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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?”
- “Are my savings being allocated efficiently?”
Another month has gone by in a flash! I am a little late on this update, but hey – life happens.
In September, we:
- drove down to Texas for a wedding
- caught a neat exhibit about space at a local museum
- toured a couple of open houses to get an idea of the market.
Oh, and went to see these guys:
(That’s U2. They’re a band.)
And they were awesome! It was certainly a “bucket list” concert, and my mom even came up to see it. Their performance was quite impressive. Like them or not, you gotta have respect for a band that can still perform with the same energy even after 40 years (yes, they’re that old).
The production quality itself was a marvel – the entire backdrop for the stage was a giant LED screen that spanned the width of a football field (I know that because it was at – you guessed it! – a football stadium). They clearly make BANK.
As for the open houses, we may have gotten a little ahead of ourselves…in addition to buying rental properties next year, we are considering buying a house for our personal residence. That house would then become another rental property when we moved.
We aren’t planning on buying anything until May or June – that’s when our lease ends for our current apartment. So, if we were to buy a house now, we would have to pay a lease cancellation fee worth 2 months’ rent, which we don’t want to do.
But it sure was fun to look! I think we are both itching for our own place instead of renting.
The wedding was for one of my best friends’ sister and it was in my hometown in Texas. It was super short – we drove down the day of the wedding, and drove back the next morning. It’s one of those things that you plan ahead and think “We can do that! No problem.” But it was more stressful than I had expected…it was great to see my friends and family though.
On to the numbers!
For the first time since I started this blog, our numbers aren’t just *meh* but actually pretty good!
In the absence of tuition payments and international flight purchases, our spending was down at more normal levels. Plus, I got three paychecks this month. Then throw in some Q3 dividend payments and voila! We got a nice boost to our net worth to the tune of $9,570, and it looks pretty nice on the ol’ net worth chart!
We don’t want to overanalyze our finances and worry about higher spending months. This will all come out in the wash when we look at the bigger picture at the end of the year. But we also don’t want to lose sight of what is going on with our money.
Here is where we spend money this month:
Items of discussion:
- Bills & Utilities: Our 6 month car insurance premium hit this month. We have Geico, and it’s only $389 for both our cars!
- Travel: We renewed our passports this month. They ain’t cheap, but at least they last for 10 years.
- Restaurants: We went slightly over “budget” this month. I’ll attribute this to having 5 weekends in September, rather than 4.
- Shopping: I throw non-essential physical item purchases here. This month included:
- Gas: Since we drove to Texas, our gas was a little higher this month.
- Alcohol: I didn’t meet the $30 goal this month, but half of our spending for this category went toward a night on the town in my hometown with my friends.
Look at that red dot jumping up! We went from our worst month, to one of our best. (It’s also worth noting that this is true for the last two times this happened: September 2016 and February 2017.)
Of our total income, we directly (and automatically) invested $3,606. 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 to my 401(k). 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
Nothing. I am perfect.
Just kidding! There’s always room for improvement. No category this month sticks out to me though, other than the usual suspects: restaurants and alcohol. These are both luxuries and could be cut out altogether.
How was your month? Did you meet your goals? Let me know in the comments!