Considering the month of July is almost over, it’s probably time to update my June expense report here. While I would have liked to just skip going through the details at this point since the month is weeks past, the accountability of this blog makes sure that I still do it, even when I’m really not feeling it.

Perhaps we could just wing it financially – and we could, and still make things work – but if I have learned anything over the three years of writing this blog, its that checking in monthly has made an extreme difference to our spending and saving. Knowing where our money is going is important, and sharing it publicly means I’m more likely to keep myself in check when we’re spending too much (see: food spending, always).

2020 is an interesting time to be writing a personal finance blog due to COVID, civil unrest, a pending depression, and everything else going on. Being so immersed in the personal finance community means that I’ve focused a bit more on growing our cash buffer, and I’ve been just as focused on making sure to share the money we do make, because so many are not in good financial situations right now. I expect that things won’t be normal for a long while yet, so that means saving more, and giving more, for a good while yet.

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Food Spending

Again, our food spending is up quite a bit. As this continues to become apparent that things will not be going back to “normal” any time soon, I’m a bit torn here. I want to continue to support our local restaurants in a big way, but we have spent a lot on food (especially take out) in the past few months. I’ll want to keep doing this to some degree, but we have pulled back a bit in July. If we’re going to sustain this for the long term, then we need to get back to some amount of balance.

Grocery spending is also up too, which seems bizarre. We are cooking and baking more from scratch, and we are also eating more take out, so fewer grocery meals. In theory, this means that we should be spending less on groceries, but that is very much not the case. The only way I can wrap my head around this is higher costs as well as not shopping sales and getting in and out of the grocery store quickly. If anyone has any other insight here, I’d love it, because this line item in our budget doesn’t seem to make sense.

Vacation Spending

We went out to Leavenworth for the weekend in June and ended up staying in a travel trailer located in a pear orchard fifteen minutes away. The weekend was absolutely lovely, and the cost was really reasonable. If you’re willing to be creative with accommodations, there still exist good deals even in more expensive getaway locations like Leavenworth. We also liked the option of the Airbnb over a hotel because of the no-contact lodging; we waved at the owner from afar but didn’t get within thirty feet of them.

We also stopped by our favorite restaurant and food stores in Leavenworth while we were there, bringing home specialty items that we can’t get at home (if you eat meat and haven’t been to Cured, I highly recommend the place). I put that spending under “Vacation Food,” since we bought it on the trip, though perhaps that isn’t the right place since much of it was consumed once we returned home.

If you haven’t stayed in an AirBnB before, I would highly recommend it. We love the flexibility it gives us while traveling as a family – full kitchen, laundry, and extra bathrooms, and it’s usually considerably cheaper than a hotel, especially when you travel as a group. Bonus points in the time of COVID – no shared spaces as in a hotel, and places to cook / eat take out that don’t require you to be around other people. If you’re new to AirBnB, here’s a link for $40 off your first stay (affiliate link).

Miscellaneous

You’ll notice that the miscellaneous category is quite high for June. The biggest reason for that, besides other truly “miscellaneous” items, is that my husband bought himself a new bow and fancy arrows to go with it. He plans to go hunting during archery season this year and really wanted to upgrade before then. His old bow was purchased secondhand and he’s spent quite a bit of time “pulling arrows” in the backyard with it, and he’s super excited for his new one.

Perhaps (okay, absolutely) more than I’d spend on a hobby tool, but that’s why we have separate accounts as well as our combined finances. Of course, I did make sure he purchased them on one of the rewards credit cards we have, because at least we’d get a decent number of points out of the deal. That, and it does have reusable ammunition that he can shoot in the backyard, so perhaps a cheaper hobby than I’d initially believe.

June 2020 Spending (Excludes mortgage, daycare, insurance)

Jun 2020 May 2020 Apr 2020 Mar 2020 Feb 2020 Jan 2020
Groceries $549.38 $583.40 $691.81 $1,147.50 $302.18 $368.63
Restaurants $1,180.85 $875.80 $1,236.04 $718.94 $441.15 $425.21
Gym $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $17.84 $17.84 $17.84
Gas $187.41 $80.28 $71.25 $88.19 $162.43 $78.88
Car/Transit $0.00 $0.00 $127.81 $0.00 $30.00 $194.59
Utilities $344.02 $187.50 $387.99 $192.08 $237.87 $293.98
Pet Care $102.37 $233.53 $186.28 $221.55 $310.88 $169.30
Vacation $116.99 $181.90 $0.00 $0.00 $1,176.33 $528.07
Vacation Food $402.44 $102.05 $218.79 $0.00 $110.32 $1,150.33
Home/Tools $126.54 $148.86 $77.04 $550.81 $1,304.77 $335.08
Gardening $80.87 $408.28 $4.39 $40.49 $18.11 $0.00
Gifts $122.18 $342.42 $183.67 $137.00 $216.08 $137.67
Alcohol $75.61 $127.77 $148.83 $267.76 $100.99 $241.95
Clothing $0.00 $60.02 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Misc $1,983.09 $373.03 $225.30 $417.41 $184.00 $654.89
Total $5,271.75 $3,704.84 $3,559.20 $3,799.57 $4,612.95 $4,596.42
Savings Rate 31% 45% 38% 40% 24% 58%
Including Mortgage Principal 37% 50% 44% 45% 31% 61%
Giving % 5% 6% 7% 5% 3% 2%

45% savings rate halfway through the year means we have a shot at hitting that 50% savings rate, but I’m not too concerned about that right now. Since we’ve both cut back on work in July (though that’s a three paycheck month and we won’t see the real dip until August), we may entirely not hit that number. We are willingly trading money for more time, and it’s something we didn’t even have to consider. I’ll always choose more time.

Personal Capital

It’s been TWO YEARS now 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 (though also important to know NOT to look during market volatility if it would make you tempted to pull your money out).

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.

How are things going for you financially? 

16 thoughts on “Monthly Financial Update: June 2020

  1. you wrote something i find extremely prescient in the first section. that is the part about writing about spending keeping you accountable. i think a good comparison is investment strategy and allocation and things like raising a cash cushion. having to write it has forced me to crystallize those ideas and make sure what we’re going to do makes sense. it’s as much for us as for any readers.

    all that being said we’re having a good money year. travel is pretty economical when you only spend on lodging and cook/eat/drink just like you would at home.

    1. Yeah, just writing it down and working it through helps so much, even if you don’t ever share it publicly. Though the public piece definitely makes a difference too

  2. I had the same feeling re higher costs of grocery shopping. I see two main reasons for me: not shopping the sales as I usually would (I usually buy non perishables mainly on sale only, so I am now easily paying 20-30% extra) and secondly, less meals paid by work since I can’t travel for work (meals at home don’t get reimbursed)

    1. Yeah, no work travel for me, but some meals at work too – though maybe not enough to account for a change.

  3. As our grocery bill for 2 adults has surpassed our $1,500 rent multiple times thus far during covid… I think I can relate to your food spending!

  4. Do you suppose you’re eating more overall, and that’s why the costs are high in both categories? That’s my theory on our food spending. We are going through fruit like you wouldn’t believe. JB is probably back in growth spurt stride because they’re matching my consumption at meals again, and I’m eating more at most meals too.
    Though it’s interesting that the friends who also work at places where they provide free drinks and snacks are losing weight because they don’t have the same easy access to more calories than they need. PiC finally has to buy his own soda now which is a new cost to us, their department used to supply drinks of all kinds and we primarily drink water at home.
    I was spending a lot on giving this month. Small amounts but a lot of them, cash gifts directly to individuals who needed it. Also I was buying things from small and/or local businesses. It’s added up, the bills coming due are significantly larger than usual considering the lack of big ticket items. Oh, except for car insurance which was a big whack. Discounted a little bit still a big bill. I’m thinking about whether I need to put the brakes on in any specific category when my projections suggest we’ll be fine even if we have a couple more expensive months. We have a lot of home improvement and organizing left to do and being able to just buy what we need is oddly freeing.

    1. Well, the kiddo is definitely eating more right now. I hadn’t considered that. Like his two full dinners a couple of nights ago…..

  5. Ha, roasted brussel sprouts are the best! Looking tasty (and super healthy!).

    With the way the pandemic is going, you might easily skate by that 50% goal. It’s tough to spend money when you’re locked down after all. We just did a little six day staycation (naturally, our regular vacations have all been canceled) – and I think it came to about $58/person/day. And we were spending heavily on whatever we wanted at the places that were safe/open/outdoors plus plenty of adventures.

    But, don’t make that goal so weighty that you forget what the money is for: living life. 🙂

  6. I think it’s awesome you want to help your local restaurants so much, but I’d probably consider the ramifications of that a little more. Yes, it’s a financial hit, but restaurant food is known for generally being far less healthy than homemade food, so maybe that’s something to consider. If you really want to help your community, you can still get takeout once or twice a week, then donate some $$ to local organizations. I choose to support local non-profits because I can actually see the people they help and I’m aware of who needs help. They also tend to have lower overhead than big fancy non-profits, so more goes to those in need.

    Other than that, my grocery bill has gone up considerably the past 2-3 months too. I think it’s boredom. I want to try more things I see on shelves because I need some sort of stimulation. Grocery shopping is my excitement these days. My boyfriend also requires lots of snacks, something I never used to purchase. Oh well, we’re relatively frugal otherwise.

    1. We’ve bought gift cards (mostly e-delivery) for family and friends who are struggling with a lack of time right now to support local restaurants. Supports the business, and friends, but not expanded waistlines.

    2. Depends on the restaurants regarding the healthy bit – we have some awesome ones locally that help me to actually eat healthier. Another part that makes it hard to turn down 😉

  7. Wow, quite a bit of details in your budget! I told my husband (the numbers behind us) that maybe we should do monthly updates too / again. Our budget really hasn’t changed during COVID-19 too much (although we did FIRE during COVID-19 which has been interesting). We did spend more on groceries in March when we were stocking up 2 weeks of food extra, but it leveled out. Do you normally give yourself a budget for all of those categories? We have our fixed spending (rent, etc.), and then we have our extra flexible spending per month (goes towards anything) – about $800 per month (family of four). It works for us (for now!).

    -Tara of Four Take Flight

  8. I am finding the grocery budget creep is pretty real this year, and I think you’re right that a big part is the “in/out” essentialism of the task as well as increased prices. We are still working through adjustments. One other consideration is that we’ve shifted to a lot of scratch cooking (yay sourdough!), too and find that we’ve had to buy more staples that are easy to buy in bulk. Perhaps some of it is those upfront costs for the big bag of flour, or spice replacements.

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