Spending – February 2016

It was just last June that I decided to start tracking my spending every month, so this is only the 9th update on this blog. I used to feel that it didn’t matter what I spent my money on, so long as I was sticking to the budget. And I still kind of feel that way. But I’ve definitely had some “Woah” moments when I look over the numbers. And it helps me think about whether my money is really going where I want it to go. Is it adding value to my life?

Take February’s numbers:

Where the money went: February 2016
Where the money went: February 2016

Woah, did I really spend $166* on restaurants?

Yes, yes I did! At first, I panicked a little. Especially when I saw that I’d eaten out 5 times** in February! But then, I started looking at the dates and restaurants:

  • I spent $105 at a wonderful restaurant for Bryan’s birthday.
  • I had breakfast with my mom, aunt, cousin and sisters a few days before my aunt had open heart surgery. Which she was terrified about, but she’s now healing beautifully from.
  • I had lunch with my mom twice: Once when we visited said aunt in the hospital after surgery, and once when we discussed her plans for retirement, and I helped her with her paperwork.
  • I had breakfast with a dear friend, who is going through a really tough time right now, and I haven’t spent nearly enough time with recently.

Yes, I ate out 5 times. But I wasn’t falling back into my old habit of fast food for lunch. I was connecting with people I love. To me, every penny was well spent!

All in all, I spent $4,624 in February. Higher than usual, but largely due to my tax refunds coming through: I used part of that money to book our room for our vacation next week, and a big chunk of it went to an extra payment on the car loan. I earned $2,630 in February, and had a total tax refund of $1,887 (state and federal).

We had a weekend getaway in February, where I paid for the hotel (Bryan paid for gas, and meals and drinks. I definitely got the better deal!). I also had to renew my domain and hosting for Growing Her Worth. Pricey, but that’s for 3 years.

I bought some new clothes in February. Nothing extravagant: Target had some T-Shirts and tank tops that I love on sale, so I bought a variety of those. I also bought some new clothes to workout in. I know for some that may seem like a frugality no-no. But I get so overheated when we work out that I can’t even concentrate on what I’m doing. I figured it would be better to have some light weight, breathable clothes so I can give the workouts my all, than to half-ass them, or stop doing them altogether, because I’m uncomfortable.

I finally made a decision about how I’m going to handle clothing in my budget as well! In January, I received a raise (well, really more of a cost of living increase). It equals out to $23 a week. So, every week when I get paid, I’ve been sticking $20 into a reserve fund for clothing. It isn’t a lot, but it is adding up quickly! I’m hopeful that I’ll continue losing weight, and will eventually need new clothes in a smaller size. But even if I never make it to a smaller size, I still will need new clothes and shoes. This way I won’t feel guilty spending money on those things!

I think that pretty much sums up everything for February. Any questions? Thoughts on where my money is going?

  • Cindy W.

* Oddly enough, I spent $166 on restaurants in January too. Which is super weird. A large chunk of that was from a cousin’s birthday dinner, where I picked up the tab for 3 of us.
** This does not include any restaurant meals that Bryan paid for. We usually don’t eat out a lot, maybe once or twice a month?


  1. Agree comfortable work out clothes are a must. Seems like you have balance – saving snd paying extra on your debt but still enjoying company of friends and family while eating out.

    1. It is a constant balancing act. I sometimes worry that I could be getting ahead quicker if I was more strict with my budget. But then, I can’t say there’s anything in my current budget that I regret spending money on. When I look at the whole picture, I’m okay with where I’m at.

  2. hello, thanks for this great article. I’ve been trying to lose weight for about 11 months and I’ve come to the conclusion that it all depends on eating healthy. I found this video that gave me a good diet plan, and I actually lost 20 pounds. All I did was follow the plan completely. If you want to view the video, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFTR8xetNu4 I hope this can inspire people to lose some weight. Good luck!

    1. Thanks Ryan! It’s great that you’ve found something that is working for you. I’m making slow progress, but I’m pretty happy with how things are going. It’s all about finding what works for you for the long term!

  3. Cindy,

    Glad to hear that you are taking that extra money and putting it towards paying off your car loan more quickly. One question – what is the $64 of Lottery Savings?

    It seems like you could really start to get ahead if you could get out of that car loan!

    1. I’m hoping the car loan will be gone in the next couple of months, and then I can really start looking at making some changes. My cost of living will be so much less when it’s gone!

      The “Lottery Savings” is something I started doing this year. Bryan spends $16 dollars a week playing the lottery. We sometimes daydream about what “we’ll” do if he wins big. Which seems a bit unfair, given that I’m not much of a gambler, so I’m contributing $0 to the weekly games. I just can’t see parting with my hard-earned cash for something that is almost a guaranteed loss. So, instead, I’ve started putting $16 each week, in cash, into a “Lottery Savings”. I use cash so I can consider it “spent” out of my budget. At the end of the year, we’ll likely use this money for a vacation. Or maybe buy something for the house. That way we’ve each contributed equally, and will both benefit from any winnings. Except mine is a guaranteed “win”.

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