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.
April was simultaneously the longest month of my life, and also seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. I managed to pack in a lot of fun things last month! It felt like it took forever because I was looking forward to the last weekend so much, but when I look back things actually went by incredibly quickly.
I participated in a kickball tournament at the beginning of the month that was super fun, but also super tiring. All of my various sports started up in April as well, so I was busy running (literally) between soccer and softball games. Fortunately, besides an alcoholic beverage here and there, I don't have to pay any money beyond what I already paid out.
Speaking of alcoholic beverages, I did a mini roadtrip to my hometown to participate in a beer tasting with my parents. It's our 3rd year in a row, and my parent's 15th year in a row going to this, so it's kind of a big deal in our family. It was lots of fun and I got to taste a multitude of delicious drinks!
One free thing I did this month was celebrate my cat's first birthday! Yes, I'm one of those cat owners. At the ripe old age of one, my fluffball weighs in at 13 lbs with some more to grow. He's a big snuggler and well worth the money I've spent on taking care of him.
Between all the election results coming in, my video games, tv shows and MLB games on TV, there was very little need for me to go out most of the month which definitely helped keep my expenses down. I did go out one night to have dinner with Mr. 1500 and a reader of his, which made for a very enjoyable evening!
Just because we could, I also met up with him, his lovely wife Mrs. 1500, the PoP's, Bryan from Income Surfers, the Even Stevens, and Steve from Steveonomics (along with several forum members from the MMM forum!) in Omaha this last weekend at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Investor's Meeting. Thanks to the PoP's giving me their extra ticket, I was able to attend the meeting itself. As someone who only knows the vaguest of details about Berkshire, I found my attention fluctuated throughout the day, although some parts were definitely interesting. Overall, I'm very glad I got to go and experience it at least once, although I can't guarantee I'd want to attend next year.
The best part was getting to meet my fellow FI bloggers and the conversations we had. (Finally getting to meet in the case of the Even Stevens. There's no escaping it!) I now have faces, names and background info to put with the stories on their blogs, which makes things more real for me. I look forward to getting to see them at various events through the rest of the year and continuing to get to know them better.
But I've segued far enough from the numbers. Without further ado, I present my spending (for better or for worse) for April 2016.
|Rent||Stilllll paying rent.|
|Utilities||Utilties went down again this month!|
|Food||SO far over over I don't even know where to start. 100% worth it though.|
|Phone||So low. I love Project FI!|
|Auto||I did more driving this month with 3 roadtrips. I also had to get some work done on my car.|
|Internet||Same price as always.|
|Insurance||Health insurance is paid directly from my paycheck, and the others are an average from my 6 month payment.|
|Pet||Just some more wet food and litter for the furball.|
|Support||I’ve started supporting both of my sisters in various ways.|
|Misc||New contacts for the year, some spending on supplies for my hobbies and other random stuff.|
|Travel||Woah nelly. So much money spent on travel this month. Plane tickets for Nashville, St Louis, and my trip to London; tickets for Cardinals games; and my AirBnb for Omaha.|
|Shopping||Bought some stuff on Amazon and a fiddle toy to help calm my hands.|
|Fees||Most of this is taxes paid to the government for 2015. Blah.|
|Gifts||My normal monthly contribution to a political candidate.|
All told, my spending totaled $4160.42 for April. April was not only as bad as I thought it would be, it was worse. I found several good deals that I could NOT pass up. There's no reason to not buy something I need for later because the budget is shot when it will just cost me more down the road. Case in point: $467 roundtrip ticket from Chicago to London. That's a REALLY good deal and not something to pass up because I've already spent $800 on travel this month.
If you take out the $1291 in travel, I only spent $2869 which is pretty decent. So, even though this was a high spending month, I'm not unhappy with the results.
Thank goodness my tax return from both states and the feds arrived this month. The extra $1269 really helped offset all the spending I did on travel. In fact, it almost exactly equaled my travel spending! Weird.
Roth IRA: $450
Total savings: $2,641.60
I wish I had been able to save a bit more outside my retirement accounts, but one month won't derail my plans.
As of April 30th, my net worth sits at $92,444.25 I'm really hoping I can hit $100k by the end of June.
According to the Lab over on Mad Fientist's site, my FI date is now 9 years and 5 months away. I shaved one month off my timeline, so no extra time was lost this month. Not surprising since my savings rate was only 36%.
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?
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