Shocking! I definitely lived up to my moniker this month. The Fake Cheap indeed.
So here is how I decided to do this, hopefully this gets everyone’s approval. I decided to only publish my “optional spending”. Please note I will be releasing a full budget in the future. In this post, I am not including my fixed monthly expenses such as mortgage and insurances or my variable monthly expenses such as my power bill. I am including spending on gas, groceries and other discretionary items as described below. Please also note that my wife’s discretionary expenses are not included, I want to be clear that she did not pay for items for me, just so I could cheat here, nor did she buy any groceries or gas.
I’ll start with the big items, which are also somewhat variable:
Groceries – $502 I’ve included things like diapers and baby formula here, this would also include cleaning products, cat food and litter, and toiletries.
Gas – $ 209 I filled the tank 4 times in Jan. Normally a tank lasts me about 10 days. I had to make a few extra “long” distance trips this month, related to the hospital expense details below.
Dentist – $65 – Two trips to the dentist! One trip was a semi urgent chipped tooth repair, and the other was my usual 6 month cleaning and inspection. Note I’ve only included what was not covered by my dental plan.
Pharmacy – $26 – This was all baby related medications.
Canadian Tire – $20 I admit, I have no idea what this purchase was, even though I tried to update my spending details weekly.
Car Repair – $100 I included the $9 bottle of oil I bought as well. Here for further details on this.
Sports Fee – $40 It just so happens that a good chunk of my fee was due in Jan.
Bird Seed – $23 Yes, I still have debt and I still choose to finance bird seed. What do I mean finance? Why didn’t I buy this with my debit card? Well, I did. Stay tuned if you are baffled by this. This is an expense that crops up about every 10-14 months, again it happened to fall in Jan.
Lotto $20 – This is my work lotto pool. It is the only lotto I play aside from the 2 or 3 scratch tickets I buy per year and the annual $20 trip to the casino. Again this fee just happened to be due in Jan. I do admit, I’m not happy paying this one.
Alcohol – $27 – Man, I went all out this month with the suds, very unusual for me, and it has all been drank!
Large take out meal $57 – I splurged and bought us and a few other family members Chinese, as it was a gathering of sorts before am upcoming hospital procedure for one of the family.
Hospital parking $5 – 2 visits to see the affected family member in the hospital. Note this is also the reason for the increased gas use. 2 trips to the hospital and a few visits to the home of the family member.
Coffee (take out style) -$19 most of this was from my preferred McDonald’s coffee, with the occasional Timmy’s thrown in. I will also add that I redeemed 5 free coffees this month as well.
Take out work lunches – $15 I had lunch out 4 times at work in Jan. Only 1 of these was a single meal above $4.
Take out meals at home – $28 – Many thanks to Subway and their $3 6 inch turkey sub, the wife and I ate a semi luxurious take out supper for $6 plus tax three times. Also one meal where I “splurged” and went for the $6 foot-long turkey.
Randoms: Total $25 – $10 – I chipped in this money for pizza while watching a football game with friends. And $15 in gifts: one for a coworker who was moving on, and the other for a present for the guest of honor at a birthday party I attended.
Grand Total -$1,077
Now the big question? What could I alter in my monthly expenses listed above? Those tactical changes are below:
Groceries – I admit we aren’t great a maximizing the food we have, often forgetting about things and having waste to throw out. But remember, I am great at saving on “big ticket” grocery items. So I believe we could easily cut back about 10% here. I think we are doing ok for 2 adults, a baby and a cat. What do you think?
Gas – not much I can do here. I already drive a fairly fuel efficient vehicle, and drive smartly. I am looking a bit into car pooling, since I do have a longer commute, however my flexible work schedule makes this a bit tricky (you would think that would make it easier wouldn’t you?).
Lotto – I’m going to look into halving this amount by seeing if someone else in our pool wants to go in half shares with me.
Alcohol – I would say the above amount is twice as much as I would normally spend. So shouldn’t be an issue to reduce this.
Large take out meal – these definitely don’t happen each month, I say we do a $50 take out meal once every two or three months. These are normally reserved for special occasions, such as anniversaries. Although often when we choose where we want to experience fine dining for these occasions, we do often opt for a place where our meal will cost under $50. Why? Because that is where we enjoy eating. The price tag of the meal has very little to do with your experience I find.
Hospital parking – not planning on any more of these expense in the near future, barring any sort of accident of course.
Coffee – I plan to make solid gains in this area, but not by decreasing my coffee intake, that would just be silly. I was recently gifted reusable coffee pods. Call them K-cups, but you fill them with your own coffee, rinse ’em and reuse ’em. I plan on bringing a bag of my own preferred coffee brand, and enjoying this at work. I will post the financial break down on the savings of course.
Take out work lunches – I’m comfortable with a monthly budget of $15 for work lunches. I know some who have this as a near DAILY work lunch budget. Just. Plain. Crazy.
Take out meals at home – I would say this would fall in line with the usual amount, and again I’m comfortable in the $30 range for take out meals while at home.