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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.
July was an interesting month. I feel like it was broken into 3 distinct chunks:
The first part of July was spent getting used to my new job and new commute. I was hired under the premise of working at one location, but ended up at a different location for training. That would’ve been fine had my commute not doubled. I was in the car anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours one way! Traffic is a killer variable around the DC area, so that made it really difficult to make plans after work. I did, however, manage to get to see the Playing with Fire documentary again with a lot of my favorite DC money nerds after work one day so that was a lot of fun. I also got to go to the Choose FI Hampton Roads meetup where we ate some good food, swapped stories with new and old friends, played some yard games and watched the Playing with Fire documentary.
The second part of July was switching work locations to the initial location. My commute dropped to about an hour home, which is still crazy when you think of the fact I was only 20 miles away. This part was consumed with getting acclimated to a whole new office and team dynamic and MOVING. Why is moving so time and resource intensive?? It’s crazy how it feels like it overwhelms everything else going on in your life. At least, that’s how it felt to me. I think I can also safely say the same thing for my roommate (former roommate now sad panda). I did get to do some fun things like play new games (CTR and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite!) and see the Playing With Fire documentary. Again. Yes. I saw it 3 times in one month and loved every minute of it! I’m good for a while now though haha.
The third part of July was getting all my stuff moved and getting settled in at the new apartment. It’s crazy expensive, but so incredibly worth it. I was marveling over the space when I moved in. Everything has a place now! I’ve unpacked boxes that haven’t been touched for 3 years! I just feel better about everything when I’m not drowning in stuff and can actually use my things. The cat was a bit unsettled for the first week but has since adjusted. I think he likes all the space better too. I feel like I’ve been playing with him more than I have in the past, which is good for me and him! I feel like the last year I’ve been using him as emotional support (he gives the best cuddles when he wants to) and now I don’t feel like I need to lean on his comfort as much. I’ve started to use my sewing machine more and am creating some wonderful quilts that I can’t wait to give to their babies and show everyone!
July 2019 was a bit of a pricey month, but I watched my spending like a hawk and didn’t go crazy, so I’m pretty chuffed with where I ended up.
Check out below for my spending breakdown of July 2019!
|Housing||My last month of paying “low” rent for the DC apartment|
|Utilities||We did a good job at keeping our utilities low.|
|Food||I was under budget! Woo!|
|Phone||I love Google FI!|
|Auto||Mostly gas now that I drive to work every day.|
|Internet||Gotta have that fast interweb access.|
|Pet||I got the fuzz more poop rocks. They’re like pop rocks, but they don’t taste as good.|
|Blog||A low month of expenses for the blog. Super stoked to not have podcast expenses anymore.|
|Entertainment||Playing with Fire ticket!|
|Shopping||A cooooool t‑shirt!!|
|Fees||A stupid parking ticket and some investing account fees.|
|Misc||Glue for my car and other random things|
|Hobbies||Fabric and other quilting supplies to make baby quilts!|
|House||Moving is FUCKING EXPENSIVE.|
It’s a bit disheartening to feel like you had a really good month and then realize one thing tanked your entire budget for the month. Without all the moving expenses (which are over HALF of my monthly spend), I would’ve done a really good job. I did do a really good job. I just also had to pay people to move all of my stuff (on a Monday, which was cheaper), get furniture and other household goods and put down a huge deposit.
I feel like I’m doing a good job at using what I have at home for entertainment. I have video games galore, books to read, movies to watch and quilts to sew. I feel like a homebody and I LOVE it! Especially when staying at home means I can enjoy good food and maybe even a nice soak in my nice new huge tub (which is neither peeling, water damaged, or full of little bugs like my last one). It’s crazy how your environment impacts your mindset. I’ve been feeling much better in my new place even as I come to terms with the rent costing over 55% of my after-tax take-home pay.
My monthly expenses came to just over $5,000 at $5,088.30. Given my moving expenses at $2,722, I’m pretty content with how much I spent in July. August will be much better with life settling down.
Other income: $3.94
My new annual salary comes in at just a shade over $75k, if you’re wondering. I get paid $36.06 an hour, with time and a half for OT, which I hope to have some coming up in October for a conference I’m supporting. Woo!
Total savings: $1,352.60
I figured out how to account for my 401k matches. Look at me crushing this adulting thing again. It doesn’t help anything that I went from beautiful, interactive ADP pay information to something that literally looks like it came off a dot matrix printer. My savings rate came out to be 11.81% and I’m thrilled. I thought for sure it would be negative with all the moving expenses but having some cash on hand saved the day. Go me!
According to this, my total net worth is $207,775. Thanks mostly to the compounding interest in my investment accounts, I’m up almost $4,000 this month from June. It feels pretty good but I can’t help wonder how long this is going to last.….
I also did a thing for the first time in nearly 18 months. I used a retirement calculator. It was super basic, so it’s not entirely accurate. I intend to play with another more detailed calculator soon to get a more accurate picture BUT. If I keep doing what I’m doing, never get another raise at work and don’t inflate my spending, I’ll be able to cover my expenses with investments at age 50. That feels like a healthier, more realistic goal than what I previously had. It’s also incredibly reassuring to figure out I haven’t completely tanked my early retirement chances with the mess I made last year.
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?