Ah, sweet July. She starts out with a bang (ha) and ends with me whimpering about how much money I spent this month. Truthfully, this has been one of the spendiest months I’ve had, ever. This was a month of wins and losses, of frugality and opulence. This month was a learning experience because it’s the first full month I’ve tracked all of my income and expenses. I’m growing up. It was a pretty average month for me in terms of spending (with the exception of rent, groceries, and a gym membership which I don’t pay for during the school year). Enjoy, financial voyeurs.
Man, paying rent SUCKS. This is the first time in my life that my living situation has not been completely subsidized by either my parents or assorted scholarships. I currently rent a bedroom and bathroom in a shared apartment in Davis, CA. Although this number feels depressingly large to me, it is about half the average price of a single room with a private bathroom in Davis. This little eight-week detour into the life of paying for somewhere to live has highlighted the importance of things like house-hacking, which I intend to pursue through grad school and throughout my life wherever possible.
I thought this number was a mistake when I summed the category on my excel sheet because I’ve only paid for two meals in a restaurant this month, which I think is reasonable. But the cafés. Oh God, the cafés. This terrible habit is a vestige of my time in Morocco where café culture is alive and well. And much cheaper. I don’t pay for the tea- I know I’m perfectly capable of making my own- I pay for the experience of sitting in a café. Almost half of the cash spent in this category went to my café habit. This was eye opening for me and will serve as food for thought moving forward. Luckily, I don’t frequent cafés when I am at school because there are plenty of free study spaces on campus and Glassboro has a serious shortage of cute, bougie cafés.
I cook the vast majority of my meals at home, which I know is healthier and more cost effective. According to the USDA food expenditure data, I fit into the “moderate” category of grocery spending for a single adult female. Not terrible, but I’m not here to be average. I value tasty and healthful foods, and I’m honestly at a bit of a loss as to how to parse this category down more. I know it’s possible and that many people eat well on much less than I do, but I already shop at a bargain grocery store, shopping for mostly whole foods and only buying fruit if it is on sale. I’m going to keep researching and consulting the Frugal Gods, but if anyone has any tips please let me know. Once again, I don’t pay for my food when I am at school with that good good RA stipend and meal plan.
Jesus Christ. For as much as was spent in this category, you would think I’d look better. Just kidding. While I’m at Davis, I went ahead and got a gym membership at the rec center on campus. This runs $50 a month at the university rate which for as nice as the facility is is not terrible. I know, I know. There’s plenty of workouts you can do without a gym, but I find that having a designated place for me to go and workout helps me a lot in sticking to a fitness routine. Also, during the off-season for hockey we do have a detailed lifting and conditioning regimen which requires access to dumbbells, racks, and other typical gym fare. However, I have gained a new appreciation for the free gyms I have access to back at school and can’t wait to get back to my free fitness routine.
Yep, I bought a Davis t-shirt and a poster for my apartment back at school. Hear me out though because that Davis t-shirt is cute as heck and it’s a youth size, so I got a hella good price on it. Overall, I know a lot of people shop way more than I do, and under $20 is not bad for a whole month.
Cheers to free college, kids!
This includes my New York Times subscription and my Spotify subscription. The NYT subscription, though it served me well, is now retired. This category will likely be obsolete come September when my no spend year begins and Spotify is laid to rest as well.
This category deserves an itemized breakdown because it would be too easy just to shove dumb purchases into the “miscellaneous” category to avoid airing my dirty laundry. Here goes:
Round trip travel to and from San Francisco: $27.00
I’m actually proud of this expense, because I did a lot of optimizing here. I was able to take the Berkeley Bus service for Davis students for $12 each way then use public transportation to navigate into the city and visit some old friends. I had a tremendous time and it was well worth the minimal expense for a super fun weekend.
Rug on Amazon Prime Day: $62.55
Since I’m an RA this upcoming year, I am lucky enough to have my own apartment! I have most of what I need after having lived in dorms the last 5 years, but since I’m living in the lap of luxury now, I figured I might as well have a rug like a real adult. If you could see the carpets in this apartment you would understand. Big rugs are expensive, so I shopped around for a few months and jumped on this sale when I saw it. I’m thrilled with this purchase and I think it’s gonna look great in the room.
Assorted SF expenses: $20.00
This was mostly public transportation expenses in SF.
Bike tire repair: $24.62
On my way to work I heard the faithful clunking along that only accompanies a flat tire. I sighed and sulked to the nearest bike repair shop and asked for help. It was determined that not only the tube was destroyed, but the sidewall on the tire had failed as well and both would need to be replaced. Luckily, my research advisor whose bike I’m borrowing kindly agreed to split the expense.
Yup, I got my first tattoo. And wrote a blog post about it!
Blog Expenses: $60
You’re welcome. Now you get to enjoy our fabulous content on our fabulous custom domain (which we own!).
Tedx Conference Fees: $25
Next year I am serving as the AVP of Technology and Integration for my university’s inaugural Tedx conference. This fee (which I’m not thrilled about) will cover a weekend bonding event in Philly or DC and a custom Patagonia pullover. I will finally look like the Silicon Valley tech exec I never dreamed of being. Good value for cost, but not a good cost for my values.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: science pays. This is a very cushy internship and as such I get paid more than I probably should to pipet and do data analysis for 8 weeks. As I told one of my professors back at school: this beats the hell out of working in a deli.
Net Cash Flow: +$833.32
Total Savings: $5,632.39
Roth IRA Value: $3,102
Total Net Worth: $8,734.39
Percent Savings: 39%