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.
January simultaneously crawled along and flew by at the same time. I had an absolute BLAST hanging out at Camp Mustache SE with new and old friends. I took the time to hang out with friends at home as well. I had a few fun board game nights and went out to a couple of happy hour events.
I also participated in the Uber Frugal Month as challenged by Mrs. Frugalwoods. I am proud to announce a successful month! I'll go into more details after the breakdown of my expenses.
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 January 2017 expenses (for better or for worse):
|Rent||Second month of the new rent. Still amazing.|
|Utilities||No utilities! It's all included in the rent.|
|Food||Check out me coming in way below budget. I'm so proud!|
|Phone||So low. I love Project FI!|
|Auto||Gas, with one $56 parking charge at Midway. Ugh.|
|Internet||No internet charges for awhile 😀 also included in the rent.|
|Insurance||Health insurance is paid directly from my paycheck, and the others are an average from my 6 month payment.|
|Pet||More food at litter for the floof.|
|Support||I support my sister with her missions!|
|Misc||Spending cash for my trip and the fee for my consultation with Keith @ CMSE|
|Travel||$500 down payment for the Chautauqua in Ecuador!!!! I can't WAIT to go back!|
|Fees||Fees are dumb. Can we agree on that?|
|Gifts||Retirement gift and a belated Christmas gift for my sister|
|Hobbies||Fabric for a new baby quilt for a friend!|
All told, my spending totaled $1,618.26 for January! If you read last month's status report, you'll know I only wanted to spend $1,200 for the month. I know $1,618.26 is more than $1200, but I'm considering the month a success anyways. If not for my down payment to the Chautauqua in Ecuador this October (!!!!!!!!!), I would've made it. However, I considered the down payment a non-negotiable. If I hadn't signed up right away, I would've missed out on going altogether and that's just not cool. I'm particularly proud of my spending (or lack thereof) on food. I cleaned out my freezer and made do with substitutes instead of running out to the store all the time. I won't be continuing this in February but I also didn't go out and spend a crazy amount on the 1st just so I could say I didn't spend it in January. Thanks to Mrs. Frugalwoods for the excellent challenge!
Adjusted: $3,701.70 (after taxes, deductions and other withholdings are taken out)
You have no idea how tempted I was to add $.02 to the gross income to make it an even $7k. But truth in numbers and all that jazz.
This month I earned slightly more than normal thanks to getting my deposit back on my last apartment. It would've been higher, but they dinged me for cat damage. Why did I get a cat that likes to chew on expensive washer gaskets!?! It's a good thing he's incredibly adorable.
Roth IRA: $450
Total savings: $3,696.02
A few things to note about the savings. My 410k is set slightly higher than it was last year. I found out my employer will deposit the match through the year no matter when I max it out. If I wasn't saving for the house, I would try to max it out way early but I am saving for the house so I left it as is.
January is also the month I get my HSA match. They deposit $750 straight into the account which technically helps offset the higher costs of using my health insurance. Realistically it means more money for me to turn into even more money thanks to my BFF Compound Interest.
The cash amount saved (again, so wanted to add $.50 to that number) is simply the amount left over after my expenses. If I were still in my old apartment, I probably would've only been able to save maybe $100? I'm so happy I moved!
Having drastically lowered expenses meant my savings rate for January was a whopping 74.30%!! I would be thrilled if this became my new normal. Not sure how that will go with the expenses from the house though. Stay tuned for more details on the money side of that life change!
According to the Lab over on Mad Fientist’s site, my FI date is now 8 years and 1 month away, which means I’m now at February 2025 instead of August 2025! This means I dropped an entire YEAR off my FI date in 2 months! I expected my lowered expenses to have an impact, but I didn't know it'd be that huge! This is the best ever!
This month: $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?