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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.
In hindsight, February 2019 was a lot of fun! I felt like I was super stressed most of the month, but looking back it wasn’t so bad. I took an unexpected trip out to San Francisco, so some of my spending is a little higher than I thought. I did have a fantastic time in California for a few days, even if I ended up not getting the job. I don’t mind not getting the job as that means I get to really settle in here in DC and explore everything the area has to offer when it’s not cold, rainy and/or gross. Biking, volleyball, hopefully some softball and Frisbee golf are all calling my name!
Check out below for my total spending in February 2019.
|Housing||Zero line item, thanks to the generosity of a wonderful couple!|
|Food||Significantly higher than normal thanks to the trip to SF. It’s a gluten-free person’s paradise!|
|Phone||Thanks to Project FI opening up their referral program again, I had credits to offset my bill.|
|Auto||No car expenses, but I did top up my Metro card several times.|
|Insurance||Health insurance is paid directly from my paycheck plus a trip to the pharmacy for some meds.|
|Pet||Got some more food and litter for the Fuzz.|
|Shopping||Some new clothes and new furnishings for my new place!|
|Blog||Blog and podcasting expenses — another year of hosting has been purchased #year4|
|Fees||Stupid speeding ticket. Thanks DC. >:(|
|Travel||A plane ticket to hang out with friends and a rideshare or two.|
|Gifts||My friend is having a baby!|
My time at my friends’ house in Virginia is coming to an end. I’ll miss staying with them, but I’m ready to get my own place again too. My awesome-tastic friend Erin from Reaching for FI had a room in her place open up when her roommate unexpectedly moved out in the middle of their lease. Her loss! I’m pretty excited to move to DC proper and explore the area. It looks like I’ll really enjoy it and I’m hoping I won’t need to drive my car very much. (The check engine light came on a few days ago so I need to take it in the shop and get that fixed. I don’t have a friend with a garage full of tools to fix my car this time. Sad panda.) I’m mulling over just getting rid of the car entirely. It seems rather expensive to keep it what with DC registration fees, plate fees, parking fees and insurance if I’m just going to use the car a few times a month. I’m going to keep an eye on the expenses and see what works out better in the long run.
I’m pretty excited about March. I bought a plane ticket to hang out with my friends at home in Chicago! While I’m there, I’ll grab my stuff from my friend’s house and drive the box truck back to DC. It’s probably not the best use of my time or money, but it just worked out that way. I have a feeling some things will be staying behind as they will not be needed in DC.
My expenses held pretty steady from last year if you take out the deposit for the apartment. $1050/mo is a STEAL in DC, so I don’t mind paying it. As much, anyways. My spending totaled $3,753 for February. We’ll see how they go in the next few months as I settle in to my new place, start cooking again, and start doing other exciting things like joining a gym!
Other income: $249.84
My paychecks from work were a little light this month thanks to the short month and the unpaid day off I was forced to take when snow blanketed the DMV area. Hopefully they’ll go back above $6k every other month.…. the woes of a government contractor. Sigh. Other income consisted of my reimbursement from expenses incurred while interviewing and 3 Etsy sales. WOO! I’m up to 5 patterns sold now, so I got that going for me, which is nice.
Total savings: $1,911.70
At this point, with the move looming over me, I’m happy I didn’t spend more than I brought in!
According to this, my total net worth is $193,636. I find that interesting as that’s a full $10k drop from last month, even though I only dropped my car valuation by $2k. Oh well, it just means I get to hit that $200,000 net worth marker all over again 🙂
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?
Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early says
Yay Etsy sales! And I know that high food bill all too well… definitely the downside of living in and visiting places with tasty, tasty food.
Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early recently posted…Monthly Financial Update: February 2019
I think there was a glitch in your spreadsheet from last month as I calculated 189,577 for January so you are actually up $4k despite reducing the value of the car!
Gwen [Fiery Millennials] says
Entirely possible! Lol thanks for fact checking 🙂
Young FIRE Knight says
Good luck with that drive and be safe! I’m sure it will be nice to be reunited with most of your possessions though 🙂
DC definitely is expensive for having a car so it will be interesting to see the cost/benefit analysis of whether it makes sense to keep it or not
Young FIRE Knight recently posted…The Need For Structure
Abigail @ipickuppennies says
My month ends around the 12th (I get my paycheck between the 10th and 12th) so I won’t know for sure, but it’s looking pretty good so I’m psyched. Despite having to pay two months’ worth of health insurance (over $700) and a few other random things including a $90 Internet bill, my credit card bills were under $1,000 this month. I’m hoping to continue that next month, despite a $530ish bill for my business taxes. Fingers crossed.
See if you can diagnose the check engine light yourself, it might be something trivial/cheap. Will save you on the shop visit, you might learn something, and then you can sell it for more money without the light on 🙂
Gwen [Fiery Millennials] says
Already did! It’s something wrong with my intake manifold. I’ve got excess air where there shouldn’t be. I fixed that problem 4 years ago but I guess it’s time for a new gasket now.
Never cease to impress. Suppose you’re right about the gasket, 4 years was a good run though.
Financial Panther says
Yeah, you should totally drop the car. I was born and raised in DC and me and my friends never had our own cars. Even today, I don’t think any of my friends that live in DC own a car. If you need a car, just rent one or use Car2Go.
Erin | Reaching for FI says
But have you ever thought about bringing your lunch to work?? 😉
I can’t be too sad about you not getting the job because HOORAY, YOU’RE MY NEW ROOMIE! I can’t wait to do all the fun things with you!
Erin | Reaching for FI recently posted…19 for 2019
I know in previous posts you talked about your dread experience with rental properties but have you thought about jumping back into real estate?
Gwen [Fiery Millennials] says
I will get back into real estate at some point, but it won’t be soon and it won’t be as a direct landlord. I could see me being a hard money lender or as part of a collective.
Gentleman's Family Finances says
I would say that the pet expense is a hobby and not essential.
I class my own two kids the same way. 🙂
Gentleman’s Family Finances recently posted…A FIRE argument for the LISA
Gwen [Fiery Millennials] says
I classify it as essential since I have to buy him food and litter each month. A hobby is something I can choose not to spend money on if I don’t want to. I classify it that way, but you’re free to classify your expenses however you want!
Moriah Joy @ Our Table for Two says
Your spreadsheets are so pretty! I finally started tracking my expenses AS WELL AS my general spending, and it’s really helping me cut back on nonessentials while still spending money on things that aren’t needs, but are essential to my well being (like crafting, which is a great de-stressor!).
Moriah Joy @ Our Table for Two recently posted…March Net Worth
I’m glad you have health insurance again. I (and presumably others) aren’t trolling by decrying the health sharing ministries- just sincerely concerned about their ponzi-like structure, complete lack of regulation, and low limits.
Anyhow, not that regular insurance is that great, but at least it’s regulated.