Monthly Status Report: February 2016

Quick note: Astute readers may notice a change in this report. Mint is acting up again, so I've decided to switch from showing updates from it to updates from my spreadsheet. Much more reliable, even if it is a bit more work. I also decided to show a more complete snapshot of my finances and include my income and savings rate. With that, let's begin! In addition, this post will now contain affiliate links. This helps me keep the lights on around here, so to speak, and helps offset the costs of running the blog.

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.


I accidentally on purpose turned this into a Frugal February. Accidental in that I didn't know ahead of time, and on purpose because it was a very deliberate choice to be so ‘frugal'. I put frugal into quotes because I really wasn't being frugal, I just was making the choice to not spend much money. Did I manage to hit all my goals? No, I'm still human. But, I did manage to reign in my spending quite a bit and made a huge impact.

It helped that my super duper fun plans had to be postponed. I was supposed to go to Chicago to hang out with some friends. Hanging out included some shopping, a Monster Truck Rally, copious amounts of drinking, great food, and a lot of fun. While I didn't get to experience any of that, I also didn't have to experience 10 hours of driving and the money associated with the planned events.

However, just because one weekend didn't turn out as planned doesn't mean I didn't have some fun the rest of the month. February was full of house stuff: looking at properties, making an offer and then making plans. All of that was (kinda sorta not really) free- or at least, it didn't cost me anything upfront besides the gas I burned running around town. I also volunteered with a political campaign (free), participated in several sport scrimmages (mostly free- I chipped in a few dollars to help cover the gym rental fee) and hung out with friends (the best kind of free!).

So, with­out fur­ther ado, I present my spend­ing (for bet­ter or for worse) for February 2016.


RentA normal month for rent. I'm excited to move sometime soon (hopefully) to lower this budget category.
UtilitiesPretty darn low still. Much better than last year's cost ($338!!!)
PhoneSo low. I love Project FI! See my review here:
AutoThanks to the still-low-but-slowly-creeping-up gas prices, 2 tanks cost me $33. I also had to get new plates for my car, thanks to my move to a new state. Instead of costing me $110, I only paid $87. Having an old car is so much cheaper than a new car. Costs can run over $200 for a new car!
InternetSame price as always.
InsuranceHealth insurance is paid directly from my paycheck, and the others are an average from my 6 month payment.
PetHe didn't cost me anything this month, although March will see his normal costs resumed (kitty litter and cat food).
SupportI've started supporting both of my sisters in various ways.
MiscI'm very glad to see this so low. Normally it's quite a bit higher :/
ShoppingI bought a book and a digital antenna for my TV. Hello basic cable!
TransferI took out some cash for things like Girl Scout cookies (they have Gluten Free ones now!!) and gym fees for my various sports.


All told, my spending totaled $2014 for February. I was stoked to see it so low, but it also took a lot of deliberate actions to get there. No running to Dominos if I didn't feel like cooking. Forcing myself to cook so I'd have leftovers to bring to work instead of just getting food from the cafeteria. Choosing to go home for lunch when the rest of my coworkers went out for our weekly lunch at an area restaurant. My weakness is definitely food, so by making better choices (cough not being lazy cough) there was a huge impact to my budget. I also resisted the urge to go out shopping for clothes. Winter is winding down around here, so I know several things I want are on clearance to get them out of the store. I've made it this far, and I can “suffer” a bit more without them.

Unfortunately, March will not be kind to my budget, no matter how many sandwiches I bring in for lunch. I have several yearly expenses due in March, some of which I will be canceling and others I'll let renew, so I know my spending will be higher. However, a few more sandwiches definitely won't kill me and will definitely help trim the fat from my budget.


Gross: $5,676.00

Adjusted: $2,908.58

Taxes: $1,139.40

This is a pretty standard month for me. I have no other income streams (at the moment) except for maybe a dollar or so in interest per month. Later, things will get more complicated when I start my side hustle and rental business. Next month, I'll have my tax return to add to this as well as a raise! It's not much but every little bit helps!


401k: $1998.36

Roth IRA: $450

HSA: $100.00

Total savings: $2,548.36

When you add in the unallocated ~$450 left over, it makes for a whopping 60% savings rate this month! Woot woot! I wish I could hit this amount more often, but life is more than just my savings rate. It's important, don't get me wrong, but I'm not going to sacrifice the things that mean the most just so I can save more. For instance, I really like to travel and I think the $5k (on average) I spend a year is totally worth it.

As of February 29th, my net worth sits at $84,511! My goal for this year is to break $100k, so I've got a fair bit to go. Hopefully the market helps out a bit!


Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think about the format change in the comments. What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?

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4 thoughts on “Monthly Status Report: February 2016

  1. Nice breakdown. Sorry to hear about mint acting up. I kinda stopped using it when one of my major credit cards wouldn’t link up. Just out of curiosity, does the $1998 into your 401K include any employer match? Also great job on the food budget, that one is always a thorn in my side.

    • Yes, my 401k gets about $450 a month from my employer match. As of a few months ago, it’s all vested too muahahahahaha 🙂

      I’m hoping to get another card after this whole house process finishes up. I want the miles bonus!

      • Wow that’s a pretty good match. Shop around when you get a credit card. I kinda just picked this card from college. Now it is my oldest CC and I don’t want to close it because it will shorten my overall age of credit. It’s not the best credit card, but it does offer a flat 1% cash back, so last year I earned like $240 bucks. Nothing crazy but better than zero I suppose.

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