May was the worst possible month to start tracking my spending in. (Mainly because I spent a lot.) I still don't know how to dissect or use the information yet, so I'm going to continue tracking my spending over the next month or two before I start creating a budget.
As for May, here's a couple of examples of areas I spent way too much (although sometimes justified):
This makes me cringe. I paid $75 to have my bike fixed, but then the weather was so crummy that I took the streetcar for 90% of the month. I took a taxi one night because it was pouring out. I also drove an AutoShare car out to the airport to meet my brother (who was on a layover) for lunch.
Since it rained all month, I went to the movies three times. This is going to be a hard expense to cut down on.
New running shoes. My toes were literally popping out the side of my old ones, which I purchased for $30.00 at Payless three years ago.
I've started to track my income and file away my invoices in some sort of logical manner. Yay me!
But I still don't have a handle on how to manage the ebb and flow of incoming money. It seems like I keep getting paid for projects in big chunks, followed by periods of time where I don't have any income. (For instance, I just got paid this month for work I did in February, but I anticipate that I won't have any paycheques again until July or August.)
I have no idea how to track my debt repayment vs. the amount of debt I accumulate in a money. (For instance, new credit card charges as opposed to what I pay off. And how does interest factor in? So many questions!) To further complicate matters, there's currently a constant flow of money between Chloé and I (for Peru trip bookings), and Jay and I (I do most of the shopping and he pays me back half).
I seriously need help. If, by some miracle, I'm selected as Moneyville's blogger, this is the first thing I'll be consulting with an expert to figure out.
Chloé suggested that rather than just tracking everything I spend, I should also record all the free stuff I get. Here's everything I got for free in May:
- Purex laundry detergent sample (ordered online)
- Ticket to the Railway Children (through media connections)
- $20 Metro gift certificate (redeemed Airmiles)
- 6 cupcakes (Groupon rewards)
- Wine and appetizer from College Street Bar (through media connections)
- Vector cereal (free with coupon)
- Wine and appetizer at Enoteca Sociale (through media connections)
- Poutine and milkshake at Stampede Bison Grill (through media connections)
- $100 at Shoppers (bonus redemption weekend)
- John Frieda shampoo sample (Facebook fanpage)
- Express Abs class (30 minutes) at FlirtyGirlFitness
- Crystal Light samples (Facebook fanpage)
- Free lunch at Boston Pizza for driving Chloé to a secret mission
|It was also my birthday month. I was spoiled this year! (This dress was a gift).|
Year of the Deal: May Savings
Grocery Purchases: $329.49
Pharmacy Purchases: $118.97
Total Spent: $448.46
Coupons Used: $187.02
2011 Total Coupon Savings to Date: $321.97
Our use of coupons this month was amazing! Although costs in general were high, on one grocery shop we used more than $40.00 in coupons. (The manager actually came over to watch. "We've got some extreme couponing going on over here," he said. It was mildly embarrassing.) We redeemed Airmiles this month, as well as our Shoppers Optimum Points on a bonus weekend.
My pharmacy purchases look high, but it actually reflects that I bought all my allergy medication for the summer. We've also now got enough personal care and cleaning products to last us for the next six months. I love Shoppers, but I'm going to try a ban this month to compensate for the very expensive month of May.
Um, can I just skip this part? It's a constant cycle of pitch and pray.