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It’s baa-aackk! Now that I can stand facing my finances again, I can compile everything into a status report again. I got many emails, messages, comments and paper airplane notes asking me to bring back the status reports. I heard you.… and here they are!
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 a combination thereof) works best for you and your needs is the best one for you, since everyone and their budgets are different.
January 2019 felt like it was never going to end! The weather in DC, while much more temperate than I’m used to, was still on the dark and cold side. I am being mindful of the fact my finances are still in rebuilding mode, so I behaved myself.
I did allow myself one splurge though, and that was buying a Nintendo Switch with my first paycheck. I have gotten countless hours of entertainment out of it on the Metro and at home! I consider it money well spent as I am less tempted to go out and spend money on entertainment when I have Mario Odysessy to conquer.
I have more things to say about living in a big metropolitan area, but I’ll save that for another post as I have far too much to say here. Suffice to say for now that I love living here and am very happy with my decision to move here!
Check out below for my total spending in January 2019.
|Housing||Zero line item, thanks to the generosity of a wonderful couple!|
|Food||All of my meal prep supplies are in a box, so this is mostly eating out for lunches at work.|
|Phone||Thanks to Project FI opening up their referral program again, I had credits to offset my bill.|
|Auto||One tank of gas and a month of Metro fare for my commute.|
|Insurance||Health insurance is paid directly from my paycheck.|
|Pet||None needed in January after stocking up in December.|
|Health||One trip to therapy and other misc expenses.|
|Blog||Blog and podcasting expenses|
|Entertainment||Aforementioned Nintendo Switch 🙂|
|Fees||Start-up costs for HSA/401k/etc|
|Travel||Rideshare expenses for New Years|
|Gifts||Belated Christmas presents|
I am grateful I have a place to stay to get a grip on my finances and figure out what expenses look like in this HCOL area. One thing is for sure, I won’t be able to find the same level of housing I had back in the Midwest. A good deal around here is 1 bedroom with roommates in walking distance to a Metro station for $1k/month. I’ve got a place lined up that fits that general profile and will be moving in March 1st if everything goes to plan.
These low expenses are letting me pay off my credit cards and shore up my savings a little. Had I had to pay for expenses like rent, utilities and internet, the process would’ve taken a lot longer. Still doable just not so quick. January’s total spending was $2,185.77 which seems in line with other people’s expenses around here.
Other income: $5.10
I am amazed at how nice it feels to get paychecks again. I really like the security consistent paychecks provide! Especially considering how little I made as a freelancer. Every other week, I get money in my account! It’s like magic! The bulk of the non-work income was a pattern on Etsy, which means I’ve now sold 3 patterns. Woo…
Total savings: $3,973.27
Most of the unallocated cash went straight towards paying off my credit card before I get hit with fees. There “isn’t much” on it — just a few thousand dollars but I want it gone as quick as I can. I do not like debt!!
According to this, my total net worth is $203,295. That seems a little high, given that I haven’t been earning very much. I’m wondering if I should take my car out of the net worth calculation as I highly doubt I could sell it for $4,500. According to Kelley Blue Book value I could get $2500–3000 which seems more in line with my expecations. Levi is a good car but he’s been around awhile and has a lot of miles.
I’m interested to see my overall net worth hasn’t fallen too much since I last calculated it. This last month of putting money away and paying off my credit cards has been more helpful than I thought!
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?