Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Credit Card Peek

After my recent bike splurge, I figured it's time to re-convince myself that the title "Miser Mom" actually fits me.  After all, I deliberately splurged during October, a month that two of my favorite bloggers celebrated (?) as a "No Spend Month".  I did not so celebrate the month, but I admire Northwest Edible and Dogs-or-Dollars for what they did.  Go, Dogs, Go!

Unlike them, I did spend money.  A bunch, in fact.  And yet I want to defend my Miser status.  So, in my defense, here's a peek at my most recent credit card statement:  money I spent in September and paid for in October.  On the face of it, the total ($2218) is a fairly hefty tag.  But $1141 of that amount was business travel expenses that will be reimbursed by the people who invited me to come speak.  Another $210 of that was charitable donations.  So the $866 part that I spent on me and my family is really this:
  • $520 to fix the wheel-bearings on my 11-year old car.
  • $57 for canning jars.
  • $38 for gasoline.
  • $196 for my two sons' visit to the dentist.  
  • $42 for two months' newspaper delivery.
  • $14 for a razor.
And that's it.  At least as far as the credit card goes.  What don't you see on this list?
  • Clothes.  The last yard sales of the season were last Saturday.  My clothes-shopping season is basically over until May; but even when yard-sale season is in full force, I pay with dimes and quarters, not with a credit card.  I figure I spent less than $4 on clothes in October.
  • Food.  I write in too many other places about how much my husband and I spend on food.  My own food purchases during the past month were all cash:  $138 at our local market and at Millers' Amish store.  My husband spent more than that:  $238.  We're going into our low-spending winter months, so our food costs are likely to be fairly low for the next several months.
  • Toiletries.  Well, aside from the razor, I spend nothing this past October on toiletries.  I think I'm going to do a whole separate post on this.
  • Malls, stores, etc.  I bought the canning jars at a store, and I get my sons' meds from a pharmacy.  But those are the only regular stores I went to last month.  I try not to go to stores if I can find an alternative.
  • Utilities, house payment, cell phone, all of which I pay on line.  We're trying to pay off our house early, so the total for this set of categories is several (many?) thousand dollars.  
  • Other charity.  We donate regularly to our church by check, and I've started giving irregular donations to our local food bank on-line.   I won't give the totals here, but I will say that this part of spending out our money is important to me.  Let's just say: this is more than food and clothes and toiletries and malls combined, but less than utilities and house payments.
  • Childcare expenses and music lessons, which totalled about $700 this past October.  I could ditch these if I wanted, but I actually sort of like tossing my money toward other people instead of toward things, so we intend to keep doing this.  Plus, it gives me a reasonable way to put your tax dollars to work.  
The next credit card bill (money I spent in October and will pay for in November) is likely to be lower: it will be about $500 (about $100 of which is charitable donations, about $100 is reimbursable business expenses, and the rest is indulgence of the medical/gasoline/childcare variety).  

But that's a cheat, because my husband put my new $1447 bicycle on his own credit card.  Which means, as much as I protest and try to wiggle away from this, the fact is, I splurged big.

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying to get lower my credit card payment as much as possible, because the banks (and VISA) take a huge bite of the sellers' profit, and I don't want that to happen.
    From my point of view, banks are mostly guilty(along politicians) of the crisis that Western countries are confronting. As politicians are not making them accountable for their behaviour, I express my protest in the symbolic (until many people adopt the same) way of paying mostly with cash. And also I give my neighborhood
    a benefit.