How I Spent My Money: July 2017

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Despite the pattern set by my previous How I Spent My Money posts, I am not in fact going to start this post with “I am appalled by how much money I spent,” because, for the first time, I’m not appalled.

Technically, I stayed well under budget in July, but this was mostly because of store returns and money that people owed me from previous months, which means there’s still plenty of questionable spending to investigate, so let’s take a look.

Here’s the breakdown for July:

Total spending: -$298

$302 under budget?! Is this real life??? Yes, yes it is. But, as you may have guessed, this is a misleading number, as you’ll see once we look closer…

Going out: -$146

$94 under budget. Which seems great! Until you consider the fact that this already accounts for the $396 I received from my cousin for Hamilton tickets. If she hadn’t paid me back this month, I would’ve been $302 over budget.

Here’s how the heck I spent so much:

First things first, my partner and I hosted his Uruguayan friend from Chicago over July 4th weekend, which resulted in $43 spent mostly on food. My partner was kind enough to foot my portion of the bill more often than not for the weekend, or else this number would have been much higher. However, this visit, like future travel expenses, seems like something I should have foreseen and budgeted for.

I spent $49 on going home for a family dinner: $17 on fancy candy, $14 on macarons, and $18 on Lyft. If I were to redo this, I would’ve bought one nice chocolate bar instead of a pile of tiny fancy imported candies that didn’t even taste very good, and taken Lyft Line and just accepted that the trip would take longer than a standard Lyft. (I still would’ve bought the macarons. My mom and little cousin love macarons.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, our Airbnb for Victoria’s wedding was cancelled without explanation, so I received an $850 refund. I paid Augustus back his half of the cost ($425) and then paid him $434 for the hotel he ended up booking. The total additional spend? $9. That’s barely any price difference! Honestly, why do I even bother with Airbnb when I can get a hotel room with a sweet bathtub for $9 more, amirite?!

Back in December, I paid hundreds for my mom and brother’s Hamilton tickets as well as my own, but the day-of cost was an additional $37, to take Lyft to and from the theater. (Bless my family for wanting to eat leftovers at home before heading over.)

When Spenser and I went to watch Spiderman: Homecoming, he paid for the tickets (Saturday morning matinee prices 4 lyfe) and I paid for lunch afterward ($24).

When Augustus and I went to watch Dunkirk, I paid for both the tickets ($28, 70mm non-IMAX weeknight matinee) and the theater food ($18). We probably could’ve gone without the theater food, but it was dinnertime, we were both coming straight from work, we needed something to tide us over until the movie got out, and we hadn’t smuggled any snacks in.

I also spent a happy $65 on a ticket for Niall’s Flicker Sessions tour, which I may or may not sell (so that I can use Augustus’ floor ticket), depending on how brave I feel about waiting in line outside the venue and then probably being crushed by other fans trying to get close to the stage.

Without including what I was paid back for Hamilton, the Niall ticket put me over budget by $33, but the real problem in July was how much my partner and I ate out at restaurants.

I spent $191 on restaurants for dinner with Augustus (which only accounts for my half of the cost!), and $78 on restaurants for breakfast. We went out for dinner at least 7 times and breakfast at least 3 times, at an average cost of $27.29 per dinner and $26 per breakfast.

That is a LOT, even taking into account San Francisco restaurant prices, which is why Augustus and I have decided to try a bit of meal planning for August. (So far… we’ve been eating a lot of salad, which is fine with me.)

Necessary things: -$210

This is $30 over budget.

The majority of this was the $99 I spent on renewing my 500GB Dropbox subscription. I know it’s expensive, and I know I could probably get by if I cobbled together a mix of Google Drive and the free Dropbox plan (that’s a referral link), but honestly it’s so much easier to just pay for Dropbox and not have to worry about running out of space from uploading entire Android projects or tons of Photoshop/GIMP files or images for this blog. I also back up my Day One diary to Dropbox (I’m still on an old version of Day One) so it gives me peace of mind to know that my 13 years of diary entries exist in the cloud.

Other than that, I spent $1 on AWS hosting for my portfolio website and $64 on takeout for weeknight dinners for my family.

Frivolous things: +$58

$58 under budget, only thanks to $178 in ASOS returns (various pairs of mom jeans). Otherwise, I would’ve been $120 over budget, because I spent…

Did I need to buy my partner kitchen towels? Well, yes and no. He asked me to get him some new ones as part of his anniversary gift (we’re very romantic and we love surprises), but I probably didn’t have to casually add two extra towels to my shopping cart for my mom just because they were cute.

Did I need to pay full price for those Kindle books? YES. Hell to the fuck yes. I would pay for them AGAIN if I had to, because they were both so entertaining (in very different ways, although both are about girls, and boys in bands).

Did I need to buy new earplugs instead of using Augustus’ existing disposable foam ones that expand in your ears? Probably not, but the foam ones really hurt after a few minutes and I’d rather not have a headache after jamming out at Harry’s and Niall’s solo concerts.

Did I need to back that Kickstarter? No, and I don’t really have a good excuse other than wanting to support someone’s art, because I already own a tarot deck.

Retrospective

July was alright, but I think the main takeaway is that Augustus and I need to stop eating out as much if I want to have any money leftover for doing anything else. (He agrees, which is convenient.) We’ve started clipping recipes into Copy Me That so we can find some go-to weeknight recipes (instead of getting grumpy when we’re still cooking at 8:30PM and we have to get up at 5:30AM).

So far, the plan looks like a lot of salads and stir-fry, which is fine by me.

As for upcoming expenses, I know August is going to involve a few after-work D&D sessions (I’ll probably be spending money on food) and several birthdays, so my hopes are… real low. (I think I may need to rethink my budget to account for lifestyle inflation. 😕)

(…I may also need to start a separate savings pool just for gifts.)

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