Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Wrap-Up, or It Can't Get Any Worse Than This, Right?

I looked at my personal expenses this month using categories from EcoCatLady's blog: necessities, secondary necessities, investments, luxuries, and fantasy spending. I was supposed to be watching my spending more than last month ($1378). This month? A whopping $1750. Where did I go wrong? 

Cat was right -- the fantasy spending is what I'm most embarrassed about. But you know what? It's only $140. That's less than 10%. My real problem was my medical expenses. I spent $270 on eating disorder-related treatment this month and $615 on two pairs glasses. In my mind, that $615 was cheap. My eyes are pretty complicated and I've had the lenses alone cost $450 before. Two pairs of glasses and frames for $650? A steal. Without the glasses I spent around $1100. That's better than last month's $1378. 

When I look at the more standard categories it's still hard to see where I can pare back, other than on entertainment and clothing. Cutting out clothing purchases will save me a bundle since I spent over $500 on clothing last month and almost $200 this month. If I can pare down my entertainment costs a bit, that would be good too. But other than that? Good question. Help, please!


  1. How about the little things, like buying water when out and so on? I now try really hard to take water with me (although sometimes it is not possibly to carry enough whilst walking around a city on a hot day- we were in London last week and needed water- refused to buy the £1.50 for 0.5l at museum, and went to supermarketsp for 2l at 44p!)
    Or budget a certain amount for entertainment or luxury spending and stick to it?

    I think I am really at the tracking stage, although I have tried to make budgets...not so good at sticking to them!

    1. I think you're on to something with the budgeting. I've never tried it before, but now that I see where my money is going I think it will be easier to do.

      You make a point about the water. It's an example of one of several purchases I made because I didn't plan ahead of time. I need to always take water with me and always keep a spare meal or two at the office. That should reduce my expenses by a good $10-30 a month.

      Thanks for your advice and best of luck with your own budgeting!

  2. This seems to be just disposable income rather than food, rent, transport etc. It may be the recording pattern that is odd, rather than the spending.
    Try budgeting for one week or one day at a time.
    A lot of this money is spent on occasional food. Do you really need to buy lunch, drinks and coffee? Is there some quiet place where you could eat your own lunch and read a novel? What would a student do?
    Do you need to pay so much for eyebrows? There are wax kits with pen applicators that might do the job once a month, and the salon the alternate time. Luxury or essential?
    Just cut out one thing for one week and see how you cope.

    1. Yup, this is an odd recording pattern. My husband asked that his expenses and our mortgage not get mentioned on the blog. Pretty soon I'll start taking a look at how much we spend as a couple on food.

      You have a lot of really good advice here. I definitely don't need to spend so much on eyebrows. There are discounts I can use, and secondly, I'm not sure I always need to go twice a month. This will be one of the last luxuries to go though, because I have black eyebrows and pale skin, and even after years of practice I still can tweze my eyebrows away.

      I've ended up buying a few meals at the office because of sudden lunchtime meetings that come up. The solution to this is to have some frozen meals saved in our freezer at the office.

      Thanks for the advice, Louise.

    2. It is really nice that you are both blogging about the money and simultaneously considering your husband's feelings. Tricky stuff.
      You can not avoid things like medicines, so I would put that section in with the absolute essentials. 'Needs' not 'wants'.
      You are quite inspiring because you admit your weaknesses as you journey to some other place.
      It sure takes a lot of small steps to get to the preferred destination!!!!!

  3. We just signed up for mint.com to track our out of control spending. The first step is acknowledging a problem. (Just like with the ED. I had an ED in high school, so I get it.) Also, some of these expenses aren't monthly (like the eyeglasses). Can you come up with an annual number for the non-monthly expenses, divide by 12 and allocate a monthly amount to that, then build up a cushion. You can do it in a separate savings account, cash in an envelope, whatever. That way your expenses will even out. Also, checkout mrmoneymustache.com. Very eye opening.


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