Tag: Budgeting

June Monthly Spending in NYC 2014

June Monthly Spending in NYC 2014

June 2014 Spending in NYC
June 2014 Spending – Items over $100

Rent

My rent is off the charts – literally.

Factoring in my FSA reimbursements, my rent is about 45% of my monthly income. This is acceptable for my budget. And is fairly common by nyc standards. I know I could save money by living with roommates. But at this point in my life, I prefer to make the sacrifices to pay extra and live alone. This is going on my third year in this apartment. My rent has increased by $80 total.


Wardrobe Building

I am slowly building a nice adult wardrobe. By that I mean good quality, fitted clothes. Technically these items are more expensive than what I’m used to. But hopefully wil last longer. After years of buying elastic waisted old navy and h&m dresses, I really need an update.

Last year I bought two Anthropologie dresses and one nice blouse. I wear them often and they still fit me well. This year, I added a $100 dress from Madewell and another Anthropologie dress ($120). Both are work appropriate, which really is the goal here.

This was planned spending. And I will likely continue to purchase new nice dresses next June as well.

The other clothing related items I bought this month were also planned. Shoes. Because I walk everywhere, I generally go through shoes about once a year. I wear four main types of shoes: black flats, canvas shoes, casual sneakers, running sneakers. I have a pair of each and alternate wearing them when appropriate.

Let me say right now, I hate shopping. I don’t like shoes. I don’t wear outfits. I don’t care about fashion.

So I generally replace each pair of these shoes, once a year, with a new identical pair. This month was shoe buying month. The flats, canvas, and casual sneakers were all about $40 each. Running sneakers, which I desperately needed, were $100. I purchased a pair of Brooks Pure Connect 3 at City Sports. (Every time I go to Jack Rabbit I feel like an idiot).

The only extra shoe I bought this month was a splurge. I decided to try out a pair of Keen sandals ($100). Mainly for wearing in the ocean. But also for weekend wear around town. I don’t already own a pair of sandals – I don’t like open toed shoes. So these were a good alternative to them. Plus, these are perfect for the beach. Unfortunately, one of the loops broke off the first time I wore them so I would not buy another pair in the future. Otherwise, they are super comfortable.


Mini Vacation to D.C.

Also this month, I took a spontaneous overnight trip to Washington D.C. Bolt bus was $14 going, $1 coming back (yay). I didn’t look too hard for hotel deals, as I don’t mind splurging for comfort. The museums were all free so my only other expense was food/booze. Including the hotel, total was spent a little over $350.

I wrote a full post on the details of the trip.


Groceries & Eating Out

The first week of June I had already spent a hundred dollars eating out. Thank you summer.

I didn’t buy as many groceries as I normally do. It’s difficult to cook when it’s so hot and stuffy in the apartment. I do not want to be around extra heat. Summertime also means it is nice enough to eat outside and take a full lunch break. This leads to me buying real meals, like those $9 salads. Yep, that’s what working in the financial district is like. Here’s the monthly breakdown of food expenses so far:

Jan: $336
Feb: $339
Mar: $393
Apr: $298
May: $366
June: $362

Six months into the year, I’d say my food spending is pretty consistent at this point. I’ll just have to settle with the fact that I eat between $300-400 worth of food each month.


Entertainment

Unplanned, I bought tickets to see Braid live at MHOW in July. I didn’t know they’d be touring but would love to see them again. The tickets were $25. This’ll be my fourth time seeing Braid and seventh time seeing Bob Nanna live. Yay! I love them.

In the month of June, I made it to Rockaway Beach every single Saturday! Really, these days are pretty affordable. The A train is “free” with my monthly metro card. Tacos (obligatory) are $3.50/each. And that’s my only real expense. I bring snacks, like goldfish or graham crackers from home. And my own bottled water. Then the beach usually tires me out so I don’t do too much that evening. It’s been a pretty great weekend routine so far.


June 2014 Spending - Under $100
June 2014 Spending – Items under $100

Home

At the end of June, after seeing two cockroaches in my apartment, I went on a cleaning binge. Yes, I know it’s summer in nyc and not actually a reflection of the state of my apartment. But it’s still gross. So I bought some new house items. Like a new (larger) dish strainer and drying mat. Re-usable rags. A real mop bucket. I threw out some old cheap gross kitchen utensils and replaced them (spatula, wooden spoons). Bought the cats some new litter mats and scoopers. I finally have a real garbage can.

Then I also bought some extra things (of course I did). Like a set of 10lb dumbbells so I don’t have to pay for a gym membership. And a cheap ($15) “sports” watch. Essentially it tells me the time and has a stopwatch. This is all I need for running.

I’ve realized that it’s been three years since I last moved. This is a record for me. However, it means that I haven’t purged my belongings in a while. Replacing old kitchen items was the beginning of a massive cleaning I really need to start focusing on. I organized my closets recently. That was a big help. I still like to think of myself as a minimalist and try to make purchases/throw things out based around that.


Debt Repayment & Savings

Given all my spending this month, I still made my $600 student loan payment. Ideally, I would like to curb some of my unessential spending and bump this up to $1K by the end of the year. I know the loan isn’t “bad” debt but I just want to be rid of it. I’m still freezing my savings for now to focus on the loan payments. It will feel great to be done with that and just be able to sink everything into my savings. Soon!

May Monthly Spending in NYC 2014

May Monthly Spending in NYC 2014

May 2014 Spending in Brooklyn for a single income in a 1br apartment
May Monthly Spending in Brooklyn for a single income in a 1br apartment

Income

Technically, I got my annual raise this month. But we weren’t notified until May 30th. So, the increase will be added retroactively into next month’s paychecks. This means next month will be a little bit more than usual because of the added increase. A little annoying for bookkeeping but good overall! However, income-wise, this month was actually the same as it has been. Stable, which I like.

I haven’t decided what I will do with the increase yet. Paycheck-wise it’s not huge. But every little bit helps. I will either increase my 401K by 1-2%. Or increase my student loan payment. For now, I’m just enjoying it.


Rent

Factoring in my FSA, I’ve estimated my rent to be 45% of my monthly income. This is totally acceptable for my budget. And pretty common in nyc.

It’s been suggested that I think about buying something permanent. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way here. I’m not sure I want to live in nyc forever. But I am happy with things right now. With that said, I certainly don’t have enough for a solid down payment. And I’d want to get my student loans out of the way first.

Food

Okay, so I didn’t do so well with groceries and eating out this month. I did bring my lunch to work most of the month. So, it was eating out that was a bit of the problem. At the end of the day, my combined food expenses are still under $400 so I can’t complain too much about that. I really would like to keep them under $300 though.

It’s easier for me to bring my lunch in the summer. I can bring salads and eat them outside. Or sandwiches. There are more options for me. And I actually enjoy taking my lunch breaks.

Groceries + Eating Out
Jan: $336
Feb: $339
Mar: $393
Apr: $298
May: $366


Debt Repayment & Savings

I have changed this, again, but for the last time. Really. No more changes for the rest of the summer. In September, I will assess if this is sustainable. Or if I should change the amounts one way or another.

I’ve decided to put a very small amount into my emergency fund; $50/month. This is an easy-to-access savings account and would be used for true emergencies. My other, high-interest, savings account, currently has enough to make me happy in it, so I’m freezing that.

Now, I will be focusing all my efforts on my student loan. I think I will be able to put $600/mo towards it.That’s 20% of my monthly income to debt repayment. The plus side is once that’s paid off, I should ideally be able to put 25% into savings. But I’ll get excited about that when it actually happens.

April Monthly Spending in NYC 2014

April Monthly Spending in NYC 2014

April Spending in Brooklyn for a single income in a 1br apartment
April 2014 Spending in Brooklyn for a single income in a 1br apartment

Income

Now that I’m using an FSA for the first time, I’m finding it tricky to track my actual income. My take home pay already has my 401K and FSA contributions deducted. But at the end of the month I am reimbursed for my FSA claims, about $400. I suppose I should add this back in as income, though really it’s only an $80 difference.

The only other “income” I receive monthly are ATM fee reimbursements, up to $15, because thank you USAA.


Rent

I spend 47% of my monthly income on a 1br in “I’ve never heard of that neighborhood” Brooklyn. I renewed my lease for the second time in February, so I have a while to go before another stabilized rent increase.

I know this sounds crazy to people not living in a city. The general rule is to spend 30% of your income on rent/housing. But remember, I don’t have a car which means more money can go towards rent. If you’re thinking about moving here, don’t be put off by what seems like impossible rents.

Entertainment

This entertainment spending of mine really needs to calm the fuck down! Some of it was unexpected spending because I had to replace my iPod Touch. I decided to go all the way and bought the new 5th generation. It was pricey but is definitely worth it. I still am not using a smart phone and am happy with that decision. The iTouch is really all I need right now.

As personal splurges, I bought two theater tickets this month. Tickets to Heathers:The Musical were discounted to $40. Then, after hearing amazing reviews, I caved and bought a ticket to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway in July (the air conditioning alone will be worth it).

And after much deliberation I also bought tickets to see Built To Spill later this month. I’ve seen them before but they put on an amazing show. Plus they’re in my top 5 favorite bands, so I figured I should see them while I have the chance. The tickets were $25/each so nothing crazy.

Hopefully I’ve now gotten all this out of my system and will chill out on ticket buying next month!

Food

I took a good hard look at my food purchases last month and decided to focus on cheaper groceries while still being healthy. I don’t usually eat deli meats because sodium but that’s not really a health concern for me right now. So I caved and bought some turkey + Swiss cheese. Add a little mustard and these sandwiches are tasty & simple. Best part, they’re totally cheap.

Between bringing sandwiches to work and consciously eating out less, last month I spent the least amount on food all year!

Groceries + Eating Out
Jan: $336
Feb: $339
Mar: $393
Apr: $298 whoo!


Debt Repayment & Savings

These are both automatic payments. I adjusted both this month to increase them! Yay! I want to keep both at a base of $250/mo. Then if I can afford more each month, I will put that towards paying off the loan. The current balance of my student loan is $16K so I’m still looking at a few more years with it, even at this schedule. And although I hate thinking about that, at least I now have a plan in place. The waiting part is really the hardest.