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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.
October passed by quietly and quickly. It was a month of fun and excitement and hanging out with friends and utter exhaustion. I turned the ripe old age of 29 in the middle of the month while I was in California at Camp FI Southwest in Joshua Tree. There’s beauty in the utter desolation of the desert. I really enjoyed the chance to check out the Joshua Trees (which are actually giant succulents, not real trees). I’ll treasure the memories I made with the people there for a lifetime. Belting out the song California Girls by Katy Perry in the hot tub with friends under the stars in California as my birthday approached was a top 10 moment for sure.
My favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, made the playoffs and advanced far enough to play the Washington Nationals. I was determined to go see my team play in the postseason on my birthday so I sprung for tickets and took my friend with me. He lives literally right across the street, so it was easy for him. Less easy for me as I watched my team lose the game and get swept in 4 games to see the Nationals advance to the World Series. I was sad, but at least my team lost to the eventual winners, and the eventual winners are my current town team, so it could be worse.
Despite all those fun events, I didn’t actually spend a ton of money in October, which shocked me when I added everything up! See below for a detailed breakdown of all the spending for the best month of 2019!
|Housing||DC housing is stupid expensive to live on your own|
|Utilities||I expect utilities to stay under that $200 limit.|
|Food||Under budget! I get free lunch a lot from meeting leftovers which lowers my costs.|
|Phone||I love Google FI! This is a lot higher than normal as I switched from pay as you go to unlimited.|
|Auto||Gas, topping off my Metro card, and parking expenses.|
|Internet||Gotta have that fast interweb access.|
|Pet||Food and poop rocks for the kitty|
|Blog||The usual fees for the blog.|
|Entertainment||$450 to see my Cardinals lose in person plus some other fun stuff.|
|Shopping||Some more clothes, some stuff for the apartment and new bar shampoo/conditioner.|
|Fees||Stupid tax. Even personal finance bloggers can forget to pay their utility bill when traveling.|
|Travel||Mostly rides to and from the airports on my trips in October.|
I spent about $675 less than September for a total of $3,856.25! I’m finally seeing a lot of residual debt obligations fall off. My 0% interest card is at zero, my phone is nearly paid off, and this was the last month the utility company charged me a $60 fee to be a new customer. (I get that money back after a year of on-time payments. You’d think my nearly 800 credit score would be good enough proof I can pay my bills on time, but not according to Dominion Energy.) All of these add up to a few hundred extra dollars in my budget each month which is super helpful in freaking-expensive-to-do-almost-everything DC.
Other income: $1,101.32
Not bad for accidentally missing a day on my timesheet. Travel really skewed a lot of things this month. All income is pre-tax.
Total savings: $1,486.53
I took my gross pay from my W2 job, added in all the extra money I got, then subtracted my budgeted and unbudgeted expenses to get my cash savings amount. My handy dandy spreadsheet says I saved 41.4% this month which feels great!
According to this, my total net worth is $216,927, which is a brand new record for me. Most of that growth came from my investments in my 401k which is going bananas! At some point, with all this job-hopping, I’ll have to go through the pain and agony of consolidating all my accounts into one. I haven’t quite reached that pain point yet, but it would really help that compound interest along if I merged them into one. Food for thought on a cold winter day, perhaps.
This is usually the section where I see how much time I have left until early retirement, but I’m not focusing on that kind of goal anymore. Instead, I’ll say I had a good month! Mental health is more important to me right now than saving as much money as I possibly can. Whatever your goal, I hope you made good strides towards it like I did!
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?