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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.
I’ve been in my new place for 2 months now and I am loving life. My roommate and I have lots of fun [which is great despite killing both of our productivity] and get along well in our apartment.
The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, so I’ve been making the best out of it before the heat and the humidity set in. I have allergies now but it’s a small price to pay for seeing so many beautiful flowers bloom.
Several friends stopped by to say hey while they were in town this month. I can now give semi-interesting tours of the neighborhood/Capitol grounds/Mall area so if you want the tour, let me know when you’ll be here and we’ll see what we can do!
I also flew out to visit my friends in Longmont for the première of the Playing with FIRE documentary. I had way too much fun hanging out with many of my favorite people and could definitely see me living in Colorado at some point in the future. Way, way, way in the future.
That kind of fun doesn’t come super cheap but it is so worth it.
Check out below for my total spending in April 2019.
|Housing||A steal of a deal for DC proper.|
|Utilities||We do a good job at keeping our utilities low.|
|Food||Better than last month, higher than I’d like it.|
|Phone||I love Google FI!|
|Auto||Metro card top offs, a tank of gas and auto insurance.|
|Internet||Gotta have that fast interweb access.|
|Insurance||I have health insurance again!|
|Pet||Nothing needed for the fuzz this month|
|Shopping||New clothes and the payment for the consultation with the stylist.|
|Blog||Blog and podcasting expenses|
|Entertainment||2 tickets to the Cardinals/Nats game!|
|Shopping||Some replacement clothes and things for the trip from the Midwest.|
|Misc||State taxes due :/|
|Travel||A plane ticket and a rental car for Colorado|
|Gifts||A gift for my roommate going through a rough patch|
Let’s talk about food again. I’m probably living in the land of delusion thinking I can get my food spending down to $250 again. I’ve been tracking the expenses since I moved to my new place in DC and I’m thinking I’m going to have to bump it up quite a bit. Will that extend my time to FI a little? Probably. Do I care? Not really. It brings value to my life to socialize with people and if the way we do that is going out for drinks or dinner? Works for me.
For those that asked about the stylist, never fear. I’ll have a whole post about it soon. Promise 🙂
I also spent some money on good ol fashioned baseball games. My beloved St. Louis Cardinals were in town for a 4 game series. I got to see 3 out of the 4 games which resulted in a series win for the Cards! Which is good, because we just got swept by the Cubs. At Wrigley. A crying shame. Anyways. I love watching the Cardinals plays and wanted to attend as many games as possible. Given that I don’t get to go to games often, I splurged on better seats and was blown away at how awesome it was. I sat by the visitor’s dugout the first two games, surrounded by fellow Cardinals fans. I had a high old time cheering for my team (and even made it on the TV broadcast of the game!). I had two players throw me a ball and managed to get Paul Goldschmidt to sign one of them. Like I said, it was a ton of fun! Enjoy a picture of the signed ball from my fancy all-inclusive seats the last game I attended.
My monthly expenses came to $6,119. I was honestly surprised at how much I spent, as any one thing seemed reasonable and not crazy expensive. It goes to show how quickly the little things can add up! I expect this to go down slightly over the next few months, but again I’m still trying to figure out what my new normal level of spending is and what makes me happiest.
Other income: $23.68
My higher spending than normal was matched by higher than normal income. This is all due to the fact I actually got a refund from my tax return! I was fully expecting to pay given my lackluster year of freelancing. Hiring a tax accountant to get that all figured out was so incredibly worth it. Thank you for the recommendation of a tax professional in the DC area! If you need a guy for next year, I can hook you up. The other income came from ConvertKit affiliates and an Etsy sale.
Total savings: $2,666.68
That refund helped me have a nice buffer between savings and spending. I would have been cutting it close without it! I saved 30.35% of my income in April. That is super low compared to year’s previous, but I also live in a HCOL area now and I’m making a deliberate choice to see what level of spending makes me happiest. Safe to say, my savings rate isn’t the most important factor to me now.
According to this, my total net worth is $204,375. I cracked the $200k milestone again. WOOOHOOO!!
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?