by Elizabeth S.
I’ve been responding to comments from my post yesterday addressing the wild spending. As I wrote in that comment, I behaved in January like a dieter who has recently had success losing weight. They decide to celebrate their achievements by heading to an all-you-can-eat buffet or they go on a vacation and gorge themselves. I don’t really have a good explanation for how and why I justified my spending. Sometimes progress isn’t linear, and I slipped up.
It’s a bit crappy for me that the first month I successfully tracked every spent dollar, I went so off the rails. But data is data, and I will use this to help me going forward.
Let’s jump right in.
January: The Big Numbers
|Net income (after tax)||$ 7,319.91||My largest pay month ever, excluding bonus months|
|Amount spent||$ 6,668.33||An astonishing amount|
|Amount saved (not including payroll deductions)||$75||To my fun investment account which is still returning 11.5%|
|Loan and line of credit payments||$733.33||This is the bare minimum I promised myself I'd pay each month|
Upon review, it would appear there was money left over. Not (really) so. I paid my credit card bill from December for my flight out east, the extra luggage fees (my mother sent me home with family heirlooms), and Ubers to and from the airport. After that, I only had a couple hundred leftover.
Breaking Down Spending Categories
Food (including groceries) and going out with friends: $1488.37 Lumping these together as there were a lot of dinner parties at my house and friends’ houses and I’m having trouble separating all the grocery bills between what I needed and what I spent on entertainment. This also includes restaurants.
Fitness-related expenses: $179.11. My $23 gym payment comes out bi-weekly, and it came out three times this month. I also paid for Noom @ $92.50 and a session on yoga for sore feet @ $15.
Transportation: $981.23. I had three car payments this month (all my bi-weeklies came out three times). There were $156.86 of Ubers that were not part of vacation spending (I tracked vacation expenses separately). I spent $60 on gas, $55 on parking, $80 on public transit (adding money to my metro card), and $152 on car insurance. Insurance is extremely expensive where I live.
Material items: $451.48. Includes the aforementioned $225 used espresso machine, an orthopedic dog bed ($56), some clothing, cleaning supplies, and plants.
Subscriptions and events: $280.29 – $210 of which was for the Blue Jays Home Opener in March. I’m so excited!
Gifts: I have $154 of stuff in here that I bought for people, between when I was in Nova Scotia and for a friend here in Toronto.
Amazon purchases: $233.29. This kills me… I don’t like what Amazon stands for and even though I try to be very environmentally-conscious and avoid same-day delivery, I still give this corporation money. These purchases include a yogurt strainer, a viral hairdryer (no regrets, it’s life-changing for me getting ready for work), some pet supplies, a veggie peeler – a whole bunch of small purchases.
Personal care/bathroom stuff: $58
Spending on vacation: 332.60
Misc: $121 – this includes pet insurance, rental insurance for my house, and a charitable donation
I’m not trying to make excuses. I wish I could convey the guilt I’m feeling. In fact, I had a therapy session that mostly covered finance because the behavior was so wildly outside of what I want for myself. It scared me. I don’t want to fall back into old habits.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I budget with a budget calendar. It works really well for getting me used to not spending more than I have. The problem is this process hasn’t scaled with my income. As I’ve increased my income over the past year, I have spent a lot of that extra income. But I have a good idea of what my income will be this year each month, and I need to be significantly more strategic about how I save if I ever want to be financially independent. So, I think I will continue to use my budget calendar, but I will give every dollar a job (to borrow from YNAB lingo) for the month in the calendar.
Elizabeth is a single woman in her early 30s, working as a manager at a software company and living in the most expensive city in Canada. She hopes to blog about her journey to eliminate debt and build savings for home ownership someday. Whenever she has taken two financial steps forward, she’s always taken a step back with a bad credit card purchase (we’re looking at you, unnecessary iPhone of May 2019). Elizabeth lives alone with her fur kids, a dog and cat, and when she’s not in front of the computer, she enjoys running, camping, reading, and baseball.