July Spending & A Possible New Goal?

I revamped some of my spending categories this month. They felt cumbersome and seldom used. Do I take public transit so often that it needs to be its own line? Unfortunately no. Do I really need to differentiate trips to the doctor, dentist and optometrist? Given that I basically never see them, no.

The categories feel a little lighter now, a little more accurate. And Hillary Kitten has her own category, which is good because after rent, she’s probably the biggest expense this month (it’s that cat tree, you guys).

I still ended the month with income above expenses ($3,044.15 to $2,671.95 if you want to know) but it’s a far cry from my best months when my expenses were below a thousand. In almost all major areas (except Hillary Kitten’s category), I felt I hadn’t received fulfillment, satisfaction and value in proportion to life energy (aka money) spent.

Some major spending this month:
Groceries – $293. This does not include other food like restaurants, or coffee shops, but it does probably include some alcohol since I didn’t really separate my receipts. Still, way high relative to previous months.

Gas – $165. Probably actually not extraordinarily high, but I really hate buying gas.

Rent/Joint Account – $595. Boyfriend and I pay $900 total in rent, so I’m actually dropping a fair amount extra into this category, which also covers our utilities (never more than $100 a month). We’ve started using it for going out to eat or to pay for joint house purchases. But I think mostly it just accumulates.

The cat tree – $345. Hillary Kitten’s beautiful cat tree. It’s expensive, but she enjoys it and it looks way better than the carpet covered ones. A one time durable expense I can live with (though yes, I am a little embarrassed by the number).

Derby Equipment – $182. I bought a new bag, some new tights, new wrist guards and elbow pads, etc. this month. I’m really pleased with the bag and the gear was a long time coming. That said, I’m feeling low when it comes to derby lately (not that I’ve been to practice in a week or so), so the money adds to that dissatisfaction/melancholy.

I didn’t put any money toward my car this month and I didn’t put anything toward H.’s wedding. In fact, I just bought plane tickets so my H’s wedding pot is about to decrease. I guess this is what it’s there for.

When I was on vacation last week, I pondered what it would be like to be on vacation all of the time, financial independence basically, a common fantasy in my world. But I started playing around with the calculations, and realized, “hey! I could save $25,000 in five years if I just put aside $417 a month!” Which, I realize is not enough to retire on, but it would be $25,000 more than I’d have otherwise.

With this little financial goal (because $417 should not be hard to save with what I’m bringing in each month) I perked right up again about YMOYL and frugality and all the good stuff. Suddenly, it seems worthwhile and productive again to track my spending and keep it in line.

I talked to Boyfriend about it, and he had a radical suggestion. Why stop at $417? Why not make it $1,000? Which really sent my mind racing. Saving $1,000 a month would be a big stretch goal, definitely requiring some belt tightening (which my nurse practioner suggested anyway, ugh) but it would be wildly exciting at the same time.

$417 seems easy, in my sleep easy. $1,000 seems like climbing a fourteener hard–doable with the right equipment if you’re in reasonable health and the weather holds, but a little bit intimidating. So what will probably happen is something in between. Which is better than nothing.

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