all of you? Talk about awk­ward when the blog­ger can’t walk the walk and talk the talk. Three, I want to prove this crazy thing called finan­cial inde­pen­dence works! Fourth, it pro­vides an exam­ple of real world bud­get­ing and expenses. Some of the peo­ple I talk to haven’t ever seen a proper bud­get or seen one put into action, and part of the pur­pose of this blog is to lead by example!

I use Mint to help me track my spend­ing and keep an eye on my accounts. Some peo­ple use Per­sonal Cap­i­tal and oth­ers use You Need a Bud­get (YNAB). What­ever tool works best for you and your needs is the best one for you, since every­one and their bud­gets are different.

So, with­out fur­ther ado, I present my spend­ing (for bet­ter or for worse) for August 2015.

 

Aug_15_Budget

 

 

Gas & FuelA couple of road trips pushed this higher than normal, but I was still under budget!
Util­i­tiesMy internet bill finally settled into a normal schedule. It autopays on the first, starting Sept. 1st, so that's why there's “no bill” this month.
Food & Dining266!! That's lower than last month! Good to know my efforts to bring my lunch helped at least a little! I'm not sure if $200 is realistic anymore, but that won't stop me from trying.
RentSince I now have a kit­ten, my rent went up $50 per month to $1067. Next month it'll be lower since I got some “fun money” by playing bags at the complex end of the summer BBQ.
Pets$100 is definitely too high. I'm lowering it to $65 next month with a rollover option. His bag of kitten food will push that over budget, but he only gets a new bag once every 3 months.
AutoI got a much needed oil change.
FeesI ended up with a few fees this month from various things like ATM fees and trade commission fees.
DentistI hadn't been to the dentist in awhile, so I needed a deeper cleaning than normal that my insurance didn't cover. I'm cavity free though!
SportsRegistration was due for fall leagues, so I paid it early to get the early bird discount.
Misc.This encompasses all the random activities I did this month, from dates to a Carrie Underwood concert to pigging out on greasy and delicious fair food.
VeterinarianMew had another round of shots due. Now, unless he unexpectedly gets sick, I won't need to go back until December when I get him fixed.
ShoppingRandom things for my place. I believe that included a pack of hangers and some Tupperware.

 

I spent a total of $2050 this month!! That's incredible! Even more so when you realize that a full 50% of that was my rent. I'm glad to see my zero spend month was so effective. Oddly, my quality of life barely changed. I still went out and spent about $300 on fun stuff, but that was doing fun activities with people. I don't think I spent any money on acquiring needless stuff this month, which feels great! There are still things I want, don't get me wrong, but I'm realizing just because I want something doesn't necessarily mean I need it. I'd much rather accumulate memories than things.
What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?

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