Monthly Status Report: August 2017

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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: ——
HSA: $220.82
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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