How I Spent My Money: November 2017

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I know it’s barely December anymore (or, possibly, it’s 2018 for some of you), but I can’t bring myself to abandon this post series, so! Here’s the latest installment of How I Spent My Money.

As I mentioned in October’s post, I’ve decided to rework the way I assess my budget because my previous system wasn’t particularly useful for me.

In addition to measuring how many dollars over or under my target spending amount I was, I’m going to look at November’s expenses and ask myself which expenses added happiness (or removed unhappiness) vs. maintained happiness vs. added unhappiness (or removed happiness).

Total spending: -$2539

This is $1635 over budget. (lmao)

Here’s the breakdown:

Going out: -$254

This is $18 under budget. Of this money, I spent $55 on eating out with my coworkers ($38 of that was spent on D&D-related meals), $161 on eating out with my partner, and $38 on miscellaneous expenses for myself.

I don’t particularly regret any of my coworker-related food expenses, though I do think I could do better by myself by skipping the order of fries I’m wont to get on D&D days. (The healthiest Dungeons & Dinner option I’ve gone with is soup, which was about $8 and had the added benefit of not making me feel like crap afterward, although this does remove the social aspect of gathering as friends to acquire food.)

I also spent $12 on a miserably large cucumber salad and a decent Thai iced tea at a ramen place (instead of actually ordering ramen, because I had dinner plans with my boyfriend), but the conversations that came out of that coworker meal were worth the mild nausea and the money, I think.

In terms of spending money with my partner, I also don’t regret anything in particular, although I think we could save a lot of money by cooking more, especially for dinner. (As always.) I also tend to tip about 20% more often than not, which makes going out pretty expensive, but I can’t bring myself to tip less, tbh.

One thing I really don’t regret spending money on is the $28 beef jerky sampler we bought from Gary West. (My partner paid for half, so I actually spent $14 in total.) I was buying a case of beef jerky as a Christmas gift for his parents, but I decided to pick up a lil somethin’ for ourselves and ohHhH MY GOD, Gary West makes some damn good beef jerky. It’s not soft and sweet like Chinese/Asian-style jerky, and it’s not greasy the way, like, a Slim Jim is. It’s just… somewhat tough and really tasty. My favorite flavor is probably the Cajun.

In addition to social eating, I also spent $38 of my going-out money on myself.

I spent $14 at Eatsa, which I’m quite pleased with, because I think I’ve found the optimal way for me to order now. I have a lot of commentary in this blog post, so in order to make it easier to skim over, I’m marking my comments as asides like so:

(Compared to their full-sized lunch bowls, their breakfast bowls are cheaper (because they’re smaller), tastier (IMO, because it’s not 50% quinoa), and less wasteful (because I can’t eat that much). I try to bring lunch from home whenever I can, but Eatsa is great for when you don’t want to wait in line for food. (See: me, returning to work after a morning in jury duty.))

I also spent $10 on MoviePass, which I used to rewatch Thor: Ragnarok and to watch Coco, in order to make up for using my MoviePass exactly zero times in October. I loved both movies, so they were well worth the $10.

I also spent $14 on a single movie ticket to watch Call Me By Your Name the first night it hit local theaters in December, which I do not regret at ALL. Watching this movie brought me so much happiness, and it’s bled into other happy days and thoughts.

Necessary: -$1474

This is $1294 over budget, which can largely (but not entirely) be explained by the fact that I bought a mattress and a bunch of emergency supplies for my household (and my brother’s).

I spent $26 on Lyft from my office to my partner’s apartment because it was too dark to walk and he had to stay too late at work to come pick me up.

(My partner reimbursed me $25 for my troubles, but I wish this weren’t even a thing that needed to happen. I’m not sure there’s a better way we could’ve handled this, but I do know I could’ve made my rides cheaper by taking Lyft Line instead. I just… tend not to when I’m traveling alone at night, ’cause like every other woman I harbor a fear of being abducted by my driver.

Right. So I’m not sure this could’ve been helped.)

I spent $1 on AWS for hosting my portfolio site, which is fine and which I don’t feel strongly about. I also spent $6 on a meal at work, which… whatever. IIRC, that day I was so miserable from my period and, uh, hating my job, that I couldn’t muster the energy to pack a lunch.

I also spent $197 on two emergency food pails from Amazon (one for home and one for my brother, although really each house should have two pails in case one of them spoils or can’t be accessed).

I don’t love how much this cost, but better to be over-prepared for Tr*mp’s nuclear apocalypse, amirite? (I also didn’t want to do more research into alternative options for emergency food supplies, so this was the path of least resistance.)

I spent $5 while out with my family for my mom’s birthday, $22 on my mom’s movie tickets (when we went to watch Thor: Ragnarok and Coco), and $109 at Lucky and $75 at Whole Foods for Thanksgiving groceries. I can’t bring myself to regret any of these because I love my family.

I also spent $527 on a full-sized Tuft and Needle mattress, $20 on an IKEA rug to put the mattress on, and $76 on a Tuft and Needle mattress protector. I regret all these purchases, but luckily I still have time to return the mattress. Not sure I can return the mattress protector, but I’m sure we’ll eventually find a use for the rug, so that’s fine.

What happened is that my partner’s roommate (flatmate, not actual roommate) moved out in early November, leaving him with an empty bedroom. Since I’m allergic to my partner’s cat and have trouble sleeping in the same room as her, we thought it would be a good idea for me to try sleeping in a separate room. That way, if my allergies were much less pronounced in the same apartment but a different room, we’d know if it was even feasible for my partner and I to live together. (We’d have to get a 2-bedroom, is all.)

(Keeping the cat out of the bedroom isn’t a great option considering how much havoc she wreaks when left alone… unless we took the effort to put away literally everything that could be pushed over or ripped or eaten. Which would be… a lot. According to my boyfriend, the vet who gave the cat her first checkup laughed when he said she was going to be an indoor cat and said “Good luck with that.”)

However… it’s now the end of December and I haven’t slept on my mattress even once. (It’s freezing in that room, we haven’t located the extra blankets/sheets yet, and I don’t like sleeping alone. Excuses, I know.) I also bought a full by accident because I thought my bed at home was quite roomy, so it must be a full, not a twin. I was a complete idiot because my bed at home? Is a twin. I sleep on a twin, and a full mattress feels way, way too big for me by myself. That, and my partner is tall so his legs dangle off the end of a full (which is why he sleeps on a queen).

Initially, my partner and I were looking for a 2-bedroom apartment we could move into together, but it’s looking less and less likely that will be a possibility, given our small search radius (which, at this time, is less negotiable than whether or not we’ll move in together). If we do find a 2-bedroom in the next few weeks, I plan to return my full mattress and get a twin-XL instead. Otherwise, my partner plans to move to a 1-bedroom closer to my neighborhood, which will mean we can see each other more often but I won’t be bound to sleeping with the cat unless I want to. If that happens (which is looking like the more likely scenario), I’m just going to return the mattress and wait before I buy a new one.

I spent $78 on Amazon for skincare and hair products (Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum, Nature Republic Argan 20º Steam Emulsion, and Hada Labo Gokujyun Cleansing Oil (for my hair)), as well as $19 on pantyliners.

I also spent $140 on Missha’s website during their 40% off sale for more skincare products

as well as their cheapest available cleansing foam (Calendula Deep Cleansing Foam) to use for cleaning my hairbrushes.

I also spent $53 at Native Deodorant to purchase 4 deodorants for myself and 1 for my mother.

(The Unscented one for sensitive skin for my mom, and the seasonal Almond & Vanilla as well as a men’s 3-pack of Sandalwood & Lemon, Eucalyptus & Mint, and Citrus & Herbal Musk for myself. All the men’s ones smell amaaazing, but I’ve been using the Almond & Vanilla lately, to be festive, and I smell like I’ve been baking sugar cookies in my armpits. Incredible.)

All of the above skincare/toiletries were necessary for my current personal care routines, so these fall into the happiness maintenance category, I think. It’s true I could try shopping around for a cheaper aluminum-free deodorant, but Native works for my body, I like their scents, and considering how long it takes me to run through a stick of deodorant, finding a cheaper alternative would be really small change in the grand scheme of things.

I also spent $80 at Lunapads for the MAIA brief (my second pair), the MAIA hipster (which brings my period underwear count to 3), a pStyle (so I can pee standing up; haven’t tried it yet), and a cloth liner/insert with wings (to be used with the period underwear).

These expenses were not for happiness maintenance, but rather for happiness… trial runs? I already owned one pair of Lunapads (the MAIA brief) and really liked how much more secure I felt in period underwear + my Lunette menstrual cup (vs. underwear + doubled-up liners + menstrual cup), and since I know I’m still due for decades’ worth of periods… I figured I might as well buy enough pairs of period underwear to see me through the heaviest days of my cycle. (I’ve tried them for only one period so far, and the going has been not bad.)

The cloth liner/insert is for heavy days when I’m at home, since I do feel somewhat better about myself when I’m not using disposable menstrual products, so I guess it was a happiness-making purchase. (I only wear cloth pads when I’m at home because I find them too bulky to wear out and about.)

And the pStyle was sort of a frivolous purchase, although I could easily foresee a situation where I have to pee in such a gross place that I don’t want to sit or even squat. Therefore, I’m going to categorize this as an unhappiness-removing purchase (for my future self).

Finally, I spent $25 on Amazon on new earplugs (I ruined my old pair by trying to wash them) and double-sided tape (which I use for keepsakes/scrapbooking purposes), and $40 on a t-shirt at Niall Horan’s Flicker Sessions concert in San Francisco.

I know the earplugs will save my ears for my concerts in 2018, so they’re unhappiness-removers; the double-sided tape is to replenish my supplies, so it’s a happiness-maintainer, and the Niall t-shirt is definitely a happiness-maker, although, to be quite fucking honest, at $40 for a t-shirt… I should’ve just sprung for the $50 sweatshirt.

Frivolous: -$811

This is $675 over budget. (lmao)

First things first: I spent $509 on a leather jacket from AllSaints (the Papin) during their Black Friday sale.

I ended up returning it in December because the fit was terrible on me, but geez. I wasn’t even planning on buying a leather jacket! But that 40% off! Those disaffected models! I had to have it and… ugh, well. You know. I didn’t actually have to have it. This was an unhappiness-making purchase because I regretted it as soon as I bought it, and then I regretted it even more when it arrived. A FAILURE.

I also spent $73 on a green faux fur coat printed with oversized gray-blue stars from ASOS, after waiting for the price to go down for a few months.

It is AMAZING and the fact that it doesn’t go with anything I own… makes it go with everything I own. I look like a charming eccentric when I wear it, and I’m so, sooo happy to have a ridiculous faux fur coat I can wear outside of special occasions without worrying about ruining it. (My white faux fur coat with black stars is too precious for everyday wear.) Happiness-maker!

I also spent $60 at Forever21 on 4 crop tops, 2 miniskirts, and a pair of shorts for wearing under skirts.

I ended up returning 2 of the crop tops, but everything else was absurdly cheap ($8 for a swingy velvet miniskirt?!) and looks GREAT on me, so… I think these were all happiness-making purchases, though they were very much frivolous.

I also spent (oh my god will this list ever end) $20 at ColourPop on lip primer, lip pencil, metallic liquid lipstick, and metallic lip gloss.

  • The lip primer has helped with application, staying power, and removal of pretty much all my ColourPop lip products, so I don’t regret it one bit.
  • As for the lip pencil, I actually bought the wrong color (Leather), but it’s close enough to the Nevermind Lippie Stix that it works. I’d argue this is an unhappiness-removing purchase, because I was so annoyed with the patchiness of the Nevermind Lippie Stix that I wouldn’t wear it, but now I can layer it with the lip liner for fairly even coverage. (Do I regret it? Kind of. I shouldn’t have bought Nevermind in the first place because it’s almost black, which means I can only wear it outside of work and it’s high maintenance. But my boyfriend loves dark lipstick and it was like $4 so…)
  • I already have Man Eater and Mugshot in my metallic lipstick arsenal, but Zebra is gooorgeous and makes me look like a sexy exotic dancer from the future, instead of an actual robot (either of which can be desirable depending on my mood). I don’t regret this, and it makes me happy to wear it, so I guess this was a $4.80 happiness-maker.
  • Cheat Code is my first gloss from ColourPop, and while it doesn’t have the same (honestly kind of alarming) staying power as the metallic liquid lipsticks, it’s a delicious and wearable copper that I… I’m sorry but I don’t regret it and it has made me happy.

Phew. Ok, just a few more for this category.

I spent $8 on Kindle (The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater). The second purchase was actually a 1-click-purchase accident, but I’m tearing through it right now and I LOVE EVERYONE IN THIS SERIES TBH. HAPPINESS. MAKER.

(One thing I do regret, though, is that I only realized in the past couple of days that SFPL’s OverDrive selection is no longer a sad pile of classic novel EPUBs and I can now borrow all the YA books I want instead of buying them. (Except they fell short when I went looking for specific queer YA novels, which is a damn shame.))

I spent $16 at Glossier on Balm Dotcoms for myself (Rose and Mint; I love the packaging and quite like both of them as products, although they are totes overpriced… happiness-makers?), and $53 on Etsy at Frostbeard for candles (I gave Winterfell and The Wall as Christmas gifts, I might give away Old Books and Rainy Day Reads, and I’m keeping Headmaster’s Office and Christmas at the Burrow for myself).

(I am not yet sure if the candles were happiness-making expenses, but they were on sale and I’m trying to Lean In™ to that hygge this winter.)

AND FINALLY, I spent $41 on a succulent arrangement and planter from Succulent Gardens (happiness-making!!!) and $46 on Amazon for a grow lamp (for my desk plants at work; cultivating life is happiness-making!) and an Anker phone battery (which saved my ass at Niall’s concert; happiness-maker), and I received a $15 check from Ebates.

Gifts: -$875

This is $739 over budget. (LMAO, but also November is always my biggest gift expense month.)

Honestly? I can’t really remember a time I’ve regretted giving a gift. My philosophy is that if you give a gift with any expectations, it’s no longer a gift. Which is probably why I don’t remember most of the gifts I’ve given in the past.

I truly do not think any of the money I spent on gifts in November was not worth it, but here are some fun numbers:

I spent

  • $198 on flowers alone (I LOVE FARMGIRL FLOWERS!!! THIS MADE ME VERY HAPPY!!!)
  • at least $205 on my mom
  • $206 on skincare and makeup gifts for family and friends (most exciting purchase: Tatcha’s Camellia Gold Spun Lip Balm)
  • $97 on afternoon tea with my family at The White Hart
  • $60 on Gary West beef jerky for my boyfriend’s parents
  • $20 on succulent-shaped candles
  • $36 on my office white elephant gift (the CEO set a minimum spend of $25, which is, frankly, ridiculous; my gift is a framed print of a painting of a can of pamplemousse LaCroix from JunglePaints)
  • $49 on a LEGO Advent Calendar for my partner (which made him so, so happy)
  • $55 on clothes for my brother
  • and $55 on my family Secret Santa recipient (most exciting purchase: a llama pin from UnicornJackShop on Etsy)

I REGRET NOTHING.

Travel: $0

This is $180 under budget (obvz).

Retrospective

Overall, I think taking note of which expenses made me happy and which ones didn’t only reinforced what I already knew:

  • My partner and I spend too much on eating out.
  • I feel better physically and mentally when I order something healthy-ish at restaurants (unless it’s an occasion).
  • I really enjoy giving (good) gifts to people.
  • I love reading and don’t mind spending money to do it, but I can indulge in this hobby for cheaper.
  • I don’t need more clothing, but sometimes it makes me really happy.
  • I don’t need more makeup either, but sometimes it makes me really happy.

In 2018, I’d like to

  • try some new recipes (which should make weekday cooking with my partner easier (I hope))
  • buy less clothing and get more wear out of the items in my wardrobe (I truly do not need anything other than a few replacement items)
  • buy a lot less makeup (my makeup arsenal is pretty much at capacity, yet I continue to buy things…)
  • use the library more (for most books, unless I want to support a specific author)
  • make the most of my MoviePass (I know there will be slow months for movie releases, but I can use MoviePass for everything that’s not a blockbuster)
  • anticipate that the majority of my gifting expenses will occur in late November (which means socking away small amounts of money in a savings account throughout the year)

Aaand with that it’s almost time to ring in the new year (here in California, anyway). 2017 has been …a year.

Here’s to making good choices in 2018. 💸✨

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