I wrote in a post at some point in June where I mentioned briefly how, due partly to the end of my financially stupid relationship, my checking account had somehow creeped up to double what it had been the month before. The funny thing is, June also happened to be the month where, despite not having any school tuition bills to pay, I somehow racked up the highest credit card bill of my entire life. I usually pay my bills through my credit card and pay them off diligently in full each month to establish good credit and earn rewards points from my credit card company. But although none of my regular, boring bills increased this month, I still somehow found myself shocked when I saw my statement at the end of the month. It wasn’t really mindless spending, and it wasn’t fraud (believe me, I checked). I just bought some really expensive shit in June.
As an ~emotional~ disclaimer, I will say that I was two months out of a breakup and trying not to spend money to nurse myself back to sanity, but it seems I had a slip-up or two(thousand).
I wrote a highly controversial post about one of the big fat purchases I made that contributed to this absurdly high credit card bill: a nearly $2,000 MacBook Pro (which I will say, before you take your angry little fingers to the comments section, is a purchase I wholeheartedly stand by and do not regret even a little bit). $2,000 is the most money I’ve ever spent at once, besides when I bought my car last summer, and although it definitely sucked to pay that bill at the end of the month (in full, as I always do!), it also felt kind of sweet to know that I had made that decision, and was able to figure out how to afford it without falling into the safety net of my parents.
Being able to somewhat comfortably afford that big fat bill in June also meant that July would be a less-than-comfortable month. I had to give up a lot of expenses and cut a lot of costs in order to make up for the financial hit I took last month. I have to say, it is kind of funny to compare my most expensive purchase of June (the $2,000 computer) to my most expensive purchase of July: a pair of pants from Banana Republic that I spent $40 on (after using 20 rewards points from my Gap brand Visa card, yasss) to replace my only other pair of black work pants that are two sizes too big for me after a weird and unexpected weight loss (win?).
This got me wondering about other people my age (or around my age) and what the most “expensive” thing they purchased last month was. The word “expensive” means something different to everyone, and the meaning of it can change daily (or, in my case, monthly). A month ago, $2,000 was something “affordable” for me. Fast forward to this month, where I found myself sweating at the cash register swiping my card for a $40 charge because I needed black pants for an event.
Out of curiosity (and, let’s face it: nosiness), I asked a bunch of young people in my life what they spent the most of their money on last month. Some of them had one “big” purchase that jumped to their mind, and others put the bulk of their monthly paychecks towards their big-city rent, or grocery bills. In any case, I was fascinated by the array of responses I got, and the different ideas people had on what “expensive” truly meant. This is what everyone had to say when I asked what their most expensive purchase was last month:
1. “$375 for food.” — Tesha
2. “Gas — about $850. Too much driving.” — Pete
3. “Rent, a whopping $1,000.” — Evan
4. “I spent $78 on shoes. That’s a lot for shoes.” — Rose
5. “Coffee. Ugh. Other than rent, of course. Rent is $650 and $150 for utilities. I probably do $300 a month on coffee. Between ten dollars a day worth of coffee out and the grounds I buy for my apartment.” — Ben
6. “I took an online course for $1,075.” — Claudio
7. “I spent about $100 last month on gel manicures. What a fucking waste, my nails are crap now so I keep going back because now they only look good when I have a gel manicure.” — Elizabeth
8. “Cigarettes, because I’m a failure. I spend anywhere between $50 and $60 a week on them. It’s ruining my life.” — Kayla
9. “$100-something on freemium content for Kingdom Hearts Unchained X. That gambling tendency…my friends were all getting ahead of me even though I was playing many hours every day, so I needed to buy the in-game money. Now that I’m squarely better than all my friends because I spent money irresponsibly, I can rest on my laurels.” — Andrew
10. “The most I spent last month was $90 at Bath and Body Works. Why and how? Ugh.” — Carolyn
11. “Food. For other people. $1,000 dollars last month, give or take some. I feed a lot of people.” – Mindy
12. “For Hail and I, talkin’ rent and baby formula. Maybe also collective grocery expenses, but that includes baby stuff. Not a waste, but a huge expense.” – Josh
13. “I spent 80 bucks on my reptiles. That’s a lot.” – Sara
14. “Probably $3,000 on furniture, but I just moved to a much bigger place so I feel like it is justified.” – Brian
15. “I got a puppy. I bought a puppy — $875. A month ago, I was saying I can’t even afford to adopt a puppy. I definitely hope I can afford to care for one. But it is so cute. LOL. Help me.” – Erin
Mary is the summer Media Fellow at The Financial Diet. Send her your summer intern stories (your lessons, failures, triumphs and good advice) at firstname.lastname@example.org
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