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.
|Gas & Fuel||A couple of road trips pushed this higher than normal, but I was still under budget!|
|Utilities||My 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 & Dining||266!! 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.|
|Rent||Since 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.|
|Auto||I got a much needed oil change.|
|Fees||I ended up with a few fees this month from various things like ATM fees and trade commission fees.|
|Dentist||I 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!|
|Sports||Registration 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.|
|Veterinarian||Mew 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.|
|Shopping||Random 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?