Monthly Spending Report: September 2015


Someone wake up Billy Joel! September is definitely over now. The weather is starting to cool off (lower utility bills yay!) and pumpkin flavored everything is popping up all over the place. This month was full of fun activities, which included things like the start of the fall soccer season and getting a crash course in playing the violin. This month also comprised of some not so fun activities, like lots of medical appointments and being sick. I seem to have gotten a fairly light version of whatever is going on so at least I have that going for me.

I got to see some friends on a quick roadtrip one weekend. That was a great time and pretty cheap! All I had to do was drive there and get some drinks. Speaking of cheap events, I drove out to the middle of nowhere (not that difficult to find nor that far away where I live) with a friend and some ice cream to watch the supermoon lunar eclipse. Seeing the fully eclipsed moon surrounded by the Milky Way and more stars than either of us could count was the closest thing to magic I’ve ever experienced. Best part was all we spent was $4 on some ice cream and some gas for the car. Who said you had to spend lots of money to have a good time!?

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 September 2015.




Gas & Fuel Much lower than last month! I stayed fairly close to home and didn’t take too many unnecessary trips.
Util­i­ties My utilities went down a full $20 from last month! I can’t wait to see how much more it can drop with the cooler weather!
Food & Dining This was a bad month for food. Worth every penny I spent though!
Rent Notice I only paid $1037 instead of $1057. I saved $20 on my pet fee this month! It’s too bad my apartment complex doesn’t do more activities so that I could save more often.
Pets I lowered the set amount to $60 with a rollover option to help offset the randomness of purchasing his dry food.
Gifts I donated some to a political campaign and also chipped in for a coworker’s retirement gift.
Personal Care I got a haircut at the beginning of the month (and do I look good now!).
Shopping This covered various items like soccer uniforms and some other things needed for my place.
Uncategorized Mostly checks I wrote to reimburse people for things they covered for me.


My total spent this month was $2012! That’s it! Not only that, it again includes 50% of that being my rent. Having two consecutive months hovering around $2k feels great, and tells me that it is actually possible to not have to spend a crazy amount of money. If you recall, my target retirement number is based off me spending $23,500 a year. At just over $2k, I’d only have to cut back slightly. That should be easy to accomplish once I don’t need to live close to work in a fancy, expensive area. Not to mention all the money I usually spend eating food at work.

I was playing around with some numbers on the back of a napkin a week or so ago and found I wasn’t calculating my savings percentage correctly. I used to think I was at a paltry 35%, but instead my base rate of savings is 42%! By doing nothing, I’m saving almost half of my income! When I have low spending months like August and September, that number jumps up to 70%!! It’s crazy to me that a relatively small amount ($1k) can have such a big impact on the percentage. The more money I can stash away earlier, the more compound interest will be on my side and the faster I can be financially independent.

Looking into October, I can already tell it’s going to be a rough month on my budget. My mom is coming to visit for a quilt show, so I anticipate laying out some cash there. It’s also my birthday month, and the Chautauqua in Ecuador follows shortly after that. It’s going to be a fun and busy month!

What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?

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