Happy May Day! It’s been so rainy in Minnesota the last few weeks. I’m really hoping that the old saying of “April showers bring May flowers” is true! If the forecast for the rest of the week is any indication, it looks like May is going to be a great month.
Well, April was even more expensive than I expected. Check it out:
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 April expenses:
I spent $844 on fixed costs (e.g. association fee, utilities, insurance, etc.). No big surprises here. This is a little higher than most months since I had to pay my annual condo insurance. I also had to pay in on my state taxes, to the tune of $130 (slightly offset by my $14 federal refund). The quarterly water bill was also due this month, for $55.
I spent $1,893 on variable costs (e.g. food, gas, house supplies, gifts/donations, etc.). This is crazy high, and hard to summarize in one paragraph, so I’ve included the details below. There were a couple expenses I was expecting: tea service with my mom for an early Mother’s Day and the bill for the lab work from my doctor’s appointment in March.
My cat went to the vet for a glucose check and it came in high so his insulin dose was raised. That meant that we had to go back a week later to see if it helped. Luckily his glucose was perfect. It’s stressful bringing him in and not cheap at $32 per glucose check. I’m just glad that he’s probably feeling better and won’t have to go back until July. I also had to refill his insulin prescription and pick up more prescription food, which costs $125.
My annual bonus was paid out this month. While most of the money went into my savings account, I did spend some of it. The biggest purchase was a new refrigerator. I decided years ago that I’d replace it when it was 15 years old or when it died, whichever came first. Well, it’s now 15 so it’s time to part ways. I know what it’s like to have a fridge die (and lose all the food inside) so I’m going on the offensive with this purchase. My current fridge has served me well so I’m basically just getting a newer version of the same model.
I used $100 of my bonus on various purchases: a new duvet cover for the spare bedroom, a new toilet seat (it has a slow close lid!), and an Amazon Echo Dot. While the first two items were solutions to things that had been bothering me for some time, the last is definitely a frivolous purchase. I’d heard great things about it and, at the low $50 price point, figured it was worth trying. So far I’m really enjoying it so it’s money well spent. To be honest, I kind of want a second one for my bedroom, since the music feature is great.
But the spending didn’t stop there, as I’d planned. Two (!) lamps broke so I had to replace them and buy new higher wattage light bulbs. While I was at Home Depot, I also bought another year’s worth of furnace filters so I don’t have to make another trip. Not that the store is far from my house, but it’s so massive that I try to spend as little time there as possible.
A headlight on my car went out so I decided to replace both at the same time. My car is over 8 years old and I was wondering when it would happen. Here’s hoping it’s good for another 8 years.
There were work-related expenses: I went out to lunch a couple times with co-workers, contributed to a wedding gift and chipped in for an Administrative Assistant’s Day gift. This isn’t really work-related but a co-worker was telling us about his Perfect Bake Scale (available at Best Buy and Amazon). I added it to my wish list on both sites and noticed that the price was cut in half at Best Buy only a day or two after our conversation. Haven’t used it yet but I can write about it if enough people are interested.
And of course I had to get a MadFIentist t-shirt! How could I turn down this opportunity??
Total spending for the month was $2,737. Spending for the year so far is $7,167. The average per month is $1,792, which is slightly over my goal of monthly spending of $1,667 or less. Totally expected with the new fridge purchase. This is already my most expensive time of the year and the fridge (and lamps and headlights and everything else) simply added to it.
Coming up for May: Property taxes are due so it’ll be another expensive month. Ugh.
How did your April go? Any challenges?