Author Topic: Hella cheap-ass May!  (Read 17769 times)

westtoeast

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #100 on: May 14, 2017, 09:42:00 AM »
Ok, Week One recap time! I am not including rent, utilities, bus pass or student loan payments in these numbers so that I can get a clear view of just my flexible spending.

May 1: $10 (Udemy course on super sale-- to help with my freelancing writing)
May 2: $2.75 (Uber); $27 (Keds sneakers)
May 3: $12 (Uber); $75 (groceries); $20 (ingredients for b-day cake for friend w/ gluten and dairy allergies)
May 4: $92 (language guide, travel guide, maps, travel cooking pot, face serum) FROM TRAVEL FUND, NOT MONTHLY SPEND
May 5: $20 (pizza party I owed one of the student clubs I run)
May 6: 0
May 7 (anticipated): 0

Current Total: $140
Goal: $400 ($260 remaining)

Week Two Recap! Pretty spendy.

May 8: $10 (b-day gift)
May 9: $20 (Uber to doctor appointment-- no choice due to time constraints)
May 10: $5 (Uber to art class-- again got held up at work and had to Uber to make it there)
May 11: $5 (getting to tutoring client); $8 (food out on my way to tutoring-- time got changed so I was unprepared with food from home); $4.50 (reloaded train pass)
May 12: $50 (groceries)
May 13: $7 (sunscreen-- I won't feel guilty for this one, it's a priority); $38 (my share of AirBnb cost for Memorial Day trip)
May 14: $0 (using a free movie pass to go to the movies-- will pop & bring popcorn from home!)

Cheap-Ass Wins: Redeemed travel credit card points for $30 rebate. Found one of my hotel bookings on hotels.com for Japan trip had dropped in price, so I rebooked under cheaper price. This saved $47! I also returned a dress and skirt that I bought last month.

Cheap-Ass Fails: My big problem is the darn Uber expenses. My art class and tutoring gig are over now so I won't have the pressure of quickly getting to those events from work, so that will help. I will always need to Uber to my doctor appointments because the office closes early in the day and I can't leave work until a certain time. I also really want to shave $10 off my grocery bill each week.

Current Total: $287
Goal: $400 ($113 remaining)


Well Respected Man

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #101 on: May 14, 2017, 07:38:52 PM »
We had a family emergency that will take up a considerable amount of time, as well as likely large medical bills. DW suggested buying grillable food, which I bought a ton of. I guess I'm seeing how we used to spend so much on groceries. We will be over my $500 goal, but should be under our $775 goal from the grocery thread.

Next up is getting rid of the large-sounding animal that has taken up residence in our house. I salvaged some hardware cloth and wood to patch things up, but now just waiting for it to exit, so I can cover the hole.

I did at least cancel our son's individual Spotify account before the May payment, and bring him under the family plan.

afuera

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #102 on: May 15, 2017, 08:17:27 AM »
5/1: Mortgage (PITI)-$2041, Water Bill (April Usage)-$69.05,
5/2: Gas Bill (April Usage)- $26.16, Auto Ins.-$69.23
5/5: $7.23-Chipotle (My sister is an AU on my card and uses it every now and then), $19.31-Beer for a Cinco De Mayo party we were invited to.
5/6: $9.96-Groceries (Bacon, Eggs, Creamer and Potatoes)
5/7: $75.62-Groceries (Stocked up on 2.97/lb sirloin, stocked up on a few ingredients for skillet meals), $56.09-Gas for both cars.
5/9: $51.57-Walmart & Amazon (cat food, cat litter, & a cheesecloth for cauliflower pizza)
5/12: $62.94-Van Pool monthly payment, $427.00-AC refrigerant + service visit
5/13: $41.11-Total Wine (whiskey for DH and margaritas for me, 1/2 of each bottle still left for next weekend).
5/14: $17.06-Groceries (incl. 6 pack to share with some friends who brought their doggo over for a playdate).
Total: $2973.76 (2532.03 if you don't count the principal part of our mortgage).

What is it with May and all the unexpected expenses?  AC was completely out of refrigerant which kept tripping the low pressure safety interlock which caused our condenser to cycle on/off every 30 seconds.  This will cause our electricity bill to be higher this month.  We refilled the refrigerant (4.15 lbs @$80/lb) and did a leak check.  There is a small leak but the refrigerant we put in should last at least a year.  Frustrating.

Mongoose

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #103 on: May 15, 2017, 09:01:53 AM »
Got stupid busy and missed updating. I did keep my receipts though...

I've added...gulp $282.36 in groceries for a month total of...$542.36.

Still under budget but we are completely out of a few things we use regularly. I'm going to come in near or over our budgeted amount of $700. Some of this includes filling the freezer with items that went on a good sale that we will use over the next several months. And we will end the month with a fully stocked larder.

Plus, our lawnmower met its demise... I guess I should be happy that we, as near as I can remember, got 15+ years out of it...replacement for one strong enough to tackle our horrid hillside: $210 with a $30 rebate....so $180.

And we ate out twice this month: $86.23 for 2 meals. Ugh.

Lessons from not-so-cheap-ass-May:
1. We have our grocery budget set well to lean for our current meal selection. Need to work out ways to use less expensive ingredients that aren't repulsive to us. We are not fans of beans or lentils for instance.

2. The eating out happened because we got stuck in town later than anticipated and had nothing premade at home. So driving home to eat wasn't appealing because we were already hungry and would have to not only drive home but also cook once there. Better planning would help with this.

jane x

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #104 on: May 15, 2017, 10:05:29 AM »
joining in.  we are using up our savings on a car purchase plus funding the roth ira.  not touching our emer fund.  so we need to start building the savings back up.

Inaya

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #105 on: May 15, 2017, 11:56:26 AM »
Midmonth update instead of weekly because I've spent the last two weeks working on final projects for school.

Groceries: $144/150
Office food: $4/25
Starbucks: $10/10
Eating out/snacks: $36/30
Supplies: $0/20
Other: $73/110

Overall: $257/345

As predicted, farmers market opening threw my grocery spending way up. I spent $32 on mushrooms. And not even the fun kind. Also high spending eating out. Final projects meant I didn't have time to batch cook or really grocery shop, so I ended up eating out a couple of times. But the semester is over, and I have a month until my next class starts, so I can get back on track. I'll generally be happy if I stay under the "overall" number, even if the individual categories go over a bit.

snacky

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #106 on: May 16, 2017, 08:05:28 AM »

May 1: $1075 regular fixed expenses
May 2: $20 groceries and household items
May 3: $11.50 groceries
May 5: $20 groceries, $25 gas
May 6: $13 for fun
May 9: $50 for kid's school, $43 groceries.
May 11: $29 household stuff, $110 shoes. Impulse purchase. I suck.
May 12: $16 took kids to see guardians of the galaxy. So fun!
May 15: $80 groceries, $30 fun

$477 remaining.

This is my first month win my new, much higher fixed expenses. Fancy new house and all. I don't think that I can keep spending under $2k, but I will keep trying. 

horsepoor

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #107 on: May 16, 2017, 02:56:10 PM »
My horse is in the hospital.   She is going to be just fine, but my budget is fucked.

Mongoose

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #108 on: May 17, 2017, 07:55:16 AM »
My horse is in the hospital.   She is going to be just fine, but my budget is fucked.

Oh no. I'm so sorry to hear that. Glad she's going to be ok.

Mongoose

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #109 on: May 17, 2017, 08:01:36 AM »
I've added...gulp $282.36 in groceries for a month total of...$542.36.

$108.20 yesterday: grocery total 650.56.

I did get the staples I needed to fully restock and then some...because they keep and were on sale. The stores run out quickly on some of these items (inexpensive premade gluten free pizza crusts for example) so we sometimes run into supply problems.

I'll probably use the other $50 but our "month" is over the 24th so we should be on budget.

ElleFiji

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #110 on: May 17, 2017, 08:27:35 AM »

Yesterday I spent 1020+139 on rent and health insurance
Today I spent $19.30 on food. I also paid some bills, but that is last month's spending, and online money, so doesn't count.
Today I spent $6 on food. While terrible, May is still less spendy then the second half of April. Hoping to be at hella cheap by the end of the month.

$12 on food
And someone broke a $200 piece of equipment at work. Going in armed with tools Saturday morning. The tools can be used either to repair the equipment, or to bludgeon the someone.
May 5 $3 on food
May 6 $135 on food and party supplies. So much to carry. It is a party for 10, so in my culture, that means cooking and nibbles for 35, and included purchasing extra plastic ware to send home leftovers. Also stuff for loot bags. I love parties.
May 7 - taking 11 people bowling (one can't come to lunch). I booked it at half price, so $90.

Running total=1434 - already way above my monthly planned spending. $150 left in my monthly cushion
May 9 - $50 on my transit card = $1485. About to do laundry...and I need to load that card too. I'll do $25, bringing me to an exorbitant $1510.
$7 Thursday on witchy teas (but if I'd bought in bags, like I normally do, it would be $20 or more)
$7 on medical expenses today.
35 this weekend on groceries and greeting cards and walmart stuff
12 on and extra mother's day meal on Monday
10 on cravings at the grocery store yesterday.

afuera

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #111 on: May 19, 2017, 10:04:34 AM »
5/1: $2041-Mortgage (PITI), $69.05-Water Bill (April Usage).
5/2: $26.16-Gas Bill (April Usage), $69.23-Auto Ins.
5/5: $7.23-Chipotle (My sister is an AU on my card and uses it every now and then), $19.31-Beer for a Cinco De Mayo party we were invited to.
5/6: $9.96-Groceries (Bacon, Eggs, Creamer and Potatoes)
5/7: $75.62-Groceries (Stocked up on 2.97/lb sirloin, stocked up on a few ingredients for skillet meals), $56.09-Gas for both cars.
5/9: $51.57-Walmart & Amazon (cat food, cat litter, & a cheesecloth for cauliflower pizza)
5/12: $62.94-Van Pool monthly payment, $427.00-AC refrigerant + service visit
5/13: $41.11-Total Wine (whiskey for DH and margaritas for me, 1/2 of each bottle still left for next weekend).
5/14: $17.06-Groceries (incl. 6 pack to share with some friends who brought their doggo over for a playdate).

5/15: $34.05-Gas for Hubs' car.
5/17: $23.43-Gas for my car, $61.97-Comcast internet, $43.04-Groceries at Aldi (which included wine).
5/18: $25.99-Walgreens (Nexium for Hubs), $37.35-Margaritas at our favorite taco shop (celebrating a surprise promotion I got at work :) No Ragrets!)

Total: $3199.59 (2757.86 if you don't count the principal part of our mortgage).

Eeek! We spent $225 just in the last work week.  Kind of feeling like a little frugal failure. Went out to a restaurant for the first time this month to celebrate a promotion. We rode our bikes over and brought the doggo and hung out on the patio for ~4 hours.  It was lovely and a special occasion so I'm happy with that spending.  Logging everything we are spending like this really makes me realize how much we spend on alcohol (mostly Hubs).  I knew we spent a lot but didn't really realize how frequently but Hubs loves alcohol so I may just let it be.

My coworker brought me ~10 lbs of squash, tomatoes and zucchini from his garden because he can't eat it all so we are swimming in fresh veggies right now.  Hubs also brought home an entire tray of pulled pork that was leftover from a work party.  I really don't see how we will need to go grocery shopping again any time soon.

I have a soccer tournament this weekend where I will make $330 but its 1.5 hours away so a little more spending on gas than usual.  I will make sure I bring plenty of food and water so I'm not tempted to grab something during the day.  I really need to figure out how to deduct mileage for the reffing I do once tax time comes around.  The games are usually within biking distance but every now and then there is one realllly far.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #112 on: May 21, 2017, 08:13:45 PM »
01 - 07 MAY
Rent:            $1075
Auto Insurance:  $217.98
Coffee:          $4.35
Gift:            $60.00
Groceries:       $86.40
Patreon:         $76.92
Professional:    $71.05 
Comcast:         $39.99
====================
Week Total       $1631.69

08 - 14 MAY
Audible:         $16.46
Auto:            $208.14
Coffee:          $3.30
Eating Out:      $19.99
Groceries:       $26.68
Household:       $3.29
Professional:    $41.80
====================
Week Total       $319.66


15 - 21 MAY
Gym:             $53.95
Gift:            $100.70
Eating Out:      $11.75
Travel:          $52.76
====================
Week Total       $219.16




May's Total (so far): $2170.51

The month is starting to look much more 'average' than 'hella cheap-ass'. A few indulgences have crept in, but I've I've also cash flowed $330 of one-off expenses, and kept strict discipline during 7 days of travel. Victory!

snacky

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #113 on: May 21, 2017, 09:09:14 PM »
I fell off the wagon. I can't track properly because my laptop isn't working, and I just let my spending go where it wanted. It wanted to go to the fair then pick up thai on the way home. My spending sucks. So I don't know how much I have spent and won't until the credit card bill comes. There will be much self-recrimination when I look at all the stupid little purchases.

Also I have some costs that I don't know if I include or not. Stuff for my rental house is obviously excluded from my personal spending, but what about what I'm spending to get the new house ready to hold students? I live here, but wouldn't be doing this work if not for the plan to rent to students. The line gets blurry.

I am a bad hella cheaper.

ElleFiji

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #114 on: May 21, 2017, 09:29:35 PM »
I just let my spending go where it wanted. It wanted to go to the fair then pick up thai on the way home.

I am a bad hella cheaper.
Your spending and I have a lot of similar feelings. My spending wanted to go to camping stores, and a few restaurant meals. It also wanted takeout for one tonight, but it was talked out of that...by promising that we can do that tomorrow if it's still greatly wanted.

As far as I can remember, I spent everything I've confessed to up thread, plus
$35 somewhere on something - medical impulse spending on Thursday. I didn't realize I was having medical impulse control issues until Friday morning (2 lottery tickets, chocolate, essential oils, a shaker bottle, lavender oil, 2 separate iced chocolate drinks)
$20 lunch Saturday
$18 lunch Sunday
$101 camping stuff Sunday (a good chunk will be reimbursed when we do our camping math
$14 groceries and beauty Sunday
And I committed to a race, which I have to register for in May, because the price goes up in June. $45, but I'll get a cool flashlight, food, and apparently a party. Possibly booze.

I spent a month's worth of flexy spending this week alone, on top of the rest of Hella-expensive may. Can we just rename the thread and call ourselves winners?

1814 so far for the month. Oh, and 2 teas out today, and a bubble tea yesterday. So... 1825.

westtoeast

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #115 on: May 22, 2017, 05:01:44 AM »
Ok, Week One recap time! I am not including rent, utilities, bus pass or student loan payments in these numbers so that I can get a clear view of just my flexible spending.

May 1: $10 (Udemy course on super sale-- to help with my freelancing writing)
May 2: $2.75 (Uber); $27 (Keds sneakers)
May 3: $12 (Uber); $75 (groceries); $20 (ingredients for b-day cake for friend w/ gluten and dairy allergies)
May 4: $92 (language guide, travel guide, maps, travel cooking pot, face serum) FROM TRAVEL FUND, NOT MONTHLY SPEND
May 5: $20 (pizza party I owed one of the student clubs I run)
May 6: 0
May 7 (anticipated): 0

Current Total: $140
Goal: $400 ($260 remaining)

May 8: $10 (b-day gift)
May 9: $20 (Uber to doctor appointment-- no choice due to time constraints)
May 10: $5 (Uber to art class-- again got held up at work and had to Uber to make it there)
May 11: $5 (getting to tutoring client); $8 (food out on my way to tutoring-- time got changed so I was unprepared with food from home); $4.50 (reloaded train pass)
May 12: $50 (groceries)
May 13: $7 (sunscreen-- I won't feel guilty for this one, it's a priority); $38 (my share of AirBnb cost for Memorial Day trip)
May 14: $0 (using a free movie pass to go to the movies-- will pop & bring popcorn from home!)

Current Total: $287
Goal: $400 ($113 remaining)

Week 3 Recap:
May 15: $15 (CVS-- what was this for??)
May 16: $10 (Uber-- bus didn't show up, panicked about being late so called Uber)
May 17: $15 (One of those thingies you hang around your neck for travel & an umbrella b/c I lost mine on the train)
May 18: $0
May 19: $45 (Trader Joe's groceries)
May 20: $10 (ingredients to cook dinner w/ friend); $5 (reloading train pass)
May 21 (things fall apart): $8 (ended up with no backbone in a used bookstore); $9 (failed to plan ahead and bought Chipotle for dinner-- the first time I've eaten there in 2 years)

Current Total: $404
Goal: $400 ($0 remaining)

Blah, I went over my goal. Sounds like I'm not the only one here. I wouldn't mind going over by a small amount so much if May wasn't such a darn long month. Next weekend I'm going on an overnight trip with SO for Memorial Day. We will try to be frugal but travel always leads to a little bit of spending even if it's just for snacks. Then on the 31st, I'm chaperoning my students to Washington DC. I will probably do extra grocery shopping so that I can bring lots of food with me.

I feel like I may need a new approach to these challenges because I always feel really bummed when I don't meet my goal (and unexpected spending just seems to pop up every month). Maybe in the future, I will just strive to spend less than the previous month so that over time the expenses are going down. I'm not sure.

Rosy

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #116 on: May 22, 2017, 07:36:08 PM »
Hello May budget buster - Monitor and computer died almost simultaneously. Monitor was about 12 years old and I hated the last, refurbished computer replacement which did not even have a slot for my camera chip, so good riddance.

Found the perfect computer on clearance plus extra savings for open box - over $150 in savings over the best price anywhere. Nice:)!, but we couldn't find/agree on a monitor for two days. I won that debate, we now have a 27in Asus IPS monitor, love that thing!
I admit, the monitor was not a mustachian purchase, but hey I use it for my side gigs and it was $20 off. We do not update often and I do enjoy techie stuff, so a little splurge on something you use and enjoy daily is fine as long as I don't have to go into debt over it.
Emergency slush fund to the rescue.

Other than that - smooth sailing, the food budget is still lower than expected and even with going out one day, we are still on track or rather under budget.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #117 on: May 22, 2017, 08:04:31 PM »
Sounds like we've all had similar Mays. $567 to doctors/labs, $111 to pharmacy, etc. This month is most certainly NOT hella cheap-ass.

centwise

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #118 on: May 22, 2017, 08:31:16 PM »
I'm in! Thanks for the thread. I had a spendy April! Groceries for holiday guests and restaurant meals with same; attended a pricy charitable event; bought shoes and a purse (practical ones, on sale, that will last a long time -- but still, $$$) and a whack of home maintenance. I'm planning to travel in July so it's time for Hella Cheap-Ass May and June!!

I haven't got much of a plan, other than trying to be focused and diligent, but here's what I have so far:
No restaurant meals
Eat what's in the house
     Food in the freezer, dried beans, home-made bread, etc.
Don't buy stuff!
   

Time for an update! I haven't been exactly living up to the hella-cheap-ass standard, but I'm grateful for the thread anyway, because I'm under budget overall, and have spent less than I would have without the thread. Details:

THE GOOD:

*I'm doing great with the eat-what's-in-the-house plan! only spent $180 out of a $400 grocery budget, so far in the first three weeks of May. I'm slowly clearing out the freezer and will do a much-needed defrost in a couple of weeks.

*A couple of shirts and socks have worn out but I am not replacing them. I have enough clothes.

THE BAD:

*Took the kids to a play and a movie, so I went way over budget on entertainment: spent $140 and the budget is $50. Yikes.

*Also spent $37 on restaurants: I was weak -- spent $20 on Indian take-out for the family last week, and $17 street food for the kids on theatre night. This is (so far) below my usual $50 budget, but I failed to achieve a zero-resto month that I had aspired to.

THE SUMMARY:

*All together it's not too bad: Have spent $2050 out of a $2500 budget (with nine days to go). Will try to reach the hella-cheap-ass standard for the last part of May.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 08:41:56 PM by centwise »

Trifele

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #119 on: May 23, 2017, 03:44:02 AM »
I fell off the wagon big time this month.  Twice I fell victim to the temptations of the garden center and bought plants I really don't need.   They are all food plants, but still.  I have no willpower at all when it comes to plants.  I just need to stay out of there. 

Will try to finish out the month strong tho.

Mongoose

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #120 on: May 23, 2017, 08:17:08 AM »
I've held the line since the last grocery shopping except DS did get a pair of shoes for summer ($19 at Target). Whew...we're making it in this month on budget, which given what May looks like for everyone around here, seems good. Mercifully, it has been cool so no AC and the electric bill savings covered the lawnmower replacement.

My "month" ends today so I'm declaring victory. Our third paycheck of the month is going to savings and sinking funds. Not what I'd hoped for but it was at least not an out of control disaster.

June anyone?

swick

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #121 on: May 23, 2017, 08:50:13 AM »
June anyone?

I've been following along but didn't commit to a "cheap" May but have found my sweet spot at "Conscious"

It seems like a lot of people are being derailed by big things and things that are "somewhat" out of their control. Because of  these things or the feeling like "well I've already blown it..." It leads to more spending and guilt and all the other crap that comes with it.

The thing with the "cheap" challenges long term is you do tend to (consciously or not) put off purchases that will have to be made at some point, or you deny spending that truly brings you joy, or you do the spending anyway and then feel bad about and spend time justifying it later. I found the first couple cheap challenges really useful for me, to examine and see my spending habits, but had to move over to conscious spending to go a level deeper.  It shifts it from "I can't spend because I'm trying to spend as little as possible"  to asking myself "Is this something I truly want to spend money on, and why" it causes more reflection and I learn more about myself and patterns in the process.


snacky

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #122 on: May 23, 2017, 09:57:21 AM »
Good points, Swick.

I have gone over things. Groceries and gas have been slightly less than average. Fun has cost about average, instead of the $0 I was hoping for. One $100 impulse purchase. $800 in house repair stuff that isn't part of monthly spending.

There is nothing extraordinary or out of control here, but a $2000 spending cap is not achievable. That cap worked in the old house when mortgage, taxes, and utilities were half of what they are here. I'll track for a few months and see what the new reasonable goal is. In the meantime I will stop feeling so bad about it.

Mongoose

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #123 on: May 23, 2017, 10:39:41 AM »
June anyone?

I've been following along but didn't commit to a "cheap" May but have found my sweet spot at "Conscious"

It seems like a lot of people are being derailed by big things and things that are "somewhat" out of their control. Because of  these things or the feeling like "well I've already blown it..." It leads to more spending and guilt and all the other crap that comes with it.

The thing with the "cheap" challenges long term is you do tend to (consciously or not) put off purchases that will have to be made at some point, or you deny spending that truly brings you joy, or you do the spending anyway and then feel bad about and spend time justifying it later. I found the first couple cheap challenges really useful for me, to examine and see my spending habits, but had to move over to conscious spending to go a level deeper.  It shifts it from "I can't spend because I'm trying to spend as little as possible"  to asking myself "Is this something I truly want to spend money on, and why" it causes more reflection and I learn more about myself and patterns in the process.

Ah, this is how I view the frugal challenge....more as a spending consciously aid than a don't spend any money and feel bad if you go over. There's always going to be some life happening in the budget. I'm still finding it helpful for dialing in spending towards the sweet spot where it isn't draconian austerity measures or a meh, it's just one thing (and one thing and one thing....). Probably because we're coming off a couple of years of relatively extreme austerity measures, I'm still experimenting with where the balance point for us is.

Inaya

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #124 on: May 23, 2017, 10:42:11 AM »
June anyone?

I've been following along but didn't commit to a "cheap" May but have found my sweet spot at "Conscious"

It seems like a lot of people are being derailed by big things and things that are "somewhat" out of their control. Because of  these things or the feeling like "well I've already blown it..." It leads to more spending and guilt and all the other crap that comes with it.

The thing with the "cheap" challenges long term is you do tend to (consciously or not) put off purchases that will have to be made at some point, or you deny spending that truly brings you joy, or you do the spending anyway and then feel bad about and spend time justifying it later. I found the first couple cheap challenges really useful for me, to examine and see my spending habits, but had to move over to conscious spending to go a level deeper.  It shifts it from "I can't spend because I'm trying to spend as little as possible"  to asking myself "Is this something I truly want to spend money on, and why" it causes more reflection and I learn more about myself and patterns in the process.
This is why I only pick a few specific spending categories. I don't count my monthly bills or emergency expenses for these challenges because I ultimately can't really control those (or if I can, I'm comfortable with where they are). So instead, I focus on spending that is 100% in my control--groceries, consumer goods, home supplies, eating out, etc.

ElleFiji

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #125 on: May 23, 2017, 12:51:44 PM »
$10 on sedatives.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #126 on: May 23, 2017, 12:52:22 PM »
$10 on sedatives.

The good kind???

ElleFiji

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #127 on: May 23, 2017, 12:54:06 PM »
$10 on sedatives.

The good kind???
I'm fully captivated by the nice ladies on the home shopping channel teaching me about the better brella. Someone should tell the bifl people how amazing this thing is

Sailor Sam

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #128 on: May 23, 2017, 12:56:51 PM »
$10 on sedatives.

The good kind???
I'm fully captivated by the nice ladies on the home shopping channel teaching me about the better brella. Someone should tell the bifl people how amazing this thing is

Roger. Understood.

jane x

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #129 on: May 23, 2017, 01:09:22 PM »
I was craving Mexican food.  Specifically enchiladas.  And my favorite little local place was closed for renovations.  Sad times.

So I took my butt to Costco and bought 2 rotisserie chickens (along with a bunch of other stuff) and then stopped by the local market for produce and enchilada makings.

Then I spent a few hours in the kitchen making:  a big pot of beans, a large batch of Spanish rice with lots of garlic and onions, and 3 dozen chicken enchiladas.  Enough food to last me a long time!  And everything freezes really well.  Cost was about $20, savings was about $200.  A plate of enchiladas at local place is $10 plus tip and taxes.  And my food is restaurant quality, if I do say so myself!  :)

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #130 on: May 24, 2017, 08:05:31 AM »
Spending so far:
Phone:13
Medical supplies:103-will be reimbursed from FSA
Printer ink:65- cheaper in bulk, should last a long time
Electricity-172- I have vampires, need to get around to slaying them with my kill a watt
Target-52 (got 64lbs of cat food-mega sale, 2 clearance baby sheets, loaf of bread, clearance donuts, some dog chews, and an expanding file folder)

=405

Also I paid the garbage bill for the year this month $371( pay 12 months, get 13th month free)- just going to count these things in the month they come up, there is always something like this

Upcoming Known Expenses:
Mortgage 1589 (542 principal, 718 interest, 329 tax and insurance)
Spousal mystery fund:1000- he gets 500 out of each paycheck - he buys most of our groceries, household supplies, parts, gas, and oil for the cars/mower, his phone bill, other odds and ends
Internet:57
Netflix:9

=2655

Total =3431 (2889 if I don't count mortgage principal)- and that's if I don't spend any more this month

I forgot to include health insurance in my spending: $274 for the month: Family of 3, we are on the top tier plan this year due to pregnancy. Not counting FSA contribution because I will count that as spending when I use it.

Half of the mortgage, health insurance, and spousal mystery fund got paid out of my paycheck yesterday: already counted.

Also I spent $10 yesterday on tomato and pepper seedlings (I am terrible at starting seeds). While I was there I resisted buying annual flowers and a new faucet.

Revised total = 3715 (3173 without mortgage principal): I look like a big spendypants compared to most of you.

Today 5/16: I  hit modify instead of quote by mistake, hope it is not confusing
Target : $14 after coupons and rebates  (ibotta, checkout 51, mobisave) - I got 16 rolls of brand name paper towels, 16 cans of beans,  16 single serve fruit cups, and one package of baby wipes

Aldi: $20-fruit, veg, eggs, bread

I am not really sure how to count rebate apps when I track spending. Mint logs it as income when I cash out, but I prefer to think of it as decreased spending, similar to using a coupon. My husband and I get rebates for each other all the time so that messes with the totals.

. This brings my monthly spend to 3749 (3207)

Update: have avoided spending so far. I did go ahead and pay my car insurance even though it is not due until next month, because I don't like to wait to pay things after I get the email. I get worried that I will forget. ($162 for six months).

I gave hubby an extra $100 because I worked 2 extra shifts this month and he stayed home with the kiddo. This might get invested but I will count it as spending since it is no longer in my control.

I succeeded in cleaning out the chest freezer!!!

Monthly total = 4011(3469).

5/26 spent $23 at Trader Joe's on the way to visit relatives: picnic food for us and got stepdad some of his favorite cookies. New total 4034 (3492)
« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 05:23:26 AM by MrsWolfeRN »

Kerowyn

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #131 on: May 24, 2017, 12:57:39 PM »
June anyone?

I was just poking my nose in here to see if anyone was talking about an Uber Frugal June. My husband and I are thinking about it... well, I suggested it, and he doesn't seem opposed ;)

I have plans (vague ones) for how to go about it with a little more planning than we did in January, and more hard numbers. In January I just wanted to see how little spending we could possibly do, but I think we do better with concrete goals. Also, our CSA (paid in February) starts in June, so hopefully we'll be able to get our food spending down significantly.

Dollar Slice

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #132 on: May 24, 2017, 01:43:25 PM »
I am definitely not doing cheap-ass June, it is my 40th birthday and I am splashing the fuck out. ;-)

May went a bit overbudget mostly because of gifts and donations, which I can't make myself feel THAT bad about. $25 to help a slight acquaintance with medical expenses after they were randomly robbed/attacked on the street. $25 to help a friend start up a kids' theater non-profit org. $125 on Mother's Day stuff including gift, card, chocolates and train tix. $85 for a surprise birthday gift for some close friends (gifts, chocolates, cards, int'l postage). I don't usually exchange significant gifts with friends, but it was a major milestone birthday and the person in question is in massive need of a pick-me-up after the truly difficult year they've had (major illness, job loss, etc.). More than happy to deduct that out of my savings rate.

Other than that the only really questionable purchase I made was an expensive concert ticket, but I am going to budget that retroactively out of birthday money.

In spite of going overbudget, it was a great savings month because I finally got access to a 401(k) and can save so much pre-tax! I'm having a hard time getting used to locking up all my savings, though. It used to be I'd have ~$500 a month pre-tax into the IRA and then the rest taxable, which is all easily accessible to me. Now I'm not putting anything into taxable savings, so if I go over budget, that comes out of existing savings instead of reducing the money going into savings. It's silly to be anxious about $100 when I have $55k accessible in taxable accounts, and money being fungible, but... I am. :-/

snacky

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #133 on: May 24, 2017, 06:21:58 PM »
Today my ladyparts were loudly demanding a burger, fries, and a shake. Instead I went to the grocery store and got a tiny steak, some chips and ice cream, along with some other stuff we needed. Instead of $15 at a fast food place for something​that would have ultimately made me sick I spent less and had a ton of slightly better fare. Cheap-ass win!

Dollar,happy birthday soon! Can we have a forum party!

Dollar Slice

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #134 on: May 24, 2017, 06:38:09 PM »
Damn, now *I* want a milkshake. My stomach is so suggestible.

Dollar,happy birthday soon! Can we have a forum party!

Thank you! :-)  June 2, if you wanna plan ahead and make an ASCII cake or something. ;-) I put in to take the day off work (my first actual vacation day since November, geez) and have lots of plans. There's so much cool stuff happening that weekend you would almost think they planned it just for me. There will be brunch, and drinks, and concerts - so many concerts...

snacky

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #135 on: May 24, 2017, 07:44:39 PM »
Your birthday is the wonder woman movie release date. Here's how I think it happened:
June 2, 1977: a wonderful woman was born
June 2, 2017: in order to mark that wonderful woman's 40th they release a movie made in her honour.

Did I get it right?

Dollar Slice

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #136 on: May 24, 2017, 08:04:27 PM »
Your birthday is the wonder woman movie release date. Here's how I think it happened:
June 2, 1977: a wonderful woman was born
June 2, 2017: in order to mark that wonderful woman's 40th they release a movie made in her honour.

Did I get it right?

That does seem to be the only reasonable explanation for this calendrical concurrence! ;-)

Rosy

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #137 on: May 28, 2017, 04:08:20 PM »
Well, let's hope June has only good surprises in store for all of us!:)

Last entry for May - went well overall, we stuck to our budget-actually came in under, except for two unplanned emergency expenditures.

Best parts: Only one dinner out - all month, shucks -which usually never happens - our average is one or two times a week.
Harvested the hell out of all the garden goodies and cooked up a storm.

Worst parts: Computer and Monitor died and needed replacement.
Wolfie, the cat, needed emergency Vet care - cat fight.
Emergency slush fund to the rescue in both instances.

@swick - good points about frugality and budget considerations and forced allocations. I tend to think that these challenges help me stay on track. I'm way past the point of forcing budget restraints upon myself that I'm certain would make me unhappy, but the challenges keep me focused.
Look - shiny - $20 earrings:)
If I were still knee deep in debt, you bet I'd suffer through my budget constraints, whether they made me happy or unhappy.


 

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #138 on: May 28, 2017, 07:14:53 PM »
Welp, Mint is pretty well capturing my feelings on the month. -$666 for the month.

Dollar Slice

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #139 on: May 28, 2017, 08:35:24 PM »
Welp, Mint is pretty well capturing my feelings on the month. -$666 for the month.

Um, how much does an exorcism cost these days?

Sailor Sam

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #140 on: May 28, 2017, 11:02:05 PM »
01 - 07 MAY
Rent:            $1075
Auto Insurance:  $217.98
Coffee:          $4.35
Gift:            $60.00
Groceries:       $86.40
Patreon:         $76.92
Professional:    $71.05 
Comcast:         $39.99
====================
Week Total       $1631.69

08 - 14 MAY
Audible:         $16.46
Auto:            $208.14
Coffee:          $3.30
Eating Out:      $19.99
Groceries:       $26.68
Household:       $3.29
Professional:    $41.80
====================
Week Total       $319.66


15 - 21 MAY
Groceries:       $13.94
Gym:             $53.95
Gift:            $100.70
Eating Out:      $11.75
Travel:          $64.62
====================
Week Total       $244.96

22 - 28 MAY
AT&T:            $62.49
Auto:            $48.05
Coffee:          $25.00
Eating Out:      $29.15
Fun:             $20.80
Gift:            $134.42
Groceries:       $79.62
Hulu:            $8.79
====================
Week Total       $331.37




May's Total (so far): $2527.66


Meh.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 10:25:55 AM by Sailor Sam »

westtoeast

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #141 on: May 29, 2017, 09:39:04 AM »
Ok, Week One recap time! I am not including rent, utilities, bus pass or student loan payments in these numbers so that I can get a clear view of just my flexible spending.

May 1: $10 (Udemy course on super sale-- to help with my freelancing writing)
May 2: $2.75 (Uber); $27 (Keds sneakers)
May 3: $12 (Uber); $75 (groceries); $20 (ingredients for b-day cake for friend w/ gluten and dairy allergies)
May 4: $92 (language guide, travel guide, maps, travel cooking pot, face serum) FROM TRAVEL FUND, NOT MONTHLY SPEND
May 5: $20 (pizza party I owed one of the student clubs I run)
May 6: 0
May 7 (anticipated): 0

Current Total: $140
Goal: $400 ($260 remaining)

May 8: $10 (b-day gift)
May 9: $20 (Uber to doctor appointment-- no choice due to time constraints)
May 10: $5 (Uber to art class-- again got held up at work and had to Uber to make it there)
May 11: $5 (getting to tutoring client); $8 (food out on my way to tutoring-- time got changed so I was unprepared with food from home); $4.50 (reloaded train pass)
May 12: $50 (groceries)
May 13: $7 (sunscreen-- I won't feel guilty for this one, it's a priority); $38 (my share of AirBnb cost for Memorial Day trip)
May 14: $0 (using a free movie pass to go to the movies-- will pop & bring popcorn from home!)

Current Total: $287
Goal: $400 ($113 remaining)

Week 3 Recap:
May 15: $15 (CVS-- what was this for??)
May 16: $10 (Uber-- bus didn't show up, panicked about being late so called Uber)
May 17: $15 (One of those thingies you hang around your neck for travel & an umbrella b/c I lost mine on the train)
May 18: $0
May 19: $45 (Trader Joe's groceries)
May 20: $10 (ingredients to cook dinner w/ friend); $5 (reloading train pass)
May 21 (things fall apart): $8 (ended up with no backbone in a used bookstore); $9 (failed to plan ahead and bought Chipotle for dinner-- the first time I've eaten there in 2 years)

Current Total: $404
Goal: $400 ($0 remaining)

May 22: $0
May 23: $0
May 24: $0
May 25: $0
May 26: $0
May 27: $38 (Trader Joe's), $35 (Whole Foods-- snacks for upcoming travel) $3 (Amazon Video for my students) $3 (Coffee w/friend)
May 28: $10 (Chipotle, while traveling); $26 (brunch while traveling, paid for SO & myself)
May 29-31: $0

Goal: $400
Total: $519

So I went WAY over. I think next month I'm just going to track all non-mandatory spending.

centwise

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #142 on: May 30, 2017, 02:01:19 PM »
Welp, Mint is pretty well capturing my feelings on the month. -$666 for the month.

Um, how much does an exorcism cost these days?

LOL! These posts made me smile. Thanks Bracken and Dollar.

centwise

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #143 on: May 30, 2017, 02:06:37 PM »
I'm in! Thanks for the thread. I had a spendy April! Groceries for holiday guests and restaurant meals with same; attended a pricy charitable event; bought shoes and a purse (practical ones, on sale, that will last a long time -- but still, $$$) and a whack of home maintenance. I'm planning to travel in July so it's time for Hella Cheap-Ass May and June!!

I haven't got much of a plan, other than trying to be focused and diligent, but here's what I have so far:
No restaurant meals
Eat what's in the house
     Food in the freezer, dried beans, home-made bread, etc.
Don't buy stuff!
   

Time for an update! I haven't been exactly living up to the hella-cheap-ass standard, but I'm grateful for the thread anyway, because I'm under budget overall, and have spent less than I would have without the thread. Details:

THE GOOD:

*I'm doing great with the eat-what's-in-the-house plan! only spent $180 out of a $400 grocery budget, so far in the first three weeks of May. I'm slowly clearing out the freezer and will do a much-needed defrost in a couple of weeks.

*A couple of shirts and socks have worn out but I am not replacing them. I have enough clothes.

THE BAD:

*Took the kids to a play and a movie, so I went way over budget on entertainment: spent $140 and the budget is $50. Yikes.

*Also spent $37 on restaurants: I was weak -- spent $20 on Indian take-out for the family last week, and $17 street food for the kids on theatre night. This is (so far) below my usual $50 budget, but I failed to achieve a zero-resto month that I had aspired to.

THE SUMMARY:

*All together it's not too bad: Have spent $2050 out of a $2500 budget (with nine days to go). Will try to reach the hella-cheap-ass standard for the last part of May.

End of May update (assuming I will spend zero dollars on May 31!):
I'm doing OK! Went over in some categories and under in others, but am under budget overall.

To summarize --
Budget: $2500
Spent: $2221

Coming up next: Aiming for the $2000 spend in Hella cheap-ass June.

TryingtoFIREinLAnow

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #144 on: May 30, 2017, 08:20:45 PM »
I'm all in!!
April went over with little brother's prom outfit (kids these days!) and too many family birthday dinners out (can't let one's mother pay for her own birthday dinner!!!)

Goals:
ACTUALLY keep to the grocery budget ($280 per month/2 people/but in New York City......)
ACTUALLY keep to the restaurant budget......
ACTUALLY not let money stress me out......(good call OP!!)

IF we can do this and nothing else comes up.....I calculate I can put an extra(!) $500 in the FIRE Vanguard account this month.....

LET THE CHEAP ASS GAMES BEGIN!!

Well I can't say we killed it at this game:

Amusement: $90/$90
Alcohol/Bars: $77/$80
Groceries:  overbudget  $303/$280  - we had houseguests visiting for a week....
Restaurants: $239/$240
Cash/Misc: $80/$80
Gas/Fuel: overbudget $166/$100 - road trip Memorial day weekend.....

But I'm happy we didn't go over on restaurants - that's a step in the right direction...and not seeing a lotta RED on my mint budget page definitely calmed a little money stress........
And I was able to drop an extra $400 into Vanguard, so I will consider it a cheap-ass-enough May.....


snacky

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #145 on: May 30, 2017, 09:13:00 PM »
EVERYBODY WINS!!!!!!!

Your reward is this: take a washcloth and get it soaked in the hottest water possible. Then press it to your face and breathe for a few seconds. Then, feeling tingly and fresh, go start a cheap and awesome June.

Inaya

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #146 on: June 01, 2017, 08:39:46 AM »
Groceries: $253/150
Office food: $16/25
Starbucks: $10/10
Eating out/snacks: $63/30
Supplies: $14/20
Other: $93/110

Overall: $449/345

Well that didn't go well, did it? School throwing my shopping/cooking schedule off resulted in eating out more. Farmers markets opening (and wanting to "treat myself" for getting straight As through an awful semester) drove up groceries. (But at least "treat myself" meant buying good ingredients for several nice meals rather than spending way more to eat out for one nice meal.)

Even outside this limited scope, this was a bad spending month. A friend's husband left her and her 3 kids in the middle of the night and emptied out her bank accounts, so we paid for some groceries to help her get back on her feet. We also found out about a red light cam ticket from last month. And yesterday there were some unexpected vet bills that may continue into June.

On the positive side, very little of the spending was consumery. I bought a self-published book from an old friend, a pair of cheap silver studs to replace the ones that fell out, and a Mothers Day card. Everything else was consumable.


Well Respected Man

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Re: Hella cheap-ass May!
« Reply #147 on: June 02, 2017, 02:00:33 PM »
Goals:
$500 groceries - actual $630
Reduce at least my share of alcohol spend by half - actual about 1/3
$0 clothing
$0 coffee shops, fast food, restaurants - actual $5, plus some DW cash expenditures
$0 other house projects
$0 yard work/landscaping (already should have everything I need)
$0 garden (won't be around to take care of it in July, so just lettuce this year)
Use existing Amazon/MC gift cards for any absolutely necessary purchases
Sell some stuff on eBay - currently listed
Cash in change jar - haven't gotten to the credit union yet
Cash out Paypal, UPromise, iBotta money
Re-deposit poker cash

Going through Mint to look for any categories I missed
Cancel HBO Now
$0 books
$0 craft supplies
Cancel DS Spotify account
$0 nails, massages, etc.
Cancel recurring political donation
$100 fitness equipment (required for DD hiking trip) - this came out to about $50

We'll see how it goes.

Not too bad. Looking at a comparison with last year, the groceries were less than half. Last year, it was Whole Foods, local gourmet shop, Trader Joe's every day or two. This year not so much of that, so we've made progress, especially DW. I've made progress too on the grocery front. Car expenses, especially insurance, are next on the chopping block.