Defining expenses

friday

This was Friday’s outfit. It was a bit warm and this polyester shirt works really well for that in-between weather temperature range. I need a jacket for going outside, but inside I’m fine with just this. It’s another reminder that not all of my fast-fashion buys are bad things as long as I keep using them and this shirt has stood the test of time. I’ve had it for round 7 years I think.

I looked at the purchases I’ve made thus far this month and the amount is shocking. I’m nearly at $300, which is the limit I set for myself per month of discretionary shopping. What have I bought?

  • 1 gift for a friend
  • 3 items from Sephora (replenishment hair pomade, replenishment blush, new eye brow brush/razor – all of these were things I needed to replace/replenish because I use them regularly)
  • 1 affogato
  • another affogato and bag of coffee so I can make some at home
  • 1 Nintendo amiibo (another gift – for Z – not necessary but fun) to use for playing Zelda
  • 2 bags of hot chocolate (these were expensive, but so worth it – it’s like drinking molten dark chocolate bars)
  • haircut
  • Saturday brunch with Z

So here is where I’m starting to get fuzzy with what I need to consider an “expense”.

Do I count the haircut, the gift for my friend, and the Sephora items as discretionary spending? If not, then I’m still well within my range. However, it is extra spending I hadn’t anticipated because it happens infrequently and isn’t budgeted into my monthly expenses. Does that mean I need to up my monthly expenses by another $100 or so to include all these “oh yeah, I forgot I need to get that” sort of spending. It’s stuff I need and use, but not all the time. With beauty products, it’s a total crap shoot because I only buy that sort of stuff maybe every 3 or 6 months (or longer), depending on the item.

I suppose looking at that list and seeing that it all only cost $300 really isn’t that bad, but again adding up all those little things made me realize how quickly I can spend money without thinking about it.

How do you treat those random-but-necessary purchases in your spending? Chalk it up to extra spending that month? Be conscious of that spending so you spend less discretionary? Throw it into your budget and that gives you more of a buffer each month you don’t buy those items? Take the total cost of what you need (roughly) and then divide it out by 12 so you have that amount “counted for” in your monthly budgeting (or however you do it)?

I also got my raise this month, so my budget needs to be re-assessed for figuring out how much more I can save each month.

flowers

These were my Valentine Day flowers I found on my desk when I got home. I don’t like red roses so Z has always gotten me ones in the colors I like for roses: orange, lavender or some mix of orange-yellow or pink-white.

I’ve been lusting over these two pairs of pants. Both are expensive. The first is navy wool pants from La Garconne. I don’t need another pair of wool navy pants, but these look so nice and casual-ish. The second pair is linen by Pas de Calais (sold at La Garconne) and they are twice as much as the first pair. I want the linen pair more. I feel like they would be a great alternative (dependent upon weather) to jeans for a regular pair of pants to wear. I’m still kinda considering the ES Clyde work pant as well.

Since the very end of December I’ve been doing much better with keeping my workout routine. I’ve not been perfect, but definitely a lot better. As a result, I’ve started to see quite a bit of muscle development in areas I had no idea I could have such strong muscles. Due to the boot, I’m restricted to mostly upper body and core strength. My arms feel…. meaty now. They are much more muscular than they used to be. Even my forearms are stronger.

As of January 1st I could do 8 chin ups and 3 pull ups. As of Friday, February 16th, I am up to 5 pull ups and 13 chin ups. My bench press weight has gone up by 20 lbs (was 30, now at 50 and stalling bad there) and my overhead press has gone up 10 lbs (stalling badly there too). I can’t seem to get many more in than 4 on overhead press and 5 on bench press, but I can do a few more reps at that amount than I used to. I still hate body rows and haven’t made much improvement there. My push ups have gotten a lot better as well.

It’s very strange for me to have so much upper body strength now. My legs were always the strongest part of my body due to running and strength training. I feel slightly unbalanced now because my legs are so weak and my arms so strong.

 

Hodgepodge

Friday

Friday: Everlane long sleeve, Fantasy Linen tunic, Grana jeans.  I had to wear green to work on Friday (I technically didn’t have to, but I figured I’d at least look like I cared even though I didn’t – it’s better than not attempting to be a “team player” at all…. right?)

It was so incredibly dark Friday morning. I was surprised Z didn’t get up to exercise. He grumbled and hid under the covers. Walking downstairs felt more like 4 am than 7:30 am. Why so dark? Oh right, massive rain storm the entire day. Although I left early, I was still late to work because no one was capable of driving without hitting something. So many accidents all over the place.  Everyone grumbled about the rain. At least it’s not snow. Considering the time of year, this downpour would’ve equaled almost 3 feet of snow. I’ll take the rain, thanks.

I left work late and a coworker for second shift asked people where they lived so he could tell them if their routes were flooded. He and I live in the same direction and he shook his head, “No good, road closed at the overpass due to flooding.” UGH! Then I remembered I had to go buy cat food anyway, so taking a detour didn’t sound so bad. That was before I ended up sitting at the same light for 10 solid minutes because 5 cop cars, one fire truck and two ambulance cars (all staggered over the 10 minutes and 6 light changes) made moving impossible. I got to the vet half an hour later (it normally takes 10 minutes max) and then choked when I saw the bill: $125 for a case of prescription wet food and 17 lb bag of prescription dry food. Well that’s a big expenditure I wasn’t expecting this month. I blame Bento for this. I love the stupid, demonic cat, but he’s got urine crystals so he must have prescription food. And because Yuki would end up stealing his food (since it’s better quality) we feed it to both of them.  I shake my fists at why pets are so expensive and then stop myself: well, last least we don’t have kids to worry about. Correction: our pets ARE our kids.

The rain starts up again. I finally get home and hobble out to the car twice because I can’t carry all the items (work bags and cat food) and keep my balance on this boot at the same time. Half a minute later Z shows up. It’s nearly 6 pm and he orders Indian for us (Thank you Uber Eats! We can now get our beloved Indian food whenever we want!). Meanwhile, we grab beer, he snaps my outfit photo as I’m taking off my security badge and we melt onto the sofa. It’s been a long, draining week for both of us. Post dinner down time: 4 hours of Zelda.

study
My desk where I’m currently writing. I’ve got several papers I need to sort. I just got a Jury Duty summons *head*desk*.

I’ve been thinking so much about saving money. The freshness of the new year and determination keep me going right now. The only expense I’ve had all week is that cat food, but I always put it in context of what’s spent out of the month. I don’t spend much money at all during the week, but end up doing “chunk” expenses all in one go at one point during the month – usually weekends towards the end. So the cat food was a “chunk” expense I wasn’t expecting so soon. I also noticed utilities were taken out this week and the electric/gas was pretty high. That was expected due to the holidays and company.

My end goal is for my credit card bill to only reflect necessities for at least one month. I’m trying to zero it out of discretionary expenses. Then I’ll be able to better budget out my discretionary expenses each month and not let it get out of hand. All bills are directly taken out of my bank account and it’s easy to track them since I get email notices every month. I’ll admit the cat food is a necessity, but it was one I hadn’t even considered before now and need to budget for. The dry food will last upwards of 9 months, but the wet we buy every month. So it needs to go into the monthly bills section.

doll
Huge doll on my sofa in my study. This was on my Amazon wishlist for so long I forgot about it and then was shocked to get it for Christmas this year from my MIL. Isn’t it cute? The little green/beige pillow is full of pine needles and smells like a tree. 

I do have things I want. Items are in my Amazon wishlist for later. One will possibly be used for all outfit photos in the future. Not sure yet if I’ll do it, but the idea seems fun and a way to make the posts more entertaining – if only for myself. I’ll wait until I’m out of the boot before I get it. So I have something to look forward to and when that time comes around (2 months from now) if I still feel excited about it then I’ll purchase the item.

There’s also this site with all things gorgeous! Thanks to Talia I now have another site to obsessively swoon over and “window shop” (screen shop? is that better term for this?). I was good about only limiting myself to Totokaelo and Rosen (where I buy most of my Yohji stuff), but alas, now I have a new site love. Check the pretty:

 

blackblue
DYING! This outfit screams ME!
teal
Outfit color goals. Also, long cardigan goals. I love that teal color too.
whiteblack
Another straight up JEN OUTFIT. I could actually already pull this off with my Yohji pants, but I’d need a new top. I’m digging the gold shoes too.
silhouette
Silhouette goals. This is very Audrey Hepburn-ish I think. Not sure what I’d do about shoes though because I have hobbit toes and ballet flats really don’t work for me. 
Enzo
Avant-garde pant love. These are hella expensive.

 

A few financial thoughts

Part one of this holiday week is over. I knew I’d be too busy to post anything before, but things are starting to slow down and I can catch up on reading blogs and write a little more now.

We had a full house. My sister and brother-in-law came to visit from Scotland.  My parents also came up from Florida. My parents stayed at a hotel, but were at our house for most of the day while visiting. All of this started last Tuesday and today the last of the guests will be gone. My house has exploded and needs a thorough cleaning again. The cats got spoiled by all the attention, especially Yuki, who will curl up into any and every lap available. My fridge and pantry are full of foods we normally don’t eat, but will be eaten nevertheless because I can’t stand wasting food – even if it was all bought by my parents. (Aside: It really freaks me out how much the rest of my family worships Wegmans.) Each day I was drinking wine, scotch, and/or mixed drinks of some sort and I feel like I need to take a very long break from alcohol. I doubt I will drink much of anything on New Year’s.

Why are holidays so exhausting!? I’m more sleep deprived than ever and I’ve needed a ridiculous amount of caffeine to get me through the work day.

Anyway, the point of this post was to touch on a subject that’s been hovering in my head for a couple months now.

When I started this new job I took a look at my finances and realized I spend too much money on things I don’t need and I could be saving a lot more. I then doubled the amount of money that goes directly into my savings account and double my buy-in amount for my Vanguard Roth IRA, which has done gangbusters this year. I also just got notice I can set up a 401K at my job as well, which I need to set up.

My husband and I sat down and went over our monthly expenses and figured out who owes what and if the general prices of expenses has gone up. He and I are the oddball couple who primarily do not have joined accounts. We do have a joint checking account, but it’s only for house related items (emergency/upkeep/improvement) and “us” things like vacations and anniversary stuffs. He has his own checking, savings, IRA, 401, etc… and I also have my own completely separate accounts. We are very autonomous financially and prefer to keep things separate. It makes it easier for us to track our own purchasing and due to the huge difference in our salaries (68% him/32% me) it makes it easier to be accountable for our own things. We figure out percentage-wise who owes what and divvy up the shared utilities (gas/electric/sewer/water/insurance), mortgage and groceries for the month. He generally pays the mortgage and insurance and I generally pay the monthly utilities and we alternate who buys groceries because we go shopping twice a month.

When we updated everything and I included my own expenses (savings/IRA/car loan/ anime subscriptions/ phone bill/ car gas) I still came up with a lot of extra money. Btw, I always count money put in my savings/IRA as part of my personal monthly expenses – those two accounts must be paid like a bill. This way I will always have money going into those accounts and anything outside of that is extra. I then wondered – where the hell is all that extra money going!? I know some months the bills run more than others – like right now gas is up because we have a gas heater – but by law of averages I should still be seeing a general increase in my checking. However, I’m not, which means I’m spending more than I should be, which then offsets my averages and my checking goes down. I was shocked when I saw the amount that I general “waste” each month and realized I need to be more accountable.

We have several house projects we want to do, but don’t have nearly enough in the joint account for them. So part of my goal for this year is to curb the extra spending (once I figure out where it’s going) and start putting money into the joint account the same way I do my savings/IRA – treat it like a monthly expense that must be paid. Btw, after I tallied up all  my expenses I still had just a little less than half my monthly paycheck available to me. Goal: figure out where the hell I’m spending that much money and shut it down!