From October 1st to tonight, October 11th, I spent an average of $27.74 per day. So I’ve met my goal so far at the beginning of the month to spend less that $30 a day. Keeping my notebook on me and recording my expenses has literally kept me out of trouble. I have not gotten any massages as that would throw off the equation. I drank once over dinner with a friend but went home early after a moderate 3 drinks. Budgeting has become a healthy obsession, and it has been a challenge. I grocery shopped twice, replaced donuts with fruit in the mornings, and I made an effort to spend less.
Shortly after I wrote my initial budget post I figured out something else with my fuzzy math. Before I figured out minus my rent and monthly bills I should try to spend less than $30 per day. Taking the same idea starting with my monthly take home pay after taxes and deductions I realized my earning worth is about $92 a day. All I did was divide my monthly take home by 30 because that is the average number of days in a month. This is something very simple that I never realized before. No wonder during times when I’d spend over $100 in bars multiple days of the week I ended up with credit card debt. This goes for expensive vacations, clothes, new skateboard gear, and every expense. People always say live within your means, but it helps to have a ballpark figure of what your means actually are. Now I feel like I know what my means are, and how easy it is for me to spend more than I should.
I have two great dinners planned this month. Next week I’ll be going to ‘Crab Fest’ that a local restaurant has once a year. For $50 you get a bag full of steamed crabs that you have to hammer and carve out to eat, and the meal takes several hours. With drinks and dessert I imagine my bill will be $100 or more. At the end of the month a great friend of ours is moving, and we are sending him off in style at an acclaimed steak house in Manhattan. I expect that may be a $100 night too. For maybe the first time in my life I’m going to plan ahead for these expenses, and really budget well for the other days of the month.
I’m going to keep writing my expenses in my notepad for the rest of the month, and I’m going to step up my budget challenge. Columbus Day is Monday and I’m taking the whole week off. I decided not to go anywhere this week, so I’m on a staycation. My challenge this week with the exception of Crab Fest is to spend as little as possible. Tomorrow I’m going to grocery shop with more serious intent. My goal is to have most days this week that I eat my food at home. Hopefully this will mean some of my days will be marked zero expenses on my little notepad. For people who cook or already have budgets set because of their families or others reasons, this may not sound like a big challenge. But I’ve gone for very long periods that all of what I eat is take out, in bars, or in restaurants. I think if I can eat most of my meals at home this week that will be a success.
Perhaps when I get back to work after this staycation, I can pack my lunch several days a week too. Lastly another challenge is with the known two nights of expensive dinners to still keep my expenses under a $30 per day average for all of October.
(Here’s my original post on budgeting! https://mallisonwhat.com/2013/09/29/budget-challenge-spend-30-or-less-per-day/ )