Whoa, boy. This spending summary was a punch in the gut, let me tell you.
So today I reckon with my spendypants ways.
The ugly truth
Yesterday I looked at the very
annoying convenient spending summary for 2017 that was available for my Citi card on their website, and what I saw was cold, hard reality. This is the card I use primarily for three things: restaurants, groceries, and gas. Sometimes there are things that don’t quite fit that get lumped into those categories because they are part of other purchases; cat litter, for example, that I buy at a grocery store ends up categorized into “Merchandise” with the rest of my grocery expenses.
Here it is.
Here are how the categories break down:
Restaurants ($5833.37): restaurants
Merchandise ($5798.72): groceries and some restaurants that don’t get pulled into the “restaurants” category for some reason.
Vehicle Services ($1339.86): gas, oil changes, etc.
Services ($344.67): Hair salons
Organizations ($144.72): Non-profit spending
Health care ($140.56): prescriptions
Other travel ($66.00): mass transit passes I bought on vacation
Entertainment ($28.25): movie tickets
Spending Summary Grand Total: $13,696.16
What this spending is NOT
This is an example of plain old uncontrolled spending behavior that has nothing to do with being in the grips of a manic episode. That is something else entirely and it’s important to make the distinction. This is spending that I can definitely be the boss of, if I choose to.
Please allow me to elaborate.
While Junior lives with his dear Papa, I often pick him up in the evening and take him to dinner. Apart from our weekends together, the weeknight dinners are meant to be brief opportunities to spend time together and not interfere with his homework and bedtime schedule. The result? We eat at restaurants an awful lot. I already knew this was a problem, but I wasn’t sure how to work around it.
What will make the biggest difference, I think, is having Junior living with me starting next month. Not only will the child support shift back to me (in a couple more months, to make up for a couple of months I missed at the beginning), but living together means we can eat at home and enjoy each other’s company there. I love that, and not just for financial reasons.
Plus, it will be healthier for both of us.
This is not to discount the amount of eating at restaurants that I do during the workweek. There may still be times when an occasional lunch with coworkers is a good idea in the name of relationship-building (my role depends on it), but I could definitely bring my breakfast and lunch to work more often, instead of making quick trips to the deli.
I need some goals
Some well-defined ones. Like, with actual numbers. It’s a bit late to make a resolution for all of 2018, but I can totally make goals for the remainder of the year. That seems like it might be a productive exercise, because I definitely do NOT want to see another spending summary like this one. And remember, this was for only one card.
I think I will get to work on formulating my goals for the rest of the year. I do have a plan, but it could use some fleshing out so I can plug in target numbers.
I want some cool charts and graphs. Data visualizations are DA BOMB. Maybe I will check out some of the personal finance aggregators out there (e.g., Mint, Personal Finance, YNAB, etc.) to see if there is something that will suit my needs.