Going through our February expenses was a serious trip back in time. I really, really didn’t have my heart into while reviewing credit card statements this month, because February feels so long ago. Even earlier in March feels like long ago.

One thing I’ll say for this global pandemic thing – weeks and months feel a heck of a lot longer than normal time. It’s honestly hard to believe that just a month ago we were traveling out to Whidbey Island for a weekend adventure with our friends. Life has changed so dramatically over that time period.

Regardless, I know that I will want a record of our spending over the longer term, so I got this work done after all. March will look very different from February, as we have been self isolating / social distancing as much as possible over the whole month. Vacation spending has been non-existent, but our food spending is definitely up. Either way, February is a blast from the past – when life was “normal.”

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Food and Drink

We actually came in under $1,000 on food and drink spending in February! We spent $954.64. I know, I’m shocked too. We only did this once in all of 2019, so it’s pretty surprising it’s already happened in 2020. It’s a goal again for this year, but it’s one of the hardest ones to stick to.

We seem to finally be getting a good rhythm when it comes to food and drink, so of course things are looking totally different now in March. February would have been significantly lower except for two fancier meals out – on purpose – so we did really well for the month. And those two meals were great evenings and absolutely worth the cost.

One very delicious meal

Vacation Spending

We spent a weekend out on Whidbey Island in February, and thanks to Airbnb credit as well as an extra cash back reward on the card we booked with, we spent a total of $1.24 on the one night of lodging. We also ate out while we were there and paid for the ferry out onto the island, but it was an entirely inexpensive weekend.

The only other vacation spending in February was the cost of our four flights to Kauai for June for Bethany’s wedding. It’s so hard to know what life will look like in June at this point, so we are holding off on spending any other money on that trip at this point. Cross your fingers – especially for Bethany and Charles – that we will be going to Hawaii in June. But at this point, who knows whether that trip will actually happen or not.

Giving

Giving in February was pretty simple – I finally set up auto donations for a few favorite places, and I’m loving how little I need to think about it each month. Even better, I know we are making a bigger impact on those places because we are sending them recurring amounts of money.

We also keep some amount in reserve each month to give for situations that arise, and I will always want to keep it that way. While I really like having regular places to send our money, I also feel strongly about being able to help when needs pop up.

February 2020 Spending (Excludes mortgage, daycare, insurance)

Feb 2020 Jan 2020
Groceries $302.18 $368.63
Restaurants $441.15 $425.21
Gym $17.84 $17.84
Gas $162.43 $78.88
Car/Transit $30.00 $194.59
Utilities $237.87 $293.98
Pet Care $310.88 $169.30
Vacation $1,176.33 $528.07
Vacation Food $110.32 $1,150.33
Home/Tools $1,304.77 $335.08
Gardening $18.11 $0.00
Gifts $216.08 $137.67
Alcohol $100.99 $241.95
Clothing $0.00 $0.00
Misc $184.00 $654.89
Total $4,612.95 $4,596.42
Savings Rate 24% 58%
Including Mortgage Principal 31% 61%
Giving % 3% 2%

A 46% savings rate for 2020 so far is pretty respectable. I’m hopeful we can keep above the 40% rate through the year, but it’s hard to know at this point. No matter what, I’m paying closer attention to our spending now – even as we buy more take out to support our local restaurants.

I don’t know yet how bad or how long this bull market/recession/global pandemic will last, and I want to make sure that we have the cash to see us through, as well as be able to deploy some to share with others.

Net Worth Tracking – Personal Capital

**Even with the wild stock market swings as of late, I’m glad to have my net worth tracked via Personal Capital. Full transparency, I am currently not looking – we don’t need retirement funds for a long time yet, so knowing how much our investments have dropped really helps no one. Even so, I’m glad that I will have a record of this time going forward, and we’re in it for the long game. And knowing where our money stands is a big part of that.**

It’s been more than a year and a half since I initially downloaded Personal Capital and started actually tracking our net worth. While savings rate is still more important to me because it’s what we can actually control, there is something to be said for having a sense of your overall net worth.

I was unconvinced for a long time that I even needed to track our net worth, but I’m so glad that I finally set up an account where I could track it all. I especially appreciate being able to look at the graphs for individual area, like investment accounts and cash savings.

We have a bunch of separate accounts, so it’s really nice to see them all in one place. I’m also working on growing our overall cash savings, and Personal Capital aggregates them all across four different banks, which makes things a lot simpler.

If you haven’t set up a way to track your net worth, I’d recommend Personal Capital for that purpose. If you use this link to sign up, you’ll also get a $20 Amazon gift card for doing so.

One thought on “Monthly Financial Update: February 2020

  1. Sweet job on the weekend getaway! I hope the trip to Hawaii works out for you, but everything is so uncertain. A colleague cancelled her wedding next mont. Hopefully your friends won’t need to do the same. I’m hoping my May vacation still happens. Time will tell. Hang in there and thanks for keeping others in need in mind, especially now! 🙂

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