During the last 2-3 months, my monthly spending has increased significantly when compared to the 6-9 months before it. Is my spending getting out of hand? Or is it just summer in Minnesota? Perhaps this is happening to you, too. When spending increases like this over a time line of a few months, how can you tell if it’s just seasonal or if you are letting loose of your finances? It’s tough to tell, but let’s take a closer look.
Where Has The Money Gone?
If you’re using financial software such as Mint.com like I am, you can dig deep to find out just where your money has been going during these times of increased spending. For me, the spending increase happened in April of 2012. It continued in May and it is already looking quite high in June, as of today, the 27th.
April’s Spending – In April, I spent $1,100 more than the previous month. Right off the bat while looking at Mint.com, I see that I paid almost $1,400 in to the government that month to cover my taxes. Ouch (and yes, I know I should fix my withholding)! Well, I can stop right there and say that I didn’t overspend in April. It was just playing catch up that hurt me a bit that month.
May’s Spending – I was $400ish over my normal budget in May. I did have my annual car license tax due that month for $179. The rest of the money went to shopping, where I bought $150 running shoes and a couple of additional accessories. Well, it’s safe to say that I did spend more this month when I had the urge to shop. Do you think it was the urge to shop or the urge to get in shape that was my real reason for spending big bucks on new running shoes? I’m not sure. I think I want to blame the weather for it.
June’s Spending – I’m close to $600 over normal this month. To start out, I booked a $750 trip to the Financial Blogger Conference, which is in Denver in September, this month. All went through on my debit card except for the hotel room, which ended up being $418. The other $200 was spent shopping, there I bought $60 in running gear, some extra gas for my car to road trip to see my friend this past weekend and on time spent with this really great girl I’ve been seeing!
After digging in to it, I can’t see how my increased spending is related to it being summer. You could argue that the running gear is though. I attribute that to my urge to get in better shape and become healthier. The taxes and car fees were timed expenses and ones that I didn’t go buy something to incur. The dating spending is due to me having found someone I really like spending time with.
Even While Spending A Lot More, I’m Doing Okay
All in all, I think I’m doing okay. I’m spending more than normal, but a lot of it (the running, the Financial Blogger Conference and the dating) is really positive and definitely worth every penny. The lesson here to be learned is, I could not have done an accurate analysis of my spending if I hadn’t been tracking my spending, even through these months of loosening my belt. The second major point is that I wouldn’t have the luxury of being so chill about my increased spending either if I hadn’t been living way below my means in the first place. If I had a fancy car, fancy house, fancy other things and had been taking major vacations, I would probably be in a mess right now. Instead, I’m doing A – OKAY!