January Budget Review
Monthly Review: January 2018
New year, same spreadsheet. If this is your first time checking out the reports, you can check out last month's post which includes a breakdown of the last 12 months for reference. This month had some awesome adventures, another 5 figure net-worth increase and some added detail in the grocery department. By popular demand, I will be posting all my grocery purchase specifics. (As popular as a demand can be with the amount of readers I have...) So sit back and get ready to nerd out with yours truly.
This income will look a little lower than normal in contrast to last month which looked above average. That all comes because of the way I have my contributions set up my thrift savings account which capped out last month but is delayed in reporting. It all averages out over the course of a year and we'll be back to normal next month.
This was a pleasant surprise. Anytime I can fall below ~$2,100 since my move to Boston, is a win. Even though the expenses were low, this was an awesome month in terms of activities. More about that when we get to the travel category although I will say it involved historic events, unplanned awesomeness, and international travel.
Going Out: $57.80
This category involves any food I didn’t cook myself or any alcohol purchase. I won't lie, I'm a little conflicted about this category. A budget may seem simple but there are plenty of times when deciding where to put an expense isn't so cut and dry. You won't see any of the eating/drinking out here from my overseas travel because it just got complicated. It was captured in the travel category, I just didn't feel like breaking it out because there was a lot of payments on a friends card, international fees, paybacks, etc. so I lumped that whole trip into one line item. I do think the only restaurant food I had this month was fish 'n chips from a food truck and some great Mediterranean food via a groupon. I realized I didn't count a trip to a restaurant when I was home for Christmas last month, so that's also captured here.
Wouldn't it be my luck that the first month I start keeping all my receipts, I go over my $60 average and look a little phony. Well, I have a good excuse! I restocked the freezer to some degree with another round of lean meats. My big win was certainly a 13 lb haul for under $20. It was like Christmas morning all over again. Protein shake breakfasts, pork/sweet potato/carrot/zucchini lunches, and homemade pizza dinners dominated this months menu. For the full breakdown, see the chart below.
Bills are always hopefully a boring category. I did have a transaction that is the exact reason I urge people to keep a detailed budget. I was charged $15 for Chegg that I thought I had cancelled. Apparently I had only paused it. I'm mad that I wasted $15 but it could have been a lot worse if I didn't notice it for several months. I had the usual suspects other than that with Rent ($775), Cell ($85), Spotify ($5), Car Insurance ($96.65) and Utilities ($60).
Back to back awesome months in the travel department. I don't classify a travel month a success by spending little. To me, it's a success when I get a lot of cool experiences regardless. I traveled to Europe for the first time ever....technically. I went on a insanely quick but unforgettable trip to Iceland.
I had already purchased the plane tickets previously but my share of the rental car, hotels, cell phone addition, and meals came out to be $250. We saw countless mountains, almost died behind the wheel of a fiat panda, ate whale, and relaxed in the world famous blue lagoon. These are the type activities I would never recommend someone skip on the way to financial independence.
I also got invited last minute to a sold-out Chase Rice concert which was fantastic and only $35. I took a weekend trip to NYC for $39.50. Tried my hand at back-country skiing for $24. Hit up a strange performance at City Winery for only $6 thanks to Vet Tix. I also got the chance to see a historic UFC in Boston that featured two title fights. The tickets to that were part of my Christmas so don't expect to see that on the spreadsheet. Last but not least I pre-paid for a beer and cheese fest in March. Not too shabby of a month even though I keep getting all these warnings about missing out on life. Maybe I'll catch up someday.
Just a couple Valentine's day gifts. Not spilling the beans here just in case she reads this. If she is reading this, I have to give her props on starting her very own spreadsheet and realizing that she's actually already had an impressive saving rate over the last year without even knowing it. Not sure if she's ready to receive ETFs for special occasions yet but I think she's getting excited about finance.
I hate this category because it always feels like things you didn't plan for and you may not even need, but they're part of the story. This month I had some books for my Masters work, clothes, vacuum sealer so I can really stock up on the meats next time, and a beer mug for work (I know, that sounds really wasteful).
Fairly self-explanatory category. I have a 24 mile round trip commute in my 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid. I think I'll have a half tank of carry over fuel into the next month.
Big Picture: Net Worth Increase $20,096 to $243,003
Y'all, I swear I thought I made a mistake on my spreadsheet when I saw this jump. I've checked the numbers several times and it seems like it's just a combination of my alternative investments making a large jump and the stock-market continuing a rapid climb. I totally understand that I could see negative numbers this large in the coming months/years due to a stock market correction, but I'll enjoy the progress until that comes! Because of it's climb, my alternative investments have climbed beyond 5% to almost 9% of my portfolio but I'm still comfortable with that. I'm done adding additional money so I think I've met the spirit and intent of keeping the risky investments to a reasonable amount. Next month I'll work on maxing out my IRA and then back to padding my brokerage account.
FI Tracker Via MadFientist Lab