I’m not crying poverty with this blog entry, and I’m sure lots of people comfortably spend less per day then my goal here. But I think setting some budgeting goals, and trying to simplify the process is better than being blind in my spending habits. Basically I think if I can spend less than $30 a day on food, entertainment and a variety of things I will meet or exceed my financial goals.
To come up with my goal to spend $30 or less per day I totaled my monthly take home pay. Then I subtracted rent, cable/internet bill, cell phone bill, monthly NYC transit, and weekly laundry bills. Those are my set monthly payments that pretty much stay the same. After that I set the goals of what I wanted to pay monthly for my credit card and student loan payments. I’d like to pay both debts by May, so I’m planning to pay more than I usually pay per month. After that I subtracted simply $200 to put into savings each month. My debt payments and my savings could change at any point. Subtracting all these possible expenses, there should be less than $1000 per month left. Math done correctly does not lie. I divided the left over by 31 days, and that is how I got the $30 per day.
$30 doesn’t seem like pocket change, but over spending that is incredible easy. One nice meal will throw off the equation, and a night out can end of being $100 or more in NYC. In Queens massages are relatively cheap and good, but getting them regularly adds up. On a typical day I buy coffee and a treat in the morning for over $3, then buy a $10 lunch, and finally at least a $10 dinner. At some point I’ll need to get new skate gear and clothes. If I pack my lunch and eat in some, I could have days that I spend a lot less than $30. But some days I spend a lot more than others. Perhaps weekly is a good way to look at it, that per week the cut off should be $210.
Basically I’m not sure what my spending habits average out to. That is why today I stopped into Rite Aid and got a little pad pictured above for $1.69. Perhaps this is some weird entertainment for myself, but I’m going to use this pad and jot down everything I spend money on per day. Since it’s near the end of the month, I’m going to do this for all of October, so that is my budget challenge if anyone wants to participate. Jot down all food, entertainment, and non monthly billed expenses for the month of October. And the goal is to average out to less than $30 a day. In early November I’ll type it up report style and post an entry on it. Documenting my expenses on mallisonwhat.com for a full month should keep me out of trouble if nothing more!!!!