Tag: Monthly Recap

April 2015 Spending in NYC

April 2015 Spending in NYC

Spring Wardrobe Update

Every spring I usually purchase some new outfits. This is my attempt to slowly build a high-quality wardrobe. The past two years I’ve purchased good jeans and nice dresses. I expected to spend about $400 on clothing this month so the amount I spent wasn’t completely unplanned. However, instead of going for outfits, I went back to basics.

While organizing some things, I decided to finally throw out all my old stretched out socks, underwear with holes in them, bras that I can no longer remember where they were purchased, and some really gross work out clothing. After all that pruning, I was left with barely a week’s worth of socks and underwear, and no sports bras.

So, I resupplied myself with all of the basics: new socks, undergarments, work out clothing, plus some basic cami’s and t-shirts. I also threw out ill-fitting sweaters but those won’t have to be replaced until next November.

April is also my annual purchase of summer shoes. I’m not sure if canvas shoes should last more than a year but mine don’t. So I purchased a new pair of those, plus black flats. I have a pair of slip-on sneakers from last year that I will try to get an extra year out of. Then I also bought a new pair of running shoes in preparation for the Brooklyn Half later this month.

It sounds like a lot but really is all things I needed. And I threw out all of my old clothes and shoes, so I’m not accumulating more stuff. These are all basic clothing items that I know I will wear regularly. For the “spend your money where you spend your time” rule, these purchases fit seem to fit in well. Since I don’t own a car, most of my transportation is on my feet so good shoes are really important. And the basic clothing items, obviously, will get use.

PS3 & Games Hand-Me-Down

A friend sold me his PS3 and collection of games for $100. I know the system is old but I don’t need the newest thing. The video games themselves are still great. Before this, I was playing a Nintendo Gamecube so the graphics are an upgrade to me. I don’t play a lot of multi-player, so losing some of those servers doesn’t matter much either.

I like the idea of having something else to do on my down time than reading. Story-driven video games really are like an interactive book. They are not serial stories, which I am not a fan of. So watching television isn’t interesting to me, but playing through a story in a game is. I keep my consoles for years. I bought my Gamecube a decade ago and still have it. So, I do plan on playing this for a long time and I do have the leisure time for it. Also, I like having something else to do with friends who either live far away or when near ones come over.

I’ve also played it a lot; so far it has passed the “spend your money where you spend your time” rule. I love stories; video games are stories. I love puzzles; video games are also puzzles. Besides, I would rather play a beautiful game on my large-screen tv than something on my teeny-screen smart phone anyway.

Much Needed Beach Vacation

Right at the end of the month, after a very stressful few days where Depression began getting the best of me, I decided to book a beach vacation for June. I don’t typically take vacations, and have never taken one by myself. But the idea of sitting on a beach for three-days, not even leaving the hotel grounds, just sounds wonderful.

The cheapest I could find was a Florida beach for 3 days in June for $700 hotel + airfare. I was looking for a beach that was specifically within the US and for under $1K. I am taking another, more active, vacation later in the year so this will be more of a relaxing budgeted venture.

I love beaches. Even the ones here in the city without palm trees. But a vacation on a beach where someone brings you drinks with umbrellas and you have zero responsibilities – that just sounds perfect. I love the sound of the ocean. And walking along the shore. Hopefully being alone means there won’t be any pressure to “do something.” As far as the “spend your money where…” rule, getting out of the city to a tropical beach is a vacation I know I will enjoy. Last summer I went to the non-tropical beaches here all but two weekends. It certainly is a place where I spend my time.

Everything Else

The rest of the month was normal, considering. I bought a hamper for my apartment because I had been using mesh bags but that wasn’t nearly efficient enough. My total expenses for groceries + eating out + booze totaled $412. This is exactly my average for the combination. I spent $85 on books at MoCCA Fest this year and have no regrets about supporting indie artists. I’m still thinking of canceling Netflix. I may swap it out with a book service like Oyster or Scribd. Anyone familiar with these?

March Spending 2015

March Spending 2015

Income has been fairly consistent so far this year. Currently I am having a friend stay with me and am receiving a small amount of extra rent from them. All of this extra income is going directly into my savings, which I’m still trying to rebuild after last summer.

The largest expense this month was my cat Scarface’s bladder stone removal surgery. This was a planned expense. I charged the $950 total to my credit card for the rewards. Then will use my tax refund to pay it off in full for my next statement. An unexpected expense was clothing. I almost made it a full month without buying any clothes. Unfortunately, the zipper broke on a pair of jeans one day at work. So I had to make an emergency run to Century 21, near my work building, and purchased two pairs of jeans ($60 each) on my lunch break. This was my first time at the store and it really lived up to all the hype.

In March, I was very conscious of grocery, booze and eating out spending. All of those combined were $374 this month. Last month they were $377. Consistency! I am not limiting myself from eating out or going out to bars, but I am just staying a lot more conscious of it. I find that as long as I have groceries in the house, I tend not to eat out. And as long as I made dinner the night before, I can eat leftovers for lunch. So that solves two problems. And it’s been a long time since I ordered delivery. I’m fine with spending $400/month on this bulk category. Remember, this is just feeding myself.

I don’t often spend a lot of money on House items. Usually cleaning supplies fall under this category. But this month I bought a replacement cupcake carrier and a new towel rack. (It’s fancy and I love it). I also spent some money on gifts this month. I’m still on the fence about gifts for friends because, who needs more stuff? But I put thought into it and it was appreciated. Nothing overboard. And I am still sending birthday cards out to people I like. This was something I started last year and it has been well received. It’s also enjoyable for me because while putting the card together, I spend a few moments thinking about that person. And it feels nice to take that step back. I especially like the cards because it’s nice to reach out to someone without really feeling intrusive.

February Spending 2015

February Spending 2015


Income: Taxes

I received my taxes this month and they are being distributed between my cat’s upcoming surgery, my recent 36 hour trip to LA, and my savings account. I’m not particularly looking for steady side income but would like to maintain earning extra money at least once per quarter this year. I’m available for cat sitting in nyc. Or web analytics/seo optimization projects. Also, merit increases will be coming up at work soon so I’m being hopeful for that. Especially because my rent just increased in February (however, it will not increase again for two years).

hedwig on broadway john cameron mitchell

Spending: Going Out

I continued my hedonistic streak of going out with friends this month. It felt great to be social again. Although it seemed like I was fairly busy all month long, it turns out my booze and eating out spending were both less than $150 each. That actually works for me and is sustainable. It was great seeing friends so much and I would like to keep that up. Sometimes I get into hibernation mode and it’s not always a good thing.

I also spent some time this month getting out of the apartment but being alone. I saw two Broadway musicals and one major movie alone. It was quite nice. I didn’t want to be couped up in the apartment but also wanted the freedom to just spend the day how I wanted to. My entertainment spending was $150 this month, though most of that was for Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which I paid full price for.

Santa Monica Beach California
Santa Monica Beach

Vacation: 36 Hours in LA

There will be a full post on my overnight vacation to LA but here are the spending breakdowns:

  • Food: $95
  • Booze: $36
  • Flight: $297
  • Hotel (share): $50
  • Ferry to Catalina Island: $75
  • Car Service to/from JFK: $100

Total: $650

Sure, I could have saved a hundred bucks by taking the A train 2+ hours to JFK instead of a car service but, honestly, there was no way I was doing that to catch my 6a flight. I didn’t make any purchases at all on the trip; no souvenirs or gifts. The short trip helped in that way, we didn’t really have time to shop.

Scarface Cat
Scarface Cat

Looking Ahead

Well, I’ve seen every Broadway play I had a major interest in so I won’t be doing that spree again soon. I will begin limiting my social activities but only to find a balance between going out and not feeling guilty about going out. Or really focusing on only happy hours to wane that guilty feeling I get when it comes to spending money on myself, sometimes. I’m hopeful that I will get some sort of a raise this year and am not sure what I will do with that yet. Either increase my 401K percentage or increase the amount of my monthly automatic savings deposit. Although, realistically, I will have to start feeding my cats prescription cat food for a little while and at $40/case, that is another expense I need to budget for.