Ahh July…… heady days full of sunshine, root beer floats, and splashing around in a pool. I truly love summer. I can't stand being cold, so the days where the temperatures don't even dip down below 60 at night are like heaven to me. I lay around, soaking up the sun like a lizard. I'd say like my cat, but he isn't a fan of the warmth due to his long fur coat. He would spend all his time in the fridge if I let him. That's no joke either- every time I open the fridge I have to defend it from the furball streaking by on his way to the bottom shelf. Just one of the ways he makes my life so much better 🙂
July was full of fun events and hanging out with new friends. I was able to strike a good balance of watching my money, yet still getting out and doing things. My sister and her friend swung through town, so I was able to offer them a home cooked meal, cute kitten to play with and a comfy bed to sleep on. I enjoyed a variety of events such as a political dinner featuring all the Democratic Nominee Candidates, helping out with a hot air balloon crew at a local balloon fest, playing softball, and exploring my new town (mostly the fantastic bar scene!). More importantly, I stayed fairly close to home this month, which meant my expenses were on the low side.
Why do I do a monthly spending report?
I find it best to do a monthly spending report for a few reasons. One, it helps me evaluate how I did the previous month. Did I hit a target reduction in spending or did I go way over budget for a particular category? Two, it helps keep me accountable. How can I make an extra purchase knowing I'll have to explain myself to all of you? Talk about awkward when the blogger can't walk the walk and talk the talk. Three, I want to prove this crazy thing called financial independence works! Fourth, it provides an example of real world budgeting and expenses. Some of the people I talk to haven't ever seen a proper budget or seen one put into action, and part of the purpose of this blog is to lead by example!
I use Mint to help me track my spending and keep an eye on my accounts. Some people use Personal Capital and others use You Need a Budget (YNAB). Whatever tool works best for you and your needs is the best one for you, since everyone and their budgets are different.
So, without further ado, I present my spending (for better or for worse) for July 2015.
|Gas & Fuel||I'm pretty sure this is the lowest amount I've spent on gas in a long time. I rode my bike to work often in July and stayed close to home. Living 1.5 miles from work rocks!|
|Utilities||Well, the internet bill was much higher this month. 2 months worth of bill, plus the moving fee they assessed me. Ugh. What a necessary evil. My other utilities came in about $78, which I expect to be the high end of the spectrum, since it's been ridiculously hot and humid here lately.|
|Food & Dining||I came in at $280 this month, which I consider a decent attempt at getting close to $200. I cooked more of my own meals this month and tried to bring my lunch to work consistently.|
|Rent||Since I now have a kitten, my rent went up $50 per month to $1067. I knew this going in and prepared for it.|
|Pets||A new category to encompass all the money I spend on Mew. I have it set on $100, although I think I'll lower that to $50. Not included are his vet fees (lots of shots for baby kitties!) and the one time pet deposit to my apartment complex.|
|Shipping||I sent several packages this month and changed my address with the Post Office.|
|Movies & DVD's||I went and saw Ant Man in theaters. In my opinion, it'd be worth it to rent. Not to see in theaters.|
|Gifts & Donations||I donated some money to a political campaign and bought a T-shirt from their official store.|
|Gym||I thought I was done with that last month. Guess not… boo!|
|Home/Shopping||I needed to replace some essentials in the house. As a housewarming gift to myself, I got a Chromecast! Worth it so far! I also needed to replace my bicycle pump, as the old one broke in the move.|
|Vacation||My last payment for Ecuador was due. Now I'm officially ready to go on the trip! I won't have any more vacation expenses for awhile, at least until I start planning for England next summer!! I'm saving up my pennies now!|
|Cash & ATM||I bought new stamps from the ATM at work. $9 for 18 stamps!?!|
I spent a total of $3079 this month. Compared to the previous months, I spent MUCH less money, which always makes me happy. Still, I know that I can get lower than that, which is why I'll be embarking on a zero spend month for August (or as close to zero as is humanly possible!). As far as I know, I don't have any big payments due this month which will help with the low spending thing. I will have a couple of small expenses for some activities I already planned but nowhere near as bad as the payments I've been forking out the last few months.
While I spent less than previous months, I still spent more than I took in. This is an easy way to burn through the money I have saved up and is an even quicker way to consumer debt. “I don't have the cash right now, so I'll just put it on the card.” Next thing you know, I have $5K in credit card debt. That's NOT going to happen, so reining in my spending is essential at this point.
What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?
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