January was a nice, calm month. It was great to get a chance to step back and recover from the craziness of the holidays, although I did take part in a number of events and activities. I started to play dodgeball every Wednesday (cheap, fun, and great exercise!) which has led me to meeting a number of new people. I also had a chance to meet new people at a few events hosted by my local Young Professionals Connection. We went rock climbing and to see the local hockey team play. In addition to those events, I “met” new people online, as the Boss from the blog Millennial Boss. We had a really great time on a Skype call. It’s rare to meet someone whose path is so similar to mine. Not many of us young millennial females aspiring to retire early out there!
Why do I do a monthly spending report?
I find it best to do a monthly spending report for a few reasons. One, 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? Two, 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. Three, I want to prove this crazy thing called financial independence works! Fourth, 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. Some people use Personal Capital and others use You Need a Budget (YNAB). Whatever tool works best for you and your needs is the best one for you, since everyone and their budgets are different.
So, without further ado, I present my spending (for better or for worse) for January 2016.
|Auto & Transport||Super low gas prices are once again amazing. I paid $15 for a full tank of gas! Only $1.48/gal! I haven’t paid that since I started driving in 2006.|
|Mobile Phone||So low. I love Project FI! See my review here: http://www.fierymillennials.com/google-project-fi-review/|
|Utilities||Much better than the $225 I spent this time last year.|
|Food & Dining||Still pretty high. :/|
|Support||I’ve started helping out my sister with a monthly donation.|
|Rent||Normal spending here.|
|Pets||Mr. Mew got fixed! It was a hefty vet bill, but with the rollover I haven’t gone over (despite what my messed up Mint budget says).|
|Entertainment||I bought some credits for my favorite app when they had a sale and went to see a movie. The Big Short was great!|
|Misc||Any activities I did (bowling, rock climbing, hockey game, etc).|
|Shopping||I was sick, so I bought a humidifier and some medicine. Saved my life. I also spent a gift card (and a bit more) on some clothes to refresh my wardrobe. I’ll have a post about that soon.|
|Transfer||No idea why it added my CC payment in this. Also took out some money to repay a friend.|
|Travel||Paid for part of a hotel for a friend’s birthday, and bought my ticket to Camp Mustache! I can’t wait for Memorial Day!|
This month came in at an even $2800. Not the best month, but also not the worst. Having incredibly low car costs, utilities, and phone bill helped out a lot. I think only $800 in non-budgeted expenses was ok, but I definitely could’ve done better. Especially as I’m trying to save up for a down payment for a house. I’ve never had this much cash on hand, so it’s a rough battle to not run out and spend it all on something…. like all the things I’ve got planned for February. It’s already started off with a bang! The list of activities increases by the day. New meetups, sports starting up, Superbowl parties, a trip to Chicago (so far includes drinking, Deadpool and a Monster Truck rally), and a friend coming to visit are just a few of the things on my calendar. The challenge will be to keep my spending as low as I can while still having a good time.
Coming up on the blog, I’ll have a post about my search for a duplex, the struggle with clothes, and more! Have a great February!
What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?