Amanda says it’s fine to think out loud, so here we go. 🙂
I always thought when I finally grew up and got a real job I would suddenly have a ton of money. To spend, to travel, to SAVE… That’s what pay days are for, right? Surely, in the past, I have felt like I didn’t have enough money because I was “just” in high school or “just” in college or “just” working a few part time jobs.
Spoiler alert: with a real job comes rent, utilities, and bills for all the other things you need every month like car insurance and a cell phone and oh, I don’t know, gas for said car and FOOD?!
I have been working in the “real” world for approximately five months now, so bear with me as I work through my naivety. 😉 I am very blessed to be able to afford all of the things I need, put some money in savings each month, and still have a little bit of fun money left over. But managing money is stressful. And because I am managing “real” money now (as opposed to the fake money I’ve made in the past???), I feel like I have to be very thoughtful about my spending. The first few months, I paid all of my bills, saved money, and didn’t track the rest of my spending. Responsible, right? There was a method to my madness. I wanted to see how I was spending my money with NO restrictions, because then I could figure out where to place restrictions on my spending.
This past month, I kind of put myself on a spending freeze. I paid all of my bills, saved money, and then didn’t really buy much. I thought about the following things:
Do I really need to make a Target run? (DUH!!!!!)
Do I really need to eat out when I’m alone when I have plenty of groceries at home? (But I don’t wannnnnna cook dinner tonight!)
Do I really need to buy a book instead of renting it from the library? (Ugh, Kindle is so instantaneous.)
Do I really need to take advantage of the FINAL DAY of sales at Loft/Old Navy/Gap, per this email’s advice? (No, no I do not. There are approximately 234893 sales at these stores every month.)
So, here’s what I’ve been spending my money on this past month. It’s a pretty accurate picture of what I spend my money on every month…except this past month, I didn’t buy any new clothes. And that is NOT normal. Ha!
I enjoy going out for coffee with friends. I have a Keurig and I drink a cup of coffee every morning, but I will not pass up the opportunity to spend $4-6 on a fancy cup of coffee that I did NOT make. I only ever get coffee from a coffee shop when I am with other people, so that’s how I justify this expense. 6/7 days of the week, I typically make my own coffee, so I can afford to indulge this way. 🙂 This month, I visited Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse (owned by my church), Boccatto Espresso (a new-to-me place), and Starbucks (because it’s across the street from my apartment).
P.S. that latte on the left is a Caramel Vanilla Latte and it was delicious. I usually drink my coffee black with one pump of sugar free hazelnut, but that latte was worth every single calorie. Ha!
If you are a twenty-something living in Washington, D.C., you know brunch is a big deal. People take their brunching seriously, it can be the upwards of $50 for a plate, reservations might be necessary, and you will never run out of places to go because every single place offers brunch. This is just what I have gathered in the past year since moving. Ha!
I don’t go out to brunch every weekend, but when my friends and I make plans to do so, I don’t hesitate because I know it’s not something I do all the time. Notice how I mentioned that you might spend #allthemoney on your meal. I’m not about that life, because I don’t grocery shop with the idea that I will ever be eating out, so I always have enough food at home to eat without going out. I tend to stick to $30 or less brunch spots because for the love, aren’t all waffles and omelettes and cups of coffee created equal?! Last week, I spent $21 and I did a little victory dance all the way out the door.
Fun fact: I almost did an accidental victory dance all the way down the stairs at this restaurant, too. We were at a buffet-style brunch and all of the food was upstairs, while our seats were downstairs. Liberty Tavern has 234972 mirrors on their walls and there is a HUGE mirror across from the staircase. So as you descend, you can see yourself. The narcissist in me decided to check myself out while I was walking down the stairs with my plate and I almost ATE IT in front of every person in that restaurant. Not my finest moment. Ha!
D.C. brunch spots worth checking out that won’t break the bank:
Farmers Fishers Bakers – Founding Farmers – Circa – Liberty Tavern – A Town – Matchbox – Ted’s Bulletin – Molly Malone’s – Eastern Market
I have the same thing to say about lunch and dinner as I did about brunch and coffee. I usually only dine out when I am with other people. Sometimes we decide to eat out, and sometimes we decide to head home. On Tuesday, my friends and I were shopping on M Street and we were STARVING so we got on the Metro to go home and make dinner for ourselves. But then on Wednesday, after taking a Spinning class, my friend and I had a similar conversation: eat out or go home? And we decided to eat out. I’ve also dined with co-workers on teacher work days this month. So it’s just a delicate balance. I try to only eat out 1-2 times per week because honestly, that is more than enough. I enjoy it when I do and I try not to feel guilty about spending the money. The groceries I could’ve used at home will be eaten at another time, so all is well.
Is this considered shopping? I was at a November Project workout last Friday and our fearless leader had buffs for sale for $10. OF COURSE I WANT ONE!
DC buffs are yellow with those weird stick figures doing all kinds of exercises all over them. When it’s all stretched out, it looks like that picture on the left. It’s stretchy and perfect to use as a headband (as I’m modeling) or over your face when it’s freezing, like Lauren is modeling. 😉 She runs with November Project Baltimore (and lots of other groups/races) and I actually got to meet her this past summer at a brunch (ha! See! It’s a thing!) for DC bloggers.
So there you have it…things I spend my money on. Coffee, food of all varieties, and the occasional workout gear.
What about my Target runs? Well, I actually think I only went twice. I know, who am I? And I actually went, bought groceries, and window shopped the rest of the store. #selfcontrol
What about books? I got a library card and solved that problem!
And the one million and seven emails about sales at my favorite stores? I’m going to be honest, I highlight my “Promotions” tab of my Gmail account and hit delete every morning. AH! I don’t even know what I’ve been missing out on. 😉
I did have to buy three books for my last graduate class…but those were a need, not a want. Boo to the books, yay for the last class!
What do you spend your money on?