Spending Report for March 2016


For anyone who may have forgotten and for folks who just recently began reading my blog, one of my goals for 2016 is to keep a record of every penny I spend this year. (To find out how this project came about, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/12/31/spending/.)  On the first of each month I  give a report on what I bought and how much I spent in the previous month.  (To read January’s spending report, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/01/spending-report-for-january-2016/. To read February’s spending report, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/03/01/spending-report-for-february-2016/.) As follows is my spending report for March 2016.

3-1-16  My only expenditure today was my phone bill. Total spent : $27.78

3-2-16  I had the van’s fuel pump replaced today and ran some errands. Total spent: $276.89

$267.13 to my mechanic to have a new fuel pump installed

$5.42 for a shirt to wear to a job interview

$4.34 for supplies from Dollar Tree

3-3-16  I ran errands and paid my mailbox rental today. Total spent: $53.28

$19.47 for mailbox rental

$1 to Goodwill for a shirt I LOVE

$1.10 for parking

$2.16 for lunch at Taco Bell

$29.55 for groceries at discount (scratch and dent) supermarket

3-4-16  All I bought today was gasoline. Total spent: $37.93

3-5-16  Today I stayed where I was house sitting and wrote. Nothing spent

3-6-16  More writing and not leaving the house. Nothing spent

3-7-16  I had to bring the van back to the mechanic due to a fuel spill on Friday, He fixed the problem, but to be sure, he had me fill the gas tank as full as I could get it. Total spent: $33.60

3-8-16  Stayed busy writing. Nothing spent

3-9-16  More writing. Nothing spent

3-10-16  Writing. Nothing spent

3-11-16  Nothing spent

3-12-16  Today I worked at a carnival selling lemonade, but I didn’t buy anything but a cup of coffee from a local coffee shop to get me going in the morning. Total spent: $3.44

3-13-16  Since I only drank half the cup of coffee yesterday (it was STRONG), I made iced coffee with the other half this morning, and I didn’t have to buy any more. Nothing spent

3-14-16 This evening I stopped at the supermarket for toilet paper and picked up two packages of reduced- for-quick-sale organic cheese. Each pack of the cheese was marked $1. When I scanned them at the

This is the bargain cheese I scored for 12 and 1/2 cents per package.

This is the bargain cheese I scored for 12 and 1/2 cents per package.

self-checkout machine, it spit out a coupon for $1.75 off two packs of that brand of cheese.  My total cheese cost was only a quarter! Total spent: $1.75

3-15-16 Today I participated in a mock Jury. I was way early, so I decided to wander around in the air-conditioned luxury of the supermarket in the same shopping center as the law office where the mock jury was being held. In the supermarket, I saw phones compatible with my cell phone service (Net10) on sale. Smart phones that were usually $49.99 were on sale for $9.99. I’ve been using the same phone for almost four years (that’s 392 in phone years),  the letters were worn off some of the buttons, and I was concerned the thing was going to give out on me in some random town and I’d have to pay a lot to replace it. Also, yes, I was seduced by the   smart phone bells and whistles. Total spent: $14.12

$10.86 new phone

$3.26 to Dollar Tree for screen saver film for phone and other supplies.

3-16-16  Today I went to the post office. Total spent: $6.08

3-17-16  Today I took a shuttle to Las Vegas, and bought cheese puffs during our refueling break. My friends treated me to dinner. Total spent: $2

3-18-16  My friends and I went out to dinner at Red Robin, where one of my friends got a free burger for his birthday. Total spent: $13

3-19-16  Today I went to Costco with my friends and bought a sun hat better than the one I had. Total spent: $14.05

3-20 through 3-27-16  During the rest of my time in Vegas, I didn’t spend any money. My friends treated me to custard one afternoon and dinner one more time, but mostly we were busy volunteering and cooking food for the participants, which we also ate. Nothing spent

3-28-16  Today I mailed two collages and a necklace and used the last of a restaurant gift card. Total  spent: $7.94

$4.50 postage

$3.44 for tip and candy at restaurant

3-29-16  Today I browsed at a thrift store, bought some stamps, and bought some food. Total spent: $12.50

$3 to thrift store for fifty postcards, a plastic accordion folder to hold clippings for future collages, and other odds and ends

$7 to post office for twenty postcard stamps

$2.50 to discount (scratch and dent) grocery store

3-30-16 Today I activated my new phone and paid for thirty days of service. I also treated my friend to lunch. Total spent: $57.89

$38.89 for thirty days of phone service

$19 for lunch for two, including tip

3-31-16 Today I mailed a book and some photos, washed my curtains and rugs, bought groceries, and went back to the thrift stores. Total spent: $33.28

$5 to laundromat for washing and drying

$11.33 for groceries at regular grocery store

$4.85 at discount (scratch and dent) grocery store

$4 at thrift store for plastic container for ice, zippered purse for new cell phone, carpet, and postcards

$2 at Catholic thrift store for three one-gallon glass jugs (25 cents each!), a bag for holding plastic bags, and small plastic container for holding ice.

Total spent in March: $595.53

I am knocking wood and hoping I’ll have no more van repairs to pay for in April. It would be nice to save a little pile of money.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now I have a little travel trailer parked in a small RV park in a small desert town. I also have a minivan to travel in. When it gets too hot for me in my desert, I get in my minivan and move up in elevation to find cooler temperatures or I house sit in town in a place with air conditioning I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

8 Responses »

  1. I’ve been unsure about whether or not I should include some items in my spending report. For example, a friend gave me a gift card for Cracker Barrel, and I wasn’t sure if I should consider the use of that card part of my spending. I decided against including it, as I felt it was the same as if my friend had taken me to dinner.

    Also, (different) friends paid for me to take a shuttle to Las Vegas; again, I didn’t include that money in my report. I considered it a gift, not part of my income. Although they sent me a check so I could make the arrangements myself, I look at it as if they had just sent me a ticket.

    I think I will not report things bought with gift cards given to me to be used at specific stores or restaurants, but will report the spending of any money or gift cards that go into my general coffers. (So if I got a gift card for Goodwill, I probably wouldn’t report spending it, but if I got a gift card for Wal-Mart, I probably would report spending it.) I know this is arbitrary, but I wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. It’s not like I am living off gifts from people in order to make it look like I’m not spending a lot of money.

    Ok, just to be clear, so far this year, I’ve been given a $10 gift card for shopping at Goodwill, a $25 gift card for eating at Cracker Barrel, and a $105 ticket to Las Vegas. There. I feel better now.

  2. Great job!!! Even with the van repairs that is great. How did you get on a mock Jury? How is the pay for that? Is it worth your time? I tried doing mystery shopping for a while but after all the work and printing out the instructions it just was not worth it to me. Agree with you about the gift cards.

    Loving your blog 🙂

    Take care,


    • I found the mock jury on Craigslist. I’ve done three in my life. It paid $60 for three hours and the snacks were fantastic. They don’t all pay that much and the snacks aren’t always great. Also, I don’t know how often mock juries are available. The three I’ve done have been over four years.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate your encouragement.

  3. Just curious (and you certainly don’t have to answer), but your expenses were close to $600 for the month. Were you able to earn at least $600 during the month? I’d like to hear more about your different jobs and such.

    • Thanks for reading and asking questions, Maddie.

      No, I didn’t earn $600 in March. I have been living off the money I saved from working last summer and fall. That money is just about gone, so it’s a good thing I have a new temp job starting soon.

      I’ve written extensively about my work as a work camper/camp host/parking lot attendant last summer. I’ve also written about my time selling jewelry and shiny rocks, as well as about a few of my house and pet sitting jobs. In the future I plan to write about my weekend selling lemonade, as well as my afternoon on a mock jury. I agree to confidentiality for my job scoring student responses on standardized tests, so I won’t be writing about that.

      Most of my jobs don’t tend to be very exciting, so I don’t write much about them.

  4. Thank you. I forgot about the camp host job. I’ve sold crafts and things in the past but never made enough to even feed myself for a week! LOL

    • I had to work really hard when I sold my jewelry and shiny rocks. In addition to the actual selling (which people who don’t sell don’t always realize is often HARD), the physical hauling and loading and unloading of merchandise takes a toll. Plus, most craft markets and fairs and flea markets and swap meets start dang early; vendors are often setting up in the dark morning. Then of course, there is the work of making the craft item. So many people have no idea what it takes to make and sell items made from hand and only want to pay a fraction of what such items are worth. It is a really difficult way to make a living. I’ve never worked as hard as when I worked for myself. When I was vending at the Bridge, my day was often ten hours in the sun and wind and dust and heat, and I almost always worked five (and sometimes seven) days a week.

  5. Pingback: I Get by with a Whole Lot of Help From My Friends | Rubber Tramp Artist

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