It’s been a busy week, hence the blog silence. I did get paid (woo! favorite two days of the month) but I’ve also determined that my two big downfalls are travel and food. NEWS FLASH. Everyone’s two big downfalls are travel and food!
Anyway, right now I am, just barely, on track to make my budget for August, but I just had an expensive out of town weekend and making my goal is going to require several things going really right in the next two weeks.
1) I need to not buy gas. (Tight, but probably doable; I have an almost full tank now and I think I can make it last.)
2) Getting my car registered and my new driver’s license needs to be cheap. (I am having trouble reading the website, so I’m not really sure how much it will cost.)
3) I need to have a very cheap grocery run next weekend.
4) I need to not get the bills for my recent dentist and therapist visits until September (I bet this will work out, since insurance seems to take forever to process this stuff.)
So, there’s some “wing and a prayer” stuff in there, but hopefully….
What did I do that was so expensive in Chicago? Well, it wasn’t really that expensive. I spent $30 on transit to/from the city (train) and $15 on a transit card that I’ll still have the next time I go (I only needed two rides on the El.) Then $25 on dinner (Ethiopian and delicious) and $30 on two picnic lunches and one picnic dinner. And $70 on a year-long membership to the Art Institute. I realized that if I even went three times during the year, the math would work out (a one-day pass is $23!!!!) and in fact, over the weekend I went twice, so now I only have to go one more time in the next year. I think I can manage that. So, none of this was uber-extravagant. But it added up. Then I came home and went grocery shopping and bought…cheese. Oh, cheese. If someone could show me how to abstain from cheese forever…. I was out of honey, too, so I had to buy a whole thing of that and it’s expensive. Anyway, I had a $42 grocery bill (this should get me through the whole week, and in the case of the honey through at least three months) which I paid in cash. But I now have $27 in cash which is supposed to get me through another week’s grocery trip plus any small random stuff (postage, coffee) that comes up. Plus I have $74 in “slush” to use on the car stuff. Ooof, it feels tight for two more weeks of August!
I guess on the plus side, I really have been ratcheting back the grocery shopping, overall. There have been a number of occasions in the last month where I’ve not bought something that, if I weren’t watching my money, I definitely would have. Last week’s groceries were under $30! Doing this is genuinely cutting down on the number of random extras I throw in the cart. Today I only bought one thing (that cheese) that wasn’t on the list; I wish I knew for sure, but I’d bet that I usually average more like 5 unplanned purchases.