July feels like forever ago at this point. June and July seemed to march along at a decent clip, but August has slowed down to the molasses speed of March. The weather has been good though, so we’ve been spending a lot of it outside.
This month was a wildly expensive one for us, but thankfully it also coincided with a three paycheck month as well as our tax refund, so the numbers didn’t hurt like they could have. All in all, 2020 and my finances come down to gratitude toward our regular income and the need to both save for the future and share with others who need it now.
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Food and Drink
Groceries were expensive in July for one specific reason: we got our share of a half cow, which cost a whopping $484. Even a month later though, our freezer is pretty much still packed with local, humanely raised, grass fed beef. I may be working on more vegetarian and vegan days, but I have no qualms eating the meat where I know who it was raised by and how. And ultimately, it isn’t more expensive than buying organic meats at the grocery store, but inherently better.
Outside of that, we spent quite a bit on take out meals again, as well as meals for our week long camping trip. We stopped in Winthrop on the way out and Leavenworth on the way home, dining at our favorite restaurants, but outside in the grass. We also stocked up on pickled and heirloom meat provisions to take home, but those landed in our “vacation food” category. Alcohol continues to be purchased mainly from local breweries and wine stores – a bit more expensive, but it keeps money and jobs close to home.
The only real money spent on our vehicles in July was a recurring add to my Good to Go toll pass for the days we head to Seattle and our in-laws. Gas was a bit higher as well due to the camping trip in northeastern Washington.
We may drive older, less flashy cars, but not having a monthly car payment is pretty great.
Summer is the cheapest time of year for our utility costs. The furnace has been off since April, and the weather has been mostly cool enough this summer that we have kept the window A/Cs off and in the garage.
Clothes are dried on the line in the backyard, and the lights are generally off during the day thanks to plenty of daylight. We do pay a bit more for water because of the garden, but otherwise, everything is way down in summer.
We took our old dog to cardiologist for another regular checkup on her heart. Of course, a “regular” checkup at a specialist isn’t cheap, and the visit put us back five hundred dollars. I did also switch the place we ordered her heart medication from, and while it will be a lot cheaper in the long run, July saw a two month order of the pills, which adds up. All in all though, the pets have been much cheaper than in 2017 and 2018 when we had to use our emergency fund. Fingers crossed it stays that way through the rest of this year.
I’ve spent more on the garden this year, considering we didn’t build new raised beds like last year. But along with spending a lot more time in the garden, I’ve also spent more money as well, in terms of more fertilizer, better soil, and simply more plants, making use of every little bit of space I have in the garden. Which turns out to be only 400 square feet of growing space.
I did also purchase a fifty dollar olive tree, which may or may not do well here long term (though research online says yes). There are a bunch of tiny olives growing on it though, and the joy it’s brought me watching it grow this year has absolutely been worth it.
The husband picked up more arrows and other supplies for the new bow he purchased in June, spreading out the cost over two months. While perhaps not the most expensive hobby, it definitely isn’t cheap.
That said, he does plan to go bow hunting this year, and a single deer will have the bow pay for itself in meat throughout the winter. That, and he’s able to shoot it in our backyard range setup, so it’s a hobby that can be done socially distanced and at home, which gets a lot of bonus points this year.
July 2020 Spending (Excludes mortgage, daycare, insurance)
|Jul 2020||Jun 2020||May 2020||Apr 2020||Mar 2020||Feb 2020||Jan 2020|
|Including Mortgage Principal||50%||37%||50%||44%||45%||31%||61%|
We spent a lot of money in July, but the good news is, much of it is not repeatable for August (or hopefully the rest of the year); the dog veterinary visit, the bulk cow purchase, and the bow supplies.
What is also not shown is the double childcare we paid in July. We had originally told the kiddo’s preschool that we would be sending him back then, but as time wore on and local COVID numbers didn’t drop as hoped, we decided to keep him home (and officially tell them he wasn’t coming back since August would have been the last month there pre-kindergarten).
However, since we didn’t plan early enough, we ended up paying the full tuition for July, which is particularly not cheap in this area. We also knocked down our roommate’s rent as well as covered groceries and some take out for him for the days he helps with the kiddo. Combined, it was the most we’ve ever paid for childcare in a single month.
Still, thanks to the three paycheck month and a reasonable sized tax refund, we still squeaked by with a fifty percent savings rate for the month. That will be dropping now that we are both at 80% salary / time, but it will be worth it for the time at home. No matter what, it seems like 2020 will be a solid year for us financially.
Our giving seems to be hovering well at right about 5%, and I’m learning to slowly automate those payments. Our net worth is growing faster than I would have expected due to an imploding job market and heath situation, but somehow the stock market – and housing market – marches on. I expect those to follow and explode at some point, but for now, our net worth seems completely disengaged from what’s really happening in the world. That net worth goal I set back at the beginning of the year? We blew right by it, and are already somehow a third of the way to the next $100k mark.
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?