This website was archived on July 21, 2019. It is frozen in time on that date.

Sonya Mann's active website is Sonya, Supposedly.

How Much Money I Actually Spend in a Month

Photo by Thomas Galvez.
Photo by Thomas Galvez.

I like sharing my budgets and expenses because people are very interested in what others do with money. Last October I wrote about my planned monthly spending, but I never got around to figuring out how well I stick to those numbers. (My work situation and income have also changed since then.) In November I listed which charities I donate to, and how much each of them gets. In some ways this follow-up post is an accountability exercise.

This is how much money I spent in January, and what I spent it on:

  • Rent + utilities: $700
  • Groceries: $322.77
  • Gas + transportation: $77.37
  • Cafe outings: $44.02 (spread over eight occasions)
  • Website expenses: $23.74 (probably tax-deductible)
  • Advertising: $51.78 (probably tax-deductible)
  • Media, books, and games: $164.19
  • Charity: $158 (definitely tax-deductible)

The total sum is $1,541.87. If you include the money I owe to my parents for health insurance, car insurance, cell phone service, internet, and Netflix, that adds another $463, bringing the total to $2,004.87. I typically reimburse my parents in periodic chunks rather than steadily each month — I should set up an automatic system. And I need to do something similar for savings. Right now I’m just letting extra money pile up in my checking account.

Caveats to keep in mind:

  • I live in a part of the Bay Area that’s less desirable than San Francisco or Oakland, but my rent is still slightly under-market.
  • One month is statistically insignificant and not wholly representative of all the other months.
  • My original post factored in expenses that I paid in lump sums (like my Gimlet Media membership); I simply divided the yearly outlay by twelve. In today’s accounting I only recorded money that was actually spent in January.
  • Let’s not even talk about taxes right now. Freelance taxes = ceaseless nightmare.

The Power of the Follow-Up Email

email icon
Via Joe The Goat Farmer.

A big part of my new job is emailing people. Not just emailing them once, but sending an initial message, waiting a couple of days, then following up over and over again until they address my questions. Some people respond to the first email, which is great. Some people respond to the second, which is also great. A few people don’t respond until the sixth or eighteenth email. (At least theoretically — I haven’t gotten to that point yet. It’s only been two weeks.)

Vous avez dit email?
Image via g4ll4is.

Maybe the follow-up email is an obvious technique, but it never occurred to me until I started work at ORO. I felt like I could send an email once and leave it at that. If the recipient wanted to respond, they would respond. If they didn’t — well, so much for that! However, when you’re talking to clients and vendors on behalf of a business, you can’t be so laissez-faire.

What’s really great is that the follow-up email works, probably through the power of sheer annoyance. By popping up in someone’s inbox repeatedly, I make them think, “Ugh, this Sonya chick won’t shut up until I respond. FINE.” Basically, I push myself to the top of their to-do list.

I fully intend to use this realization to further my personal interests as well as ORO’s. Expect more irritating emails from me! Sorry in advance.

Pacman eating emails
Illustration by Jonathan Lister.

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