Since I started working in Hamilton full time, I have been really trying to get better acquainted with my finances. It’s unfortunate that it took me this long, really, but here we are now. Since I have some student debt to pay off and I am trying to build a little savings, make sure I give money away, etc, I started making a monthly budget. At first it was more just a “fact finding” mission. I wanted to know how much money I spent each month and where the heck it all went. I’ve been doing this for about 6 months now, so I have a pretty good idea of how much I spend on certain things. Take gas for example, when the gas price stays around the .80/per liter mark, I spend approximately the same every month. Familiarizing myself with my money has REALLY given me a sense of peace (for the most part) because I know that I will have enough money to cover all of my monthly bills and expenses, while chipping away at my school debt and saving a little bit. However, what I haven’t been doing, is giving myself a limit as to how much to spend on two very important categories…and I am thinking it’s about time. Here is a high-tech little chart of my spending for April. I have only included the things that fluctuate and not stuff like rent and car insurance. Take a gander….

Cait’s April Spending

gas *******************
groceries *************************
eating out *****************
gifts *********
donations *******
miscellaneous *****************************

(note: the stars equal my spending in rounded-up units I tried to make them all line up to give you a better idea, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure it out…)

I want to put this out to the interworld because I think I need some a) resolve to be more generous and b) some accountability.

Let’s look at the “miscellaneous” category, shall we?
First off, some of the things in this category included new curtains, jeans, underwear, magazine, book, eye lash curler, etc. You get the idea. Basically, it includes A LOT of stuff for me. And if you look at Exhibit A (high tech chart) you’ll notice that I spend A LOT of money on me this month. I’m a sad to say, this isn’t that flukey.

Please also note my “Eating Out” category in comparison to my “Donatations” category and my “Gifts” category. I know…not good. ANDDDD let’s remember that I haven’t spend ANY money on drinks this month (minus the $10 to pay for the rest of our wine that we bottled).

So, I think it’s time that I set limits to my two out of control budget lines- eating out and misc. What I spent on eating out this month could have given 144160 (i had a surprise lunch date with my great friend Rho today) people water for an entire year in Sub-Saharan Africa. That is a wake up call. I’m not saying that I want to be completely crazy and live off the grid and never go out for food or drinks with friends. Not at all, what I am saying is that it seems that I’ve got an imbalance in my budget. And sadly, if where you spend you money shows what you care about, it seems like I care an awfully lot about myself…and my new jeans (which were on sale for $18, I might be selfish, but I’ve got an eye for a deal).
I am going to talk to some wise people and set some reasonable limits for May. Especially because I need to make my donation to Blood: Water Mission and pay for my Ultimate Frisbee addiction team fees. Plus of course I thought I needed new cleats, but I think my old ones are just going to have to do. A little febreeze never killed anyone, right?

photo via


3 thoughts on “budgets

  1. This is a great post Cait!! You are a beautiful person for reflecting on your spending and wanting to make changes to be a better person.

    I have needed to/wanted to write down what i am spending for almost a year now … the truth is i’m too afraid to do it … too afraid to see that i spend too much on eating out, groceries and micellanious … cause then i’ll have to …. gasp … change! … you are a better person than i!! at least you can be honest with yourself … and the rest of us virtual readers out here!


    keep being great girl!

  2. um, miranda last night matt and I were having a discussion about christians that we look up to—and we DEFINITELY named YOU.

    you are selfless in so many ways. and inspiring in so many ways. always the first to offer help and not to proud to say when you need help–we look up to y.o.u!

  3. That is super nice Cait (and Matt!) Thank you!

    Hmmm, guess we all have areas we want to work in … perhaps we are a good example of a partnered neighbourhood!?

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