I’m never one to pass up some alliteration in a blog post title. Sorry not sorry.
Keep reading if you want to creep my actual expenses from August and September 2016, and my income from September 2016. The books have been opened! There’s no going back now.
The “comparison” column on the left is August. The “spending” column on the right is September.
Were it not for my various “side income”, I literally would have earned a whopping $1.14 more than I spent in September. A 0% savings rate. The gas station credits were Amex offers of 10% cash back. The $208.52 was cash back at Discover that had been building up. The $400 and $200 were bank bonuses and the rest are a combination of regular bank account interest and automatic credit card statement credit.
I in fact spent more on my car than my actual *RENT* in September. This is a highly unusual occurrence. If you creep the previously linked post, you can see I had a fair amount of unexpected auto maintenance come up in September. I also had a DMV registration renewal and I spent more on gas that month with my impromptu adventure of driving to FinCon. and driving to the beach to have a spontaneous beach walk with a personal financial blogger. In addition, auto insurance premiums are being billed again this month as I had lump summed six months of premiums back in March for a credit card signup bonus.
I feel very fortunate to be able to manipulate cash flow in that way. To spend in advance in order to take advantage of free income opportunities. But that also means I’m not completely sure what an “average month” looks like. For that reason, I’m very seriously considering some form of a rigid budget to generally stick to when I go on the road trip.
The utilities seem super low, yeah? Originally, I paid for TV and internet and my roommate paid for the other utilities. It essentially balanced out. In summer, she definitely paid more, in winter I definitely paid more. I’ve lived with roommates that want to look at all the bills at the end of the month and split it exactly to the penny and I’m just not that kind of person. Let’s have it be close enough and not stress over it, yeah?
When television was dropped, I increased my portion of our rent.
Blog Expenses & Financial
That business services category? Those would be my rock bottom blog start up expenses. August was my hosting package and domain name. September was an eBook I purchased regarding SEO. Snore. But it’s such important information. Starting a self-hosted blog does not need to be expensive. Check out my affiliate link for SiteGround in the sidebar or head to the resources page, and you too can start a blog with a reputable host for less than $50 for the first year. The financial category would be my recurring disability insurance premiums.
Health and Fitness.
I invested A LOT in my health and fitness in September. Fitness boot camp, a nutritionist and supplements. There was also a quarterly dental cleaning in there. Even a frivolous $149 on a diet and fitness DNA analysis, which was a completely impulsive purchase and might as well have been in the entertainment category. That $1.49 “fee” ? A foreign transaction fee! It certainly didn’t appear to be a foreign website when I was browsing it. At least the 2% cashback wiped out the 1% fee.
I spent a little more on food in September, but October should be much much less because my freezer has been stocked with a few dinner staples. Microwavable steamed rice, steamed carrots and an endless supply of turkey burger patties. Still have some beef patties but the turkey tastes better and conveniently it’s a lot cheaper.
Personal Care & Travel
The drop off that you see in personal care is that I did not indulge in a massage during the month of September. In August, I actually had two. One of the massage chains had a “first visit” offer for $40 + tip and I was really craving that massage. But I refrained last month as I knew that my spending was higher in other areas. There’s also the travel category. Camp Mustache and FinCon in September vs. in the renewal of my global entry pass in August.
Entertainment in August was a few compact discs, a ticket to the Orange County Fair, and an Amazon MP3 album, whereas September was a couple of MP3 albums, a parking fee at the beach, and a $25 contribution to a friend’s Kickstarter campaign for their very first book.
At the end of the day, you can chalk up the major difference in my costs from August to September as being sudden auto maintenance, and investing in my health and fitness. Fitness was empty for August because that month’s boot camp was paid for (and started) the final week of July.
Come back next week to see my current cash savings balance and my current progress towards my road trip savings goal.