The Mindful Hustle

thoughtfully, reluctantly adults.

Category: Accountability Report

results from no spend

As you know, I’m on a mission to improve my spending. I got my credit score checked the other day and realized that something had to change! Plus, I want to save up some money so I can maybe go traveling, or put down a payment on a house. If you’re not sure what your credit score is, you can look into how to get credit cards with no credit. If you don’t do it soon, you’ll find yourself unable to make big purchases because there’s no proof of you being reliable with your money.

One thing I wanted to try to improve my spending so to just not spend anything and we’re well into June and that means No Spend May is over! How’d it go? Not bad at all. Did I adhere to all of my rules perfectly? You be the judge.

Category April May
Home $975.00 $1,023.78
Food & Dining $873.26 $540.00
Bills & Utilities $192.15 $301.46
Auto & Transport $425.91 $274.03
Pets $138.72 $250.62
Health & Fitness $57.08 $157.00
Gifts & Donations $0.00 $92.78
Entertainment $64.42 $32.42
Fees & Charges $0.00 $23.75
Education $0.00 $18.50
Personal Care $0.00 $16.91
Business Services $91.21 $11.69
Shopping $350.00 $0.00
Travel $130.99 $0.00
Total $3,298.74 $2,742.94

Let’s break it down.

Home: Rent + supplies like light bulbs, trash bags, and sponges.

Food and dining: As soon as I said, “I won’t go out to eat unless a friend invites me” it seemed like my phone started blowing up with invitations. I guess the recent turn in our weather for the better is to blame. Damn you sun shine!

Category Spending
Groceries $436.67
Restaurants $67.92
Fast Food $25.37
Alcohol & Bars $11.00
Total $540.96

I dined out with friends a few times. As I’m still (relatively) new in town, solidifying friendships is important to me, hence the exception. In general we went out cheap including a CHICKEN AND WAFFLES BUFFET. I repeat: A CHICKEN AND WAFFLES BUFFET. The buffet was free with purchase of one drink. I decided it was worth it to break my No Booze rule since the net result was cheaper than buying dinner would have been. And I promise the buffet was not as sheisty as it sounds.

A Confession of Sorts: There is a grey area on my eating out rule. My boyfriend took me out to eat 3 times. He was not intended as part of my “only eat out with friends” exception but he’s not participating in No Spend May. One of our hobbies is trying new restaurants. The boyfriend workaround felt a leeeettle like cheating but it was always his idea and he picked up the bill every time.

Bills and utilities: Credit card payment + tax bill + phone bill, to which I’m looking at finding a cheaper utility provider with a comparison site like Utility Bidder so I can cut a little bit of expenditure each month that way, saving is saving!

Auto and transport: Insurance, a few day passes on the light rail, and gas.

Pets: Even higher than originally anticipated because Gizmo developed a cough that would not stop so we were at the vet twice. Thank goodness the antibiotics seem to have done the trick and we likely won’t have to go back again. This also includes litter and food.

Health and fitness: Slightly inflated because I purchased a $90 10-punch pass to the local pool. At the rate I’m going this will last me through July. Remaining costs are co-pays and medicine.

Gifts and Donation: Birthday month for a few close friends, includes cost of gifts and shipping.

Entertainment: Netflix and HBO Now

Fees and charges: Freaking Bank of America makes it damn near impossible to figure out how to set up your account on autopay. I was late paying my credit card because I thought it was set up on autopay. Turns out it wasn’t.

Education: Needed an official copy of my transcripts sent out. One time weirdo charge.

Personal Care: I signed up for Dollar Shave Club. After pricing it out it’s cheaper than buying cartridges at Target. Bought some sunscreen too.

Business Services: Dry cleaning

Shopping (think clothes and shoes): NONE. I may extend this ban all through summer since my clothing budget is particularly overblown.

Travel: None.

Difference between expenses last month and this month: $555.80. Not as much as I was hoping for but still an improvement!

Biggest Challenges: Walking into Target and STICKING TO THE LIST. Having a credit card at Target makes me more inclined to shop there to take advantage of the 5% discount through the card. I am considering closing that credit card altogether to avoid the trap. But that’s a whole post on it’s own.

Every other time I felt challenged revolved around food. Always packing my lunch for work was a struggle and whenever I did not have a meal planned for dinner it was so tempting run out. Eating out is definitely a crutch for the poor planner. This No Spend month really made me focus on planning or pay the consequences.

All in all it was a successful month that helped me take notice of my spending habits. So much so that I plan to continue utilizing the rules I set for myself going forward, on a slightly pared down scale which I’ll detail in another post. If you’re having trouble sticking to a budget or are just plain curious where all your money goes, I highly recommend challenging yourself to a no spend month.

Month of April: Where did my money go?

As I mentioned in my No Spend post, I recently took a microscope to my finances. Below is a summary of my spending from April and subdivided in to categories with help from (No that’s not and ad for Mint, I just like them!)

Let the public shaming begin!

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In and Out Report: April

The in and out report is an accountability tally of allllll the things I’ve brought into my lil one bedroom apartment and conversely, a list of all the things I took out. ┬áMy goal is to net 0 or better yet, export more than I import.

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