The Stoic’s Spending Revealed!

This may be a first for this blog.  I know that I have shared various rehab costs for the bathroom and living room as well as sharing expenses I was trying to reduce in the past.  However, I think this may be the first time I’ve shown an actual full month of spending.

I’ve been tracking my spending for the better part of three years, but over the summer I slacked off quite a bit, mostly due to starting my own business and constantly trying to keep track of business expenses.  I think tracking is extremely useful for personal finances and is a necessity if you’re self-employed.  When you first start working for yourself there are A LOT of expenses to keep track of.  Seriously, it was tracking overload for me, so I eased up on the personal side of things and concentrated on the business side.

I alluded to the fact that I’m slowly beginning to chase the Keynesian ideal regarding work hours when I questioned the narrative of work in a recent post.  I’m curious to see if it’s possible to work four hours or less a day to live a good life.  Part of knowing how much I need to work is knowing how much I spend so even though I know roughly what my monthly spending is I wanted to see exactly what was going out for the month.  This will allow me to control the number of hours I work and also determine what I need to charge for those hours since I only want to work eighty hours or less a month.

We’ll save the details of work for another time.  Today we’re focusing on what I spent in November.

Before I share the numbers I want to say that I did not try  to curb my spending in any way (which is about to become glaringly obvious when you see what I spent on food!), I merely wanted to see what was going out.  There was no attempt at reducing spending, I just wanted the data.  So, here it is:

explist

Total: $1054.08

(*)  items that are paid bi-monthly, quarterly, or annually but have been accounted for monthly

Good or bad?  I think it really depends on your perspective.  Some may see it as excessive while others will have a hard time believing it’s this low.  For me it’s just shows expenses for one particular month out of one particular year.  I think seeing a trend is more useful, but unfortunately I haven’t kept careful enough records to have that information.

This amount seems like a norm for me, (except for food which we will get to shortly) as looking back at Jan and Feb of this year my totals were $1274.00 and $1285.00 respectively.  It’s also quite an improvement from Jan. of 2013 in which my total spending came in at $3091.00.  A large part of the monthly savings has come from reducing my housing costs.

Novexpchart

Looking at the chart above you can see what percentage of total spending made up each category.  For food, I included eating out, groceries and liquor.  Housing includes insurance, property tax, and all utilities.  The one I have the most problems with and a little embarrassed to share, is food.

Even though I didn’t makes any judgments while tracking my expenses, I will make a judgment on what I spent in feeding myself; it’s over the top!  $456.00 is a ridiculous amount of money to feed one man!  I did take my dad out to a few dinners, but the bulk of all this is on me and my tendency to eat out when I’m busy.  Convenience comes with a price tag.  Seriously, 43% of my total spending on food alone!  It’s ridiculous and not something I’m willing to continue. {hanging my head in shame}

I think this will naturally begin to come down over the winter as I tend to spend more time in the kitchen during the colder months.  I’ve seen this naturally play out over the last couple of weeks already, but I will also be making a conscious effort to reduce my food expense, primarily in the eating out category. Other that that, I’m OK with what I spent money on in November.

What do you guys think, good or bad?  Any questions about what I spend on or the amounts?  How did your November play out in terms of expenses?

 

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11 thoughts on “The Stoic’s Spending Revealed!

  1. My expenses for the month were 1627 euros or roughly $2030, so yours are a lot better. My costs include 400 euros (so roughly $500) for rent, but even after that I’m still spending more than you.

    “Shopping” is a category you have that doesn’t explain much. What did you buy? Throw pillows? Clothes? Gifts?

    And oh, my bank charges me a $5 fee every month for their services, you had to pay a $19 fee… Does that come back every month? Is there a way to reduce those costs, because over the year that would be $240 just for the pleasure of banking with a particular bank…

    • Thanks for stopping by! Excellent questions. The bulk of shopping is for books. I love to read and have no problem spending money on books. I’ve had a love affair with reading since I was a child. The other items were a coffee mug, hat, and a thermos. Petty exciting stuff eh? 🙂

      The bank fee will be a one time thing, not reoccurring. I agree with, I certainly wouldn’t want to pay $240 annually just for the privilege to bank with someone.

      Have a great day!

    • Thanks Holly. Food is actually something I’ve been dealing with for awhile, not the actual spending (although that is part of it) but how I shop for my food and all the waste in generates in packaging etc. Since eating is one of our strongest natural drives I’m not going to try to control it with discipline and will power. Instead I’m going to play to my weakness and not against it. Eating out is all about convenience for me. As much as I enjoy the art of cooking, there are nights that I’m tired and don’t feel like it. I’m sure you and others can relate. My solution? I spent a few hours yesterday making up various meals in the slow cooker and freezing them. Now I can simply put one of these in the fridge on my way out in the morning and heat it up once I get home. I’ll keep an apple and some almonds with me during the day to curb any cravings I may get until I get home. Sounds easy right? I’ll let you know how it plays out at the end of the month.

  2. I was going to ask about the $19 bank fee. I’m relieved to see you’ve already said it won’t be recurring 🙂

    Good on you for getting your internet so low. I had mine around $33 when it was just me. My boyfriend wanted faster internet and now my half is $33, which isn’t so bad. We also have a slightly insane number of devices connected to the wireless for there only being two of us…

    My boyfriend and I have talked sometimes about how we think our spending would change if we chose to move close to his hometown. We could buy a 5 bedroom house for about 80% of the value of my two bedroom condo. We’re not interested in a house at the moment, but that’s certainly something to think about when we are – is staying in the city worth doubling our housing costs?

    • I did without the internet for the longest time, but signed up for it back in April. I went with the cheapest plan and it has worked for me. You would have been amused at the conversation I had with the sales guy when I called to sign up. Apparently he couldn’t understand why a guy wouldn’t want faster internet or a cable package. If I were streaming a lot of movies or playing games I could see wanting the faster speeds. What I have meets my needs just fine.

      I assume moving to his hometown means a more rural area? I think there are a couple of ways to look at. From a purely financial point of view I’m sure the savings in housing expenses would justify even a modest increase in transportation costs incurred by longer commutes. The other thing you have to ask is how would it impact your quality of life? Some people thrive on rural settings. My goal in the next few years is to purchase 3-5 acres of wooded land and build a cabin. The things that bring me joy are to be found in simple settings. However, if you and your boyfriend enjoy the city life and find yourself constantly driving back and forth from home to city to participate in the activities you enjoy then it might not be a great idea. Several ways of looking at as I’m sure you already have.

      Wishing you all the best in the many options you have before you…

      • My HOA pays for cable, but I *still* manage to get hassled by the cable reps on why I don’t want MORE channels! It drives me bonkers.

        His hometown is so rural we could not find jobs there in our field without working remotely – it is about 80 miles from the nearest city with jobs in our field. Hence just talking about it! We also really enjoy living somewhere that is easily walkable. We’re still in our mid-twenties though, so that could change in 5-10 years and then at least we could buy a house in cash if we moved to a more rural area! For now, we’re building ourselves options 🙂

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