How do you spend your money? Part 4

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In our latest installment of How Do You Spend Your Money? we met Alex—amarried dad in his mid-30s who works in armored transport. Take it away, Alex!

Overall, I think I’m fairly responsiblewith my money. Maybe not financialplanner level responsible, but I spend less than I earn. My wife and I both work to cover the billsand to put a little away into our savings. Once these expenses are taken care of, there’s usually a surplus from mypay cheque. I try and break this surplusdown into a daily allowance of “free money” for spending each day. My free money doesn’t amount to a lot and itdoesn’t account for things like gas or groceries, but it’s enough to grab acoffee or a treat and not have to worry about it in the long run.

Day1: Monday

DailyTotal: $31.75

Ah Monday mornings! My shifts tend to start early (as early as 4 a.m.some days) and this morning was no exception, so I started out by gettingcoffee and a breakfast wrap to go. I’vebeen trying to cut back on my caffeine lately and was hoping to get through theday without buying coffee, but with a 6 a.m. drive to Pictou and back, thisjust wasn’t happening.

After getting back to Halifax fromPictou, I got a service call in Moncton, so got a panini and ended up eating onthe road. On my way home I popped by thedrug store to pick up cold medicine and cough drops for my wife, who was fightingoff a cold.

Day2: Tuesday

DailyTotal: $29.04

Today wasn’t too bad. I started the day by spending a whole $3.04for coffee and a cinnamon bun. Considering I packed a healthy lunch at home—carrot sticks, crackers,and an apple—I held up pretty well.

On the way home from work, I stopped bythe liquor store to grab wine to go with dinner.

Day3: Wednesday

DailyTotal: -$55.00

Today was my day off. So how did I makemoney rather than spend it? It startedlate last week when our 25-year-old washing machine decided to bite the dust. Given the noises the washing machine wasmaking, this wasn’t altogether unexpected, but it wasn’t exactly cheap toreplace. While we have a small emergencyfund, we also had a few things in storage that we decided to sell to help offsetthe cost of a new washer. The last ofthese items was an air conditioner, which I sold for $140.

Later in the day, I went to the hardwarestore to buy new washer hoses and taps to replace the old rusty ones inpreparation for our new washer and dryer, along with a lightbulb to replace theone that burned out in our fridge. Thetotal for this was $56.

To round out the day, I picked up dinnerout for the family.

Day4: Thursday

DailyTotal: $16.82

I found a coupon for a free coffee in mycar on the way to work, so I stopped in and spent $1.49 for a cinnamon roll togo with this. I was again on the roadunexpectedly at supper time and spent $15.33 on take-out.

Day5: Friday

DailyTotal: $65.17

I kicked off today by spending $2.99 forcoffee and a donut because shifts that start at 4 a.m. are wrong and morningsare terrible.  While I usually try topack my lunch, today didn’t work out so well and I found myself picking up asub in Oromocto to eat on the road.  Mypartner and I debated over whether this was really lunch or secondbreakfast.  Later in the afternoon, Igrabbed a frozen chocolate smoothie and a snack for $3.25.

I wrapped up the day by filling up mycar for $42 on my way home and $7.60 on fast food.

Day6: Saturday

DailyTotal: $47.45

After getting called into work unexpectedlyto fix a broken ATM, I spent $6.45 for a slice of pizza and a pop forlunch.  

My son’s birthday is coming up and eachyear my wife makes him a homemade birthday cake. On my way home from work my wife called andasked me to stop by the grocery store, where I bought $26 of baking ingredientsshe needed. I also ordered a late-nightpizza for $15, so we could snack while she decorated the birthday cake, whichtook until sometime after midnight.

Day7: Sunday

DailyTotal: $84.12

I woke up sneezing, so I started the dayby heading to the pharmacy for $15 worth of over-the-counter allergymedication. Long story short, my wifeloves cats and I’m allergic to them, so we have two cats and I take allergymedication. Relationships are all aboutcompromise. 

We decided to spend the day out tocelebrate my son’s birthday. We pickedup coffee and breakfast out for $12.12 and headed over to the Discovery Centre,because my son is obsessed with all things science. Admission for two adults and one child was$46, but was well worth it and we all had a lot of fun.

WeeklyTotal: $219.35

FinalThoughts:

Looking back at the week, there isn’treally anything here that surprised me. I think I could probably stand to plan ahead for long work days–packinga bigger lunch and bringing my morning coffee to work in a travel mug. 

That being said, the odd coffee and acinnamon bun aren’t really the worst thing and I think it’s important to setaside a little extra in the budget for the unexpected.