Wisedebther Weekly Spending 2/11/18-2/17/18

Happy Sunday! Like most evenings this month, the Olympics are on in the background. I’m in absolute awe of these games! The athletes’ dedication and talent certainly inspires me to achieve my own goals–ahem, debt free ;).

So, spending this week. As a non-rent week, it should be low . And the actual total is not too terrible, but I’m not gonna sugar coat it, there is still much to be desired! I’ll get into the numbers below, but I have to leave a disclaimer. There are a few expenses NOT shown in here, and one is for an odd reason. I bought The Simple Path to Wealth and pre-ordered Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living  on Amazon and accidentally used my partner’s CC as opposed to mine. Thus, we adjusted some of food expenses that he owed, meaning it’s higher overall, and the book expenses are not reflected. This is because weekly expenses are my expenses, not our total household. Phew, now that we got that out of the way, here is the weekly breakdown :

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Wisedebther Weekly Spending 2.4.18-2.10.18

Sunday relaxation… the best. The weekend in my neck of the woods has been a mix of relaxing and the drudgery that can be chores. Luckily, listening to Podcasts while doing said chores saved the day and snapped me right out of my snarky attitude and back into a place of gratitude. There are many times in my life when just having a Sunday off would have been something to be grateful for! Trying not to forget that. Alas, chores are done (mostly), taxes are not (that’s OK), and I’m ready to tackle the week ahead.

In the spending department it was a relatively low week, particularly compared to week one of the month, which is universally spiked due to rent.  Here is how it went down :

Entertainment: I’ve held on to my Audible membership, albeit at a lower membership rate.. I’m a “Silver” meaning I get one credit every other month. My last choice, was very underwhelming. I’m unsure if I’m going to hold on to this much longer. Let’s see how this month’s credit goes, been thinking to try out a Brene Brown book…

Cashew the Cat: Every 2-3(ish) months Cashew the cat gets an order from Chewy.com…We LOVE chewy ! The order consists of : 1. His special medicated food for his urinary tract problem. 2. An order of Litter  + 3. A “treat”, usually a toy. <–This last part of course is not a “necessity”, but it allows us to get free shipping + helps me keep my sanity. This cat, to put it nicely, is a bit high maintenance. His hunting toys tend to get damaged pretty quickly…he takes playing VERY seriously. Toys that he likes/simulate the “real world” = less damage to my furniture = happiness for all. Spoiled is a word he knows very well.

Food & Drink: A vast improvement from the week prior, and just in that sweet spot before it gets too high for comfort. Ideally, I’d like to see this expense in the lower 70 range, but I’ll take it. My partner has been working nearly every day, so considering I’ve been doing the list and shopping solo, I’m impressed! Food as I’ve discussed in my Debt Free Diet Part I and II has been my Achille’s heel in the journey to debt free. The fact that I’m at a point that I can manage this (almost) independently is a big giant step in the right direction–moving beyond those baby steps now !

“Funtivity”: Not much to report here, a “tip” for Super Bowl Sunday wings + an iced coffee at my local coffee shop right  before I dived into a few hours of “catch-up” weekend work.

Self-Maintenance: I ordered a pair of wedding shoes from DSW. They are white and pretty simple, just like my dress…which was only $90 !!!! Hopefully they fit, if not… back to the warehouse they go.

Miscellaneous: I think this is my third(?) week in a row with a misc. expense, meaning the category that is causing it (GIFTS!) should probably be given a line of its own. This time it was 4 greeting cards– three birthdays, and one Valentine.

Off to catch up on my fav Personal finance blogs, watch some Olympics, and sip a glass of wine. Sending good vibes for the week ahead !

Wisedebther Weekly Spending 1/28/18-2/3/18

January was gone in a flash ! Lucky for me this weekend was an EXTRA long one. My mom visited from Mass. and although she left this morning, I have the rest of the day off to play catch up, both with cleaning and my finances.

Compared to last week, this one was a heavy hitter in terms of spending. The beginning of the month signals rent due, plus with visitors I always tend to spend a little more on groceries to make sure we are stocked with both essentials + “fun” foods/drinks. The detailed numbers are below:

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Debt-Free Diet Part II

Food, glorious food ! If you are just tuning in, Part 1 of my Debt Free Diet can be found here. That’s where I explain my horrendous and expensive journey to getting real with my food costs. Luckily, I saw the light and have vastly changed my expensive grocery shopping ways.

Cashew the cat enjoys the Debt free diet too!

Alright y’all, let me be honest though. The truth of the matter is, I’m a newbie in the life of a frugal food consumer, circa November 2017ish or so. And listen, I use the term frugal super lightly. Let’s just say, it’s frugal my way. The things that work for me, I’m definitely NOT preaching for others to follow. Nor, am I suggesting this is the cheapest or ‘best’ route. What I would “preach”, is that if you are in debt or otherwise hoping to reach other financial goals…food expenses are worth looking into! So, without further ado, these are the strategies our 2 person + Cashew the Cat household have used to considerably reduce our food costs:

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Wisedebther Weekly Spending 1.14.18- 1.21.18

Another week has come and gone ! Inching towards the end of January means that new year, fresh feeling is starting to wear off. The realization that no long weekends or extended breaks are to come for some time has also led to the “Sunday Scaries”. At any rate, I’m currently warding off by eating some Mango Gelato, decluttering/cleaning[have barely scratched the surface], and recommitting to resuming my weekly expenses. I do say this somewhat lightly, as I feel blessed to be in a position where I actually enjoy my job.

BIG big week in spending, but in a good ‘kinda way. The number was huge due to paying off another LOAN, leaving me approximately $3700 from Debt FREE!!!

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Debt Free Diet Part I

 

Food has been my Achille’s heel on my debt-free journey. Certain things have been easy for me to sacrifice, mainly clothes shopping + “going out” to restaurants /bars. But, ‘food shopping’…man that was the bill that was getting me good, until now that is ! What changed? Basically, it was a lot of trial and error.

Per usual, I’d like to back pedal to HOW I got here. It’s more about the journey than the end point, right? In fact, I realized in writing about this, I have a lot to say about food. Hence, I decided to break this post into two. One with my food buying history and Part II with my  current food budgeting solution.

And now, for a trip down memory lane…

Back when I was single, circa 2011-2013, I was able to keep my food bills SO low, like $30-60(?) per week low, with the occasional spike or dip. One big meal, like a stew or chili, could feed me for days. I brought cheap, bag lunches to work such as PB & J with a fruit, or yogurt , nuts, & crackers. Looking back towards those days, it was not the most fulfilling part of my life, neither professional nor personal. Yet, damn I could learn a thing or 2 from my former self !

The inception of grad. school in 2013 coincided with the beginning of my courtship. Some may say this was perfect timing, or others absolutely horrible timing. Whatever it was, it happened! And like that, my food bills slowly crept up. Honestly, it probably wasn’t even that slow. I was mainly consumed with the following and not necessarily in this order: 1. not failing out of school, 2. adjusting to my new city, Miami, and 3. being in a new relationship <3.

Thus, my spending, particularly as it relates to food was not a priority. Not only did my weekly food shopping expenses go up, but so did my outside of the house food expenses. I was buying more food to feed a man + making more meals per week to feed said man. During our first few years of  dating, he always paid for our meals/drinks/treats outside of the house (90%) and I picked up more of the grocery costs (70%). By the way, these percentages are total educated guesses ! I was also going to Starbucks on the reg and buying salad lunches as “needed” ($5-8). I did occasionally bring my lunc (it came and went in spurts), but if I haven’t been clear enough already, food budget was NOT my priority !

To add some more fuel to the spending fire, my weekly shopping trips were haphazard. Nothing for dinner? No problem ! I would stop by one of my neighborhood’s 2 pricey grocery stores and drop anywhere from $20-30 on a ‘few’ items. Sure, I would make lists every week, but they were so disorganized and not always well thought out. Meanwhile, my partner was eating out for lunch EVERY day…yup every day. He doesn’t do this anymore, by the way.

Finally, add in dining out for coffee and/or dinner at Least 1 X per week. We lived in a fun city, we were young, we were tired, and the WORST — We deserved it. The excuses and the $$ were flowing…

Unfortunately, I can’t access my credit card statements from back in those days. Am I not trying hard enough? Not sure, don’t care! I know it was bad and I sure learned from it!

Now, to present-“ish” day. 2017 was my first full year in Tampa. The area I reside in currently is nothing like my former Miami neighborhood. We live much further from the majority of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops aside from those located in our little suburb. Unknowingly, we moved to the “baby raising” part of town without having any babies of our own, as of yet.  We immediately slowed down on our eating out expenses. To be candid, it was forced more than an active decision.

Food shopping expenses, however, did not slow down. For example, in Winter 2017 I enrolled in Hello Fresh for approximately 4-5 weeks. Bye, $300! Additionally, my haphazard shopping trips although decreasing in frequency, still prevailed. My partner would comment at times, “you are spending too much. Or, we don’t use all that we buy.” Mostly, I would bark back too stubborn and proud to listen.

I was still filled with excuses, and they sounded something like this: We need to eat healthy, We are ‘saving’ more than going out to eat, and the very familiar– We deserve it. Every time I left the register at the check out line, I would get a pang in my stomach. How in the world did I spend so much?

Here are some food expense numbers, directly from my Mint app:

-October 2017: $815

-November 2017: $455

-December 2017:$305

-January (up through January 18th): $236

Seriously, what the hell was October? Looking back at the receipts it was a few crazy high expensive weekly trips, with some  of those ‘rando’ trips for a few items spurted in. This was also one of our trickiest months as a household–Post Hurricane-Irma, Maria, Partner working at a commission based job). I was doing our household a HUGE disservice by not having my food budget/spending together !

Nevertheless, I had my “wake up call” in realizing that I was severely hindering my debt-pay off through spending so much on freaking Food! In the next post, I’ll outline what I *think* has been our “Magic Bullet” in reducing food expenses. Stay tuned …

 

Wisedebther Weekly Spending 11/5/17-11/11/17

It seems I have developed the nasty habit of moving this weekly spending to Monday instead of Sunday as originally intended! In my defense, I ended up working most of Saturday, which meant Sunday was my day for errands, cleaning, and of course chilling. Below is my spending for last week. Don’t mind my horrid handwriting. Normally I would input a neat and orderly table, but I just thought the way the colors lined up was cool—like a rainbow! Maybe that rainbow extends to a debt free land?!

 

I’m proud of last week’s spending—ESPECIALLY where it comes to food. I kept it under $100!!! Little bitty baby steps ! I’ve got a new system down that I’m excited to share in another post entirely.

I did however make 2 money mistakes. The first being that I neglected to follow-up with my 6-month bootcamp class membership. I assumed when the 6 months I was up, Poof! there goes my membership. I was wrong. I was slightly dismayed to see a charge for $144.95 on my credit card. Apparently, if you don’t cancel they start charging you month to month until you give 30 days notice of cancellation—tsk, tsk. I really like the classes though and they are only 2 miles from my house, so hey I gotta make the most of it. I wouldn’t consider the situation ideal by any means, but I’ve been so on top of my spending that I was able to address the issue right away. So, money win? Money lose? Probably something in the middle…

Audible membership ($14.95) was money mistake #2. I put it on “pause” a few months prior as my obsession with podcasts, grew, and GRew, and GREW! However, I forgot about said “pause” and the membership resumed on Saturday…womp womp. I was initially bummed, but seeing that I’m on the waiting list for several podcasts/books at the library, I’m going to take it as another money mishap gone Right!

With the holidays around the corner, I expect it may be difficult to find low spending weeks like these in the near future. This isn’t because I plan to go on a wild holiday spending spree, but I won’t skimp on holiday dinners, nor donations. Also, I still have about $2-3K I hope to pay off by years end. We are hosting both Thanksgiving (my brother + our friend) and Christmas (fiance’s mom and aunt) this year, so boat loads of fun (and $$ stories) to come.

‘Til nex time… Wisedebther to live better xo

Wisedebther Weekly Spending 10/29/17 – 11/4/17

Better late than never ! I returned from Chicago Saturday evening after a work trip and always find I’m playing a bit of catch up after travelling. I find work travel to be equal parts exhilarating and exhausting. Returning home on the night of “Fall back” created the perfect scenario for sleeping and still having the most of Sunday available. I made it to tallying up my expenses yesterday, but not writing this post. Here was my weekly spending:

No major surprises here, but my goodness quite pricey. The beginning of the month signals RENT!!, by far my biggest current expense. My food expenses, while much cheaper than previous weeks were still a bit steep—but for real good news coming for the next week! I swear this isn’t a girl who cried wolf situation. The travel expenses should ultimately be reimbursed, but I’m trying to treat it as ‘true’ spending and then I’ll just add the reimbursement to my monthly income. In the past, these travel weeks are where I would go off track BIG time. This trip I really gave it my best effort to track where/when/what I spent/bought. Part of the issue is when I travel I often use cash, which is contrary to my “normal” at-home life. In most cases, I had a receipt; however, where I did not have one I was pretty well able to approximate the spending. I’d say I’m off by a few dollars at MOST, which is pretty impressive for me!

Self-maintenance was also travel related: Nail appointment, new mascara, and dress socks so my feet didn’t freeze to death in Chicago. It.was.so.cold.

Finally, our “Funtivity” was going out for apps and beer on Saturday night after I returned to Tampa; honestly, it was not my best $$ decision. Sort of poor service, plus one tired couple, equates to money that could have been better spent—yet, c’est la vie.

Since the spending this week was steep (RE:Rent), I’m going to try to lay low next week, BUT it’s also the perfect weekend for me to do a bit of personal wardrobe shopping. I had originally set a limit of $1000, which I now scoff at because that is way too high. However, I know even a few hundred dollar update for the winter will do my soul some good. I have been closet purging, so I’m ready to add more, within reason of course… Ok, so $500 limit it is! Considering I don’t need much in the form of winter clothes, it is fine by me.

Sending positive vibes for the week ahead and hope you can Wisedebther to live better xo !!

 

Wisdebther Weekly Spending 10/22/17-10/28/17

My third weekly spending has arrived! I’m liking the process and routine of it all. I block out some time every Sunday to review—usually with some wine! Then, I pay off my credit cards, tally my weekly expenses, add expenses to the month’s total, and reflect on where I am in terms of my debt. Each tiny little step is becoming slightly more exciting, liberating, and also a little scary. I think I’m finally getting to a place where I’m good at monitoring the cash flow and now I just need to get the budgeting piece down (ideally, before the debt is gone!!). I’ve mentioned previously that the food/drink area of my spending is where I struggle most. For next week’s report, you will hopefully see that I’m being more cognizant and learning from my mistakes. Without further ado, here is this week’s spending …

weeklyspending10.29

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Wisdebther Weekly Spending 10/15/17-10/21/17

Happy Sunday!! I am scratching my head wondering where this weekend went?! Cooler temps are headed towards Florida this week, which will be welcomed with open arms. A change of pace for a few days is exactly what I need.

Meanwhile in $$ land, it was mostly an unremarkable week, which is more good than bad. I spent less than $40 outside the house (i.e. “Funtivities”), but certainly racked up a bit of a high tab in the Food & Drink category. I attribute this to poor planning of when the weekly haul of grocery shopping would occur. I had three little ‘mini’ trips towards mid/end week that ended up costing a total of $61.76. I’m no longer in denial that I’m spending way too much on food, but I also do a great job of rationalizing it—for example, my little spending devil will say “It’s still cheaper than going out to eat”. This may have some, but also limited truth since quite frankly I’m spending WAY too much. For November, I’m aiming for <$100 a week…

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