I was a little shocked when I put together my spending figures for October: All said and done, I didn’t spend as much as I expected. I had a lot of things going on in October, so I was expecting to see much higher numbers. Of course, being so busy and out of our normal routine made some of the numbers much lower than they’d typically be. For example, I missed two usual trips to the grocery store this month. It worked out, as we lived more out of our pantry/freezer than we typically would. And I wasn’t home as much as I normally would be. In the end, my spending in October was one of the lowest since I started tracking in June:
Reminder: Since Bryan and I keep separate finances, this does not include any of his spending!
I spent $2,542 this month, with an income of $3,212. As a reference, this is what my spending has looked like since I started tracking in June:
June 2015: $4,813
July 2015: $2,179
August 2015: $3,456
September 2015: $2,726
October 2015: $2,542
Looking at the totals, I was a little shocked at how much I spend each month. Over that 5 month time period, it averages out to about $3,143 each month. Which is $37,716 a year. Yikes! But then I realized, a big chunk of that is going towards paying off the car. In October alone I put a total of $1,400 towards car payments. The rest of my spending only makes up $1,142. When you take away what went towards the car each month, my spending is a little more reasonable:
June 2015: $1,763
July 2015: $1,579
August 2015: $2,276
September 2015: $1,666
October 2015: $1,142
That’s better! Sure, the spending each month would look better if I was just paying the $360 monthly payment on the car. But then I’d be paying on the loan FOREVER. I’ll be much happier once that loan is history, and I can concentrate on other priorities.
Most of my expenses for this month were pretty normal. There was a $5 charge on my debit card that for the life of me I can’t figure out what it was for, so I’m just calling that “Unknown”. I also took out $150 at the ATM. I took the money out because Bryan needed cash, and couldn’t get to the bank. He paid me back a few days later. Where did the cash go? Well, if I’m being honest, a big chunk of it probably went towards Fast Food. When the shit hit the fan, I hit the drive-thru. The rest of it? I really don’t remember. That’s the problem with cash: It can easily slip away, without any trace of where it has gone.
Which brings us to the elephant in the room: Grief Expenses. I didn’t know of a way to explain and group these expenses, so I just put them all together. It covers everything from Starbucks, sodas, food and toothbrushes that were purchased at the hospital, to baby clothes and other items that were picked up along the way. Some things, like the flowers for the funeral, didn’t hit my bank statement until November, so they’ll carry forward into next month. Most of this money came out of my weekly spending, but I also pulled some money out of my savings for “Holiday Spending”. Since the baby was due December 1st, I had added money into my Holiday budget to buy a big gift for my sister closer to his birth. I’m going to play it by ear as we get into the Holiday Season as to whether or not I need to replace the amount that I took out of that savings.
I’ll be honest, I could have very well spent less this month. Resorting to fast food when I’m overwhelmed and sad isn’t good for the budget or the waistline. I’m working on it. Yes, we could have saved money by bringing more things to the Hospital from home, instead of spending the ridiculous prices at the gift shop and vending machines, or simply not drinking so many sodas and Starbucks. But when you’re going on 40 hours with no sleep, in a situation you did not expect to be in, and someone you love is suffering an unimaginable loss, and doesn’t want to be left alone, or have the baby laid down for even a second, well, you do what you can, and saving money is the least of your worries.
Given the situation, I’m okay with my spending in October. I’m expecting my spending to increase in November and December; After all, there will be food to buy, and gifts, and travel. I’m working to be more mindful of what and how I am spending my money on during the Holidays. In the past, I’ve had a tendency to go overboard, and I’m trying not to do that this year!
- Cindy W.