Was August a tough month for anyone else? It seems like I was dealing with one thing after the other, both at work and at home. I’m glad it’s September so I can move on and start fresh. There are some great things on the horizon so I’m looking forward to what this month holds. Next month’s recap should be a lot brighter 🙂
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.
In early 2017 I’ll post my total spending in specific categories. In the meantime, if you have questions regarding how much I spend on groceries, my cell phone, etc., feel free to drop a note in the comments and I’ll happily provide those details.
Here are my August expenses:
I spent $437 on fixed costs (e.g. association fee, utilities, insurance, etc.). No surprises here. It was exactly what I was expecting, as fixed costs tend to be.
I spent a whopping $1,964 on variable costs (e.g. food, gas, house supplies, gifts/donations, etc.). Yeah, this was completely unexpected and totally busted my budget for the year. My cat went in for a dental cleaning and ended up having 8 teeth pulled! It wasn’t cheap but his health is important so it had to be done. I spent over $1400 on the cats this month, when I was expecting to spend around $180. Outside of that, my expenses were mostly what I was expecting, although I did make a donation and buy a gift this month, which weren’t entirely planned.
Side Note: If I didn’t have the cats, my variable spending for the month would have been only $479. I see value in having my cats around, so this additional cost is worth it to me. If you are considering a pet, please take into account all possible expenses to ensure that you can truly afford it.
Total spending for the month was $2,401. So far this year I’ve spent $13,689, with an average of $1,711/month, which has exceeded my goal of monthly spending of $1,500 or less. I won’t hit my annual expenses goal of $18,000 due to all the vet bills this year. Hopefully there aren’t any more surprises so that I still come in at a very reasonable $20,000 in total expenses for the year.
With all the cat expenses this year, I’ve rethought my budget and will be adding $2,000 to the annual budget going forward. With both cats getting older, there’s a greater chance of large vet bills so it’s probably wise to factor that into my budget. Besides the additional vet visits, my cats will likely need to be switched to canned food going forward. Nothing cheap about that!
Best surprise this month? I met up with two friends at a Caribou Coffee and ordered a medium decaf. Since they didn’t have any already made, they didn’t charge me for it. They explained by saying that I shouldn’t have to wait 5 minutes for something they should already have on hand. It was only a couple of dollars, but a really nice gesture, which you don’t usually see at the larger chains. Thanks Caribou!
How did your August go? Any challenges?