How to handle a spendy month

5650988285_e657a04622_zTo borrow a term from my dear dad, I’ve been spending money like a drunken sailor! Admittedly a strange turn of phrase with inappropriate undertones, but I suppose it’s not the first time (or last) that the wisdom of my dad has been in question.

My usual frugality has gotten off track the past month or so, but this is totally normal. It’s like when I try to follow an overly strict diet, I last a few weeks but then cave and go on a sugar binge for a day (or two, three). Self-deprivation can be difficult to maintain consistently. You gotta live it up once in a while!

However, a majority of this spending is legit. I’m not out makin’ it rain at da clubs or picking up Jimmy Choos out of sheer boredom (although I did get some damn cute booties). Here’s a run-down:

  • $1,950 – Six months of property taxes. No way to avoid this. Gotta pay the taxman.
  • $1,150 – Oil change, shocks, and struts for my car. Annoying, but necessary living in Los Angeles and commuting 18 miles to work each way in traffic. Side note: I tried bike commuting last week and it was quite an adventure. Will post about that soon.
  • $225 – Grocery close-outs. Two supermarket chains are closing in my area, so I stocked up on pantry items while they were 10-40% off.
  • $175 – Two website and hosting annual renewals. I couldn’t bail out on my throngs of followers! Well, all three of you anyway.
  • $350 – Hotel and half marathon registration. I’m planning a weekend getaway at the end of the month to run a trail half marathon with friends.
  • $500 – Front brake replacement for my car. Another car repair?! This hurts. But I plan on running her into the ground, so she’s worth the investment.
  • $500 – Three pairs of amazing boots from Zappos. I had every intention of returning two, but after the second visit to the auto shop, I sent them all back! Sad face.
  • $100 – Two more pairs of boots on sale. With arctic So Cal weather looming, I wanted them to round out my shoe wardrobe. I was happy to get two pairs for less than the price of one from above.

$4,950 total!! Holy crap! But actually $4,450 after returning the boots. Still a substantial spending spree that I aim to reign in and reconnect with my frugal fabulousness ASAP.

A few things I do to soften the blow when a spendy months rears it’s ugly head:

  • I automatically transfer $300 each month into savings for property taxes.
  • I have a savings line in my YNAB budget each month for car repairs, as well as vacations.
  • I frequently use a rewards credit card (earning 1.5% cash back on all purchases) and pay it off each month. That cash goes straight back to the balance.
  • My grocery budget for October was super high (over $400), so now I’m more purposefully cooking my meals at home and eating out less.

I think the key here is that I’m prepared when big expenses like these pop up. Those car repairs are exactly what my emergency savings account is made for. And of course, I can easily live without those cute booties or weekend running getaway. Those are choices I made being fully aware of my budget and its limitations. A reasonable, occasional splurge is a benefit of being a single, professional woman in control of her finances. Yay me!

(Image: frankieleon)

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