November Recap! ($103,196)

I can’t believe it’s December already!

November Spending Breakdown

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I spent a total of $3,742.66 last month.  I am pretty darn impressed with myself. A whopping $1,519.45 went to student loan PRINCIPAL payments.  I split all of my student loan payments into principal and interest.  All of the “Fees & Charges” in the ugly orange-ish slice of pie are student loan interest.  One set of loans doesn’t show this nicely, so it’s approximated based on the interest that was accrued in my last statement, but this set accrues the lowest interest anyway, so any inaccuracy isn’t affecting the total too much.

I’ll be interested to see how much this horrible interest amount changes as the months go on.  Hopefully paying extra on principal will help bring this number down!  I hate throwing away $700 a month!

I spent a lot on transportation this month.  This included purchasing a AAA membership.  My old car insurance had roadside assistance.  I reviewed my insurance paperwork and discovered that my current policy only appears to have towing with a $50 deductible.  So I’ll be removing that, and seeing what other discounts I can get with the AAA membership.  I was really hoping I could get a discount on my phone plan, but it looks like it only applies to new plans (Signing up for Sprint?  Get a AAA membership first–it could pay for itself).  The rest is my train pass – $335 – gas and insurance.  I did pretty decent with gas this month, and hopefully prices will continue to go down!  Only one more month of free parking at the more expensive train.  I’ll probably stick with it, even though it’s more expensive, because the gas savings are pretty significant.

I did well on damn near everything else this month.  I did some necessary work clothes shopping on eBay this month, and was very happy with my purchases, and especially the price I paid for them.  I don’t expect to do any more shopping for myself in December, but I might start creeping on some auctions again in January.

Here is the bar graph of my spending in the last six months.  My attempts to split my student loan payments into principal and interest in October were a big fail.  As a result my spending in October is extremely inaccurate, and should be ignored.

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But seriously, November was a small improvement over September, when I spent a total of $3,910–and that was only paying an extra $400 or so on one set of loans, as opposed to the $725 extra in November.  We’re just going to pretend July and August didn’t happen at all.

Not Eating Out!

I definitely have decreased the amount of money spent on food in the last two months, especially take-out/delivery/buying lunch.  For Thanksgiving, I visited my dad for breakfast in the morning, and had the turkey with my boyfriend’s family.  We (he) also made a turkey at my place yesterday so that I would have my own set of leftovers–which means I won’t be buying lunch or dinner, at least at the beginning of the week.  And really, I had no idea how to make a turkey, and now I have a better idea at least.  Mostly I know that if we ever have to host Thanksgiving, he has a pretty good idea what he’s doing.

Did you all have a good Thanksgiving?  Any suggestions for how to avoid breaking the bank on the December holidays?

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October Recap! ($105,805)

I’ve been blogging for like a month now.  Is that right?

October Recap

First, my Mint says that my net worth is in the ($104)s.  Sometimes my loan posts the payment before my checking account shows the money coming out, so it looks like I have more money than I do–in this case to the tune of my $975 payment.

Next things next: my spending for October.  This month includes a lot of money spent on personal care, including getting my hair did.  I also bought $30 worth of body wash (that I could only found online in a six-pack…so I won’t be needing to buy that again for another three years or so).  I also paid my bar dues. The “other” slice of the pie includes $100 in events for this month and October ($45 of which I better be getting a refund on), $35 in library late fees (since I did return my actual books on time, and I’m pretty much only borrowing Kindle books, I don’t expect to see another one of these any time soon), my $30 in freecreditreport and life insurance, $97 in phone bills, and about $40 in TV expenses (including two months of TiVo).

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Total auto expenses (gas, train pass, parking, and insurance) were $603 last month.  Hopefully October had more driving than November will, and gas prices will continue to go down (cross your fingers, toes and any other available appendages). The previous month was $737, but I think there’s even more room for improvement here.

I spent $392 on food!  Compared to $596 the previous month.  I think it’s probably actually a little more, if I were to properly categorize a few that Mint didn’t recognize, but that’s also probably true from September.  Either way–this is a SERIOUS improvement.

And now–the big daddy: $2,402 on student loans.  This included paying off Undergraduate Loan #1.  I definitely won’t match this figure in November, because I had an extra paycheck in October, but it should be at least $2,000 for the month.  My net worth has changed about $3,000 since a month ago.  It’s like I’ve spent more of my money on things that maintain my net worth (paying down loans), and less on throwaway meals.  Hooray!

Other Non-Recap Stuff!

I discovered a similar blog a little over a month ago, which is what got me going on blogging, and helped light a little bit of a fire under me saving/spending/debt-paying-wise.  This particular blog monitored her daily spending, and she also gave props to other bloggers that she was following.  I checked out a bunch of them and, unfortunately (for me) most of them weren’t really blogging anymore. I think for many of them it was because they had met their debt-paying goals (super awesome for them!).

I have since found a bunch of other blogs through just searching through wordpress, many of which I’ve started following (and poring through archives).  A lot of them I feel like I’m learning from, especially where I think the people are in similar situations as me.  I can’t really get behind a blog where the writer says “I’m $50,000 in debt…I used $40,000 in savings, and sold off my three extra cars and now I’m freeee!”  Awesome for them, but some of us don’t have extra cars or five figures in savings.  But for all of those who are slowing chipping away using only your salary and expense-cutting, keep on doing what you’re doing and blogging about your successes and setbacks–it’s helpful to know that there are others in the same boat as me.