Disclaimer: some links may be affiliate links. They help offset the cost of keeping this blog running!
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.
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! The weather has been exceptionally mild so far here in St Louis, but I hope it gets cold enough to snow and have it stick for Christmas. Last year it was over 70 degrees on Christmas Day which meant I got to take a bike ride in Forest Park. Wonderful, but I’m old-fashioned and would have rather gone sledding down Art Hill. Last year I didn’t have any vacation so I couldn’t be with my family when they gathered for Christmas. Turns out that was great practice as I won’t be able to be with them again this year.
November was a pretty calm month. Work ramped up, so I spent a lot of time thinking about that and not much else. I was able to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for my boyfriend and myself, which turned out well despite neither of us ever having to cook the whole meal before. I created a Gantt chart to figure out what needed to be cooked when and it worked flawlessly! Despite all the extra food I bought, I managed to stay below my food budget for the first time in a long time! Yay me!
The end of the month also saw me do some shopping for people’s presents. Otherwise, I did really well in November! See below for all the awesome numbers 🙂
|Housing||The usual LCOL rent payment|
|Car payment||For my sweet 2015 Mazda3!|
|Gas/Maintenance||A debt protection fee from the credit union that holds my loan??|
|Food||WOOHOO!! BELOW BUDGET!!|
|Phone||I love Google FI! No more phone payment holllaaa|
|Internet||My lifeline. Gotta have it.|
|Utilities||Pretty mild month meant lower utility bills.|
|Support||My monthly support to my sister.|
|Pet||Turns out buying 100 cans of cat food at a time means you’re set for a long time.|
|Blog||The usual fees.|
|Entertainment||The usual subscriptions (Netflix, video games, YT Music)|
|Shopping||Some Christmas decorations, some new power strips and new clothes for me.|
|Misc||Dishwasher and detergent pods!|
|Gifts||More presents for birthdays and Christmas.|
Total spending for November 2020 was wonderfully low at $2,940. I said last month my spending needed tweaking and boy did I tweak! (I also twerked but thankfully there’s no proof of that.)
I attribute this to 3 main categories: gas, food, and utilities. I didn’t buy any gas in November because I didn’t go anywhere so that category would’ve been zero had it not been for that weird fee from my credit union. I suspect that fee has something to do with the fact the State of Missouri sent me the title without them being a lienholder. Whoops. Food was low this month because I didn’t stock up on food anywhere (Costco, the local prepped food place). I also behaved and didn’t order out so much. Utilities were low because the weather was mild and I was able to go several days with the heat turned entirely off! I know that won’t be the case for the next few months (brrrrr) so I’m celebrating now while I can.
I’m also excited I don’t have a phone payment to make for the first time in 2 years. It was only $30 a month on a 0% interest loan so I let it ride but I’m happy to have slimmed down expenses. I’ll also be making a point to pay for my next one in cash.
It feels weird to feel good about spending $65 on dishwasher and detergent pods, but yet here I am. Dropps was having a 30% off Black Friday sale, so I stocked up. I now have enough dishwasher pods to last me months, and a ton of detergent pods for washing my clothes. My boyfriend doesn’t have a washer in his apartment (part of the reason he only pays $450 in rent to split a 2 bedroom apartment) so when he visits, he brings his clothes with him. I’d much rather he do his laundry here as opposed to paying someone to wash them or risk getting exposed at a laundromat. Plus I don’t pay for water so it works out for us both.
I’m also proud of the gift I got for my nephew’s 4th birthday. He loves Blue’s Clues, so I found a shop on Etsy selling the Handy Dandy Notebook, crayon, extra pages and stickers of Blue’s paw. He then had to go on a hunt to find his other present — a hoodie with Blue on it. He’s in love and I feel like the best auntie ever.
Other income: $500.32
When I took my new job last year, I was under the impression we didn’t have an annual bonus. But, we do! And that bonus hit at the end of the month. It was $3,500 which after taxes amounted to an extra regular paycheck. I will take it! I also got the money from selling my old car. Levi is officially not mine anymore. Farewell, faithful stead.
Unallocated Cash: $6,316.98
Total savings: $7,393.66
Handy dandy spreadsheet says my savings for the month was 72% for the month! Math is hard. This formula is apparently 401k + Unallocated Cash divided by my pre-tax income. Pretty stoked to hit over 70% with barely even breaking a sweat! Too bad I can’t make this much every month or I’d be doing really good. Instead of the pretty good I am right now lolol.
Car (Mazda3): $12,379
Chase Sapphire Reserve: $1,575
My credit cards get paid off every month to zero. I don’t necessarily mind the money aspect of having the loan, but the logistical side of things is annoying. Especially to someone like me with dysfunctional executive functioning skills. I moved $3,000 of my bonus to my car payment account and am looking forward to getting the loan under $10,000 by the end of the year! I have 2 years to pay it off but am aiming for much sooner than that.
According to this, my total net worth is $269,370. WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE MARKET? I’m up $25,000 in one month! That is insanity. Pure craziness. At this rate, I’ll cross the $300,000 milestone for the first time before the end of the year. Absolutely bananas.
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?