Tracking spending is a good way to stay on track for FI and make sure nothing gets out of control. It’s a way to evaluate your decisions and make adjustments for the next month, as necessary. I like to ask myself each month:
- “Did this purchase bring me enough happiness to justify the amount I spent?”
- “Can I do something differently to save more money?”
Welcome to another monthly update! GET EXCITED.
This month was pretty busy now that I think about it. Chelsea started her new teaching job and it seems to be a good fit. She likes her coworkers and her students. It helps that she was a student teacher for the same group of kids last year, so she already knows all of them and they respect her.
We also hosted Chelsea’s cousin for a weekend. We had fun showing him the city and hanging out, but we also ended up spending more than we should have at bars and restaurants (we mostly covered his tab). Luckily, there’s a lot to do here that is free, like the farmer’s market, brewery tours, and an awesome art museum.
We both resumed classes for our masters degrees, and I am FINALLY almost done. Just one more class. I have been burned out by this for about a year now, so I am really ready to just get it over with.
I also joined my local chapter of the National Real Estate Investors Association (REIA). This is part of my goal to purchase an investment property early next year. The meeting I went to this month was about common title related issues investors encounter at closing. I know so little that I didn’t even know what questions to ask…
Oh! The eclipse. That was neat.
On to the numbers!
Our net worth DECREASED this month, which is the first time that this has happened since we started tracking it. As you will see in the next section, our spending was rather high (again) this month.
Our net worth decreased by $575. That’s going in the wrong direction!
- Chelsea now has a pension through her new teaching job, so we will now be tracking that. Woot $293!
- We lost money in our P2P Lending Club account. We might get rid of that because it has yet to live up to expectations.
- We have no idea why Chelsea’s student loan balance increased $67. It is in deferment because she’s in graduate school. We will have to figure that out.
Here is where we spend money this month:
Items of discussion:
- Education: This includes tuition for both of us, and a text book.
- Air Travel: Oof. One of my best childhood friends is getting married in December…in Cancun. Not sure how I feel about this considering the cost and the new travel warning for the area.
- Bills & Utilities: Turns out there was an issue with our billing for the electricity bill, so this covers both July and August’s bill. Compared to our previous apartment, we are paying about $50/month more in our new apartment during the summer. Hopefully winter will be cheaper.
- Restaurants, bars/alcohol, Uber: Yep. It’s a lot. I wonder if my bar-going days are nearing an end.
- Bike stuff: I bought my bike four years ago from the previous owner, and I am certain that neither of us have done any maintenance on it whatsoever. It was in DESPERATE need of some attention: new brake cable, tubes, and a rear shock (it’s a mountain bike).
- Entertainment: We renewed our zoo membership ($19 for both of us through March 2018) and saw a Logan Lucky at the theater. I also bought a new jazz album.
- Gift: Chelsea and I met 7 years ago on the first day of class in college! I decided to surprise her with a gift, which I don’t do very often. It was shipped from Ukraine and hasn’t arrived yet.
Of our total income, we directly (and automatically) invested $2,605. Retirement accounts are one of the easiest ways to access free money. Our taxes are reduced, and my employer contributes a portion (3%) of my salary. We contribute the maximum to both IRA’s ($5,500/year each) and the maximum to my 401(k) ($18,000/year).
Things to work on
This was one of our worst spending months since we started focusing on FIRE. I know that this will happen every now and then, but it is still disheartening to think that we chose creature comforts over growing our net worth this month.
I have cut back on alcohol in the past couple of weeks, so going forward I think our alcohol costs will be lower. We really just need to stay away from bars. When we get together with friends or family who we don’t see often, we go out to bars. That ALWAYS makes it an expensive weekend.
In September, I would like to examine our spending on food and identify ways to save money. Our restaurant and grocery spending is higher than I would like.
Thanks for reading!
How was your month? Did you meet your goals? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. – I am trying to figure out how to do these monthly reports, so if there is anything that you liked or didn’t like in this weeks summary (like too much detail or not enough detail), please let me know!