Too Much Month At The End Of The Money

By | October 11, 2017

So I was deciding for a while what I should call this post. And, I figured I would call it what it is. That is, at least for October 2017, so far, I have too much month at the end of the money. I get paid twice a month, and I won’t get paid for another 4-5 days. I’ve already run out of money to spend until my next paycheck. Consequently, I have to rely on my credit cards to buy food and make ends meet. Ouch! The problem is wholly my own, so let’s look at the source of the problem.

Food Budget

Outside my mortgage payment on my house (which I receive rental income from), my highest expense for the month is on food. I literally eat out everyday. I should do a rough calculation but I’m fairly certain I spend $20 to $30 a day on food (or more). That’s totally unacceptable. My food budget is way out of control. What’s interesting is that all my other spending are ok and I don’t feel they are out of whack. However, with my food budget (or lack thereof really), there’s definitely room for improvement.

I know what the solution is. Simply start buying groceries and start cooking my own meal. But call me lazy or stupid, but I just can’t bring myself to doing either.  That being said, I’m going to have to start small, and make progress slowly. Something has to change because the current status quo is clearly not working.

Perfect Song

Well, I’m going to do something a bit unusual. I’m going to post to a YouTube song that capitulates how I’m feeling right now. Hopefully this works.

Just in case, here is the link to There’s Too Much Month At The End Of The Money by Marty Stuart.

Proposed Solution

The solution is quite simple. I need to spend less on food. Although I track my expenses, I don’t really follow a strict budget. I’m not sure I even follow a loose budget. But I definitely don’t follow a strict budget. I spend money based on Ramit Sethi’s principle on Conscious Spending. However, I also need to ensure that the amount of money I choose to spend lasts until my next paycheck.

Part of my problem is that I have an aggressive savings plan because I aim to max out both my 401K and IRA while maintaining about an $800 monthly contribution to my Dividend Portfolio. None of that includes the automatic and random savings that occurs using apps such as Digit or Acorns. Neither does it include other savings not routinely tracked on this site such as the occasional deposit to apps such as Robinhood (which no deposit has been made in recent months), or to my cryptocurrency account at Coinbase as documented in my post about digital currencies, or to my emergency fund. Plus, I am still trying to pay off my student loans (currently behind on this goal). Sufficed to say, I am stretched very thing. Interestingly, I initially wanted this post to be about my savings rate, but I’m still too lazy to do the math. I’ll save that calculation for another day.

Conclusion

I didn’t want this to be a long post. Do you find yourself with too much month at the end of the money? Do you follow a strict budget? Let me know what you think by commenting below.

 

18 thoughts on “Too Much Month At The End Of The Money

  1. BrokeInvestor

    Thanks for your honest comment! I used to be in your situation very often a few years ago. I used to always spend some money from my credit card and pay the interest. Honestly, I wouldn’t imagine doing that now. Somehow I managed to fix this situation by not following a strict budget. I follow a rule to never borrow from my credit card. I only spend what is above the credit line.
    Regarding eating out, my situation is quite good. At work, we have a canteen where we pay 3EUR for our lunch and the amount is deducted from my salary so it is much easier to manage. I only eat out with my wife 5-6 times a month usually but I am thinking about limiting this as well as it still makes quite a big monthly amount which could be invested.
    I am sure that you will manage your budget as you are thinking about it already.
    -BI
    BrokeInvestor recently posted…Buying a carMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Dividend Portfolio Post author

      Hey BI,

      Yea, I’m not worried, but it’s just so annoying. It also problematic because I try not to carry a balance on my credit cards. So, that means that if I have a $200 balance on the card, when I get paid again, I’m going to try to get rid of that $200, which will leave me with less money to spend on everything else. And so the endless cycle continues.

      Reply
  2. singledadmoney

    Glen,

    You HAVE to break the cycle. It was hard for me to stop investing, AND even harder to stop my 401k completely and losing my company match, but I needed that as a constant reminder of the dumb crap I was doing with my money. I lost out on my company match on the 401k for a long time while removing the majority of my debt. I have only recently started it back up. I think you would benefit greatly from temporarily, like 2 or 3 months, stopping your aggressive portfolio contribution. Take that $800 per month and build a small emergency fund, pay off and stop using your credit cards. Once the e-fund is in place, it is now your backup to break the cycle of credit card reliance. I eat out a lot too, especially for lunch, but I know when I do cook dinner, and eat the leftovers for lunch the next day, I save a ton of money. I can feed 2-3 people for dinner, and have my meal for lunch the next day for usually less than $10.

    This is your official notice and challenge to break the cycle!!!

    Brian
    singledadmoney recently posted…Purchase #6 – (O) – Realty Income CorpMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Dividend Portfolio Post author

      Hey Brian, I accept the challenge to break the cycle, but temporarily stopping or reducing my contributions to the 401k, IRA, or Dividend Portfolio is NOT an option. I’m waiting on a refund check from work that will replenish my emergency fund. Plus, I just got rental income from my real estate property, so I might get back to break even and put the difference in my real estate bank account which is there for emergencies, a repair, a new house, etc). So, but maintaining the monthly contributions that I do is a good habit. I’m afraid that if I stop that good habit, it may be harder to get back into it, just knowing my personality. But, you’re right. I do need to break the cycle. I just have to do it while maintaining my current levels of savings and investing. Always appreciate the comments Brian.

      Reply
  3. Mr. ATM

    There is the other hidden cost of eating out too much. It’s called obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and even cancer.

    Outside foods are cooked to taste very good and the way it is done is by adding lots of salt/sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, hydrogenated oil, carcinogenics, and other synthetic and chemical stuff to make the food look and taste good while killing your body over time.

    I don’t know how old you are, but the effects of eating unhealthy food starts to show up in early thirties and then by forties it manifests itself in the form of various symptoms and diseases that cost a lot of money to manage.

    Many of these diseases don’t have any cure and a person is basically stuck taking expensive medications for rest of their lives which makes things even worse as they have bad effect on the liver and kidneys down the road.

    None of this dividend investment stuff is going to matter if you end up spending most of your money at the doctor’s office or on medications.

    So think long-term and learn how the food you are eating affects your body and how much it’s going to cost you in the future in the form of medical bills.

    Good luck,
    Mr. ATM
    Mr. ATM recently posted…Building A City Of Dividend StocksMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Dividend Portfolio Post author

      Appreciate it Mr. ATM. And, it’s definitely something worth considering. I just recently started taking vitamins (even though I’m bad at it). I am not unmindful of the health concerns with what I eat, which is another reason why I’m trying to work out more, so that it will help force me to eat more healthy. In any case, Rome wasn’t built in a day and I suspect that it will take some time to change my current habitual level of eating out, and the choices of food I eat. I suppose the fact that I am starting to pay attention is a good thing and definitely better than the alternative of not starting to pay attention.

      Reply
      1. Mr. ATM

        Good to hear DP that you are paying attention to what you eat and not unmindful of the health concerns. All I can tell you is I wish I had known more about food and its effect to health when I was young. It wasn’t till I hit 40 when I started to see impact of eating unhealthy food.

        Now, I work hard everyday by exercising and eating healthy home cooked meals to reverse the damage done by eating out all these years.

        Take care.

        Reply
  4. Mr. Robot

    I think I remember earlier posts about your eating habits. I think Mr. ATM makes a very good point regarding health, please take good care of yourself. Taking vitamins is not good health but poor eating habits. When you eat healthy and nutritious food you won’t need any vitamins.

    You can do it!
    Mr. Robot recently posted…September 2017 Dividend ReportMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Dividend Portfolio Post author

      Yea. I just have to slowly get back into it. I’m gonna start by getting a blender so I can make more smoothies instead of drinking frappes at Starbucks.

      Reply
  5. Dividend Daze

    Food gets me too. I spend way too much on it, but it’s so good. That is a strict budget to max everything out and still invest that much per month. I would be trying to do the same, but it doesn’t work out well with trying to pay for school as I go. Masters is expensive! But I consider not taking on more debt to be an achievement and an investment itself. We just need to stick to the budget to accomplish our goals. There is always a way somehow.
    Dividend Daze recently posted…Three Tips to Help You Build a Portfolio of Dividend PayersMy Profile

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    1. Dividend Portfolio Post author

      I don’t disagree Daze. Kudos to you for taking on a masters degree. We each have to do what works for us. Yea it’s kind of a strict budget to max out everything but I’m committed. Appreciate the comments as always.

      Reply
  6. Passivecanadianincome

    Hey port. Shitty situation but if you say its cause of yout strict savings thats not a bad thing! Food is a killer though, I know when we decided to be debt free our first budget was waaaaaay over on restaurants and fast food. It adds up way to fast. Even now the 3 of us go out to eat somewhere and boom 100 bucks…….. got to start cutting that. Start with simple stuff you can just throw in the oven to eat. Not much cooking involved. Healthier for ya too and can leftovers for awhile if you buy a premade lasagna or something.
    20-30 a day doesnt sound like much but thats 600-900 a month, you could almost double your dividend investments! Then when you are super rich you could make it rain burgerz, tacos oh my. Cheers!
    Passivecanadianincome recently posted…New Purchase – CVSMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Dividend Portfolio Post author

      Haha, good point PCI. Yea, that’s the plan, to start small. I’m not going to change over night, but I also can’t keep doing the same thing. It’s just not sustainable. So, I might start buying little things to eat around the house (chips, cookies, whatever), so that whenever I’m hungry, I don’t just go out and spend money. There’s a 24 hour bowling alley a couple of blocks from me, which is not helpful to my wallet. I have no doubt that things will get better – slowly but surely.

      Reply
  7. Dividend Diplomats

    DP –

    Get your ass to the store and buy peanutbutter and oats!!! Eating that 3-5x per week will save you, more than likely, $15-$25 just by doing that. Further, bananas and peanutbutter; or spinach salads with beans, tomatoes and cucumbers – all very inexpensive. I expect a full improvement report from you DP by end of November on the status of this man, you can do it!!!! Now save money and invest that cash!

    -Lanny
    P.S. – ate breakfast, lunch and dinner today/tonight without spending an extra cent : )

    Reply
    1. Mr. ATM

      Right on DD, this man needs some tough love 🙂

      BTW DP, don’t go buy some shitty peanut butter with all that added sugar and salt. Read the ingredient list, and make sure it only has peanuts and nothing else. I actually like almond butter and get it from Trader Joe. Don’t trust those big food process company brands, well maybe Smucker’s natural peanut butter is okay.

      Will be looking forward to that report 😉

      Mr. ATM
      Mr. ATM recently posted…AT&T: A Telecom Giant On Flash Sale (Part 2)My Profile

      Reply
      1. Dividend Portfolio Post author

        OMG, this is so hard! I’ll be making changes. Baby steps. Not sure what they are yet. Today, I opted to get salad with my meal. I’m trying to force myself to eat greens, and not just chicken and rice all the time.

        Reply

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