Monthly Status Report: February 2017

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.

Spending

February was an EXHAUSTING month! I don't know how people with kids work 10, 11, and 12 hour days. I was pooped! A couple of very important multi-day meetings took place and I was kept busy running around supporting them all.

As if work wasn't enough, I also decided to add in the fun of buying a house to the mix. I'm pretty sure I did nothing more than fill out paperwork and make phone calls for a solid 3 days. But everything has been going smoothly on the house process so far, so I'm thrilled this is actually going to happen this time!

I did have a fun weekend away in Chicago. The weather was beautiful (65-70 degrees in Feb!!), the drinks plentiful, and the company was the best. I got to hang out with old friends, show off the city, and have lots of fun! We ate more calories in 2 days than I did in the previous week combined lol. Good thing we walked at least 8 miles! This trip to Chicago is why my food budget looks so whack.

To explain the chart below a bit better, the third blue column contains the amount I actually spent. You can compare that to the second column, which lists the budget for that category. The same goes for discretionary expenses, although I don't really have a budget for them. I just try to not go crazy.

Without further ado, I present my February 2017 expenses (for better or for worse):

RentThird month of the new rent. Still amazing.
UtilitiesNo utilities! It's all included in the rent.
FoodYou can thank Portillos, Wrigleyville, and Giordano's for the high food budget.
PhoneSo low. I love Project FI!
AutoLots of driving and one Uber at surge pricing.
InternetNo internet charges for awhile 😀 also included in the rent.
InsuranceHealth insurance is paid directly from my paycheck.
PetMore food and litter for the floof.
SupportI support my sister with her missions!
BlogTime to renew the blog hosting!
EntertainmentMonster truck rally souvenir and hockey game raffle.
ShoppingThe shirt for CMSE and a new book 🙂
TravelPayment #2 for Ecuador!!!!!!! AHhhhhhh!!!!
GiftsTickets to a Cardinals game with my momma! (Don't worry, she already knows about them so I can put this on here. Love you mom!)
HouseInspection fee. Good news is it will be reimbursed!

Ignore the misc category in the picture – I forgot I moved that to another category so that's why I left it out. All told, my spending totaled $2,731.76 for February! A bit higher than ‘normal' and definitely higher than last month. Considering I don't anticipate spending like that for the rest of the year, I'm ok with this. My expenses will drop even more when I move into MY HOUSE (!!!) and don't need to pay rent. However, I'll be back to paying for internet and utilities again. Cue sad trombone music.

Income

Gross: $5,508.22

Adjusted: $3,087.76 (after taxes, deductions, and other withholdings are taken out)

Taxes: $1,496.32

A normal month of income. Nothing came in except a few dollars in interest and my paychecks. Next month will be fun since I get my tax refund back! And! I got another raise, so that will kick in for my next check. It's my annual cost of living increase and only went up 1.11%. Not even beating inflation, but I'm still grateful it's something. My salary has increased a whopping 14% in the last 12 months! That means 14% more to save! Woop!

Savings

401k: $2,147.38

Roth IRA: $450

HSA: $220.82

Cash: $0

Total savings: $2,818.20

A ‘normal' month of savings. I wish I had been able to save more of the cash coming in, but a trip to Ecuador for the Chautauqua is sooooooo worth it 😀

Since I spent more this month, my savings rate came in at 50.01%. I'm impressed it was only .01% away from being an even 50%.

According to the Lab over on Mad Fientist’s site, my FI date is now 7 years and 11 months away, which means I’m now at January 2025 instead of February 2025! One month passed, one month dropped.

My total net worth is now sitting at $140,058.00! The market was INCREDIBLE in January, so I'm just trying to tell myself these are paper gains and nothing to be counted on. Still, it's nice to see!

Side Hustle

This month: $0

Total: $1525

Income: $0

No more expenses for the near future as my shop has moved to the unfinished part of my new digs!

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

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29 thoughts on “Monthly Status Report: February 2017

  1. Your rent is AMAZING. I’m swooning over that.

    I haven’t finished updating our numbers yet, I’m hoping to be done with that by Friday so that I can post on Monday. It’s going to look all messed up for at least several months, though because of our temporary down payment loan, and then the repayment, and the sale of our place, and buying another. It’s … all very confusing!
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted…A bit of self care (and community love)My Profile

  2. Your Chicago trip sounds fun! And every month I’m so jealous of your $400 rent. My rent is basically equal to yours plus EVERYTHING you spend in your “discretionary expenses.” Womp, womp, that’s DC for you (and I guess I also don’t live in someone’s basement).
    Ellie @ The Chedda recently posted…The (Job) Hunt is OverMy Profile

    • And you don’t live under a rambunctious 7 year old who sounds like a bouncy elephant. The all-inclusive rent is saweeeeeeeetttttt but wearing thin at this point.

  3. Oh LAWD. I can’t imagine buying a house AND working long days like that. You really are a trooper. I’m happy to hear the house-buying is going smoothly! I know how *horrible* it can be, so yay! 🙂

    I’m envious of your tax refund. We filed on Monday and owe for the first time ever. Ugh! I expected it though since my income jumped up $17,000. Oops. We adjusted our withholdings so hopefully next year won’t be as punishing. Gotta pay Uncle Sam, though, I guess.

    Also, I stumbled upon stained glass stuff at Hobby Lobby last weekend and totally thought of ya!
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…Updated Easy Homemade Yogurt RecipeMy Profile

    • It’s been a struggle but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Woo!

      I didn’t intend to get so much back buttttt I didn’t change my withholdings at all when I moved/got raises. Oh well. I can put it to good use lol.

      Yay! Stained glass stuff! I rarely go into Hobby Lobby because I always end up spending way too much money when I do!

    • Oooh I only get the regular paychecks in March 🙁 but I will get my tax refund! So that will basically be another paycheck. And… I get some of the rental income from the property starting then too.

    • Tracking your spending is the very important to my success. I like to track where my money is going so I can adjust my habits if they’re not aligning with my core goals.

    • Thanks Mrs. BITA. Don’t get too green…. I am living in a basement. Under the main living areas. The house now includes a 7 year old that likes to run around, play jacks, and practice her tumbling skills. Good times, good times.

    • Gosh I hope so. That little beast got a raise and is STILL BEATING ME. I am determined to be triumphant over the guinea pig!

  4. So good to hear the house buying process is going smoothly! Hadn’t gotten an update lately, but I assumed all was well. And, CONGRATS on the raise! Hey, it’s a good thing a friend of yours cough me cough bought you lunch one day to offset that Chicago trip. 😉 Glad you had a great time with your friends!

  5. Hello Gwen! I have been reading your blog for the last couple of months now and it has been really interesting! Awesome about the house by the way, I look forward to hearing some more details when it has all been fully finalized. You will have to give us a blog post at some point in the near future showing the difference in costs that you experience on a month by month basis living in your new house vs renting. Keep it up!!!

    PS: I will have to use your success as my benchmark to chase!! Some friendly competition never hurts haha!

  6. Just heard your interview on the RPF podcast. Very impressive. I am tempted to send this link to my sons, who are a little younger than you, with a note along the lines of, “This is the kind of woman you want to marry, boys”.

    I probably will — without the comment. 😉

  7. It looks like a good month. Though I have to ask, why the Roth IRA? With income tax rates at 0% for early retirees, why not invest in taxable accounts that don’t have such onerous restrictions as Roth IRA’s?

    • Taxes, mostly. I can’t guarantee I’ll have lower income in the future, so this is a nice hedge. I’m not paying too much in taxes right now (~20%). Honestly, it should probably be a Trad IRA but I haven’t changed it over.

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