Buy Almost Nothing – January 2019

This year I’ve resolved to buy (almost) nothing. You might ask – why not go all the way? Why not actually buy nothing? Well first, because I live on-the-grid, I go to dinner with friends, I have to maintain my work wardrobe, and sometimes I just want to treat myself.

So far, I’m doing pretty good. I’ve bought almost nothing. Except those few pesky things I really didn’t budget for, but that I couldn’t not pay. One morning I spent almost a thousand dollars before I even left the house: $649.75 for my CSAE Membership (which I must maintain in order to keep a designation I worked for 2.5 years to earn), and $240.00 to renew my license sticker for two years – I bought them online, they were unavoidable.

I also had a few smaller expenses that I wasn’t quite expecting – I spent $79.08 for two bottles of turmeric tablets at GNC, last year I was experiencing sciatica-like pains and one pill a day has kept me moving pain-free for almost a year, so on balance this is a necessity (all be it, one I forgot to budget); and I spent $15 on postage to send some important legal documents to My Parents’ lawyer.

TOTAL Unbudgeted Expenses: $983.83

For every other line of my budget I was on or under budget, except parking (my father is in the hospital and this was just one of those months where I ran out of days – twice). I spent zero dollars on clothing, and sadly I also failed to use the $50 I had budgeted for charitable donations, however I do intend to carry over the donation budget.

I spent less than a 3rd of my gas budget, although I’m running near empty (not because I didn’t want to spend the money, but because its so cold I didn’t want to stand outside and pump gas); and while my takeout/delivery budget was $8 over, I was significantly under on both my meals out and alcohol budgets. I can’t say that this is a reflection of healthier living, but I can say that I am keeping to my “no drinking on ‘school nights’” rule.

As February begins, I’m hoping to keep my spending low in the areas I’ve already got under control, I’m not expecting any large unbudgeted amounts, and I’m working on the areas where I went over-budget last month – even when it was only by $10 dollars. While one of my related goals is to trade, swap and borrow some items, I will be treating myself to the 5 books on the Canada Reads Short-List.

Are you tracking your spending? Do you know where your money goes? I’m using a three worksheet excel file to keep track of my money this year. Sheet one is the full year budget with actuals; sheet two is monthly budgets, and sheet three is a spending log so that I can really see every item going into the buckets. You don’t need something complicated – mine took about 30 minutes to set-up and takes about 10 minutes a week to keep up-to-date – you just need something that will work for you.

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