Wow my long absences from writing must mean that I'm super disorganized and a huge procrastinator. I'm being sarcastic, I am very much both of those things. BUT I have finally pulled together my income and expenses for the months of September, October, and November.
Writing this blog has not only been a creative outlet for me, it's also a way for me to really look at my spending and habits. I did not do as well these past three months as I could have. I spent $500(!?) on groceries somehow in September. Well actually I know how, it's because I went to Costco and I was probably hungry. Bulk does not always save you money, people! And I really overdid it with going out to eat. Like I said in this previous post, I can really get excited about food (hence the page titled only "Eating").
I had to get a new phone and phone case in September because the calling feature on the one I had quit working. I also must have gone out a couple times as shown by the ATM usage in September, and it was my SO's birthday that month so I figured I'd be spending more. Personal care was higher in October and November due to haircuts and a massage, and you can see I spent money on clothing/shoes. I bought some sweet rain boots from a place called Alice & Whittles and they're awesome and I don't regret a thing (their manufacturer practices are solid and sustainable and the boots look hella cool).
At the bottom of the table shows the total amount spent, earned, and saved per month. What I didn't spend, I put into savings (I always transfer money into savings first and spend what's left). Most of it went into my emergency fund, but I have many sinking funds that I contribute to like holidays/gifts and a vacation fund. So while I will eventually spend that money, it's not part of my monthly expenses.
I really want to work on keeping my spending under $1600 per month. I think it's very doable but I need to keep myself in check, and hopefully coming back here every so often will help me do that.
Well guys, I went over budget. This does happen to me, admittedly more frequently than I'd like. My biggest weakness is food. I have been known to impulse buy now and then. Whether it's a bulk tub of tomatoes (thanks, Costco) or a box or two of treats to share with my coworkers (thanks, Costco), I will probably find something that gets me excited enough to throw caution to the wind, if you can call buying box of apple pastries throwing caution.
It used to be restaurants. Boy, did I love eating out. Our nearest Applebee's could count on seeing me every Thursday for "one free beer voucher night". I'm actually embarrassed thinking about how many half-priced apps I have eaten. I still love to eat out at restaurants, just not quite as much. And no, not to Applebee's anymore, just some local spots around town. There aren't too many places I trust to use the food and ingredients that I prefer, and obviously, it's expensive as hell. Luckily, I'm not in the habit of going out often so now the food I buy is mostly groceries.
This paycheck I also bought our baby kitty (he's not a baby, but he sure acts like one) some more dry food as well as wet. He needs prescription food so it costs more than regular cat food. You can see the actual spent was double. This was poor planning on my part, I should have known we were low and then add it to the budget. Oh well, you live and you learn.
Finally, after THREE weekends, I got paid. I was scraping the bottom of the barrel for a few days but made it without hardly a scratch. See my most current pay stub and budget below.
Again, I'll be attending a concert and spending time with family so I put a little more into my fun money. Fun money includes any shopping and eating out that I'll do in that time, which tends to be more when I'm spending it with others.
I had a leftover balance of $34 that I put as miscellaneous for anything else that might come up. As always, I'll updated with my actual spending in a couple weeks. See you then!
Total pay: $976.83
The past two weeks were hard for me to stay focused. I was soaking in the rays of summer, grateful of the sunshine that we hardly see here in the Midwest. Then a day or two brought chillier weather and clouds. I was extremely annoyed. I wasn’t ready for the warmth and the tan I’d been working on diligently to be gone and I let it be known whenever I had the chance. The weather is a hot topic up here, so I had lots of chances.
However, after that short cold spell, the days got back up to 80 and 90 degrees. I should have been relieved, but NO! As quickly as those days had gone, I was in full on Fall mode. Now I want sweater weather and overcast. It didn’t help that I received the IKEA catalog in the mail. They are so good at making me want to buy a lifestyle. I don’t have that with any other products, but IKEA gets me, they really get me. The coziness and warmth and gathering they portray in their catalogs…it’s terrible but also absolutely for the best that the nearest one is hours away.
That all combined with me making multiple trips to Home Goods and Hobby Lobby. My indecision really benefited me though. I wanted to buy everything and so I bought nothing. Well almost nothing. I bought a 4 pk of new cotton kitchen towels from Target for $4. Success? Maybe. A little sad? Definitely.
BUT, although I didn’t buy anything from the stores in town, I did order online from my above-mentioned weakness. We had table I got used from Facebook and I loved having it, but the legs were metal and rusted, and actually pretty nasty. So, I sold it on Facebook and got my money back. But I missed the table and bought a new one from IKEA. I mean, how else am I going to host dinners this fall without a table to hold my wooden cutting boards full of cheese, olives, and sliced homemade bread?! That’s what I thought.
I had a little over $100 dollars in my checking account that I used to buy the table and two folding chairs. Shipping was only $9 which was probably the deciding factor in going through with it. Spending 50+ dollars on delivery would have been a deal breaker.
While I was in my paycheck spending limits, I didn’t account for any home spending or big purchases like a new table and chairs. I obviously don’t want to spend outside of my budget, but I have no regrets as I am very happy I bought it and cannot wait for it to arrive. That’s how I know money is well spent. When it meets my needs and/or makes me happy. Spending money should not be associated with guilt. If it is, some internal analyzing probably needs to take place.
Without further ado, my budget vs. actual spending is below.
Update on my plasma donating:
I am not going to do it anymore.
Update on plasma money spending:
Received $80 this pay period
Spent $50 on food with a friend
$100 remains on the card to do with as I please!
Another day, another dollar. This pay period, because of the semi-monthly schedule, I had 96 total hours. Which bumped up my 401k dollar contribution and gave me a little extra money to put into my emergency fund.
See my budget for this paycheck below.
Check amount: $1052.46
Car insurance: $65
Emergency Fund: $400
Pet Food: $85
I have some small concerts to go to in the next couple of weeks and some personal supplies to buy like lotion and vitamins that I'm taking into account this pay period. FULL DISCLOSURE: I also have some spare money that I collect every now and then from donating plasma that I do not consider part of my income. I use that money for unplanned purchases like if my mom comes to town or if I feel like going to dinner with a friend.
This doesn't mean that spending money with people you care about shouldn't be part of your income budget, I think making time for those around you SHOULD be part of you conscious spending. I'm just in a position to collect money on the side that comes in real handy for things like that.
Look for my actual spending post for this paycheck in a couple of weeks.
Food was very inexpensive this past week because I got such a great amount from the community garden I volunteer in, plus we had some meat in the freezer and my mom gave us a pack of lamb chops from a local farm, so our grocery list was basically stocking up on pantry items like olive oil, salt, butter, etc.
I came in under budget so all of that went to maintaining this website, actually! Since I didn’t get our cat food yet, that will double next paycheck.
You guys. This is the first paycheck of mine where I'm contributing such a large amount of pre-tax income to my 401k (30%!). By contributing 30% to my 401k my net pay is a lot less than I'm used to, about $400 less. However, that was going to my emergency fund, which I'm just going to scale back for now (see my budget for this paycheck below).
Paycheck amount: $873.85
Budget for July 20th - August 2nd:
Rent: $225 (this gets split up between paychecks, total rent is $450)
Travel: $180 (preplanned hotel stay out of town with friend)
Emergency Fund: $100
Pet Food: $41 (our cat has special diet needs)
Pet Supplies: $20
I'll follow up with actual spending before the next payday.
At the end of 2017 my company announced that we were going from a bi-weekly pay schedule to a semi-monthly pay schedule. This means that instead of payday being every other Friday, it will be every 15 days, unless it falls on a weekend or holiday (or something like that, it's really dumb). So you can see that the pay date, although usually falling on the 5th or 20th, varies. Sometimes it's a Tuesday, sometimes it's a Thursday, sometimes there are three weekends between paydays. And the pay period isn't always going to be the same number of work days. For instance, one of my paychecks in February had only nine work days so my paycheck was smaller than usual.
This may not seem like a big deal to some, but for a planner like me, it is extreeeeemely frustrating. The lack of consistency in days and paychecks makes me feel like I'm going to short circuit. But alas, despite the feedback from employees, I don't think it's going to change. So until then, I'll just refer to chart they provided and wait not-so-patiently for my pay stub to become available to budget off of.
I'm going to start posting my budgets at the beginning of the pay period and what I actually spend at the end of the pay period. Until then, since I don't have any of that information on file, I figured I'd show you my spending from January 2018 to today, courtesy of Mint.com.
You can see the majority of spending went to paying the last of my student loan. My shopping category is higher than what I'd like but that's including a large handful of Amazon purchases ranging from housewares, gifts, and personal care like face wash that I just didn't separate out.
Check out my income graph below showing my monthly income. It varies each paycheck because of the extremely inconvenient pay cycle my company switched to, which I'll talk about in another post.
February income was high because of my tax return and for some reason, Mint only has one April paycheck on record (I definitely got paid twice that month). July is also small because I haven't yet received my second paycheck.
This trend will soon be changing as I'm beginning to contribute more pre-tax income to my 401k but will keep you posted on what exactly that is.