Spending Report – Jan and Feb 2017

I am very late on publishing this spending report. I even thought about discontinuing it, but listening to Liz from Frugalwoods yesterday on choosefi podcast inspired me to keep tracking my expenses. Before listening to the podcast and completing my last year’s spending, I told myself that I don’t need to track my expenses every month. I know what I’m spending on. At the same time, listening to Liz gave me this boost of energy and self realization that I need some accountability in order to achieve my goal of financial independence. Publishing this keeps me accountable. Perhaps, I will discontinue this at some point, but this year is not the year to do so.

My goal is to publish this once a month in 2017. I will decide after that if I want to continue.

January was the uber frugal challenge month

January was very light. This is the month that I joined the uber frugal challenge. I definitely noticed a dip on my spending. For example, I didn’t spend anything on restaurants. I also took my lunches to work for all of January. Drove less and entertained our friends at home. My goal is to spend about $3K per month but now I know that I can spend even less. 

February and lifestyle creep

February was a bit more.  The shopping line is very unusual. I bought a sewing machine. This machine has been on my wish list for more than a year now. I’ve been tracking the price on Amazon and I bought it after it hit less than $300. I’m excited to get to know this sewing machine. I also renewed my CPA license. The license is valid for 3 years until another renewal. My grandmother celebrated her birthday at her favorite restaurant and my sister and I split the bill. I bought lunches three times this month. I also filed taxes for my parents, 2 sisters and our taxes. I purchased an HRblock software this time that is downloadable and can e-file 5 returns for free. I used to do it by hand since I’m the only one who is not qualify for free e-filing, but this time, my sister didn’t qualify either. My brother who is self employed is also chipping in, so it is cheaper for the 3 of us to purchase the bundle and it only took me half a day to file 4 tax returns (1) parents (2) sisters (3) us, and I’m still waiting for my brother’s information. You’re welcome, family!

I started the year right, but I realized that it is pretty easy to throw away the habit that you formed throughout the years. For example, I’ve been taking my lunches to work ever since I started working. If I don’t, it’s because I innocently forgot my lunch at home. This time around, I was aware that I didn’t prepare it and justify the lunch purchase as a one time cost. That one time cost became 3 times in one month. That’s 300 percent more than I used to do.

I’m glad that it didn’t creep in and I’m out of the rut. Perhaps, I will experience the same feeling again, but for now, I’m celebrating this new found energy.

Want to know more – just ask. If you have any recommendation where I can manage to decrease this, feel free to comment. I thank you in advance.

Tracking: I track my expenses using mint. I really like the app and made categorizing my expenses very easy. I enjoy looking at charts and the comparison feature is fantastic.

Monthly Spending – September 2016

September is a pretty average month. I don’t have any big spending and it’s been consistent month over month. On average I’m spending a little more than $3K per month since I started tracking my spending every month. This month, I even purchase a “new to us” furniture for the house which led me to projects I wrote in here and here. Even with that, I didn’t really spend much. It was my sisters birthday month, so they also received some present. I used some gift cards to purchase that.

I did notice that I bought snacks 3 times this month – all the same large hershey milk chocolate bar. It’s not expensive, but I didn’t realize that I’m eating that much candy every month. The bar is only $1.79 per bar (the largest one) but I’m eating that whole thing almost every week. That’s a lot of sugar intake. This is one of the benefit at looking closely on your spending, regardless how little it is. I’m not against eating candy, but if I think about the times that I bought one, it acted more of stress reliever than me craving for a candy. As I said, I took on a new role and I’m still trying to navigate what it means and ways to handle stress. It’s good to see this pattern, so I can stop it.

My spending is just a little below August. I used mint and download it on excel. From there, I look at every line item and check if there’s something unusual. This month, I even spend $3 for an ATM fee – oops.

Monthly Spending – August 2016

This post is late. One month late. August has been a whirlwind. New opportunity came in at work and that took some time. A lot of time which warrants a longer post. So, let’s just say that August was all about work.

At that same month, my sister went to college and we went on a good old road trip and drop her off. It was a fun trip and brought back all the memories back when I moved in to my dorm room. Our gift to her is a new laptop, which was split between my sister and I. She paid some part of it, since she decided to get a higher end.

img_0063Our fur baby also had her annual exam. We were lucky enough to find a vet that is walking distance. Reviews were pretty good and I was happy with the new doctor. Fur baby got all her immunization and the doctors recommended that she lose a couple of pounds. Fur baby was definitely spoiled by her grandparents when we’re gone, but she’s back to normal now.

I didn’t hit my spending goal this month. I think I lapse a bit for the last two months and didn’t really track my spending. Despite of this, I was surprised that aside from the gift, I was actually on track with my spending. This just let me know that I should also budget for gift.

So here you go – my spending for August (September to come next)….

 

Monthly Spending – July 2016

Spending is finally going back to normal with all the wedding detail behind us. Marriage life, so far is a bliss.

I’m starting to see some effects of tracking my expenses line by line – instead of looking at the the total. For example, since the man and I can carpool to work and I can walk/take the bus back home, I don’t drive to work anymore and no longer have to pay for parking. I’ve been walking quite a bit now, at least 2.5 miles every weekday and it’s been part of my routine. The biggest advantage of this is actually not the savings, but the fact that I can incorporate exercise on  my daily routine.

I also made a trek to ikea this month. It’s quite a drive, so I combined a visit to my parents and a visit to ikea. My sister also wants to go and we made a day out of it. I enjoy the design in the showroom, though I’m not really a fan of their products. I returned some wedding items that were not used and got a frame, which sadly need to be return.

This month, has definitely been interesting. Despite of our trip to costco twice, the last one being July 31st, I still hit my spending goal. I didn’t really cut on anything. I even went out and forgot my lunch twice this month.