July was a great month: I saw friends every weekend, did the Color Run 5k, saw The Secret Life of Pets, went to the arboretum for the first time, and met a friend’s newly adopted kitten. Needless to say, the month flew by. The summer goes by so fast. Can’t believe it’s already August!
On to the numbers…
Financial independence is really important to me and it’s currently my main financial goal. With that in mind, I aim to spend an average of $1,500 or less each month so I’m able to invest and save the remainder. This equates to $18,000/year in total spending.
I’m sharing my monthly expenses to illustrate that it’s not difficult to have a great life while spending far less than the household average. I’m fully aware that I’m able to do this because my mortgage is paid off and I don’t have a car loan or credit card debt. It was a long journey to get here and now I’m reaping the benefits.
Although I use Mint and Personal Capital to keep an eye on all my accounts, I use Excel to track my expenses. I’ve found that this works best for me, since I can easily compare months and see a running total for the year for each category.
Here are the details:
I spent $482 on fixed costs (e.g. association fee, utilities, insurance, etc.). No surprises here. It was exactly what I was expecting and finally returned to a normal level.
I spent $1,026 on variable costs (e.g. food, gas, house supplies, gifts/donations, etc.). This is a little higher than expected but there’s a good reason why, mentioned below. My groceries also came in higher, as I try to eat more fresh food and develop a meal plan that reduces food waste.
My favorite purchase this month was a new laptop for my parents. They’d been using my old computer, now more than 10 years old, so my brother and I decided it was time for a new one. I bought it and my brother did all the configuration, since he’s our IT guy. It makes me happy that we can give this gift to our parents.
Total spending for the month was $1,508. So far this year I’ve spent $11,288, with an average of $1,613/month, which has exceeded my goal of monthly spending of $1,500 or less. This was expected, due to some annual costs being due during the first few months of the year, and my monthly expenses should remain at/below the $1,500 threshold for the rest of the year, with the average slowly coming back down as the year progresses.
For my long-term goals, I’m currently 46.7% of the way towards financial independence, but 41.2% of the way towards my more conservative early retirement goal.
How did your July go? Any challenges?