Mindful Spending FAIL!

The numbers are in for January and they aren’t pretty. Yearly expenses like insurance and winter taxes affected the total, but I got awfully sloppy when traveling or working long hours.

For those interested, here’s the list of expenses by category, rounded to the nearest whole dollar. Please note that I won’t include automatic paycheck deductions for retirement or health accounts, special-occasion gifts,  nor cash donations to fundraisers in my community.

House & Garden: $1992

  • $472 mortgage
  • $677 insurance
  • $575 winter property tax
  • $62 lawn & garden (In winter, this includes de-icer and birdseed.)
  • $168 maintenance (Mainly once-a-year purchases: furnace, water, vent, and refrigerator filters)
  • $35 fit-over-glasses safety goggles (no more scratched lenses while pruning!)
  • $3 splurge (A long throw pillow with four hand-sewn deer – neither “American rustic” nor “holiday” – which I had eyed for some time)

Utilities & Services: $238

  • $67 internet
  • $34 electricity
  • $53 natural gas
  • $84 phone (Whenever I feel nostalgic about $107 per year, I remind myself how spotty the service was.)

Automotive Expenses: $1185

  • $51 fuel (unusual amount of travel this month!)
  • $1134 insurance (The new no-fault insurance law  doesn’t activate until July.)

Food: $483

  • $210 dining out, including work cafeteria and vending machines
  • $273 groceries, which is higher than normal because I restocked canned and frozen food

Clothing: $221

New sweaters replaced too-big ones. Then the buckle of my only leather belt, which was less than a year old, came apart.  The splurge was a gray-and-black Steve Madden cape, which I often wear to work, for less than $10 at the Salvation Army store.

Entertainment: $30

  • $23 used books
  • $7 newspaper subscription

Work-related Expenses: $292

  • $160 renewal of 5-year teaching certification
  • $99 union dues
  • $33 student supplies

Miscellaneous: $102

  • $9 vitamins
  • $7 writing supplies
  • $86 tent and inflatable mattress

Grand Total: $4543

Ouch! If I spent this amount every month, I’d go broke. The obvious area for improvement is food; I can prepare on-the-go meals and beverages. I need clothes for warmer weather, but those are easier to find at resale and charity shops.


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