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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.
September was a spendy month! Which makes sense when you consider FinCon was in town. Lots of extra car-sharing rides, scooter rides around the Mall, extra meals out, drinks.… It all adds up at the end of the month but I regret nothing. I had a ton of fun! I also paid for a few meals out during the rest of the month. Guys can’t pay for all the dates all the time!
Fortunately, playing the Harry Potter Wizards Unite game is fairly low cost. I’ve been good about not spending real money on the game and it’s cheap entertainment to meet up with people for fortress battles.
Check out below for my spending breakdown of September 2019!
|Housing||DC housing is stupid expensive to live on your own|
|Utilities||I expect utilities to stay under that $200 limit.|
|Food||Over budget, as to be expected with FinCon in there|
|Phone||I love Google FI!|
|Auto||Gas, topping off my Metro card, and some minor repairs to my car.|
|Internet||Gotta have that fast interweb access.|
|Pet||Food and poop rocks for the kitty|
|Blog||My Dropbox subscription renewed and other usual fees for the blog.|
|Entertainment||Some music, some mobile game spending.…|
|Shopping||More clothes and some tailor fees to help them fit better!|
|Fees||Mostly my Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee >:[|
|Travel||Some car-sharing rides and my share of the FinCon Friend House|
I only spent $600 more than August, so I’m pretty content with everything that went on and my spending. September’s total was $4,533. Much, much, much higher than I’m used to but I guess this is my new normal now.
Other income: $1,438
This is pre-tax income, so I wonder if I should share the level of money I made post-tax, because that might make a bit more sense. (I got some questions on the last post.) Other income included gifts, friends sending me money for their share of things, and side hustles like Etsy.
Total savings: $1,611.34
I started with all the money that came in this month as income. I then took out all the spending, taxes, and savings contributions to end up with the cash amount. My handy dandy spreadsheet says I saved 35.5% this month which feels great!
According to this, my total net worth is $208,416. July was up, August was down, September was up. Over the last three months, I’m up roughly $1k, even though I gained nearly $5k the last 4 weeks. Can you imagine how stressed out I’d be if I checked my accounts more than just at the beginning of the month? I’d be a mess! It’s in my best interest to put in my contributions and let ’em ride.…
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?
I agree that not looking is a great technique 😛
Also, I love that you tailor your clothes. I do, too. I’m never thrilled at the cost, especially if I’ve just paid for something, but they last so much longer that way…and I actually wear them. Imagine that. Preferring clothes that fit to ones that are just a bit off.
Hope October treats you well!
Penny recently posted…Wealth, Health, and How I Failed: Q3 2019 Goals Recap
Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early says
Not looking is great, but then it can sometimes be SO frustrating when the needle hasn’t moved for so long! Ha. Good thing we don’t need that money for a loooong time yet.
My Worthy Penny says
You are doing really great! I still find my self struggling with sticking to our budget. But it’s been way better than before. 🙂
My Worthy Penny recently posted…8th Month Blog Progress Report
If you spent $4,533 and saved $1,611.34, then your after-tax income should be $6,144.34 (expenses + savings) and your after-tax saving rate should be 26.2% (savings / after-tax income). What am I missing?
Gwen [Fiery Millennials] says
About $1,200 in taxes is what’s missing!
But you didn’t keep those taxes? Why are they contributing to the amount saved in the savings rate calculation? Genuinely curious!
You’ll be in the $300K club in no time at all.
Caroline at Costa Rica FIRE says
I would look at the blog cost as necessary in the sense that it’s a business expense and you’re building an asset (your content). You may decide in the future not to do a blog but then that $200 could be earmarked for something else (say, you decided to do eBay selling or Etsy crafting or whatever). Spending on a business is investing, as much as buying real estate or paper assets. I think it’s great that you have something outside your day to day job!
Caroline at Costa Rica FIRE recently posted…How Much We Spent Living In Costa Rica For One Month
Holly G. says
Awesome! I totally get it on housing here. Just add $500+ for taxes plus $300+ for insurance. That’s a house payment for a lot of people here.
Yeah, this month was tough since we splurged on the “old truck” and September some of the insurances are due. Of course, October the county taxes are due. Then December also have real estate taxes due. Thank goodness for sinking funds. Do you consider sinking funds savings? We personally don’t. I have heard some people do.
Holly G. recently posted…Financial Independence
Mrs Frugal Aussie Millennial says
Expensive housing can be really demotivating, but you’re on track to meet your goals, so that’s all you need to focus on! My spending for September went through the roof because I spent $15,000 (Australian) on a wedding. But I married a man who is as addicted to personal finance as I am, so I’m sure I’ll make it all back in the long run.
Mrs Frugal Aussie Millennial recently posted…My Frugal Wedding
Really interesting insights and can see the benefits of keeping track regularly on spending/expenses. In a similar situation re living expenses in Boston!
Jon recently posted…What Is Mug Betting? [Complete Mug Betting Guide]
Thanks for sharing your detailed reports 🙂 I love looking at these. We went to DC earlier this year and it is EXPENSIVE! (This is coming from someone who lives in Vancouver). The groceries were pretty expensive though I was mainly shopping at Safeway.
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Gale L. says
Thanks for the great detailed report! This definitely makes me want to get my butt in gear. haha
Gale L. recently posted…Recommendations
Gwen [Fiery Millennials] says
Hey Gale! Thanks for the comment. I’m glad I could be a source of inspiration 🙂