Where does my money go?
Day-by-day I become more and more of a real adult. With that process, I become more and more concerned about my retirement fund.
HA, just kidding. While that would be nice, what I'm really concerned about is starting a savings account, paying down credit card debt, and getting ahead of loan payments. In order to do that, I have to be aware of what I spend my money on, so I did a little experiment tracking where all my money went for 1 week (and tried not to adjust my habits accordingly). This post was inspired by the latte factor. This post also comes with the disclaimer that I am very lucky to have a partner who supports me, a job that pays me well, and friends to spend time with. I have a lot of privilege, and recognize that.
For some people, having cash (vs card) means hyper-awareness of how you spend and experiencing pain the more bills you hand over. For me, cash is mysterious and I only realize how much I've spent when I only have one $20 bill left and I swear I should have like four? I do better going on my bank account summary and facing each individual charge -- why is my account so low, what did I spend $100 on?!?! Oh wait, I suppose I did do a little online shopping last week...
I'm the kind of person who is alright spending some extra to get what I want. Go big or go home some would say? I also don't like the feeling of deprivation (maybe it's the dietitian in me, maybe it's being irresponsible, maybe it's Maybelline?) and believe moderation is the way to go with most things. I like to think I'm a good mix of my parents--my frugal mother who thinks buying herself a coffee is the equivalent of taking a week off work to spend at the spa, and my dad who is a ride-or-die kind of spender and doesn't want regrets. Unfortunately, it's less 50-50 and more like 60-40 with my dad's side winning out.
Large Dutch Bros Latte, $7 (including tip) - after a 30 minute debate with myself in the morning, I caved and bought a drink. Because it's Monday, and Mondays are hard (even though I slept in, and am doing an evening workout instead of morning... but Monday!)
Dinner for two - I was craving Indian food, Brandon was too sick to cook, and grubhub exists. The perfect storm for me to spend $40.61 on our dinner. It was also my lunch the next day though! So... it's fine right?
I didn't spend any money today!
Grocery Store Lunch - I had to get groceries for work (we provide snacks), and by the time I had made my smoothie this morning I didn't feel like making lunch... so I thought I'll just grab something at the grocery store! Which is fine, except then I grabbed sushi, which is kind of financially irresponsible, but whatever, now it's in my stomach and it's too late. :) Sushi - $16.27
I woke up with a nasty headache and feeling like I was hit by a bus. I had a smoothie and then fell back asleep, then had to go to an appointment... which was right next to Starbucks. Grande cinnamon almond milk macchiato - $5.68. I'm weak y'all.
Fortunately eating dinner out on Thursdays is part of my job (Fast food challenge! Pasta challenge! Pizza challenge!) so the expense doesn't fall on me, but I wouldn't exactly say having a bunch of kiddos melt down over a milkshake is my ideal night out. I love them, but eating out is not an easy task. Pizza - $0
Facebook ads are again, creepy and too on point, which led me to buy an early birthday present for someone. But I had to buy something eventually right? Unplanned gift - $31.94
Netflix reoccurring payment - $9.99 *this is non-negotiable*
Low-key dueling piano bar is a great Tempe spot because it's not too crazy, but still a lot of fun. $29.19 for drinks and happy fun times.
$6.61 for drunk food at pita pit (I'm still young y'all)
Starbucks because teaching yoga after a night of going out warrants a latte - Free drink used + croissant was $2.29
Haircut and style and all that jazz because split ends are death here in >100 degree weather - $45
I wish I could say, "Oh this was a weird week!" but I would say this is pretty typical. Weekends usually have splurges from different activities, and I eat lunch out ~1x/week, coffee 2x/week. It doesn't seem like a lot when it's happening (or even phrasing it like I just did) but totaling it up is a little scary. The easiest expense to cut out is fancy coffee drinks -- maybe on a weekend when I'm out and about, but most of the time I'm heading to work where there's already coffee there /: These are also all extra things -- no groceries, no rent, no student loan payments, no bills included. Again, it doesn't mean I'm never going to Starbucks again (as much as my boyfriend would LOVE that), but I probably don't need to go as often -- maybe I save that money for a Nespresso machine to make my own lattes? Or I could, you know, cut down on my caffeine and coffee consumption like a sane person...
What kind of spender are you? Do you have frivolous spending? Or are you maybe *gasp* a little too stingy?