[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]
Every few months, I spend a week tracking my spending to see how I might better spend or save my money. This time, I thought I'd share.
The following monthly expenses are predictable (not like gas or groceries, which may fluctuate quite a bit). My utilities are a flat fee every month. I share internet, which makes it relatively cheap. I often pay extra on my car each month, and my insurance has actually decreased in the past year. Rent has gone up, which feels a bit insulting given my meager square footage and century old plumbing. I divert money into my 401K, but I didn't include that here as an expense since I never see the money. I also use Acorns to round-up my debit card charges-it's an easy way to save without realizing you're saving.
Car Payment: $208
Car/Rent Insurance: $104
Investment Account: $150
Per week cost: $648
Grande Soy Latte: $4.65
Trader Joes: $62.77
Bridesmaid's Dress for my brother's wedding in July: $108.44
I also bought some shoes for my mom ($80) but she pays me back so that's a wash.
I am not a person who loves to shop, so the only reason today's Target run was bearable was the soy latte. I needed command strips, a lint roller, paper towels, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, and tampons. The glory of womanhood. I stopped by Trader Joe's in a half-hearted effort to fill my mini fridge. I usually go to the grocery store once or twice a week, depending on my schedule and if I'm home a lot. I have a mini fridge and limited cupboard space, so I can't buy too much food at once.
Daily Spend: $241.89
PT Consult: $70
I found gas for $5.80 on my way home from the physical therapist so I had to stop. Gas under $6.00/gallon is a bargain around here, and I had about a quarter tank when I filled up. I filed a claim with my insurance to cover the PT, but I'm not sure they'll accept it. I spent most of my day staring bleakly into a computer screen as I complete training for my new job. I also went to the gym for about 90 minutes this morning and finished my latest audiobook (Olga Dies Dreaming-check it out).
Daily Spend: $136.24
Eyebrow pencils (package of 5) $19.40
I hate running out of makeup, so I usually buy things in bulk when I run out. These are the eyebrow pencils I use (fancy, I know).
Daily Spend: $19.40
According to my Ralph's receipt, I saved $5.74 on today's grocery haul. I bought a pound of organic ground beef (90/10), which was ten dollars, as well as organic, free range eggs (six dollars), apples, salad greens, coffee creamer, yogurt, cat food, low moisture string cheese, baby carrots, and a box of High Noon hard seltzers (ten dollars).
I also got paid from Medium (read my articles on Medium here). I made $13.58 in March. When I first starting publishing on Medium, I was making a couple dollars a month.
Daily Spend: $51.81
I didn't spend anything, but I did get reimbursed for travel expenses for a recent business trip ($1,058). My flight was nearly $800, plus parking at the airport, Ubers, and a couple meals. My hotel was booked for me, and most meals were paid for me as well.
Daily Spend: $0
I didn't spend anything today either. After work I went to the beach with my boyfriend. I read a book, we watched the sunset, and he took me to a Thai restaurant for dinner. I took home a carton of leftover pad Thai and went to bed early. Beauty rest and all that.
Daily Spend: $0
Saturday: Grande Soy Latte: $4.65
I went for a trail run this morning, about 10 miles and 2,000 feet of gain. Afterwards, I stopped at Starbucks for a latte and went home to eat my leftovers from last night. I spent the afternoon and evening in Laguna with my boyfriend. We explored some tide pools and went to a bar/restaurant called Mozambique in the evening (he bought me two old fashioneds and some samosas).
Daily Spend: $4.65
Weekly Spend: $1,011.99
I find it useful to track my weekly spend every so often, just to see where my biggest expenditures lie. With the cost of everything going up, groceries and gas are quickly becoming bigger expenses. Other common expenses for me are things like race registrations, flights, and other travel expenses. I would rather spend money on experiences than on things, so I don't have a problem forgoing a shopping spree in order to take a trip. Knowing what you value will help you determine how much to save and where to spend.