It’s been a while since I’ve given a thorough insight into my spending habits. That’s partially because it’s been a busy year. It’s partially because I got myself into a pretty spendy pattern of behavior. And it’s mainly because I wasn’t tracking my spending.
I was on vacation at the beginning of August and began to feel a bit sick about how little I knew about my spending. I set myself the goal of getting through the month by tracking every cent I spent. The mid-term goal was to use the impetus of that knowledge to begin pursuing a 40% savings program in September, October and November.
The win: I did track every cent I spent. I tried a bunch of apps, but settled on my tried and true ASIC Moneysmart TrackMySpend app. It may not be the prettiest, or the smoothest – in fact, it can be frustratingly clunky and visually quite average, but it is inherently simple to use and that is truly all I could ask for. I’ll save it for another post, but the discipline and learning from tracking my spending really comes from having to individually input each of the items every time I spend (or withholding spending to avoid the shame of inputting an item I didn’t want to show up at the end of the month), and this was the only app I found that met this simple goal with ease.
In the end, August became about two things: tracking every cent I spend, and re-building my sidehustle savings account. I’m proud to say I met both of those goals – and want to display my victory for you in glorious colour!
Behold, my August spending breakdown, in pie form:
Man that is pretty. It’s also a very eye-opening insight into my spending habits. The labels don’t capture all slices of the pie (despite my best efforts on Google Sheets), so for full disclosure, fees amounted to 0.6%, Uber 0.3%, parking 0.3%, doctor 1.4% and eating out 1.5%.
I’ve done some personal analysis of these figures:
- Rent is exceptionally high as we pay rent fortnightly, and August was one of those delightful months where there were three payments instead of two.
- I love clothes, and my eBay habit has become a little uncontrollable. Although I hadn’t realized quite how much these great deals online were taking up of my monthly spend.
- Cosmetics is outrageously high this month – thanks to replacing a broken perfume (and my expensive taste), and an exceptionally long layover in Dallas airport resulting in an accidental Mac foundation spree.
- There’s no fuel spend this month, thanks to mum and dad filling up my car before I arrived home in Perth on the 12th ❤ The very low transport costs are generally due to living in the inner city, and walking to work, a lifestyle for which I am extremely grateful.
- Event spend incorporated a ticket to a ball, raffle tickets at a quiz night, and tickets to that quiz night. It was a pretty darn fun month. There will need to be much more free fun nights from now on.
Basically what I learned in August is I spend to make myself feel better, and that typically results in me feeling more stressed or just generally worse. I also learned (for the one thousandth time) how much knowledge truly is power – just by being able to see regularly how much I am spending, and how much I don’t need to be spending, is an empowering reminder of my general financial position.
And now, to the more heart-warming statistics: the side hustle. This second half of 2017 is a lucrative time for earning money on the side – I’ve picked up two tutoring students of a weekend. I also have begun teaching at the university, which has given me a new lease on life, and love of the law. Total side hustle earnings were rounded out by a handful of Etsy sales, and cashing out some Swagbucks. In total, my sidehustle increased my total income for August by 11%, which I’m pretty thrilled with. The side hustle bank account is looking healthy again, and I’ve earmarked that money for the long list of wedding extravagances that I spend hours lusting after.
September will be the real test of my ability to commit to some pretty stringent living. I kicked it off in spectacularly inconsistent fashion by going to a ball and doing a wedding hair trial, as well as splurging on a bottle of Veuve to celebrate some huge life milestones of my very dear friends. All of this was fun, fabulous and (mostly) prepared for; but it is a long month, and there are a lot of shiny distractions waiting for me. I anticipate my key stumbling blocks to be eBay (clothing addiction), my 10 year high school reunion (how did that happen??) and a family weekend in Adelaide. In the end, the goal is to save 40% of my salaried income (side hustle is a bonus). Looking forward to updating you next month!