Money

February is over! Let’s get on with it!

Saturday 2/22

  • Whole Foods 20
  • Yarn 25

Sunday 2/23

  • Coconut water 3
  • Brunch 22
  • Golden Produce 20
  • Safeway 47

Monday 2/24

  • Coffee 2.95

Tuesday 2/25

  • Chipotle 7.00

Wednesday 2/26

  • BART 3.70
  • Super Duper 10

Thursday 2/27

  • Soap 2.5
  • Pizza slice 2.99
  • Groceries- 13
  • Dinner- 25
  • Laundry – 7

Friday 2/28

  • No Spend day

Totals

Food/Fun-173.5 (23.50 over 🙁 )

Transportation-3.70 (better than last week!)

Household/Laundry – 10

Etsy related- 25/yarn

And just like that, Frugal February is over!!! It was hard at times, but this is the jump start I needed to getting my savings back on track. I may feel like a failure by overspending past my budget, but even with overspending, I saved about a grand this month. It feels really good to have a bigger cushion in my emergency fund. So good that I think that I’m going to extend the frugalness out another month. I won’t be blogging about it, but I will be trying to stay the course, especially with my food budget.

My friends who have participated in their own frugal months have had positive outcomes as well, from more money in the bank to a few lost pounds and less drinking. Woo hoo!!!

Money

Last week was tough. Mostly because I blew out my budget by going to Santa Cruz.

Saturday 2/15

  • BiRite Supermarket- 15 on kimchi and tiramisu. Indulgent! I know
  • Drinks at the Page- 13

Sunday 2/16

  • Hotel room split 3 ways- 45 bucks
  • Brunch at Harbor Cafe – 20
  • Red Bull-2.5
  • Drinks-20
  • Roller coaster ride – 6

Monday 2/17

  • Brunch 15
  • Golden Produce- 9 for fruits and veggies
  • Laundry- 6.20

Tuesday 2/18

  • No Spend Day! 😀

Wednesday 2/19

  • Jimmy John’s- $5.50 THE SHAME

Thursday 2/20

  • Iced coffee- $4

Friday 2/21

  • BART 3.70
  • Breakfast burrito 4.35
  • Tacos- 10

Totals:

Food (100 budget): 118.35

Fun (50 budget): 51

Transportation: 3.70

Laundry: 6.20

I ran over my food budget this week, but I found 20 bucks in the atm, so we’ll call it even 🙂

My experiment is coming to a close, and I’m feeling okay about the changes. It’s funny, my desire for shopping (clothes, shoes, makeup and other lustworthy things) has dropped off with my experiment. Because I have so little money to spend on extras, I’ve basically cut shopping out of my life. Because it’s not an option, I don’t even think about it and thus there’s no real struggle within me. It doesn’t feel like I’m depriving myself. It’s really weird.

Food, on the other hand… Every week I SPEND IT ALL on food. Honestly when this is all over I want to reassess and work hard on cutting my food budget. This week showed me that I can spend 15 of an afternoon of kimchi and tiramisu (more fun than it sounds) or I can spend 9 bucks on veggies and mix them with my pantry staples to eat for the week. It’s kind of mind blowing. 🙂

Anyways, home stretch! Despite me still spending a ridiculous amount of money every week, my bank accounts have never been happier. Just a couple more days left of February- isn’t that crazy?

Money

Week 2! Here we go!

Saturday 2/8

  • Brunch @ Pork Store -15
  • Golden Produce-12.00
  • Safeway-22.61
  • Whole Foods-14.85
  • BART 3.70
  • Clothes shopping-41.00
  • Cab to house party (heavily raining that night)-13

Sunday 2/9

  • Cab to Chinatown 5K race (still heavily raining…)-15
  • MUNI-2
  • Safeway-9 (I really really wanted salmon for dinner)

Monday 2/10

  • BART-3.70

Tuesday 2/11

  • BART-3.70
  • Chipotle-7.00

Wednesday 2/12

  • BART-3.70

Thursday 2/13

  • Our landlord turned off all the water, so I went scrambling to Whole Foods for a quickie lunch! -9 🙁
  • Dry cleaning-11
  • Valentine’s Present-21

Friday 2/14

  • Lunch with coworkers-10
  • Sushi takeout-35

Tally:
Food (100 budget) 88 cents to spare
Transportation 44.80- yikes this was way too much 🙁
Laundry -11
Presents -21
Play money (70 budget)- 75

This week was tricky because I bought some clothes on Sunday and took a few cabs which added up. I busted my budget on fun stuff by 5 bucks but it was for Valentine’s Day so don’t feel bad about that.

As you can see on Saturday, I put in a lot of effort with the grocery shopping. I went to three shops in a row, hoping to cut costs. Golden Produce is still such a winner. I filled my cart full of fruits and veggies, and only owed 12 bucks.

This week I’m going on a quick trip to Santa Cruz, so I’ll need to cut my grocery bill much further. Also I’ll try to bike to work on most days. Sigh. Altogether I’m feeling pretty good about being halfway done with this experiment, but even with my generous budget it can be hard to not go over. Going out is a killer. At least my wallet is happy.

Money

Woo hoo! Week 1 is done. That makes me a fourth of the way through my Frugal February experiment.  I thought I’d do a quick check in.

Here’s everything I spent money on this week:

Sat 2/1

  • Whole Foods 52.41
  • laundry 10.40
  • coffee for two and one caramel macaron 5.50
  • bridge toll 5

Sun 2/2

  • Trader Joe’s 30 ( I didn’t really need more groceries, but I had a car for the day. Normally when I go to TJ’s it’s a 30 minute walk each way.)

Mon 2/3

  • train to work (BART) 3.70
  • concert cover 6
  • one terrible cocktail 9 🙁
  • drunken pizza 8 (sigh)
  • drunken Red Bull 3 😀

Tues 2/4

  • Philz coffee 2.25 (Philz is always worth it)

Wed 2/5

  • BART 3.70
  • Insanity DVD set 50 (pricey, but I’m counting this towards health)
  • cold medicine 6 (achoo)

Thurs 2/6

  • BART 3.70
  • crab and tomato noodle soup 9.50
  • latte 4

Fri 2/7

  • BART 3.70
  • laundry 7

 

How’d I do?…

Food/Coffee Costs (100 budget/wk)- I categorized the Red Bull and coffees under food costs and came in with 34 cents to spare! DAMN! WOOO! Success! This is big for me because I always always seem to be spending an insane amount of money on food.

Health (No budget on this)- $56 Basically for about a week or so I had been trying to watch Insanity videos via YouTube and sketchy Asian sites and it was a miserable failure with our crappy internet. I found a woman selling her DVDs on Craiglist and thought it was a good deal, considering that the original DVD sets are about 150 bucks. This still feels like a splurge, but I’m giving myself a pass because it’s not breaking my original rules.

Laundry (No budget) – $17 because I did laundry twice this week. Normally I spread out my laundry to about 10-14 days, but whatever.

Transportation (No budget)- $19.80. It rained all week, so I took the train to work. But geez, it adds up, hunh?

Everything else/Splurge money (50/wk) – The coffee/macaron, concert, cocktail, and lunch out at work left me with $20.00 leftover. WOO! Rolling this $ over to next week!

 

 General Thoughts So Far…

I was pretty nervous at the beginning of the week since I’d spent a large chunk of my food and fun budgets on expensive groceries and going out, but things slowed down once the workweek started. Besides the one cocktail I had on Monday, I had no other alcohol this week, which is kind of unusual for me, but a good thing I think.

Whenever I bring my lunch in to work I kind of hit a mental breaking point by Thursday. By Thursday I just don’t give a fuck. I guess you can see that above. I didn’t even really want that latte! I just wanted to get out of the office.

This upcoming week I’m going to try really hard to spend less on groceries so I can go out for dinner or grab a drink or two outside the house. I’m thinking that I’ll do this by planning my meals for the week around what’s in my pantry. I’ll also be purchasing all of my veggies from the cheapie asian market, and then buying the rest of my groceries at the regular grocery store and not Whole Foods.  For my fun money I’m thinking that I might spend the $ on a nice dress for this event I have to go to on Monday. Frivolous, but if I stay in budget, why not?

Onward!

Money

SNL-dont buy stuff you cant afford from Dean Francis on Vimeo.

Truth

Lately I’ve been feeling a little frustrated with my finances. Normally I run a tight budget ship (I mean, I check Mint.com multiple times a day…), but a series of unexpected healthcare and holiday related expenses have put me behind my savings goals. While I contribute a healthy amount to my retirement accounts, my personal savings has not moved in several months!!! With that in mind I worked extra time this month, had several “No Spend Days” and have sold several hundred dollars worth of goods on eBay, yet still I’m not getting ahead! UGHHH!!!!

Drastic measures must be taken, and I love a good experiment.

So last year I gave up a lot of things in February- I stopped drinking, I was vegan and sugar free. That was… interesting. Kind of terrible, but I survived. In the hopes for a good shakeup (and lots of money saved!) I’ve decided to do a “Spending Diet*” this February. And I’ll be blogging about it. Because admitting to my friends and family that I can’t control my spending for a month sounds deeply humiliating to me.

So, here’s how my “diet” will work. Based on what I saw from my expenses last month, I  drew up a list of things that are okay to spend money on. And then I’ve got $200 dollars of play money to spend on everything else (comedy shows, clothes, yarn, new sneakers). With $200 I’ll have to be careful. I think I’ll probably have to use that money for social obligations, honestly. You can’t just go out for drinks with someone and drink water. It’s just not worth it.

OK to Spend List

  • Rent/Utilities/Household supplies/Laundry
  • Limit $100 for Food/drinks/coffee per week (I know that this is a lot of money for some people, but I love food & cocktails so much that I easily go over every single week. Just being honest. I’m hoping that eating out of my pantry will help alleviate the costs)
  • Limit $40 bucks for entertainment- I already know I’ve committed to a couple of events
  • Anything health related- emergency room bill, vitamins, flu meds, co-pays
  • Transportation costs- I ride my bike to work half the time, but some days it is better just to take BART or Muni. I’m not counting taxis in this list.
  • Birchbox subscription (It’s kind of annoying to cancel and restart a service just to save 10 bucks, you know?)
  • Retirement contributions
  • Valentine’s present (well I guess I don’t want to be a grinch)
  • Any costs related to selling things on eBay/Amazon/etsy
  • Taxes

Oy. I feel pretty nervous about this already, but I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can save! I’ll try to share a status update at least once a week here on the blog. If you end up doing something similar, let me know. I’m curious how it works out for you.

*The term comes from the blog And Then We Saved, which is famous for the author’s admirable 15 month Spending Fast, which allowed her to pay off 24k in debt. Definitely check it out. It’s super inspiring.