How I Spend $1,794 A Month

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*June 2020 | I’ve recently updated this post to reflect my most recent budget.*

When I first wrote this post, I originally was only spending less than $1,350 a month. Since then, I’ve really changed things up. I love spending money on things I enjoy and I’ve increased my spending quite a bit on social outings and shopping. 

Today’s post is inspired by the Money Diaries series on Refinery 29 and Lauren Bowling from Financial Best Life. 

I first heard of Money Diaries from Lauren, and it’s been interesting to see how everyone spends their money.

I’m going to switch things up on today’s post. I won’t be writing a complete money diary for each expense.

Instead, I’ll be breaking down my monthly expenses, how I lowered my monthly expenses, and how I plan on living on less than $1,000 in the near future. 

Disclaimer: I don’t have kids. I have an emergency fund. Just because I spend money this way, doesn’t mean you need to. In my personal opinion, finance isn’t a one-size fit all. This is a judgment-free zone. Do you enjoy buying clothes each month? Do you enjoy living in a big house and having kids? Obviously, your numbers will be different from mine. Again, j-u-d-g-m-e-n-t free zone. 

Before we get started, make sure to sign up for my free resource library and get access to exclusive printables all about saving money and building wealth, meal planning, and more.

About Me

Occupation: Blogger and Business Owner

Industry: Marketing and Freelance

Age: 28

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Annual Income: Since I don’t have set numbers for my annual income, I am setting my annual income at $80,000 for simplicity. 

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $550 (1/2 of rent – 2 bedroom duplex that I share with my boyfriend and 2 dogs)

Cell Phone: $57

Internet: $22 (1/2 paid, other 1/2 boyfriend pays)

Electricity:  $50 (1/2 paid, other 1/2 boyfriend pays) 

Water: $0 (landlord pays)

Car gas: $15 (boyfriend pays other half)

Groceries: $300

Restaurants: $75

Coffee: $20

Household: $20

Netflix and Hulu: $16

Fun: $200

Health Insurance: $199 (Liberty HealthShare)

Pet Insurance: $70  (Embrace and Healthy Paws)

Auto, Disability, and Rental Insurance: $96 (State Farm)

Life Coaching: $79

Gym: $25

= $1,794

The number above does not include my giving, investments, business, and last-minute expenses like unexpected dental or medical bills for myself or my dogs.

Annual expenses: For example, my dogs get dental teeth cleaning once a year, need dog food, and get physicals, which is almost $1,000 between my boyfriend and I. I visited the dentist myself this year and shelled out $1,000 with insurance, but this was a one-time thing to address issues I was having. In the future, my dental budget should be $0 since my dental insurance covers 2 cleanings a year – as long as no accidents happen. 

Giving: I give monthly to charities that mean a lot to me, such as animal sanctuaries, charities for women involved in domestic and sexual violence, environmental groups, etc. I also enjoy giving to online creators. For example, I watch vegan YouTubers and buy their eBooks even though I’ll probably never read them. I just wanted to find a way to support them somehow.

Insurance: I have health insurance, auto and renters insurance, pet insurance for both dogs, and disability insurance. 

Business expenses: My business expenses range month to month. This month, my business expenses were $364, which is higher than usual because I added an accountant to take over the financial part of my business. I recently hired a website designer, and that was around $2,500. I also hire someone to do my taxes. Overall, business expenses are usually less than $5,000 a year. [ConvertKit alone is $119/month or $1428/year].

How I Lowered Monthly Expenses:

1. I lowered my cell phone and internet bill with Billshark. Billshark called both T-Mobile and Xcel Energy for me and lowered my bills which saved me $290 for the next 12 months. I owe Billshark 40% of the $290 they saved me, which is $116. My internet went from $65.99 back down to the intro rate of $45.99 for the next 12 months. Billshark also negotiated my T-Mobile bill, which saved me $40 for 1 month. They were not able to lower my State Farm insurance bill – they said it was already the lowest it could get. I’ll probably call Billshark in 12 months and have them try this again. We’ll see if it works a second time.

Here’s a screenshot of my Billshark dashboard:

2. I used to spend $400+ a month on food, restaurant outings, and coffee. I no longer go out to get coffee every day because I’ve found a way to make great coffee at home with a french press. I also eat a whole foods plant-based diet which cut down costs dramatically. If you’re interested in plant-based eating on a budget, I recommend the book Plant-Based On A Budget.


3. Any time I online shop [and I seriously mean ANY and every time] I use Honey, which plugs in the best coupon at checkout. I’ve cut down on online shopping, though, so I don’t use Honey as much as I used to, but it’s still a great way to save money. We buy our dogs prescription medication through 1-800 Pet Meds and make sure to apply Honey at checkout every time. 

Here are my favorite ways to save money:

  • Get cash back on groceries (even healthy foods) with Ibotta. Get $10 for signing up for Ibotta here.
  • Slash your cell phone bill in half by switching to Tello. Tello plans start at $5 and the highest plan being $39. You can cancel or upgrade your phone plan any time you want and keep your existing number. I only need the $19/month Tello plan which gives unlimited text and calling, with 4GB of data. 
  • Move your money into a high-yield bank savings account. Your bank right now probably offers 0.03%. That’s nothing. CIT Bank currently offers up to 1.70%. You can move your money and emergency fund to a high-yield savings account to save even more money. Open a CIT Bank account here.
  • Cancel gym, streaming, or other memberships you aren’t using 
  • Save money on meal planning and save time grocery shopping with $5 Meal Plan. You get your first 2 weeks free here.
  • Lower your bills like your cell phone, internet, cable, insurance, and more with Billshark. I used it myself and saved $290. All you do is upload a bill that you want to save money on here.
  • Get cash back on online purchases (pretty much anywhere) with Ebates. You get $10 for signing up for Ebates here.
  • Get the best coupon codes instantly when shopping online with Honey

Final Note:

The personal finance community can be very judgmental and critical of how people spend money.

So I want to say this:

If you enjoy going out for a daily coffee, buying new clothes, taking luxurious vacations, go for it if this fits in your budget. If this makes you happy and you can afford this while also putting money away for your retirement and savings, why not? 

I remember when I first joined the personal finance community and was making financial choices based on what I thought I was supposed to do. I held a lot of guilt for a long time on buying a new car because you are NOT supposed to buy a new car.

Then, I realized I love my new car. I also love spending money and I like buying fancy things sometimes. 

I hope you all enjoyed today’s post. If you have any questions about my spending, feel free to ask them below. 

What to read next: How I Make $10,000+ Per Month With These 4 Side Hustles

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