Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Money: the most taboo topic of all

“Well, I have to go do my spend report for my blog,” I announce after dinner.

“What?” says my husband and then he gives me a look. Or rather, A Look.

“For the first week of September. What I bought, how much it cost, where I bought it.”

I can tell he is uneasy. He explains he is concerned that people will be able to figure out how much we make if I give such detailed information. This makes me uneasy too. Just writing about this, even just thinking about this—the whole topic of money—is making me twitchy.

I do not consider myself a particularly private person. People who know me well would probably say I err on the side of sharing way too much information. However, I’ve always been extremely reticent about telling anyone how much I make. Revealing how I spend my money and how much money I have to spend is just that: revealing. I don’t want to be judged by how much I make or by what I spend my money on. Most people don’t.

But people make judgments based on money all the time. I have scoffed at friends who spend hundreds on designer handbags. I’ve never been into labels. If a brand wants me to wear its logo, I’m advertising, so, the brand should pay me. That’s always been my philosophy. But I know I have made many scoff-worthy purchases myself (hello, $85 jar of face masque in my medicine cabinet).

My husband favours doing a loose summary of expenditures. His argument is that the point of the blog is not exactly how much I’ve spent, it’s whether or not I was able to buy everything in New West. I’m not so sure. After all, one of the things I’m interested in finding out is if shopping locally is cheaper or more expensive and by how much. Of course, at the end of the year, I could just say, “Trust me, it’s cheaper/more expensive!” and never reveal how much I actually spent. But writing is always better when it’s specific.

I don’t think listing every grocery item and its price is necessary, but at some point, some specific numbers are going to need to be involved.

Spend Report #1

While I figure out exactly how much I want to reveal, here’s a somewhat loose/somewhat specific report on how and where I spent my money for the first week of September.

From Sept. 1 to 7, I spent about $620. A little over half (about $327) was spent in New Westminster. I spent money in New West on piano lessons, haircuts for my son and husband, propane, brunch, gas, and groceries.

The rest was spent in Surrey, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Vancouver and Richmond. I left New West to buy piano books and to go to Costco, the PNE and to two movies. (There is no Costco or movie theatre in New Westminster.) Almost all my spending from Sept. 1 to 6 was done outside New West. All my Sept. 7 (first day of school) spending was done in New West.