The $1000 challenge. Extreme frugal living ensues.

Good thing February is a short month, because I’m going to need all the help I can get.  I’ve challenged myself to only spend $1000 in February for all my living expenses.  Check out the video and join me as I chronicle my journey.

The rules:

1. $1000 is all I get

2. $550 must go to cover housing and utilities; $450 will be left over for everything else.  (See the video for additional explanation).

3. I can’t load up on groceries before the month starts or use gift cards to cover my expenses.

4. Every single cent I spend will be published here to encourage accountability.

5. Every dollar that I save from doing this challenge will be given to charity.

I encourage you to follow along. I’ll be posting video updates as I pass through the month and blogging about it, so I encourage you to come back to Dealerity and show some support.

Thanks to Spruce Up Your Finances for featuring this post in the Festival of Frugality

October Budget Update

Yikes!  October was not the best budget month for me.  My spending exceed my income, which I never like to see at the end of the month.  However, I did have a major purchase in October.  I bought a new Macbook Pro with an additional 3 year warranty…. all told it was around $2400.  I’d been wanting the computer for a long time and my old one was biting the dust so I splurged.  Such is the luxury of having money in the bank and not needing to put it on credit.

I also bought a plane ticket home to Seattle for Thanksgiving ($400) and made a trip to New York City which was not cheap.  Here’s to hoping that November paints a prettier picture!


Paycheck – $5478 of $5935 planned.  As I mentioned last month, I get paid weekly.  This month was one of the months where I got paid four times instead of five, which led to a lower month for paychecks.

Rental Income: $0 vs. $1100 budgeted.  Neither of my tenants paid rent in October (November will be a good month for rental income).

Spending: $6403 spent vs. $6108 budgeted.  Even though I did budget for the computer purchase I still managed to go over budget.  What I didn’t budget for was the Thanksgiving trip home which pushed me over the edge.

In the coming months I hope to go through my expenses in greater detail and provide some color and context.  Until then, here’s to hoping that November is an on track budget month.

September 2010 Budget Report – 50% savings rate

This is the first installment of my monthly budget report.   I always heard that it wasn’t polite to talk about your money, but in the interest of total financial transparency and accountability to my goals, I’m baring it all.

So how did September turn out?  Pretty well, actually.  My savings rate was just over 50%.

Income:  One of my roommates did not pay rent in September so I was $550 short in rental income.  It was also a good calendar month for paychecks (I get paid weekly and got paid 5 times instead of 4).

Expenses:  Areas where I went over budget include Food, Electricity, Cigarettes, Gas, Pharmacy, and Business Services.

Food and Dining — $583 vs. $450 I continue to struggle in my Food and Dining expenses.  First, I made a trip to Costco to load up on supplies.  I also ate out 28 times in September — I’m a single guy and I eat a lot of take out, but still that’s really crushing my budget.

Electricity — $309 vs. $245.  My electricity bill was a whopping $309… I live in an old Victorian house and we had an unseasonably warm September here in Nashville.  One of my goals/ideas is to reduce my total energy consumption, but it’s been slow going!

Cigarettes –$79 vs. $59.  I know, I shouldn’t be smoking but it’s been a challenge to quit.  I went over my budget for cigarettes because I’ve been smoking more and prices went up.  Also, my use of coupons for cigarettes (that I get through the mail or on eBay) has gone down.

Gas — $133 vs. $94.  Not sure what drove this… might just be a timing issue on when I filled up.  I’ve reduced this budget over the past few months so $133 feels ok.  I’ve been trying to drive fewer miles and drove around 1000 miles during September.

Business Services — $87 vs. $37.  I bought a Thesis theme for this blog.

Pharmacy — $100 vs. $40.  I wound up making more purchases at Walgreens than I normally would.  Refilled all of my prescriptions this month which only happens every few months.

Thanks to Budgeting in the Fun Stuff for including this post in the weekly Festival of Frugality