August Spending

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a thorough reflection on my spending, so here goes. I’d like to say that August was an anomalous month, but as Johnson said, “Those faults which we cannot conceal from our own notice are considered [by us], however frequent, not as habitual corruptions or settled practices, but as casual failures and single lapses,” therefore, I know that my spending is more habitual than unusual, even if the particulars vary.

August was a wonderful month for spending. A great deal, $860+, was spent on travel with approximately the same amount to be paid out to come, so all told the Glasgow trip was about $1600, which seems reasonable. On top of that, I went to the dentist and the optometrist, so my medical expenses were unusually high (only unusual if one fails to remember that I was out of contacts and hadn’t been to a dentist in more than a year). I also spent some money on clothes (absolutely necessary and practical for wearing to a Taylor Swift concert), eating and drinking out, and the usual rent, bills, car payment.

I’ve started a new system where I divide my spending by needs and wants, and see which one wins. This month I spent $1,587.85 on needs and $1,045.27 on wants, mostly the travel.

It’s interesting to look back at where I was a year ago, and what spending was haunting me then. Hillary visited the vet, apparently, and I bought plane tickets to a wedding, and a mattress for my sister, plus new glasses. A year ago, I spent $180 on groceries and this August, I spent $160, so not too much has changed.

The biggest difference between this August and last August is my stress level. This August felt pretty wonderful. Yes, there were hard parts and big challenges, particularly at work. But it is nothing compared to where I was last year. I don’t dread going into the office tomorrow. I enjoy spending time with almost all my colleagues, some a great deal. And even though I know that this week will involved many late nights at meetings and culminate in an enormous gala, I feel utterly at ease.

Last year, my goal for September was just to survive. What do I want for this year?

For fun, I’ve challenged myself to reread all of the Harry Potter books by Thanksgiving, then I’ll marathon the movies. In the last two days, I’ve read the first two books. I think I’m finally getting the hang of this fun thing.

For work, I want to keep up my writing every morning using Lynda Barry techniques, and at actual work, I want to avoid eating my lunch at my desk and working through. Take a break! It’s good for you!

For family, I’m not completely sure. What comes to mind is a nice letter to my aunt.

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