August began with a busy weekend for me. On Saturday, I played a round of golf with my brother and his two friends. Then we went grocery shopping for barbecue supplies, and enjoyed a late afternoon barbecue. Potato salad… sausages, corn, asparagus.
Sunday was a day of TONS of driving for me. Six hours total. But it was for a very special and unique experience:
I went outdoor rock climbing for the first time ever! It was absolutely exhilarating. I was dependent on other experienced rock climbers to get up and down this giant mountainous rock. I repelled down 300 feet on knots tied by others. It was awesome, and absolutely terrifying. Oh! And after it was all done, I got to go swimming in a natural water hole as the sun was setting. What a magical experience!
In the phase of financial accumulation, it’s important to not be too uptight about frugality. Yes, financial independence is the goal, and driving 300 miles in a day is somewhat counterintuitive towards that goal. However, there’s this thing called “life” that’s quite an experience. Sometimes life calls and you just go with it.
In this case, I got the life experience of climbing a giant rock, while trusting others with my life.
In society and in relationships, there’s nothing more important than trust, so it was good to get a hefty dose of it to start out the month.
Here’s my spending chart for August:
Home/Rent – $1173
Rent – $1083
Internet – $40
Other utilities – $50
Auto – $507
Car Payments – $319
Gasoline/Fuel – $45
Parking/Fines – $117
I made the monthly payment on my auto loan of $319, and spent $71 on gas for the month. This (relatively) high monthly gas spending was mostly due to 6 hours of driving for a climbing day trip. ‘Twas quite the experience! I spent an entire $2 on parking the month.
Even worse than paying for parking: I had to pay a fine. A $115 fine for driving in a bus lane for half a mile or so way back in February. Whoops.
Transit/Travel – $0
No spending in this category for the month. I did do some bicycle maintenance, but I had all the materials I needed, so I didn’t have to spend anything. I did use the metro system in my city, but plenty of cash has been on my metro card since I preloaded it back in April.
Health/Wellness – $18
I got a $13 haircut this month, solid! (Plus a $5 tip). It was one of the few cheap chain haircut chains in the US, and it turned out better than average. That’s a major win in my book.
(I am ignoring my monthly health insurance premiums here)
Sustenance – $231
I spent more than I usually did on groceries and sustenance during August, but I am okay if this trend continues. I happen to be trying to gain weight, so a little month over month growth in food spending should be expected if I’m to meet my weight gain goals!
And positive news, my Chipotle tower shrunk this month, and my grocery spending skyrocketed. I’m happy about this month over month trend, and to be spending more money on higher quality groceries in lieu of the same old convenient food I usually eat.
Still, I am consuming far too much fast food. The convenience and cheapness of this crappy food often overpowers my nutritional will. Daily living is a never ending battle between instant and delayed gratification.
For now, instant gratification drives more of my behavior than I’d like. I have a whole life ahead of me to slowly improve.
Daily Living – $43
One Amazon purchase of $43 for the month, consisting of The Bullet Journal Method, 2 notebooks (for journaling), and 2 fancy pens.
Entertainment – $153
Alcohol – $0
Entertainment – $115
Electronics – $142
Gambling – ($105)
After spending $781 on entertainment in July, August ended up being a real improvement.
August was the first month since I’ve begun keeping track that I had no alcohol spending. I certainly drank alcohol, albeit not very much. The beer I had in stock lasted the entire month, and I was gifted a 6-pack of beer by my climbing partner at the beginning of the month. That beer lasted until the last week of August.
Gambling: I’m the commissioner of a fantasy football league, and thus, am getting an interest free loan from most of the league members as I am holding their $20 entry fee until winners are determined at the end of the NFL season. I added this category to my spending/finances spreadsheets this month. Any income or expenses from personal bets I make end up here. Hopefully I win the fantasy football league!
As of now, I’m up $105 in my gambling category. I’m up from fantasy football league entry fees, and down from losing a bowling bet against my brother.
My entertainment spending this month came from three approximately equal sources:
1) An awesome rock and roll concert!
2) A round of golf, walking of course!
3) 5 or so trips to the bowling alley with my brother
Electronics: Back in June, I dropped my IPhone SE will riding my bike, and absolutely destroyed the screen. After 2 months of a half working phone, it finally gave out. I ordered a 3 year old refurbished IPhone 7 from Walmart for only $142. Awesome deal!
Misc Expenses – $103
Web Expenses – $18
Political donations – $18
Gifts – $62
Service Charges/Fees – $5
I incurred $18 in web expenses this month, including the purchase of this domain, lifepostgrad.com! My only other miscellaneous expenses were in my charitable giving/gifts category. This included my typical recurring $3 donation to the Pete Buttigieg campaign, as well as a one-time $15 contribution to his campaign. Additionally, I bought a T-shirt from the awesome concert I went to. A gift for a friend, a shirt I know he’ll love.
Lastly, my brother hates shaving, and has been using shaving cream and a razor his whole life rather than upgrading to an electric shaver. So I took care of that little bit of lifestyle inflation for him, buying him a reasonably priced electric shaver as a belated birthday gift.
He’s told me it’s much faster than his normal shaving routine, but it doesn’t cut as close so he has to shave a bit more often. Overall, he told me it’s a net gain. Good enough for me!
Charitable giving/gift spending amounted to $80 this month, bringing my miscellaneous expenses up to $98 for August.
Total Savings – $1353
Solid amount of savings this month, increased by yet another bank account opening bonus, this time, a $300 bonus
August savings rate: 38%
August Purchase of the Month:
What an awesome short and ‘to the point’ domain, and for only $9 per year!