Financial Fitness Check-in: February 2023

February was a disappointing but significantly less expensive month than it was supposed to be. I was supposed to go down to Minneapolis for a long weekend and do some shopping and go to a Maggie Rogers concert, but instead I broke my tailbone so I spent most of February lying on my stomach with either a bag of frozen peas or a hot water bottle on my low back, so I didn’t spend a lot of money.

Overbudget areas

As per usual I went overbudget on groceries, by about $70, which I have to say unfortunately is a very common occurrence for me. I’m not really sure what to do about it, if I should just increase my budget to match it or work really hard to stay under. Produce and meat is just so expensive, I’ve tried using Hello Fresh because then whether you eat meat or meatless it doesn’t matter because it’s all the same price (unless you get one of the fancy meals), but the three meal kit for four weeks brings you to nearly $350 and you still have to feed yourself for another 15 meals. Trying to spread 15 meals across approximately $150 is a tall order in a northern town at the end of the line. I also bought a lot of convenience meals after I fell and those are more expensive than ingredients.

I did technically go overbudget on eating out, but that is only because I had originally planned on only eating out while in Minneapolis, and so had not really planned on eating out while home, so I budgeted 0, but then I didn’t go and did get a couple sandwiches at lunch while home because cooking was really hard at first after I fell. So I spent about $40 on lunches, but I would have expected to spend about that much in a normal month, but I did technically go over-budget since I budgeted 0.

I also went over in my spending money category, this is my kind of catch-all category. This month in this category is an annual New York Magazine subscription (I wanted to read The Cut again), a puzzle, a cookbook, shampoo, conditioner, a little metal thing to keep my phone charger cord on my dresser that I use as a nightstand, and needlepoint supplies. All of which were impulse purchases, but I was feeling sad about not getting to go to Minneapolis and I acted out with some impulse shopping. And I have actually used everything I bought already. I’m obsessed with the little phone cord holder.

The next area was my “Personal Care and Grooming” category (and yes my shampoo and conditioner should have gone in here, but I was too lazy to split the receipt). I had not expected to fall and break my tailbone, and they mostly recommend over-the-counter pain management, back pain ointments, and then an invalid cushion, all of which are not typically covered by insurances, and I ran through a lot of pain killers this month, so I went pretty far overbudget in this section.

I went about $60 over on car maintenance, I got an oil change this month and that was a little more expensive than I expected and I had some hospital parking that I didn’t put under gas, and just shoved in here.

The last area was gifts, I hadn’t budgeted anything for gifts and then learned that it was my boss’s birthday and the team split a gift for him.

For bills, I was on budget for everything, except I had planned to cancel Amazon Prime, but then learned that’s where the Daisy Jones and the Six show was playing and I had to watch that, it was essential to me, so that got added into the budget.

March Plans

In March I am not planning on spending any money. I have set a rule for myself that I am not allowed to buy any new clothes until May, although this delusional thaw weather that is happening right now is really tough to not be tempted by. I also do not need anything else for needlepoint at the moment, nor books. So that is a moratorium on clothes and hobby spending, I’m thinking at least for March and April.

The one area where I can see some spending is that I have been really wanting to get a couple piercings, for like years, so I think I may finally pull the plug on them. And I have a bunch of weddings to travel for this year and I think I may start buying flights for them. Which hurts already.

Otherwise, I am trying to keep it super tight in March and April, because of all those weddings.

The one area I am struggling with is how to find a balance between enjoying my life, eating good food, using nice skin care products, liking my clothes, saving for travel and moving funds and retirement, paying off debt and investing like I’m supposed to and I have no clue how to do that at this point. I really don’t want to get back into pet sitting, but I don’t know how else to get ahead without making more money, but I love having real free time, especially now that I’m volunteering again.

Anyways, that’s this month’s money rant.


2 thoughts on “Financial Fitness Check-in: February 2023

  1. Awesome post, and personally, when you mention the real free time you do have, I think that’s worth money in its own way. If you can achieve your goals little by little no matter how small and still enjoy your free time, that’s always a win in my book.


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