Month #1 of My 7 Month Budget Project
|Classic Montreal Summer Evening at the Park|
So I said I was going to start a 7 month budget project with the idea that I am going to track our spending and try to cut it by 10% each month. This is a very ambitious goal. My hope is that the money we save each month we will either put into investments or savings.
This month is shortened because as I write this we are on our way to Italy! I am going to have a separate post about our trip's budget. I think it will skew my results too much if I include our vacation in my day to day budget.
So how did month #1 go?
I chose millennial pink for this first graph as it seemed fitting given the exercise. So here we have a pretty basic break down: the socializing category includes everything we spent from eating at restaurants, buying gifts, going dancing, or going to get coffee. Everything else is pretty self-explanatory. As you can see, rent is the highest (that's to be expected) followed by socializing. The goal of this 7 month exercise it to cut down on the money we spend socializing in order to save more.
This chart represents what we spend on the "essentials." Everyone's essentials are going to be a little bit different. I've included my membership to the YMCA as essential because of the benefits I get from it both physically and mentally. Of course you can argue that I could save 66.70$ a month if I just exercised outside for free, or inside my apartment. However, I lack self-motivation and need the YMCA membership to hold me accountable by going with friends and attending classes.
It's hard to see where we could save on this chart. We should try to spend less on transport, as there are a few Uber trips in there that have caused transport to be more this month then usual, BUT we do walk to work every day and use public transit ALOT. Since I've deleted my Uber app, I think we can expect (or hope) that next month we won't spend so much on transport.
Now, the point of this exercise is not to completely cut our social life but to just check in with how much we are spending - are there ways in which we can enjoy our life but still save for our wedding, travels, and future? I'm not suggesting you don't buy your friends birthday gifts, or you skip every social outing and become a hermit. But there are ways to save. For example, it was my friends birthday this month, and she had mentioned wanting flowers for her balcony. Instead of going to Home Depot and buying a pre-made balcony box and attachment, I went first to the dollar store and bought an over the railing planter, then I went to Home Depot to buy pots, and finally I went to a local florist and hand picked the flowers. I spent approximately 40$ on the gift by building it myself. Had I bought it at Home Depot, it would have been around 100$. Other ways to save money have been drinking beers in the parks instead of going to restaurant patios. We are lucky that Montreal has an amazing park culture. EVERYONE goes to the park with picnics and drinks and hangs out. It is a super easy way to save money and still be social. As for events - my bachelorette in Montreal is only a one time thing, and when we went out dancing, something I haven't done since moving here, we made a pretty good effort to pre-drink and only buy one drink at the bar. There are lots of small ways to save money, some of which I still haven't discovered or committed too, but thats what this challenge is all about!
Finally, we have a break down of essential spending vs non-essential spending. Honestly, I'm pretty impressed - most of what we spend each month is on stuff we need (food, rent, utilities, etc). We definitely can and should try to eat out at restaurants less but other than that, we have done a pretty good job I think. The challenge will be trying to cut the spending by 10% for next month.
|Photo from my park hang!|
|Sunsets and Picnics|