Money tracking - February

Money-wise, February has been shit. I spent way more than I was expecting in spite of my best efforts, which demonstrates that I’m REALLY BAD at money tracking.Before I draw my conclusions, let’s analyse this catastrophe in more details.

  • Groceries This baffles me: somehow I managed to spend more in groceries than I have in January. How is this possible? I get free food from work! I’m thinking I fell into the 20% discount trap I have at work and treated myself with a few goodies too many. I’ll need to keep an eye on this.

  • Coffee/eating out In February I funnelled nearly $160 in eating out, of which only $40 were coffee though. My aim was to spend less than $50 in coffee so that’s an achievement. And to be completely honest $120 for eating out in a month in Wellington is not that bad. However, this is the category that would be the easiest for me to improve on, so I’ll throw all the blame on Giac and say he’s the one forcing me to have dinner out once a week.

  • Op shops This is a hard one for me because I tend to justify op shopping thinking it’s second hand shopping and so it’s ok. But it’s not if you’re trying to save money. I spent $29 in op shops last month, which mainly consisted in an AMAZING coffee plunger which yes I’d been wanting for months but no I didn’t really need. *tut tut*

  • Other shopping And here comes the hot potato. “Other shopping” last month included: some stuff from Amazon and iHerb, two pairs of shoes, a new editing software, A MACBOOK AIR and a plane ticket to go back home in September. In my defence, these are not purchases I have to save up for every month (thank fuck), and yes my old shoes had holes, and yes I did say that I would get myself a new computer when I got a job. BUT. Fuck.

  • I have also added a new category called “Experiences” as it’s festival season in New Zealand and I have purchased a bunch of Fringe tickets. I also went to see the Rubens and to a session at CoLiberate which will be reviewed in a separate post (it was AWESOME).

  • Then here are the things that went as predicted (let’s cut this short as the more I write the more I have the urge to start breathing into a paper bag): I've spent the same as last month on transport and phone contract, and I haven't spent anything on health and sport.

And now, conclusions! Despite managing to spend zero dollars for a total of six days in the past month, I still spent - in scientific terms - a shitload of money. Now, I have been working my ass off in February and I will even more in March, so it’s not that I can’t afford all this. Also I don’t want to punish myself too much: I finally got a job that pays well after two fucking years of basically not having a job at all, so there’s nothing wrong in treating myself a little. However, I am learning that shopping considerably raises my anxiety levels. After I bought the shoes the other day, I had a panic attack in the car and had to stop to hyperventilate on the side of the road. The truth is that I am on the stingy side after all, and spending money  - even on things I need - fills me with shame and guilt. So after seeing the numbers in February and acknowledging how spending money makes me feel, In March I’m challenging myself to spend no money at all. I am allowing myself some extra food that I might need in case what I get from work is not enough, as well as some home necessities (i.e. soap), but that’s it. Other things I think I “need” will have to wait. (Oh well and I’ll have to pay for my phone. And transport.) It’s already day two and I’m doing great. Yesterday I worked all day and today I haven’t left the house. I guess if I keep it up (i.e. work like crazy and spend the rest of the time locked in my apartment) I should be fine. Wish me luck, and you'll hear from me soon.

The MBAWYAO Series – Episode Four

Home alone time