Expenses · Finance

July 2016 Expenses

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?

6 thoughts on “July 2016 Expenses

  1. It’s wonderful you were able to give your parents a new laptop. And it’s great to have your own personal IT guy for a brother.

    We had some extra expenses this month, mostly planned, due to the family wedding. But then the garage door opener was blown out by lightning and that cost $350 to replace. That was not planned but we feel blessed that the lightning damage wasn’t worse.

    1. I saw the Liftmaster post and was glad that no one was hurt. At least the timing seemed to have worked out since the garage door opener was on the to-do list anyway.

      Can’t tell you how excited I am about my parents’ new laptop. My brother is in town so we’ll give it to them this weekend 🙂

  2. I am very impressed in how low your fixed and overall monthly budget is. Impressive, especially considering how easily non-budgeted expenses can pop up every month. Looks like despite the low spend you are enjoying life and have some left over. Keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks! The only category without a budget this year is travel, since I’m not quite ready to leave my diabetic cat in the care of someone else overnight. Kind of works out since my travel budget now covers his medical supplies. But it’s totally worth it to keep him around!

  3. Hey, Kate. I agree with Mrs. G. It’s nice to be in a position to help out your parents. I’m sure they’ll love the new laptop. And even though you went slightly over in July, you’re monthly expenses are awesomely low. (Not having a mortgage makes live so much easier.) So far this year Mrs. G and I have spent $19,216 for an average of $2,745 per month. Those numbers are right on target for our annual spending goal of $33K. Thanks for sharing. It’s really fun to look over the shoulder of someone who is pursuing financial independence–and making great progress.

    1. Thanks Mr. Groovy! Are you two going to write a post about how you expect your expenses to change once you retire in October? $33k/year is a completely reasonable amount of money to spend annually and still enjoy life. I’m trying to take advantage of as many low-expense years as I can — who knows what the future holds 🙂

      My parents LOVE the new laptop. It’s a huge improvement and even they (not being technically inclined) could see it. Next step is finding them a high speed internet option since they’re still on AOL dial up. Since they don’t need much data, I’m looking at mobile hotspots and cell phone hotspot options.

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