June was another month that absolutely flew by. We returned from our East Coast road trip on the first of the month, and that first weekend was mostly spent unpacking and relaxing before heading back to work the following Monday. In the subsequent weekends we went camping twice and spent another weekend afternoon exploring locally in between a lot of house work.

Vacations

While we spent half of our weekends in June on vacation (plus the Friday traveling home from the East Coast), we spent very little money on actual vacation expenses since the camping nights were either free or $38 at most expensive. One of the trips was of course to the Olympic Peninsula, so there were a couple of ferry fares in there as well. Otherwise, camping is an extremely frugal form of travel, and one of our favorites, be it backpacking, truck camping out in the middle of nowhere, or tent camping in a standard campground.

Checking for crabs under rocks

Food and Drink

Again, this category is artificially high (as is our gas expense) since a large chunk of our spending here was done while on our weekend trips. A good $100+ of gas and the majority of our restaurant spending for the month was done while not at home.

While in the Sequim area this past weekend, we checked out two different cideries and a brewery (combined with a pizza lunch stop), all of which we had never visited before. Local, small batch alcohol is certainly more expensive than the store bought stuff – and obviously more than not drinking at all – but it something we enjoy doing while we travel, so it’s a cost I expect to stay in the long run.

Could we shave off a number of years until we reach financial independence if we cut out most of our discretionary spending? Yes, but our goal is to spend on what we value, not just cut to the bone to save another dollar. As long as something doesn’t completely blow our financial plans (like the $90k truck my husband jokes about constantly…) then I don’t see an issue with choosing to spend our money that way.

Beer & cider back at the campsite 

Vehicle Expenses

Or should I say, vehicle expense. Outside of gas, we only had one transportation expense for the month. Unfortunately, that expense was truck tires, and they aren’t cheap. We knew this expense was coming, so it wasn’t a surprise, but it’s still rough having to drop close to four figures in one go on a vehicle, regardless of what for. I realize we could easily have $750+ in car payments every month between the two of us, but as someone who has never spent a lot on vehicles, big ticket maintenance items always sting a little.

One of the biggest immediate perks to having a great savings rate every month is that there’s a good buffer for cash flowing a larger expense in any given month. When we were spending more, paying for truck tires, a vet visit, and a couple of weekend trips may have been too much to happen all in one month.

Instead of having to budget for sinking funds, or use our emergency fund as a more all purpose fund for larger expenses, we now simply cash flow the bigger ticket items and just have a smaller savings rate for the month.

Emergency funds and a cash buffer in the bank is still something we have for peace of mind, but it would have to take a significantly large emergency to not be able to cover it in a normal month, which feels really good. Regardless of full financial independence goals, living well below your means is just a less stressful way to live month to month.

Miscellaneous Expenses

This month, our miscellaneous expenses include soccer classes at preschool for our son, a couple of small Father’s Day gifts, and an ebook off of Amazon for my husband (don’t bother trying to tell him you can check them out from the library, he likes to own them, and I don’t mind the expense because it means he is reading).

June 2018 Spending (Excludes Mortgage + Daycare)

Jan 2018 Feb 2018 Mar 2018 Apr 2018 May 2018 Jun 2018
Groceries $462.37 $491.07 $497.53 $343.37 $658.76 $353.25
Restaurants $406.95 $440.00 $243.63 $583.75 $1,040.03 $529.21
Fast Food $19.48 $5.72 $80.34 $83.54 $120.78 $75.89
Gym $17.84 $17.84 $17.84 $17.84 $17.84 $17.84
Gas $110.10 $120.23 $262.00 $199.76 $263.60 $242.89
Car/Transit $28.11 $166.00 $60.00 $0.00 $30.00 $737.53
Utilities $218.01 $370.27 $223.99 $366.55 $200.25 $266.25
Pet Care $228.28 $209.95 $769.90 $221.65 $273.96 $277.56
Vacations $588.69 $274.65 $129.51 $297.44 $971.66 $148.00
Miscellaneous $53.00 $256.28 $823.58 $177.49 $354.68 $164.62
Total $2,132.83 $2,352.01 $3,108.32 $2,291.39 $3,931.56 $2,813.04
Savings Rate 53% 51% 61% 53% 44% 44%
Excluding Mortgage Principal 47% 45% 57% 47% 39% 38%

I was actually pretty frustrated with myself when I initially calculated our numbers this month since we missed that 50% savings rate again, but since I agreed to share my numbers accurately here every single month, I made the time to go through the details, knowing that what gets measured gets done. Through the process of writing this post though, I’m realizing we still did quite well and it isn’t fair to beat myself up for coming in a little short. If you exclude the cost of the truck tires, I would be quite happy with where this month landed (52% savings rate if car maintenance is excluded). Between a big trip and vehicle maintenance two months back to back, it’s shaping up to be an expensive summer – though much less expensive than last year.
I don’t see any big expenses on the horizon for July, so hopefully we will be solidly in the 50%+ savings rate camp this month. If I average out over the first six months, we’re at a 51% savings rate, so as long as the next six months look similar, we should hit that big goal for the year. Goals should be difficult to achieve, but possible, in order to push yourself, and I feel like I judged this one pretty well.

How is 2018 shaping up for you? Do you have any big financial goals for the year?

52 thoughts on “Monthly Financial Update: June 2018

  1. Our goals for the year are really trying to maintain our lifestyle with my job and about 12-15 hours of very part-time for mrs. me. ebay has really helped this cause (we sold about 700 bucks worth in the past week). we have the dough put aside for the paint job on the house, which is expensive but something we couldn’t/wouldn’t do (it’s too tall). i want it paid and over so we can go to new england this summer. you guys sure eat for cheap. that’s fantastic. i wish somebody in the u.s. would figure out how to replicate the cider we had in spain. it was so dry.

    1. 12-15 hours a week sound PERFECT. That makes so much more sense to me than quitting cold turkey once you finally hit your magic number – allows for a lot more flexibility. We had some REALLY dry cider this weekend, and it was fabulous.

  2. I think you guys are doing very well. Summer tend to be more expensive for us too because of summer breaks. There are so many things to do in town and they cost money too. We’ll get back to being frugal in the fall. 🙂 Oh, we need to do some vehicle maintenance too. I just got an oil change and they said we need new batteries and some fluid flush. I’ll get a new battery before we go on our road trip, but the transmission and steering fluid can wait until next time.

    1. Exactly – there are so many fun things we want to do and I don’t want to miss out on some great experiences just to squeeze out a little bit more savings every month. A new battery is a REALLY easy one to do yourself if you’re feeling up to it.

  3. I am very impressed with how detailed your monthly financial updates are. Especially your expenses chart. I started tracking our expenses more closely too. Specifically, I was curious to see if our water utility bill increased significantly in the past 3 months since cloth diapering. Surprisingly, the bill itself didn’t increase by much. only by 10-20 dollars. We are using around 2 more HCF units though…

    1. The cloth diapering water bill will go down a bit as the kiddo goes through fewer diapers as well 🙂 I find I HAVE to be this detailed or things start to slip out of control a little bit.

  4. Another great month. +40% savings rate is something to be very proud of, especially considering that the average American family saves only 3%ish. I am curious about this $90k truck. lol….. Summers tend to be more expensive for us. My youngest son always wants to go out to eat. eeek!

    1. Yeah, 3% savings would be really scary for me, but a heck of a lot better than -3%! I mentioned that to my husband after I wrote that yesterday and he said it’s the 10-20k vehicles I need to look out for, not the 90k… and proceeded to look up and show them to me 😂😂

  5. 44% savings rate is impressive!

    And you make a great point: “Could we shave off a number of years until we reach financial independence if we cut out most of our discretionary spending? Yes, but our goal is to spend on what we value, not just cut to the bone to save another dollar.” Yassss. This this this. We’re learning to spend on what we truly value, and leave the rest.

    Our big goals for the year: the first was to pay off the rest of the credit cards, and barring any unforseen issues, we should be doing that tomorrow. I would also like to pay off my $10K in student loan debt. Back in January, I didn’t think we’d be able to do both this year, but now it’s looking like we might make it happen!

    1. Sooooo excited for you on that payoff date!! Tracking and putting big goals out there can do amazing things 🙂

  6. Ahaha the $90k truck sounds like exactly the kind of thing your husband would say to piss you off 😂

    The truck tires are a bummer but the important thing is that you acknowledge you’re now in a place where you can handle it financially if it happens on a month where you’re spending more on other things too! Plus 44% savings is AMAZING even if it’s less than what you wanted. (Feel free to remind me of this the next time I’m in a similar situation!)

    1. At least I know he won’t actually buy one haha. Though if he really wanted to mess with me he would rent one for a day 🤣🤣🤣

      And I will make sure to remind you – sure easier to give advice than take it!

  7. I know it’s not what you planned for, but that savings rate is still fantastic! You should be very proud of yourselves. 🙂 I’m jealous of those gorgeous local vacation options!!!

    As far as big goals, we have two major ones for 2018. The biggest is to FINALLY pay off our student loans. We finished mine last summer and have been working on hub’s loans. They should be gone by December if we keep our expenses down!

    My second goal is to pay off the debt so I can finally have the freedom to freelance full time. It’s scary and uncertain, but having less debt on our shoulders means more freedom to take risks and do the work I love.

    1. Hooray for being so close to student loan freedom!! And you keep talking so much about your freelancing work – I was wondering what you were waiting for to pull the trigger 🙂

  8. Awesome job this month! I too like the cash flow approach that you described where any big expenses can be taken out of that. I do budget and build up savings for big ticket items in a separate account though just so it’s easy to pull from there and I don’t forget about them

    1. I think I like it better this way, though when we had smaller incomes I did save up for bigger expenses. The monthly buffer makes a huge difference there.

  9. You guys are doing very well. Savings rate of above 50% is pretty awesome no matter what. Are you tracking your net worth at all? Hopefully you are and seeing a nice sizable jump with such high savings rate. We just tallied up our net worth and looks like we got a sizable jump of ~$40k in 3 months (we track every quarter). Pretty solid progress I think. 🙂

    Our big financial goal this year is to receive over $18,000 in dividend income.

    1. Definitely not making a $40k jump in 3 months considering that’s more than we make in that time period, but our net worth is skewed pretty high thanks to our home purchase + another real estate investment, so the jump isn’t as much as it would be otherwise. A good problem to have, I guess 🙂

  10. Hi Angela, sounds like you’ve got it all under control for the year there. I run things similarly, but only calculate my savings rate on rolling 12 months, as it fluctuates so much month to month from negative to 99% as I get most income quarterly. I also don’t have any sinking funds, and just cashflow big items as they come, as I’m lucky enough to be in a position to easily do that. I’m pretty sure I’ll be hit with a big car repair bill this year, as I’ve been very lucky so far, it’s only time.

    And I love how you’ve keep a high savings rate, and still travel loads, enjoying your life the way you want to.

    1. I like the idea of calculating based on a rolling 12 months, which is why I think I decided to calculate YTD this month. One month snapshot is all well and good but it doesn’t give you a full picture of how your finances are really doing.

    1. The bubble is definitely rubbing off on me! In a good way for the most part, as long as I can remind myself to compare to our own savings a year or two ago, not against the bloggers with the big incomes 🙂

  11. I set a bunch of number goals on my blog, but my biggest goal for July is to just be more present. I’m starting to realize that as hard as it was to go back to work after my mat leave last fall, every summer is probably going to feel just as bad (at least the first few days). So off to soak it all in!

    1. YES! Side hustling in the summer is great and all, but make sure to spend most of that time with that squishy little boy of yours!

  12. I love the transparency and I can only imagine there is some accountability baked in to putting your business out there.

    One quick question, why do you exclude Mortgage and Daycare from your expenses? I’m a bit new to your blog, so maybe you answered this already but I am genuinely curious.

    Thanks for the post!

    1. Thank you – there is SO much accountability in laying it out like this. And I’ve kept them separate for two reasons 1) they are fixed expenses so don’t really add to my analysis each month, especially since we don’t plan to pay off the mortgage early 2) to be a tiny bit opaque about our exact financial situation, though you could probably ballpark our combined income within reason if you were really that curious.

  13. Soooo impressed at your blog, the percentage you save each month & your transparency with your budget! Congrats Angela!
    We’ve really struggled financially for the past 6 years, since I became ill & had to cease working. However, a financial planner has helped us take stock of where we are & where we want to be & we’re finally moving forward financially. We moved house 2 years ago & that has reduced our debt significantly. Yay!
    Our 12 month goal was a big one for us of saving 10K for our emergency fund. We recently did that, but then dipped into it to purchase some shares. It won’t take long to top it up again…. I hope. Our next goal is to save up for a better car, which we’ve already started saving for.
    Next step for us is to record what we spend better. Any tips for how to do that? Have you written something about that? Thanks.
    Blessings. Kerryn

    1. Thank you! And those are some great goals! I would go back and read my posts on my No Spend November. That was the turning point where I really changed how much we were spending (more than doubled it each month). I wrote down every. single. dollar as it was spent, “necessity” or not. What works best will vary by person of course, but that’s what made the difference for me. Good luck! 🙂

      1. Thanks Angela. I checked out the No Spend November posts & a few others. Lots of interesting stuff there, great ideas & food for thought!
        I’ve been through lots of budgeting/recording systems over the decades. Not sure how keen I am to write down every $ we spend, although we have done it before in the past. I do it with our groceries & can easily track what I spend, as I never use cash. However, my hubby is often paid in cash, so uses it. My challenge would be to get him to tell me what he spends. I’ll see if he’s keen to try it! Worth it if we save more! Blessings. Kerryn

      2. Cash is something that disappears like water through my fingers, so I try and keep very little on hand. I know some people do well with an envelope type system with all cash, but I know I would spend more that way!

  14. I wouldn’t beat yourself up about a 44% rate vs a 50% rate! You’re doing amazing AND having fun at the same time which is great! Love your detailed notes and comparison with previous months.

    1. Ha yeah, hard not to beat myself about it because I’m so competitive, but there really wasn’t anything big I would have rather not done in order to hit that savings rate – so I guess that’s telling.

  15. Thanks for sharing, TLRE! I really enjoy these types of reports. Thanks for being so candid with your spending and savings rate. The 44% savings rate is spectacular especially since you recently returned from a trip. Regarding my financial goals for 2018, they are mostly based around savings rate and dividend income goals. I’m on pace for the most part. Have a great week!

    1. Glad to hear you’re on track as well! Amazing what being mindful does to your finances (or really any part of life).

  16. It sounds like you use your truck pretty frequently for your weekend camping trips, which you enjoy and keep your travel budget low, so needing new tires a little sooner than you might have otherwise seems completely worth it to me!

    1. Very true – it wouldn’t take too many weekend trips in a hotel vs camping in the truck to cover the cost of the tires! Thanks for a new perspective on the cost 🙂

  17. I love how positive and optimistic you are about reaching your goals. One missed month won’t put a stop to it! And hardly missed, because you still killed it 🙂

    1. Thank you! Writing out the details definitely helps me be more positive about our results when I know exactly where that money went 🙂

  18. “Our goal is to spend money on what we value” really resonates with me:) Isn’t what frugality is all about? Great job on finding a good balance.

    1. I think that’s what most people would probably say they THINK they do, and so it’s really a matter of learning to determine what it is you REALLY value, and differentiating it from what you only think you value.

      1. That’s a really good point. And determining what is worth the MOST value, because while I do enjoy meals out, we used to spend wayyyy more on that sort of thing than brought actual value into our lives.

    2. That’s always the goal – what’s the point of hoarding money if you aren’t happy in the process?

    1. That’s why I calculated the overall savings rate for the year so far 🙂

    1. But – you got to spend a week in Switzerland! If you’re going to spend frivolously, that’s probably not a bad place to do it 😉

  19. I love this line, “Yes, but our goal is to spend on what we value, not just cut to the bone to save another dollar.” If we don’t give ourselves some freedom on the path to FI, it seems a little silly.

    Nicely done on detailing your expenses and savings rate! I have to decide if I want to start publishing my numbers in such deatil. Question, do you budget, track or both?

    1. Exactly – especially because then you have to stick to that same spending post FI! I track. I’ve tried budgeting in the past and it’s never worked. I do better to writing down spending as I go and give myself certain overall limits, but even that is a bit flexible.

  20. I had to spend on tires as well earlier this year, although our car is way smaller(Prius) than a truck it was still a big expense but hopefully we won’t have to worry about spending on them for a while.
    I think you can average a 50% savings rate(excluding your mortgage) for the rest of the year and that’s a great savings rate to have, Although you were under 50% the last couple of months, you were above 50% the majority of the year so far.

    1. Yeah, I had to put tires on my Camry last fall and they are so much cheaper per tire. The crazy part is that expense was just for TWO truck tires.

  21. Hi! New to the blog, but I think I follow you on Instagram. I am a grad student hoping to start saving at least 50% of my income for FI as well (as soon as I get a job after graduation). I liked your breakdown of monthly expenses — but I am curious to see where health insurance fits in? Also, how do you budget for your property taxes and if you owe for income tax? Are there other expenses like these that you combine into one category of your budget? Would love to hear more about this. Your blog is awesome and I am going to keep following! — Samantha

    1. We are insanely lucky to have health insurance covered by work, so that isn’t an expense we have to budget for. Property taxes are lumped into our mortgage payment, and Washington is a no income tax state 🙂 Good luck on your FI journey, and shoot me any other questions you might have! My goal is to be an open book.

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