Monthly Spending Diary – February 2018

diary

This is my second monthly spending diary and I am excited – and nervous – to share with you how I did this month. For those who missed my January edition, I decided to start a series of monthly spending diaries to hold myself accountable and pay closer attention to what I was spending my money on.

Even though I have been tracking every cent of my savings and spending for over a year, I found that I still was not very attentive to where my money was going.

I am hoping that, by breaking it down and documenting it each month, I will become more self-aware about my spending habits and areas where I can manage my spending better. I should note that these tables do not give a full picture of my monthly income, and that I often have money left over to build a cash buffer in my chequing account.

Without further ado, here is my debt repayment for the month of February (with January numbers to compare).

Savings/Debt Repayment February January
Student Loan $860 $600
Retirement $205 $205
Emergency Fund $50 $100
Other Investments/Savings $175 $195
     
Total $1,290 $1,100

I made a significant amount in my side hustle in February so I was able to redirect some of that to debt repayment. But as you’ll see, February was a short but spendy month and a good chunk of my side hustle funds went towards that.

And now for my spending…

Expenses February January Notes
Rent $950 $950  
Food $640 $589 Eek I spent even more on food in February than I did last month.
Car $207 $215 Gas, parking, maintenance
Health $215 $212 Dentist and gym membership
Insurance $159 $189 Car, disability, and tenant insurance
Entertainment $308 $125 Netflix, books, movies, alcohol, coffee, spa, covers, etc.
Vacation Fund/Travel $200 $100 This covered part of a flight to the US.
Gifts $0 $74 No gifts this month.
Cell Phone $57 $57  
Internet $44 $44  
Toiletries $37 $33  
Charity $30 $30 Monthly donations to two charities.
Household $0 $19  
Public Transportation $0 $10  
Laundry & Dry Cleaning $10 $10  
Miscellaneous $146 $39 Patreon, website and Google Drive renewals, workout equipment
Clothing $0 $0  
Uber/Taxi $15 $0  
Total $3,008 $2,515  

This month was definitely a higher than usual spending month. I both traveled to see family and had some family come to visit me. These weekends always end with much higher than usual expenditures on restaurants, alcohol, and entertainment. I also booked a flight to the US to visit one of my best friends. We take turns, and I haven’t done my jaunt to California for three years so it is high time that I go for a visit. Plus, escaping dreary Ontario for sunny California will be a welcome change of pace.

The Superbowl and Valentine’s Day were two other big-ticket items in February. Nobody I know has cable, so watching a pub was the play on Superbowl Sunday. Valentine’s Day was pretty low-key since I am newly single, but I still had charcuterie and went to a movie with friends.

My food spending, as in January, is outrageously high! I am guessing that most average people just have absolutely no idea how much they spend on food. I am more conservative with my food spending than most people I know, and I am still appalled at my monthly total. I eat out lunch at work maybe once every two weeks, and then it is usually a $5 sandwich. If I eat out at a restaurant, I love grabbing pho or ramen, and can usually get away with dropping less than $20 on a sit-down meal. So I really need to re-assess weekly in March and see what’s going on. It might be time to try a cash-only approach if I can’t reign it in this month.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of my food budget this month:

$303 – groceries

I guess this is a win, even though I increased my overall food spending in February?! I spent $75 less on groceries this month than in January. I went grocery shopping 12 times in February. It is crazy what happens when you have a full grocery store within a 30 second walk from your home. Dangerous.

Half of these grocery shops were less than $20 and I was just grabbing some essentials to make dinner or get me through the next couple days. This still needs work but I think I made some good progress in the month of February, and have some other strategies I will be trying in March to keep this under control.

$337 – dining out

Okay this was crazy this month. There were so many things going on this month that contributed to such a spendy food month, and I am confident I will be able to decrease this number significantly for March. As I mentioned, we did the Superbowl at a pub ($33) and I had a number of colleagues quit their job this month so there were going-away lunches ($17) when normally I wouldn’t go out to eat. A good chunk of this was just going out with my best friend about once a week for a pizza or happy hour snacks. I also went to a really nice Italian dinner when my family was in town ($45). I have also started dating again, and that has racked up the monthly eating out expenses. I have been trying to do this on the cheap, and we normally end up going for a coffee or dessert (see the much higher than normal entertainment expenses this month too!) but it definitely adds up All said and done, this is really high but I know I can do better next month.

 

How are you doing with tracking your spending? Any major weaknesses in your budget you just can’t seem to reign in? I would love to hear about it in the comments.  

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6 thoughts on “Monthly Spending Diary – February 2018

  1. Love the detail and accountability. When we first started to budget the amount we spent on food was the one line item that completely shocked us. That’s often the answer to the question, Where the hell is my money going?

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    1. Right? I am so good at not shopping for “things” – clothes, electronics, household items – ha but I guess I just love food. I think everybody would be shocked at their food number if they actually tracked it!

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  2. Hey Kate, you may have spent more but you also did a lot of debt repayment so I think it’s not too bad overall. Not to mention there were extenuating circumstances – family coming in, for example, and the holidays. I did pretty good on my monthly spending in that it was way less than last month (even with the occasional eating out, yay!). But this was definitely a month when I was glad to have an emergency fund. My laptop unexpectedly crashed and burned, and after getting it looked at, I was forced to buy a new one to keep up with work and my personal stuff. All’s well that ends well, I suppose, and I’m excited to see how we all do with our spending next month.

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    1. Yesss amazing work with bringing your spending down this month! Big unexpected expenses suck, but don’t they make you so grateful to have an emergency fund? Can’t wait to see how you do next month as well, best of luck!

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  3. theluxestrategist March 2, 2018 — 7:41 pm

    “It is crazy what happens when you have a full grocery store within a 30 second walk from your home. Dangerous.” We also have multiple grocery stores right outside our door, and it definitely affects our food budget. We also have struggled with food ($1100 for 2.5 ppl), and while people have said that is good for NYC, I know we can do better. We did a cash-only diet for food in February, and we both came away with some learnings. Will write about it for the blog soon!

    I also love seeing the debt repayments and savings at the very top of this post. Debt and savings first, then spend the rest!

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    1. Yes I can’t wait to read about your cash-only experience! Haha I saw some of you and your husband’s tweets about it and LOLed a lot, but can’t wait to hear the details of how it affected your spending. I think cash-only for food spending might be my fix.

      And yes exactly! My debt repayment and savings happen at the beginning of the month and felt like they should go at the beginning of the post too 🙂

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