Monthly Status Report: August 2017

Dis­claimer: some links may be affil­i­ate links. They help off­set the cost of keep­ing this blog run­ning!

Why do I do a monthly status report?

I find it best to do a month­ly sta­tus report for a few rea­sons.

  • 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? Did I earn more? What was my over­all sav­ings rate?
  • 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.
  • I want to prove this crazy thing called finan­cial inde­pen­dence works!
  • 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. I also use a real­ly awe­some and super in-depth spread­sheet. So many for­mu­las….. Some peo­ple use Per­son­al Cap­i­tal and oth­ers use You Need a Bud­get (YNAB). What­ev­er tool (or com­bi­na­tion there­of) works best for you and your needs is the best one for you, since every­one and their bud­gets are dif­fer­ent.


You know the say­ing “Do what you love and you’ll nev­er work anoth­er day in your life”? Well, I think I found that job. My friend J and I start­ed a pod­cast in August and worked furi­ous­ly on it. I was putting in 18 hour days at some points between day job, pod­cast,

work­ing on the rental prop­er­ty, activ­i­ties, , and video calls with my man. All of that hard work paid off when we offi­cial­ly launched Fire Drill Pod­cast last week! I’m incred­i­bly pleased with the response and want to give a huge shout out to every­one that’s sup­port­ed us so far.

Speak­ing of work­ing on the house, I did a ton of work in August. On the front of the house, the old front porch got ripped off, the joists fixed (sur­prise!), and the new front porch went in and looks amaz­ing. In the vacant unit, I paint­ed the walls twice- once with Kil­lz and once with actu­al paint, ripped out some water dam­aged dry­wall and repaired it, and ripped out the nasty exist­ing car­pet. Still on my to do list is fin­ish paint­ing the walls, put down new car­pet, and hang a few new cab­i­nets in the bath­room. Then I can take pic­tures and list it for rent! It was going for $500 a month with heat and water includ­ed, but I’m going to give it a shot at list­ing it for $650 and see what I can get.

August wasn’t all about work though. I did man­age to sneak in a few fun activ­i­ties like sev­er­al con­certs (Brett Eldredge was AWESOME), co-host­ing a meet­up in Min­neapo­lis with Jere­my from Go Cur­ry Crack­er, meet­ing my boyfriend’s fam­i­ly, and intro­duc­ing him to my fam­i­ly. Every­thing on that front is going well and I’m pret­ty con­tent with how my life is going these days.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly though, all these things did not come cheap. Check out below for my total spend­ing in August!


Mort­gageNot includ­ing prin­ci­ple, which is account­ed else­where on my spread­sheet. Actu­al pay­ment is $705.43 a month!
Util­i­tiesWent a bit over this month due to pay­ing my sew­er bill.
FoodI’m still in denial about how much food I eat. Don’t judge me too much. I did real­ly good until the end of the month.
PhoneSo low. I love Project FI!
AutoGas, new tail light, and new spark plugs.
Inter­netMaybe this is my actu­al bill total?
Insur­anceHealth insur­ance is paid direct­ly from my pay­check.
PetDon’t wor­ry I bought extra food in July for him.
Sup­portMade up for a few missed months.
BlogMonth­ly fees for sup­port and email.
Shop­pingNew socks!
FeesNor­mal quar­ter­ly fees on my 401k.
MiscHair cut, new shampoo/conditioner and oth­er misc stuff
HouseNew front porch, paint, sup­plies, and $ for my handy­man neigh­bor.

Every­thing looked SO GOOD until you get to the house cat­e­go­ry. I’m pret­ty hap­py with how my house-not-includ­ed spend­ing of $2,161 turned out. That was good enough to land me at a 70% sav­ings rate for August. Until, of course, you have to add in all the mon­ey I spent on the house. That cat­a­pult­ed spend­ing up to $8,586 for a spend­ing rate of -21%. For­tu­nate­ly, the big-tick­et items are almost done so I should be able to rack up some big sav­ings months here soon!


Pay­checks: $3,194.07
Rental income: $600

Total: $3,794.07

No mon­ey com­ing in from the vacant unit. Sad pan­da con­tin­ues.


401k: $2,171.24
Roth IRA: ——
Cash: $0

Total sav­ings: $2,392.06

I didn’t set up the Roth IRA trans­fer yet. Bad Gwen.

Net Worth

Accord­ing to the Lab over on Mad Fientist’s site, my FI date is now 7 years and 1 months away, which means I’m at Sep­tem­ber 2024! Last month I was at June 2024, so I slipped back­wards a bit in the time line. Who knew spend­ing that much mon­ey in one month would have such a big impact? Gwen is shocked. SHOCKED she says

My total net worth slipped a bit to $170,682 this month. A bit dis­ap­point­ing to go back­wards, but my net worth can’t always go up every month. I am pret­ty excit­ed to point out one thing though- my 401k is now worth 6 fig­ures! Woot!!

Thanks for read­ing! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your bud­get?

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21 thoughts on “Monthly Status Report: August 2017

  1. Maybe I missed a post some­where along the way, but can you explain what the sec­ond vs third columns are in your nec­es­sary and dis­cre­tionary expense charts? And what do the per­cents at the top mean?

    P.S. If it makes you feel any bet­ter, the dramtic decrease in my sav­ings this month (and for the next few months) has pushed my FI date two years into the future!! As dis­cour­ag­ing as it is to see that date move for­ward instead of back­wards, at least we are track­ing it and aware. I think that’s half the bat­tle.

    • The sec­ond col­umn is expect­ed expens­es, and the third col­umn is actu­al expens­es. The num­bers on top are the total % of my bud­get spent.

      I was pret­ty impressed that I could spend $8k in one month and only have my date move back 2 months. It’s impres­sive that it didn’t make more of a dif­fer­ence. The pow­er of com­pound inter­est at work!

      • With­out doing any math, this vague­ly informs me that sav­ings are prob­a­bly a big­ger fac­tor than spend­ing. Hmm­mm.…
        P.S. Lis­tened to the first episode of the pod­cast yes­ter­day and have to say I was quite amused! Not Your Aver­age Boyfriend is Nor­we­gian and he is TERRIBLE at putting togeth­er IKEA fur­ni­ture.… Clear­ly he missed out on that gene 😉

  2. Good job with the pod­cast! I’m look­ing for­ward to lis­ten­ing to it on my com­mute. As far as the remod­el­ing costs go, I’m sure your sav­ings will bounce back once they are done. You’re doing great!

  3. Just sub­scribed to your pod­cast — look­ing for­ward to lis­ten­ing to the first episode on my walk tomor­row.

    Our month was a lit­tle rough on the spend­ing front. Our child­care bill topped out at just over $1850 & we’re in a mini-dis­pute over the bill. They said we’d be pro-rat­ed in August since we pulled them out a week ear­ly, but that hasn’t hap­pened. I’ve not heard back on my sec­ond email to the provider. Its sound­ing like an in-per­son stop would help. Any­ways, school just start­ed with our youngest now in kinder­garten, so this will drop sub­stan­tial­ly! I also man­aged to cracked myself on the head and land­ed in the ER, med­ical bills…

    On the plus side, our solar pow­er invest­ment is keep­ing our elec­tric bill a neg­a­tive num­ber and the sys­tem is cash flow pos­i­tive since we didn’t finance it. Our end-of-sum­mer camp­ing trip for four cost us just $115 includ­ing gaso­line for trav­el cost. I’m paid bi-week­ly and August was a 3-pay­check month. And most impor­tant­ly for me: I picked up a side hus­tle and net­ted near­ly $1200 (pre­tax) in August! That’s like­ly not going to repro­duce any­time soon, but it was nice.

    I think the invest­ment in your rental prop­er­ty will pay off in the long run. Fin­gers crossed that you get your new ask­ing price on rent soon!

  4. Just sub­scribed to your pod­cast. Very much look­ing for­ward to it.

    A ques­tion on your net worth cal­cu­la­tion, are you adding to the val­ue of the house for the work you are doing? If not, you prob­a­bly should. How much val­ue added is the ques­tion. I note that you believe you may be able to get more rent. If so, that is a sign my may be under­valu­ing your real estate. You may be worth more than you think.
    Old­ster recent­ly post­ed…Robo Ver­sus Direct Invest­ingMy Profile

  5. Con­grat­u­la­tions on launch­ing the pod­cast!

    I lis­ten to audio­books when I run/drive/do things that require work with my hands so I find I nev­er end up lis­ten­ing to pod­casts but would LOVE to read the con­tent — just a thought as I real­ly appre­ci­ate the few pod­casts that also include a tran­script 🙂

  6. Oh the food expense, no judge­ment from us! We def­i­nite­ly spend more than we should on food and beer. Our big expense always ends up being trav­el, but I don’t mind that one bit. Con­grats on the pod­cast! I have been lis­ten­ing to them all so far and even caught your inter­view on Choose­FI. You are killing it Gwen!!
    Mrs.Wow recent­ly post­ed…Hold Me Account­ableMy Profile

  7. Good thing for Kil­lz, no? Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to use that chem­i­cal bomb on my rentals…

    Keep up the good work – your land­lord gig will pay off hand­some­ly- espe­cial­ly as your port­fo­lio grows.

  8. Hel­lo Gwen

    I am an avid read­er of FI blogs. I am look­ing for a resource which points me to one of the best places in the US to retire from tax and cost of liv­ing per­spec­tive. To be spe­cif­ic, I would pre­fer to pay min­i­mum state tax­es on my retire­ment with­drawals and also min­i­mal prop­er­ty tax­es. Of course, cost of liv­ing has to be in check as well. What I don’t mind is sales tax because we are a low con­sump­tion house­hold. Can you point me to a blog/article from the FI com­mu­ni­ty which talks about this?

    I under­stand that dur­ing retire­ment, I can con­vert a small por­tion of Pre­tax mon­ey in 401K/IRA to Roth each year and that will pre­vent over­all tax­a­tion but I am look­ing for more US state spe­cif­ic infor­ma­tion instead of the tax­a­tion hacks which I am already aware of.


    • I don’t know if any­one has a post that you’re look­ing for. I might sug­gest the Earth Awaits. It will get you close, hope­ful­ly. Thanks for read­ing.

  9. This is huge­ly inspir­ing… and a bit of a wake-up call for me. I’ve only been sav­ing about 40%, so I need to up my game!

    Con­grat­u­la­tions on the new pod­cast! I will def­i­nite­ly be check­ing that out.

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