I suspiciously stopped tracking on last week when I just happened to spend $6,000 over my budget. I should start back up though… this is a good habit. This post did a good job of summarizing why being aware and engaged with your life is the key to improving it.
This week I set up a formula so I could calculate my average daily spending and see if I am living within my means. My “means” for me is my take-home pay minus 10% savings and rent (I have this money automatically withdrawn from my main account each payday). Looking at my spending with a daily allowance really puts things in perspective and makes me a little stressed. All it takes is one phone bill payment to completely blow my meager allowance. Whah! I know it will all balance out though. Ideally I’d like to work towards being within 90% of that daily allowance.
Now I am trying to figure out what to do about big one-time expenses that I pay for out of my savings. Since my daily allowance already includes a savings deduction, those big purchases aren’t part of my daily spending. However, I’d like to acknowledge it somehow since it is a significant purchase. Any thoughts? EDIT: well I changed it so I am counting my savings allotment in my total allowance since it is technically spending money, even if my goal is not to spend it. That really throws off my percentages since the major purchase (a ticket to Landmark) is a whopping 40%+ of my spending for the last two weeks and it means I am spending 140% of my income. Even more depressing. I guess we’ll see how it evens out over the course of my tracking.
I spend all my money on booze and bath products.
I can’t figure out how to sort a Google spreadsheet by numbers. It is really frustrating! Am I going to have to rearrange my category totals every week? Arg.
Like everyone else, I had an atypical week. I spent 52% of my weekly spending on a strange 3-day seminar called the Landmark Forum. It doesn’t happen until next month though.
My second biggest expense was alcohol: 18%. Half of that was spent at the Hideout, where I bought people drinks for making me promises and trying new Scotches with me.
Next was breakfast: 8%. Which was actually just a single transaction: the expensive but worth it brunch at
Cafe Campagne where we talked about breastfeeding, Agent Orange, hot air balloons, The Bachelor, where to buy sea weed, and bloody mary guilt.
Coming in at 7% was dinner. My light bill was 5%, and caffeine was 3%.
The remaining 5 or so percent was split between snacks, taxis, juice, lunch, and photocopies. Lunch was so low because I didn’t lose at credit card roulette all week. We’ll see if my luck holds out much longer though.
All in all, I spent more than I made last week. I’d like to try not to do that this week. In fact, I’d like to come in under the 80% of my income limit to see how that feels.
I am one of those “check book balancing people.” I guess that makes me uncool and an uncreative ungenius. But I always write down all my check, atm and debit card transactions and I reconcile my statement every month. And yes I still write checks. Bite me!
However, I also tend to use mostly cash when going out for drinks, buying lunch and paying for transportation (bus and cabs) so I only have a fuzzy idea of how much I am spending on what in those categories. So far this week of money-tracking has been illuminating in that regard, although I’m also trying to use my debit card more just because then I get a reciept and it’s easier to remember. My OCD-ness doesn’t need much more encouraging, but I think I want to keep this up for longer than a week so I can see some real patterns emerge.
Here’s my spreadsheet!
I’m definitely not a checkbook balancer. So much so, that I identify part of my ego with the fact that I don’t balance my checkbook. Funny how behaviors that we didn’t even necessarily choose eventually become attached to our sense of self. We don’t say “I haven’t seriously balanced my checkbook before” so much as “I’m not a checkbook balancer”. Why and why not? What do I gain, personality-wise, from not balancing my checkbook?
First, I think I assume that I gain “crazy disorganized” points, which, when coupled with other behaviors like not combing my hair and being a drunk, might potentially be triangulated into an identity as a crazy disorganized Einsteinian figure. Is that right? Isn’t it weird the things we do and the reasons we do them?
So, for this week I’m tracking my spending, and despite the possibility of people accidentally mistaking me for NOT being a mad creative genius who just can’t be bothered with everyday tasks like money management, I’m actually enjoying it. It’s fun to give weight to things that previously didn’t have weight. There are so many things that we eventually get used to and stop thinking about. Many of my goals lately have been about rediscovering the weight and complexity and texture of things that I’ve stopped thinking about. My name, what I eat, what I drink, what I spend money on. And I get to exercise my OCD a little… it’s been getting lazy.
You can view my spending by checking out my shared Google spreadsheet.