Spend less, waste less, live more.
Those are my life mottos when everything else is stripped away and we’re getting down to the basics. I loathe waste. Throwing out spoiled food, chucking a broken item around the house in the trash, buying more than I need. Taking more than I need. Buying things because of The Joneses, because something outside of me tells me I need it.
Living more through experiences, nature, gratitude, being content with what I have. These are things I strive for, not where I’m at. These are the things I’m working on and must remind myself of daily, not a place long ago arrived at and where I’m now dwelling.
At the beginning of this year I began to keep a daily tally of my expenditures. Everyone who has a handle on saving money will tell you this is the very first step in your journey. Before you budget, before you wipe out your debt, before you max out your retirement accounts, before you join the FIRE community, you must first see exactly where your money is going each month. If you don’t know where it’s going, you are living either blissfully or fearfully in the dark. Don’t be in the dark about your finances.
While I have fixed, planned, unavoidable expenses like: rent, health insurance, car insurance, groceries, household products, etc… I thought it would be informative to post my unplanned expenses of the month, to be examined with a cold, hard eye. Tracking your expenses gives you the opportunity to look back at the end of the month and review your purchases. It’s eye-opening to see where your hard-earned money is going. So without further ado:
Unplanned expenses for March
Disc Golf Birdie Bash Tournament -$7.00
This was a small fee to play in a disc golf tournament where the goal is to make it from the tee pad to the basket in just two throws. Over the course of my blog you’ll likely realize that disc golf is one of mine and S.’s favorite hobbies. I’d be lying if I said it was free, but as far as serious entertainment goes, it’s pretty darn cheap. Playing in tournaments does cost money, but, unlike real golf, playing a course is free. That means Steve and I have hours of entertainment every week without spending a dime.
Startup costs will include some money for discs, but that is literally it, and can be as little as $10 a disc. Discs can also be bought used or traded. Over time you may acquire more discs, and a bag to carry them, but it’s a sport that is only as expensive as you make it. Again, unlike real golf with expensive equipment, course, and membership fees, it’s an extremely frugal sport.
Carwash Vacuum – $2.50
Yes, I even keep track of expenses this small. My car was covered in dog hair and mud and needed a good cleaning. I vacuumed it at the carwash and dusted the interior with my own cleaning products at home.
Beer with friends -$7.
Two friends invited me for a drink and I took them up on it! I nursed one while they had two, and it was a great chance to catch up and enjoy ourselves on a Wednesday night. My beer was $6 with a $1 tip.
Disc Golf 2 Disc Tournament -$20.00
Yikes, okay, another expense of the disc golf hobby. This is becoming a lesson in how hobbies can be expensive.
Uber from Bakersfield- $29.33
Bakersfield is a Mexican restaurant downtown that has the best guac freaking ever. It is so limey and delicious, I can’t even say. S. payed for dinner and drinks and I paid for the Uber home. And while Ubering is better than driving under the influence, it should be noted here that we live exactly 5.9 miles from this joint, but we’re paying the cost of a tank of gas to get home. Uber and its pros and cons for saving money are a future post. The prior month I spent nearly $100 on Uber alone!
In the middle of March we took a daytrip to Dayton to play, you guessed it, disc golf. We spent money on:
The Dayton Beer Company – $23.66
We stopped here for some brews and bought a six-pack to go. If you are ever there, try the Broken Trolley Blood Orange beer. Seriously yummy.
Second Street Pizza and wings at The Dayton Beer Company -$17.20
We were hungry, needed fuel, and weren’t smart enough to pack enough pb&banana sandwiches to get us through the day.
Ice Cream at Shell Gas Station – $11.00
On the way home we impulsively stopped for ice cream. I know, tsk tsk.
NCAA Bracket – $10.00
Yes, I spent money to gamble. It makes March Madness so much more fun, though, and it’s easily my favorite sporting event of all time! PS: Steve won his bracket! He spent $10 and acquired $400!
Chocolate Candy Egg –$2.50
The oil light was on in my car so I stopped at a gas station for motor oil (a planned expense since my car is leaky on the oil front). I was hangry and my eyes landed on the Chocolate Egg basket strategically placed near the register. Of course, I bought one and wolfed it down on my way home.
Dinner and two Coronas at the Pub- $19.55
Met friends out for dinner and drinks at a pub near our house. Actually, not a bad price for two drinks and sustenance.
6 Pack of Beer – $12.99
I spend a lot of money on beer, nuf’ said.
I think the takeaway from March is that I’m spending money mostly on beer and our disc golf hobby, and sometimes both at the same time!
Total Unplanned Expenses for March: $162.73
What is the point of tracking my monthly unplanned expense? Other than to cringe at the end of each month over my monies spent?
Each month I add up my spending (planned and unplanned) and subtract it from what I bring in after taxes each month.
Of that figure, some goes into savings and the rest toward paying off my student loans. I do all this with a simple excel spreadsheet, as I’ve found this is the easiest, most cost-effective way for me to handle my finances. No need for fancy apps, I feel the more basic the better! If you’d like me to email you my excel template that I use, just let me know!