Friday, November 26, 2010


The up-front costs of my house left me in a weird psychological state where I keep spending more money.

Between the down payment, loan fees, celebratory beer, quick meals out, movers, electricians, inspections, anti-stress beer, gas, and first-dinner-party-beer; I spent over a year's take-home pay in just a few weeks.  Don't get me started on the capital gains taxes; I funded the down payment by selling my lucky stock.

All that money leaving my bank account created some kind of vortex or spacial rift, and it's sucking still more money after it.  A $70 jacket here, a $40 board game there, and several $20 "special occasion" dinners at that-there Lebanese restaurant in the neighborhood... it's adding up.  I think that spending each dollar hurts less than it used too.  I'm not going to run out of money, but I'm saving less than I intend.

Mainly it's buying "little things for the house", even ignoring the dining room set.  Fireplace tools, cleaning supplies, dishes, yard tools, and so on.  I read about this beforehand, but that didn't make me immune.  At least I've resisted the temptation to replace my furniture... though I could use a new coffee table.

There are some upsides; I'm saving more on my car than I expected.  Adding a homeowner's policy got me a discount on my car insurance.  The discount is actually more than the house policy premium.  I should have insured a house years ago, even if it wasn't mine.  The daily commute is shorter (down from 60 miles daily to 10) and I use so little gas that I worry the gauge is broken.

I'm saving on food by cooking more real meals and taking leftovers to work for lunch.  I always went out for lunch, thinking I was saving time, but really this is quicker because I don't have to drive and wait in line during the lunch rush.  I'm not saving as much as I'd guessed, but I'm eating better, so on balance it's working out very well.

Mint is a great help.  It's the best monthly-budget tool I've found, assuming your have online accounts it can pull transactions from.

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