Posts Tagged ‘money’

The Cheap Bastard Files: 5 (More) Ways to Spend Less Money

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Lunch Money

Way back in the early days of The Creative Career, I wrote about saving money in the expensive big city. While I still think that the old list is pretty spot-on, another year in the city has taught me new ways to enjoy the city life—cheap bastard style. If ever there was a time to start saving some money and bettering our finances, today is it.

1. Opt for Student Services

I’ve tried everything from $12 student haircuts to free student acupuncture in my day—and while I’ve admittedly moved away from some of these, there are a few student services that are still impossible to beat. For example, Chicago’s Soma Institute offers one hour clinical massages for only $25. Check out the options in your town—you never know what you might find.

2. Milk That Old College ID For All It’s Worth

My college student ID still has a special place in my wallet. Movies, for example, are expensive in Chicago. Might as well save a few bucks when you can.

3. Be Smart About the Bar

It’s hard to go through your twenties without going to the bar here and there, but there are definitely ways to spend less while you’re out. Besides finding specials, I try to limit how much I drink while I’m out (both for my wallet and for my well-being). My friends know me for ordering virgin tonics. If that doesn’t suit your tastes, just swap out a regular water between drinks to slow yourself down.

4. Pack Your Lunch

This one is embarrassingly obvious. I cringe when I track my budget in the months when I eat out too much, which leads me into my last point…

5. Track Your Spending

If you’re holding yourself accountable , you’re less likely to jump on the impulse buys, and you can re-balance yourself where the damage has already been done. I use expensr.com to track my spending—I’ve also heard a lot of good things about mint.com

Photo Source: emdot under Creative Commons

Personal Budget Breakdown

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

With all the news lately about people (specifically Americans) living beyond their means, I thought I might discuss a topic that is typically considered somewhat taboo—my personal budget from the past month.
Budget Graph

Kitten looking up at camera I’ve been entering my spending into Expensr religiously for about a year now to figure out my budget breakdown. I’ve covered Expensr once before here on the blog—you can anonymously enter your information and then break it out for evaluation and compare yourself to others who have defined themselves through various tags. For example, I’ve tagged myself with 23, young professional, woman, renting, Chicago, employed full time, etc. I spent $1,789.11 during the last month—which was actually inflated by the fact that I adopted Romulus, and he needed a fair number of shots for his kittenhood. As it turns out, my spending is well below average.

So here’s what surprised me…

Check out the average amount spent per month for the following age groups, according to Expensr (I should point out that this sample size is fairly small, but this is interesting nonetheless):

Age: Average Dollars Spent Per Month

  • 18: $952.08
  • 19: $1,022.27
  • 20: $1,599.37
  • 21: $1,454.17
  • 22: $1,938.54
  • 23: $4,175.99
  • 24: $3,664.86
  • 25: $3,011.25
  • 26: $4,942.25
  • 27: $3,648.50
  • 28: $3,860.44
  • 29: $5,275.85
  • 30: $4,931.99

To put this into perspective, at this rate, these 23 year olds would need to be earning well over $200,000 (This should be $50,000—my mistake, I multipled by weeks in the year, not months, thanks Amanda) per year in order to deter massive debt. I’m not sure how representative this actually is of typical 18-20 year olds, but if it is, I’m worried. Please restore my faith and tell me that you’re not spending this much per month. Please tell me Expensr is flawed.