Welcome to April! Usually March seems like a long month but this year it flew by. Work has been insanely busy and I’ve been trying to get some fun things on my schedule (more on that later) so I’m sure that’s made the time go by that much faster. Although winter in Minnesota was mild this season, it’s still a great feeling when the weather warms up, the sun comes out, and the grass starts turning green. I love spring 🙂
Well, it’s time for another recap of my expenses. There’s some good stuff this month so enjoy!
Financial independence is really important to me and it’s currently my main financial goal. I’m trying to keep my monthly spending to $1,667. This is very reasonable, coming in at $20,000/year. I don’t include the cost of medical and dental coverage in my expenses, since this is largely subsidized by my employer.
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.
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. You can also check out my 2016 total spending by category here.
Here are my March expenses:
I spent $501 on fixed costs (e.g. association fee, utilities, insurance, etc.). No big surprises here, however there is one small change: I modified my car insurance to remove the collision and comprehensive coverage. I finally looked up the KBB value of my car and it’s only $2,000-$2,500 but the coverage is costing me around $263/year. Since the cost is more than 10% of the value, I decided to drop it.
The other big news is that I finally decided to get an umbrella policy. My net worth is now high enough that I need to ensure that it’s protected. I don’t anticipate getting sued but you can’t be too careful, right? The best part is that it’s only $85/year for a $1 million policy. There were some adjustments to my auto insurance (a little more coverage) and condo insurance (a little less coverage), but those basically netted to $0 in premiums. I can finally check this off my to-do list!
I spent $1,030 on variable costs (e.g. food, gas, house supplies, gifts/donations, etc.). Whoa, this is way higher than the $685 I spent in February. But I used my money for some great things: A donation to the family of a coworker who unexpectedly passed away, two wedding gifts, transfers to the brokerage accounts for my friends’ kids for their birthdays (April and June), refilling my prescriptions, paying for TurboTax (well worth it if you have taxable brokerage accounts), a slide scanner for my parents (they have 1200 slides!), and a new external drive so I can back up my laptop.
And now the fun stuff I teased at the beginning of the post. The first is a bar crawl in May. The theme? Golden Girls. Yep, the TV show. My friends and I were never obsessed with the show but we figure it’ll be a fun event with some great people watching. The second is tickets to see a comedian when he’s in town this August. I’ve never seen his show so a couple of friends and I jumped at the chance to get tickets. Both events are going to be a blast and a great way to spend time with some of my closest friends. It was purely by chance that I bought tickets for both during the month of March.
Total spending for the month was $1,531. Spending for the year so far is $4,430. The average per month is $1,477, which is within my goal of monthly spending of $1,667 or less.
Coming up in April: We get into the two most expensive months of my year (read: condo insurance and property taxes). I’m expecting both April and May to go way over my $1,667/month “budget” but life costs money. What can you do?
Side note: Are of you watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix? I’m 4 episodes in and completely obsessed. I can guarantee that as soon as I schedule this post I’ll be tied to my couch and TV the rest of the day.
How did your March go? Any challenges?