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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.
We made it through April! Everyone give themselves a pat on the back for powering through. Weirdly enough, April seemed to take about half the time that March did. It just proves time is a social construct!
April was notable simply because of the complete and utter lack of doing anything. Sure I had a few Zoom chats with people, recorded a few podcast episodes with friends, and did long-distance dating activities like watching movies and shows with my boyfriend — but in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t much. My car got moved once a week to go pick up my CSA share and I barely left the house to do anything else. (Except the very beginning of the month when I completely disobeyed all stay at home orders to help my friend move to a different state. It would not have been possible without me and she needed to start her new job as soon as possible! The whole experience was awful and I’m going to spring for movers next time.)
That being said, I don’t feel like my budget has changed much. Check it out for yourself!
|Housing||The usual LCOL rent payment|
|Utilities||This month includes two months worth of gas bills which is why it seems high|
|Food||Food went down slightly from the peak of last month.|
|Phone||I love Google FI! Now with a new unlimited plan (and paying off my phone)|
|Auto||A few tanks of gas and auto insurance payment|
|Internet||Gotta have that fast interweb access|
|Pet||No need for pet expenses after stocking up|
|Entertainment||Streaming subscriptions (YT Music, Mario Kart, Netflix)|
|Shopping||A few things to make sheltering in place easier|
|Gifts||Donations to local charities, friends, and my home church (and support for my sister)|
|Hobbies||I bought a gently used DSLR and some lenses! So excited to get back into photography|
|Health||Therapy! Yay! Also it’s really hard to find Tylenol nowadays|
Turns out my expenses for April were much higher than I thought they’d be, given that I barely left the house. Total spending was $4,816. I am proud it’s this high, as a solid chunk of it came from giving away my stimulus money. I thought there could be more people who needed the money than I did, so I gave money to my home church, a few local St Louis charities, and some friends who were waiting on their unemployment checks. I also chose this month to start supporting my sister like I was doing a few years ago.
I’m also restarting my photography hobby. I love taking photos and want to further my skills (picked up in 2 high school photography classes which were infinitely more useful than band). However, you can only get so far with a phone camera, so I bought my friend’s used Canon Rebel T2i DSLR and a few lenses. This will be something I want to make sure I use before I splurge on a newer camera body and nicer lenses. Gear isn’t cheap, even used, so that’s an extra ~$700 additional expense I wasn’t anticipating. However, I’ve now spent hours lost in the world of photography, so I’d say it’s well spent.
Other income: $1,228.44
My monthly pay went back down to normal. Sad. However, I did get the full stimulus check (thanks to not filing my 2019 taxes yet. Procrastination pays off! If I have to pay anything back because I earned over $75,000 in 2019, it will be minimal.) I also got reimbursed for a payment I made on my credit card. Yay rewards.
Unallocated Cash: $1,669.10
Total savings: $2,745.78
Handy dandy spreadsheet says my savings for the month was 36%. I need to look at the formula again, because I’m not entirely sure that’s correct. I guess it depends on whether or not you go off gross or adjusted pay and what all counts as savings.
Chase Sapphire Reserve: $0
Chase United: $0
Zip, zero, zilch. I officially paid all my credit cards off! Woooooo!!
According to this, my total net worth is $209,774. I’m up another $20,000, but still down about $20k from my peak net worth. I’ve mostly dealt with the financial side of things by ignoring the news about the stock market. Most days I have no idea if the market goes up or down and I prefer it that way. On the bright side, I’m up over $200k again (for the third time).
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?
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