Okay folks. The moment all of you have been desperately waiting for has arrived. The report. We’re well into March here now so let’s just cut to the chase.
Well, things went pretty well this month. My average cost of living was $64.42 per day. But at the same time, I blew the $1250 budget by $553! That’s right, I spent over $1 800 despite my goal of $1 250 per month! That puts me at a deficit of $888 in just two months! Not good, right? Well, to be honest, I’m not too worried yet.
I managed to stick really close to my budget until the end of the month, despite a few ‘unexpected’ charges, of which I am starting to realize there are no such thing. $426, or 77% of my overspending came in the form of a Costco trip on the 2nd last day of the month. I had to go to town anyway to get a friend from the airport, and have been overdue for a Costco trip, so there was no more ‘logical’ time to do it. Most of the shop was food and household items. I buy things like tomato paste, cubed tomatoes, coffee, peanut butter, roasted nuts, dry pinto beans, frozen fruit, almond and coconut milk, etc. So, the reason this lies in the good category is I managed to get a Costco trip done while I was going to have to do some driving as it were, and I also managed to purchase things that will help reduce my spending further in the months to come. If I make use of all of it, I will definitely save money in the end. I mean, when you can get 4kg of Pinto beans for $169 pesos (about $12), which is enough to have ready-to-go beans on hand as a side for eggs, or anything really, for about 4 months. How many meals does that can of Heinz Baked Beans you buy for about $3 last? And what is it in? A couple of extra cancer-causing preservatives? Possibly.
As has been well reported, Costco and other box stores can be a tricky beast. I didn’t shop there in years until I moved to Mexico. The membership fees are less here, so it makes more sense for me as a single guy. I certainly had yearned for the opportunity to get some of their staples at a worthwhile value. But therein lies the problem. My romanticism of the ‘access’ to shop at Costco may lead me to a mindset of awe and submission to the playland I had entered rather than rather than one of critical analysis of the huge hall of strategic marketing that stood before me.
And with this, one makes mistakes. I know I had in the past, when I first started visiting Costco here. For instance, I still haven’t opened the 4 L bag of hand soap I picked up there over 16 months ago as my previous supply is just about to finally run out. This most recent trip would have been a much more sensible time to grab it, given that it has just taken up precious space in my small home in the meantime. Instead, I grabbed a box of 24 AA Duracell batteries for $269 pesos, or about $17 CAD. Hell of a deal, right? The thing is, I only really needed 1 for my portable keyboard. I wonder how long the other 23 will be stashed in my drawer unused…
The will be no true shortage of chances to go to town to shop at places like Costco. For example, in the last few weeks, I have burned a painful amount of gas going back and forth to the airport to pickup visitors to my home here in Mexico. Of course I am thrilled to have them visit so I am going to make the drive anyway, but when it has been months since my last time in town and it may be months before I have to go there again, I may as well pick up a few months worth of staples en route. If you slice it the right way, it didn’t even cost me any gas money, since I was going to be making this trip and accepting the cost of the journey in order to see my friends anyway.
Free trip to Costco? Still getting ahead I think.
Ultimately, I am still on track to finish the year with a budget surplus of $524.37, and my recent purchases of some staples will keep me enjoying the simple things while eating well, which equals playing well, which equals further satisfaction and contentedness that doesn’t require spending away my future.
Sounds like a plan.