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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.
Here, have a very belated welcome to 2021.
*shoves it across the table*
January was only notable to me in that I went just a tiny bit crazy getting myself all the things I had on my Christmas list that I didn’t get from friends and family. Cool t‑shirts, some comfy pj’s, and frames for some of the art that I ordered a few months ago. I thought my spending was way worse and had a moment of panic thinking that I was somehow at -$3 in my slush checking account. I wasn’t but it goes to show even seasoned personal finance bloggers make mistakes/think they make mistakes. In my case, Mint hadn’t updated and I was going off the wrong balance. It updated, my paycheck showed up, and my heart rate slowly went back to normal.
So, that being said, behold! My spending for the first month of 2021 below!
|Housing||The usual LCOL rent payment|
|Car payment||For my sweet 2015 Mazda3!|
|Gas/Maintenance||A few tanks of gas|
|Phone||I love Google FI! No more phone payment holllaaa|
|Internet||My lifeline. Gotta have it.|
|Utilities||GME Stonks aren’t the only rocket headed for the moon|
|Support||My monthly support to my sister|
|Pet||Poop rocks and food for the fuzz.|
|Blog||The usual fees.|
|Entertainment||The usual subscriptions (Netflix, video games, YT Music) and games.|
|Shopping||Mostly new clothes for me with a few masks in there|
|Fees||Yearly credit card fee and a late fee :O|
|Misc||Mostly car insurance for the year. Sigh.|
|Hobbies||Basic leatherworking tools!|
|Gifts/Donations||Supporting my favorite author on Patreon and other donations to those in need.|
Total spending for January 2021 was high at $5,053. I’m not exactly thrilled at starting the year with such high spending but what’s done is done.
I actually had to spend money on gas this month. An immediate family member had a broken bone and needed some assistance for a few days, so I had to drive home and back. I’m in awe I managed to stay in my budget for food. It’s the first month for a while that’s happened. Winter is here in St Louis at last so my utility bills are much higher than normal. Old buildings with cool architectural features are super awesome until it comes time to heat them.
Shopping was higher than normal as I spread the joy of my stimulus payment. I got a standing desk from a local ergonomics shop, an anti-fatigue balance board, a few custom and or cool t‑shirts, and a few Pokemon button-up shirts that totally pass as business-professional. I also somehow manage to forget every year that January is when my car insurance bill hits and get unpleasantly surprised every time.
I’ve started supporting some friends and people doing awesome things out in the world each month in the form of reoccurring donations. I highly recommend it, if you’re able!
And finally, I actually spent some money on my hobbies for the first time in a long time. I haven’t been doing much of any hobby-ing lately, but I hope that changes soon. This particular purchase was pre-loved leatherworking supplies from Craigslist as I have a whole roll of leather to do something(s) with.
Other income: $600.32
My raise kicked in! It makes my weird money nerd self happy to get paid in such nice round numbers. I also qualified for a whole second stimulus check and had some interest kick in.
Unallocated Cash: $942
Total savings: $2,047
Handy dandy spreadsheet says my savings for the month was 28% for the month! Math is hard. This formula is apparently 401k + Unallocated Cash divided by my pre-tax income. It’s not great, but it’s better than nothing. Since I got a raise, the amount I’m putting in my 401k also went up.
Car (Mazda3): $9,703
Chase Sapphire Reserve: $2,107
My credit cards get paid off every month to zero. I don’t necessarily mind the money aspect of having the car loan, but the logistical side of things is annoying. The car loan is now under $10k! If all goes well, I’ll be able to pay it off entirely in 2021. The rate is good but it’s just annoying to have hanging around. Moving money between financial institutions is cumbersome and the credit union keeps calling me to get things like the title sent to them. Much simpler to pay in cash for a car.
According to this, my total net worth is $284,835. Last month I was up $14,000 and this month I’m up $800! This market is messed up. There was a lot of volatility in January with the whole Gamestop thing going on, so really I’m just grateful I held the course and didn’t go down at all.
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?