Considering it is now almost October, I suppose it is time for me to finish up my August spending update. Just like the previous month, I really didn’t feel like taking the time to go through everything in this detail, but it’s important. Our finances look so different since I started tracking in 2017.

We are in a really good, solid financial position right now as the world – and especially this country – are on such shaky footing, and it feels increasingly important to keep it that way. I continue to add to our cash savings, as it feels like right now having more cash isn’t a bad answer (I still am adding to retirement accounts as well). In order to keep doing that, I need to keep doing these monthly check ins.

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Food and drink

Strangely enough, I think I find more regular value out of spending money on take out coffee and lunch than I do with dinner. August started to see that switch, and September even more so. We’ve been cooking a lot of meals from scratch for our dinners, but we’re both buying a lot of our lunches on the days we’re in the office / outside of the house.

Our grocery bill continues to be high though, for a couple of reasons. One, prices are simply higher this year. Two, I’ve focused more on buying locally, which costs more, especially in terms of meat products. And then three, we’ve continued our preparedness stockpile that we began in March, making intentional choices about the food and supplies we have on hand.

I sure to appreciate awesome restaurant meals though

Car/Transit

This category was higher than it’s been lately due to some truck work and an oil change for my car. That said, I realize we spend very little on our vehicles for the most part thanks to the fact that we don’t have car payments.

Vacation and Vacation Food

The biggest expenses here were for a bachelorette weekend I attended in Leavenworth (gifts category was up as well because of the wedding weekend the following). Thanks to COVID, I drove myself and stayed in a separate tent camping site, so costs were a bit up from originally planned, but definitely worth it for the ability to social distance. Even so, the trip was wonderful, and it had me wanting for future girls’ trips. The last overnight I did away from the kiddo (and the husband) was last September for FinCon.

Giving

It feels good that with everything going on, my giving has stayed strong throughout the year. As we are in a good financial situation, it feels like our duty to do what we can to give back. That said, there are a never ending list of causes that I would love to throw larger sums of money at. The only reason I’d really want Bezos level of money is to make really big impacts on other people. Our life personally wouldn’t change too significantly with a ton more money, but our impact on others would.

August 2020 Spending (Excludes mortgage, daycare, insurance)

Aug 2020Jul 2020Jun 2020May 2020Apr 2020Mar 2020Feb 2020Jan 2020
Groceries$584.71$987.84$549.38$583.40$691.81$1,147.50$302.18$368.63
Restaurants$560.34$702.62$1,180.85$875.80$1,236.04$718.94$441.15$425.21
Gym$17.84$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$17.84$17.84$17.84
Gas$259.23$213.11$187.41$80.28$71.25$88.19$162.43$78.88
Car/Transit$249.66$30.00$0.00$0.00$127.81$0.00$30.00$194.59
Utilities$280.96$157.81$344.02$187.50$387.99$192.08$237.87$293.98
Pet Care$102.02$904.85$102.37$233.53$186.28$221.55$310.88$169.30
Vacation$114.88$199.25$116.99$181.90$0.00$0.00$1,176.33$528.07
Vacation Food$235.51$503.25$402.44$102.05$218.79$0.00$110.32$1,150.33
Home/Tools$606.01$259.80$126.54$148.86$77.04$550.81$1,304.77$335.08
Gardening$191.45$203.79$80.87$408.28$4.39$40.49$18.11$0.00
Gifts$357.92$205.51$122.18$342.42$183.67$137.00$216.08$137.67
Alcohol$81.20$138.44$75.61$127.77$148.83$267.76$100.99$241.95
Clothing$114.09$130.47$0.00$60.02$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00
Misc$437.16$831.72$1,983.09$373.03$225.30$417.41$184.00$654.89
Total$4,192.98$5,468.46$5,271.75$3,704.84$3,559.20$3,799.57$4,612.95$4,596.42
Savings Rate25%46%31%45%38%40%24%58%
Including Mortgage Principal32%50%37%50%44%45%31%61%
Giving %5%5%5%6%7%5%3%2%

August was our first month “without” daycare costs, as we officially withdrew from his preschool. Kindergarten (now homeschool) started in September anyway, so we just finally accepted that he wasn’t going back after we pulled him at the end of February. We still have some childcare costs, but now we are paying our roommate for the day or two he helps with homeschool. It’s still less than preschool though, so the difference is now being diverted into his college fund.

August was a respectable 33% savings rate, the first month that the husband and I both earned 80% of our salaries due to our reduced schedules. When we can still save that much, it feels like the absolute right decision.

We’re at 44% overall for 2020, but I expect it will end the year a bit lower than that due to decreased salaries. To that note, we did finally get our stimulus check, but I am holding that separately and we are spending it down on local purchases. Since it’s not exactly “income,” and we plan to spend it all, I’m not including it in our saving and spending for the year.

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? 

6 thoughts on “Monthly Financial Update: August 2020

  1. I think it makes a lot of sense that you get more value from lunch out than dinner. For one, lunch is usually cheaper than dinner at restaurants. And for two, we generally have more time in the evening to cook nice meals, whereas lunches are much simpler if we don’t have leftovers – a sandwich, scrambled eggs, etc. So having a nice restaurant meal at lunch is a double treat!

  2. I agree about Bezos-like income really only beIng good for helping others in need. If I had his money, I’d pay off my own home and those of my loved ones. Then I’d pay off their remaining debts, fund their retirement accounts, and then help all the great organizations I currently support and add some others I see doing great work. I’m glad you’re still generously giving. I really upped mine this year as well, since I think I’m lucky to still be employed and healthy.

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