Sunday, July 14, 2013

What do you spend money on?

There is an article in the New York Times Today about how spending money on experiences makes you happier than spending money on stuff (including real estate).  I feel like I've known this instinctively all along. In my 20s, when I didn't save outside of my 401K, I spent all of my money on traveling and going out to dinner with my friends. I had no fancy clothes, purses, furniture or shoes.  Just a lot of fun. This used to depress me. In my early 30s I thought, "I spent all this money and I literally have nothing to show for it." But now I look back fondly on that time and I know I always will savor those memories of early adulthood freedom in NYC.

I've continued the trend (well, not spending all my money luckily) but spending on experiences.  I just took a look at my spending for the year so far. The top categories (outside of the mortgage) are Travel and Food and Dining, with Health Care in 3rd.  Health Care expenses for me are seeing a therapist I really love and learn from and my acupuncturist which makes me feel amazing and helps me keep a chronic illness under control. When I do buy stuff, it's mostly sporting goods I need to practice my favorite sports/hobbies with my friends.

So yay to not spending on stuff, but yay to spending on fun experiences with friends and family and really enjoying life.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Spending Reduction Success

I'm so happy I've finally gotten my restaurant/out of home dining budget down! For the last two months I've spent about half of what I normally spend.

March = $642
April = $787
May = $478
June = $380

I did it by making my lunch and making a big pot of something that I can eat all week for dinner. I also cut back on going out to dinner as much. In June, I was traveling so much for work that a lot of my food expense was covered, so I was able to have a nice sushi night out ($100). If I hadn't done that, I would have spent barely anything at all on eating out.

It feels so good to get my spending in this category under control.

I also did my net worth update for the quarter. Even with the recent market dip I'm pretty much on track for where I want to be. I like to increase my net worth by $25K a quarter. Of course that's not always possible, but that's the goal.

One thing I do not do is include any price appreciation from my apt. in my net worth. Although I paid $450,000 for my apartment one year ago, the same unit in a different building just sold for $600,000!!!! Which I think is the sign that we're in a bubble, but the good news is I don't care I'm just going to keep my head down and keep paying off my mortgage.