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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.
March 2020. The month that lasted a year and turned our worlds upside down. It started off fairly normally. My friend came to visit me at the beginning of the month. I had a night at the bowling alley with her, my bf and another local friend. The next day we went to the Midwest’s Largest Garage Sale (and flea market) at Six Flags. We mingled with thousands of people and touched all kinds of stuff without sanitizing or social distancing. I joined a D&D group and started my first campaign. My bf and I went to see Onward (super cute, very touching) in the movie theater.
And then it all changed.
One by one by one the other locations of my employer went to work from home. By March 13th, it was clear we also needed to work from home. Monday, March 16th marked the first day of socially distancing work from home. No more driving to work. No more grabbing a coffee or lunch with coworkers. No more stopping by the grocery store on the way home from work. My commute involves not tripping over the cat as I walk down the hallway to my spare room. I bring my lunch to work every day now! Date nights now look like chatting over video or watching a show together on his Plex server. As a result of all these shifts, my spending habits have changed drastically.
Behold the changes imparted upon my budget by socially isolating in March 2020!
|Housing||New and improved lower rent payment. I love LCOL areas!|
|Utilities||The weather got ever so slightly warmer, and utility bills went down slightly|
|Food||A combination of normal eating out and groceries, plus supporting local food places|
|Phone||I love Google FI! Now with a new unlimited plan (and paying off my phone)|
|Auto||One tank of gas|
|Internet||Gotta have that fast interweb access|
|Pet||No need for pet expenses after stocking up.|
|Entertainment||Streaming subscriptions, WaPo yearly subscription, tickets to a pop-up bar that hopefully still happens this summer|
|Shopping||Supporting local businesses.|
|Gifts||Political donations, donations to my home church, and other charities|
|Health||Some extra medical supplies and therapy|
Interestingly enough, even with additional spending to help people less fortunate than I, I still spent less in March than in previous months. I spent $3,196 over all 300 days in March. I bought boxes from the local Farmer’s Market (delivered straight to my door!), ordered takeout a few times, bought a mental wellness box from a local business that had to close (included a candle, a bath bomb, and 2 caramels), gave money to my church family back home and donated to a few other charities. My spending was still nearly $700 lower than February. Part of this came from other categories dropping, like auto, utilities, and travel. Normally I buy 2–3 tanks of gas in a month. In March, I filled up once as I simply am not driving as much as I did pre-social distancing. It helps gas prices have also dropped nearly a dollar a gallon! It will be interesting to see where my expenses fall for April, given that I have barely left the house at all.
Other income: $14
I got a surprise $500 cash award on top of my normal pay in April! I volunteered to help produce a conference and got incentivized to do it again! I seriously am proud to work for my new company. They’ve done nothing but treat their employees well since all of this started. I also had a few Etsy sales and some interest on my savings accounts.
Unallocated Cash: $1,774.84
Total savings: $2,851.52
Handy dandy spreadsheet says my savings for the month was 53%. 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 $189,930. I’m down about $40,000 from my peak net worth. It’s very bizarre to be blasé about my net worth dropping that much, but I know it will eventually come back. I am a bit sad about once again dropping down past the $200k mark. The third time is a charm, perhaps?
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?