Wow, it’s mid-November already. Was October a blur for anyone besides me? The month started with so much promise: I was excited to celebrate my 40th birthday and start a new (internal) job. Staying true to form, life threw me a couple curve balls.
Before I get into the details, I want to thank everyone who read my October posts and a huge thank you to those of you who posted comments. I’m so sorry that I didn’t post replies. Hopefully this will help you understand why.
Let me start by saying I had a wonderful birthday. I took the day off and spent it with my parents. I also took the next day off and spent it with a couple friends. Saturday was a joint birthday brunch with a close friend who was also celebrating her 40th birthday, hosted by her sister, and our close college friends attended. Sunday was brunch with my high school friends. It was a fantastic weekend with amazing friends and an abundance of delicious food.
The next week, things started to turn. While I was happy to start my new job at the beginning of the week, my cat, Rocky, suddenly stopped eating and looked really sick. I took him to the vet that Thursday and they ran a bunch of tests. The blood panel results came in early Friday and we learned he had stage 4 kidney failure. I knew it was something really bad because he wasn’t acting like himself and would hardly let me pet him. The vet and I agreed that the most humane option was to euthanize him, rather than put him through extensive treatment that may not work. I brought him in about an hour after getting the lab results. He looked miserable and I couldn’t let him suffer any longer than necessary
Rocky would have turned 11 a week later. I had adopted him when he was only 8 weeks old (you can read about it here). We had a great run and I miss him like crazy, but I know that I made the right decision. I’m just glad that we had a few days to say goodbye and his passing was very peaceful.
The same day that Rocky passed away, my other (diabetic) cat, Moe, decided to stop eating. The vet had taken him off insulin 3 weeks earlier to determine if he could go without going forward. Luckily we had a glucose check the next day and the vet put him back on insulin. He still wasn’t eating much so I had to babysit him during each meal to make sure he ate enough. It was just 10 days ago that he finally returned to normal and is back to his old self. It’s hard to say how much is due to his glucose being off or if it’s due to Rocky’s passing. They weren’t the best of friends, but Rocky had a huge presence so there’s a very noticeable shift in his environment.
With so much going on, only one word can describe how I’ve been feeling: Overwhelmed. While this blog is important to me (as well as reading the many other great blogs out there), I’ve been taking a step back and focusing on getting things back on track instead. Hence the October expense post not being written until almost mid-November.
While I hope to start writing more soon, it may just be monthly expense posts for the next couple months. I want these posts to be as good as possible and, right now, I just don’t have that in me. If you’re a blogger, please know that while I may not be commenting, I am getting back into reading your posts and hope to rejoin the community soon.
On to the numbers…
Financial independence is really important to me and it’s currently my main financial goal. Like I mentioned in my August post, I’ve decided to increase my budget to allow for monthly spending of $1,667. This is still very reasonable, coming in at $20,000/year.
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 October expenses:
I spent $481 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 $1,894 on variable costs (e.g. food, gas, house supplies, gifts/donations, etc.). The biggest expense category was my cats. I spent $889 on them in October, which includes the $600 for Rocky’s tests and euthanasia, as well as Moe’s glucose checks and insulin. I also spent money on new sweaters, some gifts, and a carpet steam cleaner. The carpet in my house is 11 years old so I’m hoping this will make them presentable until I’m able to replace it altogether. Now I just need to find the time to actually use it….
Total spending for the month was $2,375. So far this year I’ve spent $17,514, with an average of $1,751/month, which has slightly exceeded my goal of monthly spending of $1,667 or less. This definitely wasn’t how I saw the month going, but that’s just how life is. It seems the more we try to plan, the more surprises life has in store for us.
How did your October go? Any challenges?