As you may or may not know, my February 2016 was an experiment. The objective has been to be as stingy toward myself as i possibly can! In other words; to have a really cheap month (as described in this post before it begun). Now that my new economic month has started, as it usually does on the 25th, the lock around my fat wallet is open and it’s time to see if and how the experiment has benefited my personal finances. Take a look at the diagram below. It shows predictions, and actual expenses for every category – and compared to a normal month (in this case, the average month of 2015).
I must say that I’m very happy and surprised about the result. I knew that I was a cheap bastard but I didn’t expect that I was cheap enough to finish lower than my budget prediction! And the best part of it was that I managed to bring in a significantly higher than normal income. At the start of the month, I was worried that it would be hard, but in fact it was quite easy. After a few days with the mindset of not allowing myself to buy small stuff – it was easy and natural. It even felt like a relief! Let’s take a closer look at each category.
Recurring expenses (rent, food, phone etc)
Fairly average month here, but the good news is that I had unexpected must-have expenses for school material. If I didn’t have that, I would have beaten the budget here too!
I didn’t buy anything unnecessary – the only reason it’s more than 0 is because I have a monthly down payment on my new black oak floor (which I’m paying of at double speed to minimize the cost of interest).
Fitness and health
I would have beaten the budget here if it wasn’t for some mandatory protein supplements. Yes, your boy is getting ready to compete in fitness again.
Clothes & shoes
Normally not a big expense for me, and this month it was ZERO! Easy.
Apart from a 2$ entrance fee, ZERO! Even easier.
Hobbies and projects
ZERO! Just focused on schoolwork this month.
Aaaah how I LOVE this category to be zero. 2 years ago I invested in a good mountain bike that I ride all year round, instead of taking the bus (or even more expensive – owning a car). The investment broke even in just 11 months, and saves me about 6000 SEK (700$, 650 EUR) per year in transportation costs. That’s a two-way ticket to an exotic destination. Hello extra vacation 🙂 Since I ride my bike about 10 km every day, it also adds the benefit of staying fit and makes room for more calories per meal. Win win.
No significant spending here – there are always unexpected expenses.
The big question was how much I could save by doing this cheap month. The answer is in the total: I was able to literally cut my expenses in HALF just by making the conscious decision to not buy anything. Far more than I expected.
With a higher than normal income and half my expenses, I was able to make this month a real good one in the rebuilding of my personal finances. I doubled my input to my buffer, individual pension and long term stock investments. It also made it clear that I will most likely afford a decent summer vacation.
I’m so pleased with the results that I’m seriously considering to do this every other month during the spring. And what’s cooler is that I know that I can do it even better! Without the unexpected expenses in a few categories, I estimate that I could perhaps lower my total by another 25%! Sure, I had to turn down my brothers offer to eat at a restaurant and go to the cinema, but I can do that this moth instead. I’m telling you – try it! How low can you go, you stingy bastard? 😉