Monthly Expense Report, August 2017

Is Summer coming to an end? Yeah, it certainly feels like it with the temperatures dropping to 50F at night around here. And my expenses are dropping too! August was one for the record books in terms of monthly expenses – 3rd lowest since January 2016!

Fully-exposed, my monthly spending report for Zed at zencents.com during the month of August 2017.

I knew I crushed it in August, but tallying these numbers makes me feel amazing. I think it is absolutely worth the time to track your spending. You can catch yourself getting a little too spendy-pants and nip it in the bud before bad habits develop, aka gotcha! I can’t recommend enough the software You Need a Budget (YNAB) – go and check them out in my Resources Library for a 1-month trial. (I am not an affiliate or spokesperson, just love their system.)

First up as always, the numbers before diving into the Net Worth update. Like every month, this is only my spending and no one else in the household. The current target is at or under $2050 per month. 

Monthly Expense Report

Category Costs Comments, etc.
Housing $1500 Sending $500 extra towards my Princi-pal monthly. Always feels good. 🙂
Entertainment $205 Primarily expense from our week long vacation to upstate NY.
Debt $135 ONE MORE PAYMENT IN SEPTEMBER!!!
Auto $95 Insurance + gas
Foods $80 Super low! But can we go HIGHER?!
Home $60 Finally seeing this drop. For 1-month at least.
Internet $50 Basic human right.
Phone $45 Been eyeing the LG V20 (used of course!) 
Total  $2170 Whoa! – Nearly a minimum, aka my target!

First a little expense realization. I understand $2,170 for a monthly total still comes out to $26,040 per year for an individual person. For those lean-FIRE/extreme frugal people, this is excessive.

BUT, if I take out my loan payment – which will be gone in October – and remove the extra $500 towards the mortgage, my monthly total is $1,535! That is only $18,420 a year! This amount even includes me still paying down a mortgage – imagine how low my expenses will be once the mortgage is gone! EXCITING! 😀

Housing – $1,500

I don’t talk about housing expenses too often, but part of my FIRE plan is to be free of a mortgage payment. Right now I am balancing extra cash towards the mortgage versus after-tax investing, despite our 3.0% APR.  This is a pretty touchy subject for some who always go the mathematically optimal route, but for us “taking care of” this debt is an emotional investment as well.

Everyone is different, so focus on your own situation before taking the commonplace approach. (But if you’re reading this, you’re already walking off the beaten path. 😛 )

Foods – $80

This category came in really, really low this month. To be honest, I think it’s too low because it likely also means I didn’t pitch in enough for our household groceries. I expect my average to be closer to $125-150 a month. So while it’s nice having a low number, it’s also a reminder that I am part of a team. So for September, my goal will actually be to get this number higher!

Phone – $45

My smartphone is on a prepaid plan with Verizon. 1, I can either dive into a new carrier and bring my phone; 2, find a new carrier and buy a new-to-me phone; 3, buy a new-to-me phone and stay with Verizon. Really considering that third option and I’ve been eyeing phones on swappa.com where I can get a good deal. Mostly, I want an improved camera and more up-to-date secure version of Android. The other option is an actual cameraSuggestions, opinions on any of the above?

Net Worth Update

Monthly expenses = Orange bars (right vertical axis), Net Worth = Green area (no values provided).

Looking good, despite the volatile markets for August. I was expecting much more – for me August was a glorious three-paycheck month. But, it did not really appear to show up. I think I’ve been spoiled by the returns this year, so this little slow down is probably healthy. For the markets, and my long-term expectations.

Net worth is up 3.9% since the end of July. Still on track to reach my end of year goal two months early. Which means I’ll be hitting 2018 with a head of steam. Should be an exciting few months to end the year. 🙂

I did make a teeny amount of side-income selling some clutter from around the house on eBay. Maybe about $50. Worth the time to declutter alone, so extra cash is just the cherry on top.

*House equity – despite the increased mortgage principal payment is and never has been part of my net worth calculation.

Sorry, for the uneventful update, but sometimes that path to FIRE can be monotonous. I am expecting at least one more big expense this year, which should be offset with some extra income come December. Otherwise, I hope all other months look as great as this one.

Happy September and don’t forget to have FUN TODAY!


😀

 

Feature Image by Simon Matzinger

6 Replies to “Monthly Expense Report, August 2017”

    1. Yeah – $18k is great, but factor in some of those big long-term expenses of owning a house and it is surely much higher. However, knowing our baseline budget is so low is encouraging from an Early Retirement perspective.

    1. It’s kind of silly – I think I need to set a minimum or I’ll risk becoming cheap instead of frugal. Of course, the big, random expenses bring the average up much higher! I’ll update that next month.

    1. Hey! Thanks! Honestly, I can’t tell you – not that it’s a secret. Lunch _almost_ every day is PB&J. Cheap, quick, and filling!

      And strangely enough, you are correct! My diet is 95% vegan, 5% anything. It’s easy to eat vegan when your wife is an amazing chef/baker! (5% remains non-vegan because of odd work situations where it’s hard to say no.)

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