August is sort of schlumphing to a close, financially. I’ll have a net worth update over the weekend, but the cascade of stuff is (like I wrote yesterday) getting to me. Here’s what I’ve bought this month that goes outside the rent/food/insurance/phone kind of thing:
1) Art Institute membership: $70. Well worth it since I’ve already used it twice and only need to use it once more this year to make it pay off, but an expensive up-front cost.
2) Eating out: $50. This was all in Chicago over the course of a single two-day trip.
3) A new phone: $180. I bought this so I could get on a family plan with some friends and lower my regular monthly outlay. Three days after I bought it…my old phone finally died of old age. So I guess I would have had to spend this almost no matter what. I think it was a decent purchase, it just is a lot of money at once.
4) Personal care stuff: $170. I laid in supplies for several months’ worth of a few things I use a lot, but again, this is a lot of money all at once.
5) Car registration stuff: $96, as previously noted.
6) Books for a class I just decided to audit: $150. God bless the used market on amazon, since this is probably about half what they would have cost if I’d bought them all new. I may be able to sell some of them at the end of the semester, if I don’t end up deciding to keep them all. Still, say it with me: a lot of money all at once.
Oy. The Art Institute, the eating out, the personal care, and the car registration all came out of the month’s “slush” money, but the phone and the books — that is, $330 of stuff! — were decisions I made after that nice post about how if I just kept my groceries and gas down, I could get out of the month on budget. So much for that. It’s part of why I was feeling so grey yesterday, the sense that I’m already behind for September and the month hasn’t even started yet.
I decided to do three little things that don’t really change the financial situation (playing the shell game again), but I think will make me feel better.
1) I had $107 sitting in my Roth IRA holding account. I’ve been leaving this til I rack up $250 but the side hustle business was really slow in August, so I just bought $100 of shares. It’ll put my investment accounts over $5500 by the end of the month; otherwise they would have stopped just shy of that.
2) My emergency fund was up to $575 after I put September’s contributions in. I just took the $75 and applied it to my credit card. I am NOT going to do this again, unless there’s a valid emergency (school books and broken phones don’t count), but that random $75 was a leftover from my old system of having the world’s tiniest emergency fund and it feels more like tying off a loose end.
3) I have $30 coming in from side hustles this week, and I’m going to apply that to the CC too instead of my retirement fund. Again, I want this to be a one-time action; my “all extra income to the Roth” thing has been working out well and I don’t want to mess with it too much.
All right, I do feel marginally better. Just accounting tricks, no impact on my net worth, but still.