September Monthly Spending in NYC 2014

September Monthly Spending in NYC 2014

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September 2014 Expenses - Living in NYC
September 2014 Expenses and Average Monthly Spending in NYC

Using An Emergency Fund for an Emergency

This was an interesting month financially because I’m still recovering from all my emergency spending in August. I put all of my August travel expenses on my credit card and wasn’t exactly sure if I’d be able to cover it all. Thankfully, I did. After completely wiping out my savings accounts, I was able to pay my full credit card balance. After all, that’s what emergency funds are for.

I really did not want to carry any credit card debt. Even though it meant skipping a student loan payment and having less than $500 to my name leftover. My immediate priority is to build that back up. And hope no other emergencies pop-up in the meantime. It is completely fortunate that I was sole beneficiary of my dad’s bank account. It wasn’t much but was certainly more than I was expecting (just short of a thousand). While that certainly is conflicting information from what he told me. I am absolutely grateful nonetheless. That is enough to give me a cushion and a good start to build back up my savings.

September Living Expenses in NYC

Because this month was so tight, I put my old frugal hat back on. I’m always conscious of how I spend my money but this month I had to go back to some old cheap habits. The first thing I did was to really focus on eating at home. I didn’t go overboard only living on lentils and beans. But I did completely avoid buying lunch out save for one day at the end of the month. I also focused a lot on spending time with friends. But invited them over instead of meeting at a bar. This is something I always say I’m going to do and this month I actually did.

This is also a result of being single again. Where I spend waaay less money than when I’m in a relationship. This month I barely drank booze, rarely ate out, and really just enjoyed my time at home. Plus, football Saturdays make for cheap days. I make myself nachos and sit on the couch all day. Oh yeah, sometime I get up and jump when there’s a touchdown. Those have been the best days.

After rent, entertainment spending was a lot this month. Because $200 of that was for a new cell phone. I switched to Republic Wireless. This means my cell phone bill will be $10/mo, for unlimited talk+text, no data. But I had to buy a new phone, a Moto X. I already regret switching because not being able to use shortcodes is killing me. But for $10, you get what you pay for. Other entertainment expenses include two tickets to each Say Anything show when they play in NYC in December. I also did a small shopping trip for a few fall/winter essentials like a light jacket and scarf.


Focusing on Home Cooking & Meal Planning To Save Money

Because of my heavy focus on cooking at home this month, my food spending was considerably less than usual. I spent $200 on groceries and $50 eating out. $50! $50! $50! What! That’s the first time I’ve even made it under $150 in eating out this year! What has really helped keep me motivated on cooking is meal planning via google calendar. And grocery shopping more often (despite still having anxieties over it).

Let’s take a look at my super consistent food spending (groceries + eating out) this year:

  • Jan: $336
  • Feb: $339
  • Mar: $393
  • Apr: $298
  • May: $366
  • Jun: $362
  • Jul: $353
  • Aug: n/a
  • Sep: $260


To keep from going crazy, I treat myself to Bagel Fridays. Which means I grab a bagel+egg+cheese sandwich on my way to work for $5. The rest of the week I eat breakfast at home. Knowing I’m going to have that bagel on Friday keeps me from being lazy the rest of the week.

A big hurdle for me when it comes to cooking is finding recipes. I’ve recently given up on website collections and blogs for lack of variety. But a friend suggested borrowing cook books from the library and that has been a game changer! I’ve already went through two books, writing down recipes that I hadn’t heard of before. It’s much easier than wading through thousands of identical recipes and skewed reviews. It also means I can read niche cook books that I would never buy. For example, focusing on one cuisine.


September Goals & Habits

Over the summer I’ve successfully created some solid habits by using a Daily Habit/Goal Tracking Spreadsheet. I now floss daily, wash dishes before going to bed, call/reach out to a friend/family once a week, and follow a meal plan. Those are regular tasks.

I have long-term goals such as making my friends feel special. And continuing to be financially responsible. And showing others/strangers patience.

Making Friends Feel Special
I have numerous friend’s birthdays in October and I plan to remember each one. I already have birthday cards addressed and/or sent out. And (small) gifts planned. This has been something I’m really focusing on this year. Birthdays are such a personal event. And a perfect opportunity to really make a friend feel special. Something as cheap and little as receiving a birthday card in the mail makes everyone smile!

Continuing Financial Responsibility
I plan to maintain this by making sure I make a student loan payment in September, even if it’s not the double payment I would like. I will also add some funds to my emergency savings.

Showing Strangers Patience
As for patience, I am really making huge strides in not getting angry with people on the subway. It takes a lot of energy and is still hard to sustain all day. But even if I let one subway-rage incident go, I call that an accomplishment. I’m not proud of this, but an incident that happened earlier in the year really made me realize I need to calm down.

I was standing on a very crowded morning subway, when a woman stood up before the subway stopped and tried to push through me, to get to the door, even though we were still moving. Even though I, too, was also getting off at the next stop. Well, I was cranky and frustrated. So I stepped on the back of the woman’s heel. Twice. The second time she turned around, gave me a dirty look, and called me an idiot. I didn’t say I was sorry.

Unfortunately, we were transferring to the same train. By this time, I was already over it and just wanted to continue my commute. Well, she wasn’t. I ran up the stairs next to her, ignoring her, but she reached over and wailed me in the back with her purse. I didn’t react, I kind of deserved it.

But geez! Were two grown women really harassing each other just because it was 7a and the subway was crowded? I felt ridiculous and immature. Instead of that entire embarrassing and stressful scenario I could have done two things. I could have reminded myself that I can’t control other people’s behaviors. And remind myself that I don’t know other people’s challenges. Surely that woman had more stressful things happening in her life than to deal with some cranky person on the subway. I sure do!

Being more aware of my reactions and calming myself down is a lot of work but I am showing progress. This is something I work on every day. Oh, the glamorous life of living in nyc.

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10 Replies to “September Monthly Spending in NYC 2014”

  1. I love your point about cookbooks. My spouse really, really doesn’t understand why I insist on purchasing them when, “there are ten million recipes on the internet.” I’ve tried explaining why browsing through them is completely different than it is online!

    1. It’s also good to have some actual context. Most recipes have been thoroughly tested when they’re published – and not just tested by one person. I also like the diversity that cookbooks can bring. After a while, all Internets start to be the same.

  2. I wish there was a good website about how to grocery shop and cook for 1 person. If there is, I haven’t found it.

    And it’s funny you wrote that about the subway. Just this morning I was thinking “I could write a book about stupid stuff people do that piss me off on the subway” and then I thought I should just let it go because that’s way too negative of a way to start the day.

    1. I don’t mind making some extra because I definitely want leftovers, otherwise putting in all that effort isn’t worth it. But I don’t want a weeks worth of leftovers, just an extra meal or two. That’s easier to control if I’m cooking individual meat than something like a casserole. I don’t make those much anymore because it’s just too much food and I get tired of them really quickly.

      Haha the subway is such a negative space! And I don’t even think it’s about being nicer to people. But really just “letting it go”. But boy can we all be grumpy sometimes!

  3. I’ve actually just decided to make it a goal to send friends birthday cards this year! I’m making sure I have addresses and birthdays in my contacts and set up google calendar to email me a reminder 5 days before each so I have time to buy and send a card. Much more special than sending a birthday text.

    1. The google calendar reminder is a good idea! I look at my Birthday spreadsheet at the beginning of each month and write-up/address all the cards at once. But then I have to rely on my memory to send them out through out the month. I really like your idea of having alerts!

      1. It was a little cumbersome to set up but I only have to do it once for each person (set it up so that it repeats annually).

    1. Aww I can’t find that at the library. But getting a book on appetizers is a good idea. See, that’s something I would never buy but will definitely look through the recipes for free!

  4. Your bagel friday is my starbucks friday. I love having an iced latte on a hot day. Other than that I avoid coffee. And your subway is my LA traffic. I have to learn patience when I’m at a 4-way stop sign and the other person is there like an hour ahead of me, yet still sits there when I pull up, then angrily waves me as if I’ve done something wrong. It’s mind blowing but I have to let it roll off my back. Looks like you’re being as frugal as possible with your spending, and I know that feeling all too well. I bought two long sleeved shirts from target yesterday (first time I’ve bought any clothing all summer) for $12 a piece, but I’m actually thinking of returning it because my life expenses budget is already practically full for the month. Gahhh! Two $12 shirts should NOT be that big of a deal, know what I mean?

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