February Spending Review

This was a HEAVY spending month, mainly because I purchased a trip to Florida. I did, however, get my tax refund and did better than average in commissions, so I decided to mindfully treat myself. Here’s how I did it…

Base Income (after taxes & 401K contributions): $1500

Commission Income (after taxes & 401K contributions): $2150

Tax Refund: $3125

Total Take Home Income (Feb): $6775

Where My Take Home Money Went: February

Rent, Utilities, and Phone – $110 (2%) – The usual.

Gym – $20 (0.3%) – The usual for my BAC membership.

Groceries – $247 (4%) – After not contributing much to our groceries in January, I did the majority of the grocery shopping this much and my final bill shows it.

Dining Out – $94 (1%) – That whole February Friends focus? Meant leaving my house and meeting friends for coffee, dinner, or drinks more than I did in January. But, it was worth it, and it’s not like I went crazy.  I also included coffee into this category – Tim Hortons is now doing “Roll Up the Rim” and I find myself in the drive through before work a few days a week (whereas before I just made coffee at work).

Gas – $124 (2%) – I only filled up my tank twice this month! After realizing how much I spent in January, I tried to be a bit more cognizant about driving around (condensing errands, etc).  Also, my dad filled up my gas tank on his dime once, which was amazingly kind of him.

Shopping – $446 (7%) – This was one trip to one store and that store was Lululemon. I have held out on buying lulu workout clothes for SO LONG and I finally caved.  My workout wardrobe severely needed a refresh, and since I workout so often, I know that I will make good use out of these purchases. Plus, I can’t lie: cute workout clothes gives me more motivation to work out!

Household Items – $262 (4%) – This includes my monthly birth control RX ($50) and a 24 day supplement bundle by Advocare ($212). I know. But I’m going to Florida in a month and I am far from bikini-ready. Hopefully these supplements combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise will help me shave off some bloat before the trip.

Beauty – $286 (4%) – It was a “hair month” – meaning, I only get my hair done every other month, but when I do, it’s expensive (to the tune of $180!  I also got my nails done twice and bought a new foundation.

Entertainment – $93 (1%) – Last month I didn’t even include an entertainment category, but this month I spent quite a bit of money on entertaining myself! First of all, I treated Keith to a date at a comedy club ($46 for two tickets).  The other thing I discovered this month is audiobooks, which are an amazing use of time for my daily 60 minutes in the car, so much better than listening to the same top 40 songs over and over again. The only caveat is they are expensive, and I go through them quickly, so I bought two this month. And lastly, I was bed-ridden the entire last week of February so I bought season 1 of HBO’s “Girls” on iTunes.

Travel – $763 (11%) – This includes a round trip flight and four nights at a nice hotel, split with Jen. I am SO excited, and this was totally my tax refund splurge!

Miscellaneous – $140 (2%) – I bought a $25 intro to yoga pass, and I am falling in love with a new yoga studio (which could be trouble for my fitness budget in the months to come!). I also paid $90 for our precana and $25 for a groupon to Vistaprint which we are going to use for our wedding invitations.

Student Loan – $900 (13%) – Made a decent payment on the big old student loan this month. Slowly chipping away! Balance is now $17,700.

Savings – $2300 (34%) – A great month for saving! $1300 went into short term savings and $1000 went into long term (house fund).

The other $1000 of my February income (15%) is sitting in my checking account, waiting for me to decide what to do with it.

This month included some huge splurges (Florida trip and Lulu shopping spree) BUT I don’t feel guilty about them because they were paid for with cash AND I still managed to put 13% of my income towards my student loan and 34% into savings. As long as I’m prioritizing debt payoff and savings, I am not going to let myself feel guilty about spending the rest on things I love!

January Spending Review

While I didn’t consider 2012 my most successful year, there was one life area in which I dominated.

My finances.

It took a pay-cut, a rock on my finger, and mortgage discussions to finally convince me that I needed to (drastically) change my shopping habits. I kept track of my spending, cut back on a lot of splurges, and totally changed my lifestyle and habits.

This year I want to keep track of my spending to keep me on that path to financial freedom.

My income fluctuates each month based on my commission checks. I’m guaranteed to earn $1,500/month in base pay (that’s after taxes), and my commissions vary.  In January, I only earned $570 in commission (a light month, typically I expect to earn about $1,000 in commission).  My total income for January was $2,070 (ouch).

I allocate 3% of my earnings to my 401K, and my employer matches this contribution 100%. I know it’s not a ton, but at least I’m saving a little bit and I’m not missing out on free money (employer match).  Also, I plan on saving up some money temporarily in my savings account and making a contribution to my Roth IRA at the end of the year.

Where My Take-Home Money Went: January

Rent, Utilities, and Phone – $110 (5%)… I am fortune that my rent and utilities are bundled and that I am able to bundle my phone bill into that payment since it’s in K’s name. My portion of this is pretty miniscule!

Gym – $20 (1%) – my monthly membership to the BAC. I love this payment because I got a steal on membership. Normally it’s $32/month but because I let my membership lapse for 2 years, they wanted me back so badly, and I was willing to sign a 2 year contact, they reduced it to $19.95/month. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to just ask!

Groceries – $125 (6%) – This was lighter than usual, I must have forced K to do more of the grocery shopping this month.

Dining Out – $69 (3%) – This is mostly brunches or lunches with girlfriends. Luckily K covers our date night dinners (for now, since I’m squeaking by and he is an angel).

Gas – $249 (11%) – WOW. This seems huge to me. I just got a new car for Christmas, and compared to my old Rav4, the Murano is a gas guzzler. In the past, I would spend maybe $160-180 on gas, so this has gone up significantly and I’m definitely feeling the pain!

Shopping – clothes & accessories – $129 (6%) – This includes a necklace for New Years Eve celebrations (we went to a 1920’s party) and a random trip to Target for a few new tops for work. Considering I used to drop $1,000 per month on new clothes, I’m proud of this number.

Household items – $139 (6%) – This includes drugstore purchases, my monthly birth control RX ($50 – yikes, but I can’t switch because my hormones are super sensitive and I am forever indebted to Yaz), one $4 Kindle purchase, and a new bedding set (I used a gift card on most of it but had to pay some of the balance).

Beauty – $102 (5%) – What can I say? Look good, feel good people. But really. I don’t mind spending a little bit of money on grooming. I only get my hair done every other month so this wasn’t a hair month but the total includes two manicures (bi-weekly) and some skincare products. I have only recently quit my nail biting habit, so I don’t mind splurging a little bit on manicures while I’m trying to grow my nails out.

Miscellaneous – $35 (2%) – There was a groupon deal for this spinning studio I love, so I bought it. It was $35 for 10 classes, and that usually costs $55 so I’m calling this a win!

Student Loan – $650 (30%) – So I’m trying to get rid of this thing that is hanging over my head. My balance is $18,600, and my goal is to have it paid down to a balance of $10,000 by the end of 2013. We will just see.

Savings – $550 (25%) – Saving for a few things right now: a down payment on our future home, a pre-wedding trip with my girlfriends, and honeymoon in Costa Rica.

I would call this month a success. I am extremely proud of saving 25% of my monthly earnings, and paying a big chunk of my earnings to my student loan. These loans are still in deferment (because I’m still in school) so technically I don’t have to pay them at all but I’m laser-focused on becoming debt free so I’m throwing as much as I can at them. The biggest pain this month was seeing how much more money I have to spend on gas. I probably could have done without that Target trip for a couple new work tops, but they make me smile so I have no regrets.