Monthly Spending Diary – July 2018

It’s probably no coincidence that my July spending report is well over a week overdue. I knew on some level how much I spent in July but I really didn’t want to see it in black and white.

But here we are! I had a negative savings rate this month and that is always a little scary. When I saw the negative percentage on my tracking spreadsheet, I flipped out a little bit. But then I looked back at all the previous months of saving 15%, 25%, 30% or more of my monthly income. Something that also clicked was that many people are living with a negative savings rate every single month. That seems so scary now.

Much like June, July was really expensive. I am still incurring a lot of moving expenses. Many of these will be later reimbursed by my employer, although that is now considered taxable income by the IRS so I will  be paying a good chunk of my relocation expenses myself.

Another cool thing: now my updates are probably going to be a mix of CAD and USD. My debt repayment will continue to be in Canadian dollars, but my new 401K and all of my spending will be in USD. So without further ado, here are my numbers for savings and debt repayment this month!

Savings/Debt Repayment July June
Student Loan 200 CAD 100 CAD
Retirement 500 CAD | 171 USD 102 CAD
Emergency Fund $0 $0
Other Investments/Savings $0 $0
   
Total 700 CAD | 171 USD 202 CAD

Considering how much bloody money I had to spend this month, I am proud that I continue to chip away at my student loans above the minimum. It was also super exciting to open my new retirement account! I am the proud new owner of a Fidelity 401(k) with an employer match, thank you very much. Right now, I am just contributing the minimum amount to get the match but I will up that as soon as my cash flow is somewhat back to normal and my student debt is gone in a few months.

Eeek now on to my spending for the month of July:

Expenses July June Notes
Rent $1125 $0 I pulled my July rent out of my moving savings, so this amount was to cover my first month of rent for August 1. This is what my monthly rent in Brooklyn will be moving forward.
Food $1090 $552 Okay okay I know this seems outrageous. Okay yes it IS outrageous. 920 was on restaurants and 170 was on groceries. I cannot really attribute this to much other than having several visitors in town during my first month in NYC and not having a steady schedule + moving multiple times.
Car $0 $164 Hallelujah not having a car already feels great!
Health $105 $467 Refilling a prescription, oil of oregano, and contributing to my FSA.
Insurance $140 $159 This amount – which previously included car, disability, and tenant insurance – now only includes health insurance. Scary that they are almost the same amount!
Entertainment $475 $622 Includes Netflix, Spotify, alcohol, bar covers, concert tickets, books, etc. This is still really high but starting to get back to normal. I am considering this okay as it was my first month in NYC and I had 5 people come to town in July.
Vacation Fund/Travel $0 $743 All travel was related to moving costs.
Gifts $0 $75
Cell Phone $146 $73 This was really just inflated due to transitioning from my Canadian to American phone. I spent a few days still on my Canadian SIM, which racked up some not inconsequential roaming fees.
Internet $0 $44 Internet was included in my July rental.
Toiletries $14 $68
Charity $32 $15 Have started donating 20/month to another charity that does international medical aid. Will get 350.org and PP on the roster as soon as cash flow stabilizes.
Household $35 $82 Miscellaneous items for new apartment – umbrella, Tupperware, shower curtain.
Public Transportation $200 $30 When I first arrived, I was waiting for my work transit stipend to kick in so I ended up getting weekly metro passes (x5) and covered a metro pass for my sister as well.
Laundry & Dry Cleaning $11 $20
Moving Costs $1140 $553 2 nights in hotel, shipping deposit, flights, checked luggage on flight.
Miscellaneous $204 $0 Most of this is the cost of my storage unit and some other small things (e.g. snacks, bottles of water).
Clothing $120 $46 Again, these are purchases I have already worn many times over and I’m glad I spent the money. I bought a pair of denim shorts, a cardigan for work (that A/C is real though), and a silk blouse for work.
Uber/Taxi $285 $51 This included multiple airport trips as well as multiple moves with all of my luggage. There was absolutely no way around these costs but this will go way down in August.
Hair/Spa $50 $167 A pedicure
Total $5,137 $3,931

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the month of July except…moving is expensive. I feel like a broken record, having said this repeatedly over the last several months, but moving is really one of those things where you will always underestimate what you are going to spend.

The best thing I can advise is as soon as you know you are moving (or have a good idea that you might be), start setting money aside into a high-interest savings account as a moving fund. There are the obvious costs –packing materials, movers, and so on – but there are all those other seemingly small and innocuous costs along the way, like ordering in pizza because you all your dishes are packed. Or because you are physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. I have been sleeping on an air mattress for two weeks and living out of a suitcase (I have no closet, no hangers, no wardrobe, dresser, or furniture of any kind). I don’t know where my things are. 95% of my belongings are sitting in a storage unit 500 miles away. Moving is stressful and you will not be in your normal routine, so your spending is also probably going to be out of whack for all kinds of reasons.

I am so looking forward to August bringing my monthly spending close to normal again. I will still have moving costs but I should finally be getting the reimbursement from my employer for all those relocation expenses.

How are you doing with tracking your spending and/or your budget? What areas do you ace and what do you continue to struggle with month after month? Let’s discuss!

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