You might remember that I kicked off this year with a list of new updates to come on the blog – including a new recurring feature: “what a finance blogger spends in a week.” This was to be the 2016 edition of last year’s recurring series – “The Simple Saver Series” – which saves you $5,000 over the year if you follow along! A few weeks into the new series, I realized that I probably don’t spend enough money in a week to write an interesting weekly spending series. That’s why I’m giving it a twist – enter “what a finance blogger spends in a month.”
I rounded up all of my discretionary spending for the month of February (I’m excluding fixed payments like my car, rent, and insurance) to give you a peek into my spending habits… and my life. This is also meant to help you to start thinking about tracking your own spending. After all, tracking your spending is one of the best ways to start building a budget and forming healthy financial habits. Here’s what my spending tracker looked like this past month (you can get your own copy of the tracker I use by signing up for my email list)!
Groceries – $289.24
Groceries are usually my most expensive category for the month – which makes sense considering I cook almost all of my meals at home! Here are a few of the recipes I loved this month:
- One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes
- The Best Turkey Chili You’ll Ever Taste
- 20 Minute Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup
Eating Out – $92.50
This includes dinner, lunch, coffee, froyo, etc. I don’t do a ton of eating out, and this month was no exception. The general arctic freeze we had in DC this month left me wanting to stay in most nights (full confession: much of this cost was from the BEST Thai delivery restaurant in DC).
Cabs – $64.66
I have a car, so I usually try to avoid spending money on cabs (also a simple saver series tip). However, early last month I flew up to Boston for an admitted students welcome weekend, and cabs to/from the airport added up.
Dry Cleaning – $28.35
I think dry cleaning may be my least favorite expense, ever! I already paid for the clothes once, didn’t I? Again, I normally don’t spend this much on dry cleaning but I had a coat cleaned at the end of the season.
Gifts – $328.50
I had a few birthdays to cover this month (including a very special birthday), so the gifts budget got stretched. That said, I value thoughtfulness over saving money when it comes to giving gifts.
Shopping – $223.50
I’ve been eyeing this trench coat forever and finally bit the bullet when it went on sale. I’d rather spend more money on a few classic investment pieces than buy more cheap clothes I’ll only wear a few times (I still won’t pay full price, though – here’s how you rarely have to either).
New York Times Subscription – $7.93
Another invaluable subscription for me. The 10 free articles a month were never enough.
Gas – $49
While oil prices may have been killing my stock portfolio, at least they’re keeping my gas expenses down.
Gym – $115.27
My gym membership is a (relative) splurge that I find worth every penny! I subscribe to ClassPass, which lets me take classes at boutique fitness studios –FlyWheel, Barre3, Pure Barre, etc. I can take an unlimited number of classes a month, and go to the same studio up to 3 times a month.
I love fitness classes, but ClassPass is the only way I can afford to pay for them! Last month I went to 17 classes, which comes out to an average cost of $6.78 a class. Considering that I’d otherwise be paying $20-30 for each of these classes, that’s a great deal. If you’re interested in trying ClassPass you can get $20 off your first month with this link (not sponsored – deal’s available to all members).
This was a higher than average spending month thanks to the gifts, but I still managed to stay under my discretionary spending budget.
Let me know what you think of this series, and whether you prefer the monthly or weekly edition!
And if you’d like to get your own copy of the budget tracker that I use, just sign up for my newsletter (link here) and I’ll email you a copy.