Mint Obsesssion ($107,989)

This morning’s mint.com obsession is Trends – Spending – By Category.  I should first say that I looked at my spending over time and was impressed with my limited spending in May, June and February–around $3,600.  I thought I did so well last month only spending $3,900.

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Oh but then I remember the crazy increase in my student loan payment, and that in at least on of those months I didn’t make my big payment at all because of the transfer.  I also look at the fancy pie charts for last month and over time:

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Last month over half of my spending went towards my student loan payments/attempts to make progress to pay down my balances (pats self on back).  Over the last year it’s only been 32% of my spending (hangs head in shame).

In both cases food is about 15% of my spending.  I. Am. One. Person. I do not need for 15% of my spending to go towards food!  (Full disclosure:  a lot of that “other” is probably uncategorized lunch purchases, which I was too ashamed to categorize, because then my food budget would have clearly been even more over). So far this month (and toward the tail end of September) I’ve been disciplined in bringing my lunch with me.  I’m also hoping to bring my transportation expenses down from around $700 a month to around $500 this month–$450 if I’m being really optimistic, but I have a couple things to be driving to on weekends, so that kind of reduction might have to wait until next month.  But at least for the three months when parking is free that will put an extra $200 in my pocket each month, at least some of which will be saved or go to loans.

I don’t expect to be as disciplined in the shopping category this month–because I need to find some new commuter shoes (or hopefully get the ones I have fixed because I love them so) and because I’ve been eyeing a Christmas gift or two.  The overall goal is for the education category to be a little over 50%, though actual dollar amounts obviously matter too.  Because I’m spending SO DAMN MUCH on my student loan payments I should be spending a much smaller percentage on food–more like 10-12%.  This month’s pie chart will be really skewed by my extra paycheck (and corresponding extra loan payments), but hopefully I’ve have worked on some habit changes when it’s time for November’s chart.

I think writing this crap down is helping.  We shall see.

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Month End — ($108,868.07)

We’ve reached month-end and I’ve spent about $250 less than I’ve earned this month.  Not as much in savings ability as I’d like, but I had two weddings this month, and didn’t start getting determined to actually stay under budget until the middle of the month.  WIth that said I did buy a calzone yesterday…and Wendy’s today.  

This month I’ll have three regular job paychecks–Yay! So I can probably have Loan #1 paid off at the end of the month. I’m hoping I can get a little Christmas planning out of the way.

I spent just over $3,900 this month.  This seems excessive, but over $2,000 of that went to student loan payments.  Another $280 to my train pass, $72 in parking and $305 in gas.  I’m hoping I can keep my transportation expenses for the month under $475 this month.  I’m not going to mess with my Mint.com budgets there, but I’ll try to cut down on some others.  I’m hoping I can save at least $700.  Very aspirational for the month.  Let’s see how it actually goes…