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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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.
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).
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|
|Including Mortgage Principal||37%||50%||44%||45%||31%||61%|
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.
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?