Budgeting Bare: January 2020 Spending Report

January 2020 spending report numbers are in, and… drumroll please… it was an expensive month for one-off expenses. I spent nearly $5k in January, about $2k of which wasn’t exactly planned. Taxes hit (spoiler alert: I did not get a refund and had to pay), I put down earnest money on an apartment in my new hood, the special occasion budget is killing me, and I spent almost $1k on travel for 2020.

I bled money in January.

But I think I can explain. Let’s get to it, shall we?

January 2020 Budgeting Wins

  1. I stayed under budget for transportation, which is good because I need to do some catch up in order to stay within my yearly budget numbers. 
  2. Put another $1.8k on student loan debt
  3. I stayed within budget– sort of. I kept adjusting my budget as things came up like taxes and earnest money. But I stayed within the adjustments.
  4. My taxes are complete and I had enough money on hand (Yay, Savings!) so I’m not too stressed about having to foot an unexpected $600 bill.
  5. If you subtract my payments to debt and savings, I’m living off of 53% of my income, after taxes.
  6. 15% of my after-tax income went to savings
  7. 32% of my after-tax  income went to debt

Not bad. It’s encouraging to see that I’m living off almost half my income (after taxes) and really if you count my 401(k) pre-tax contributions, I’m living off of about 41% of my income and saving or repaying debt with 59% of my income. That’s pretty badass and I’m on track to pay off my debt in about 2 years. That’s three years FASTER than I originally planned with Clo Bare’s Debt Free by 33 Plan! Woot woot! 

Anyway. Let’s dive into the categories so we can talk about the fuck-ups. 

January 2020 Spending Categories

January 2020 budgeting numbers

The Fuck-ups Explained

A couple of fuck-ups here that are obvious, and a few just unexpected things that came up. We’ll cover them both.

Unexpected Fuck-ups

  1. Taxes: I kind of knew I’d have to pay taxes this year because my salary increased by quite a bit and I did some freelance work for the first part of the year. I didn’t think to include it on my yearly budget so that $600 came as an additional expense to my yearly spending plan. Not exciting to have to fork over an additional $600 to the government but paying my dues until I can figure out how to tax optimize my money.
  2. Earnest Money: Since when do apartments take earnest money?? Apparently that’s a thing and I had to drop about $330 on an apartment I’ll be moving into next month (YAY!) and $50 on the apartment application. Was not planning on spending this at all, but it also comes out of the deposit I have to put down on the day I pick up keys. 

Regular Ole Fuck-ups

1. Special Occasions:

I know I pretend I’m within budget in the categories, but on a whim, I decided to purchase tickets to a charity event so I can see some old co-workers. It was $100 but it’ll be good to go, see some folks and have fun. I also bought some art supplies for a commissioned piece, but I’ll recoupe all the money I’m spending so that $73 doesn’t really count.

2. Groceries:

I went over for once! I don’t feel bad about that because I’ve been so under for several months, but I went over because I spent more money on some bulk items (OATS) and did some Amazone Fresh when I forgot to go to the grocery store after work. 

3. Travel:

I swear I’m going to spend less on travel in 2020. I SWEAR. Or I’ll figure out a way to use bonus points, but I’ll at least try. This month I spent a lot on travel because my sister and I are planning our trip to California (my mom bowed out so my sister stepped in) and we paid for most things already– yoga retreat, Napa Valley wine tour, Airbnbs, flights. So really, we should be pretty well set once we get there, although I still need to rent the car. It’ll likely be about $1.5k total for the trip so I think I’ll still be within the budget for my 2020 travel year. My main goal is to spend less than $10k on travel this year, aiming for about $6k. This category also included expenses coming up for a bachelorette party in Austin, Texas.

4. Personal:

Personal I went over because wine. Should that be a grocery expense? And because I had to replace a library book. But mostly wine. More on that later.

Not great for monthly categories, but let’s see how I’m doing in comparison to my yearly spending and budgeting goals.

Yearly Average Per Pay Period Goals

yearly budgeting averages broken down month to month

Still have some work to do!!!

On average, I’m spending about $112 MORE per pay period (ie every two weeks) than my budget allows. That’s $224 a month or $2,688 a year. 

BUT– I’m spending almost an extra $300 a month on debt, which means overall, I’m actually under budget by $175. 


But that will change as soon as I start living in my new apartment, which is $1400 a month, ie, $550 more a month than what I am currently paying. But I worked that difference into my bi-weekly averages so things should even out. 

Where I’m Over Budget for Clo Bare’s Fiscal Year

Health/Medical: This will even out because my gym membership is now $25 instead of $89 and I am no longer going to therapy regularly (yay therapy graduation!)

Transportation: This will also even out since I sold my car and have less monthly expenses associated with transportation (ie, CAR INSURANCE AT $150 A MONTH)

Personal: $1 over. I don’t know how I’ll overcome this.


Travel: This will even out eventually. I promise. I’m just in the planning stages of the trips I’ll be taking later on in the year so all the costs are happening now.

Debt: This is a good thing to be over budget in! I’m putting more on debt than I originally planned!

Special Occasions: I need to stop using this as a catch-all for “special events” or I need to cut my entertainment budget down. Cause this category is very quickly running out and I’m only four months into my fiscal year.

Clo Bare: January 2020 Spending Report

January 2020 Spending Report

Making some strides but still over budget on some yearly categories so I really really would benefit from taking a no spend month or a limited spending month. At the very least on the categories where I’m over budget like Entertainment, Travel, Transportation and Special Occasions. 

Anyway, on to the spending report for January 2020!

1/3/2019$1,000.00Student LoansDebt
1/4/2020$50.00Cross if Off DayPersonal
1/4/2020$15.00uberTransportation/Car Insurance
1/6$44.17ComcastUtilities/Cell Phone
1/7/2020$15.00Drinks with JoannaEntertainment
1/7/2020$10.00Drinks with Joanna for InterviewCBBB
1/10$124.88CEll phoneUtilities/Cell Phone
1/10/2020$286.80Trip to CaliforniaTravel
1/11$35.00Dinner with FriendsEntertainment
1/11/2020$153.00Airbnb for NapaTravel
1/11/2020$16.00uberTransportation/Car Insurance
1/12/2020$34.00Amazon FreshGroceries
1/15/2020$258.00Half of Yoga RetreatTravel
1/15$14.00taxiTransportation/Car Insurance
1/17/2020$52.00Apartment applicationHome
1/17/2020$310.50Earnest moneyHome
1/17/2020$10.00beer for partyEntertainment
1/18/2020$17.00lunch with ElyseEntertainment
1/20/2020$13.00trash bagsPersonal
1/21$102.00Irv Feldman Poker TournamentSpecial Occasion
1/21/2020$25.00well on targetHealth/medical
1/21/2020$25.00dinner at RenoEntertainment
1/25/2020$90.00Elyse bacheloretteTravel
1/25/2020$99.00Napa wine trolleyTravel
1/25/2020$10.41white paintEntertainment
1/26/2020$71.00art supplies (will get paid back)Special Occasion
1/26/2020$25.00Train back to MilwaukeeTransportation
1/27/2020$98.00GasUtilities/Cell Phone
1/28/2020$805.00Student LoansDebt
1/30/2020$22.00dinner with joshEntertainment

Total Spent: $4,825.73

Total Debt: $42,841.71


  • 401(K): $37,000
  • Real Estate Investment: $30,000
  • Savings Account: $5,000
  • Total: $72,000

Total Networth: $29,158.29

How I Spent $5k Last Month

Goals, Goals, Goals

Now how did I compare to goals I set for myself last in the December 2019 Spending Report?

  1. Save up $5k in cash on hand before I move out into my own apartment. Shouldn’t be too hard since I have about $4.1k in cash savings now. Already done! But then I had to pay taxes so I’m technically $300 away.
  2. Put another $1.8k on debt. Done!
  3. HERMIT A LITTLE FOR FUCK’S SAKE. I’m so bad at staying home and doing nothing BUT after a month and a half of go-go-go, I’m ready to sleep for a year. Or at least a weekend. I’d like to chill, stay home a little more in January, and get things done. Like how chill and get things done are the same thing for me? That’s how I like to do Chloe time and I need it. Ehhhh kind of? I still said yes too many times and didn’t stick to my “three social things a week” policy. BUT February is my month. I feel it.
  4. Sober January! This is financial because drinking is expensive. I do have some “drinks with so & so” set up so I might have a glass a wine on those occasions but besides that, it’ll be a dry month for me. LOL. Failed. Failed, failed, failed. I think I went a total of 12 days without drinking. But like, it was just a glass or two of red wine before bed. So like, that doesn’t count, right? I’m cutting back in February. Cause I don’t want to get into bad habits.

Goals for February 2020

  1. Spend less on entertainment so that I can start evening out my yearly totals.
  2. Spend less on transportation for the same reason.
  4. Do only 2 social things a week so I can focus on me, myself, and I. This includes networking events, work events, and friend/dating time.

Updates on the Move to the Burbs

Next month I’ll be moving to my first solo apartment in Oak Park and I am SO EXCITED. I’m also excited because now I know what my costs will be each month and I found a place for $100 cheaper than what I was originally planning on spending. It’s only a one-bedroom but it’s a solid 999 square feet, so it feels almost as big as my 3-bedroom apartment now.

Generally here’s how I think my month to month expenses will change:

  • Rent: $1400
  • Groceries: $230
  • Clo Bare: $60
  • Health/Medical: $50
  • Transportation: $100
  • Personal: $100
  • Entertainment: $200
  • Utilities: $200
  • Travel: $230
  • Debt: $1800
  • CBBB: $30
  • Total Expenses: $4400
  • Average Income per Month: $5,200
  • Money to Save: $800/month

This is why budgeting is going to be so important– if I mess it up, I’ll really cut into that savings number which I’d really prefer to be closer to $1,000 a month. Generally, my salary fluctuates a few hundred dollars each month so I can likely save more but I need to not blow money on stupid shit or not thinking or saying fuck it.

Looking at these numbers, it’s tempting to cut out $100 from my entertainment budget to add to my savings, and somehow spend lower than $100 a month on transportation so that I can get closer to a grand in savings each month. Clo Bare is also in transition (more on that later) so I’m not sure I’ll be spending all that much on Clo Bare in the near future which could potentially add another $60 to my savings. I’ll have to reevaluate, starting with February to see how little I can spend in the categories that I haven’t really cut back on all that much. 

How I Save 59% of my Income

In Other News: A Shift for Clo Bare

In other news, if you haven’t been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you might not be aware that I recently announced Clo Bare will be pivoting. Clo Bare has been an AMAZING experience for me over the last 2.5 years, but I’ve realized I’m not drawn to write about things like mental health, relationships, and body image anymore. I’m not the same person I was when I started Clo Bare– which is pretty cool, isn’t it? I’ve grown and I’ve stretched and I’ve become. 

At first, I thought I would just shut Clo Bare down and start something new, but the more I think about it, the more I realized all the things I want to write about and offer are things I can do on Clo Bare. I’m looking forward to this next chapter. A little nervous. A little unsure. But definitely excited to see what’s to come.

I’ll reveal all of this soon, but for now, I’m going to take a break to chill for a minute and then figure out how to launch what it is I want to launch. I’ll keep up with the Budgeting Bare posts for now as managing money, personal finance and frugality are some of the things I want to talk about most. But in terms of what else? You’ll have to wait to find out as I figure it out on the back end 🙂

Thank you to all those who have helped me on this journey. I am a different person because of the love and support I’ve received for the Bare and I thank you all for following along and pushing me to dive deeper into figuring out my own shit so I can share what I’ve learned with you.

Lots and lots and lots of love,

Clo Bare

Budgeting Bare: January 2020 Spending Report
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Budgeting Bare: January 2020 Spending Report
How much does it cost to live in Chicago? Clo Bare breaks down her month to month expenses and how she's adjusting her budget to save more than she spends.
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Clo Bare
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6 thoughts on “Budgeting Bare: January 2020 Spending Report”

  1. Oh, wow. Gurl how raw are your budget reports? So transparent. I love it! It has me really re-thinking my budget, I need to be more accountable for where my money is going! Thank you for sharing, I will most definitely be on the lookout for your next budget report.

    1. I do! I haven’t written about it because the way I invest is so simple. I work with a contractor (someone I know and have known for 10+ years) and I fund his flip profits. Each time I earn about 20% on the loan.

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