It’s now the first week of July, and I’m just now getting around to finally recap our May (and June) spending. Instead of splitting them up into two separate blog posts, I’ve decided to simply include them together in this one and move on and be glad that I’ve caught up.
As I’ve said in previous monthly updates, I am thankful that I share these publicly, as it’s the best way for me to stay accountable and make sure to go through and track our spending. While it’s less important now than when we spent more of our income each month, keeping an eye on things is how our spending doesn’t grow unintentionally.
I have more than two and a half years of this tracking saved at this point too, and I have to say, I enjoy being able to look back at our historical spending numbers. If I want to have a real sense of what we actually spend in a given year, there’s no better way to do it than track how things are spent every month. (Even if it’s annoying to look back at May at the beginning of July)
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We went on our first real vacation in May – a road trip to Montana, stopping in Spokane on the way out and Cour D’Alene and Leavenworth on the way back. Previous to that trip, we spent a week camping outside Winthrop last July, and before that, the last time we’d left the state of Washington was our trip to Iceland just before the COVID-19 pandemic began in earnest.
We decided to “go big” on our road trip, or at least big in terms of a still relatively frugal vacation. We stayed in reasonable accommodations – including two nights at a Marriott in Spokane for free thanks to my Chase Marriott card – but we splurged on food in a big way. Our travels tend to focus around beautiful outdoor locations and great food, and this trip was no different.
June, on the other hand, was spent close to home, since we brought home our chicks that month, so our Vacation spending category clocked in at zero. Until they’re old enough to be mostly left alone (no heat lamp needed overnight), we won’t be going away overnight anywhere.
I’m realizing that next year this category’s name needs to be updated from “Gardening” to “Urban Homesteading” or something, to acknowledge the costs associated with the chickens. I didn’t spend any money on plants in June and very little in May, so these costs listed are almost entirely chicken related. While they will eventually lay eggs for us, at this point, the chicks are firmly in the red in terms of finances. In terms of my mental health and peace, though, they are big winners already. Seriously. A month in, and I’m firmly a chicken lady already.
This time of year, the garden’s cost is really just the added water bill, which will be higher this next month especially thanks to our heat wave of three days over 100 degrees in a row. Most of my plants survived, other than some crispy bean plants that had just sprouted, so we’re headed into the time of the year where the garden starts to produce almost all of the fruits and vegetables we eat.
I’m currently doing a lot of seed saving and the beginning of preserving (pickled garlic scapes last night). The garden is a decade in progress, and at this point, it really is a money saving endeavor. Beyond that, though, it’s also a great piece of preparedness for us, as supply chains continue to be fragile – through the heat wave, quite a few grocery stores lost perishable goods when their refrigeration systems couldn’t keep up and went down.
May & June 2021 Spending (Excludes mortgage, childcare, insurance)
|Jun 2021||May 2021||Apr 2021||Mar 2021||Feb 2021||Jan 2021||Overall|
|Including Mortgage Principal||50%||36%||41%||46%||41%||43%||42%|
Even with our vacation spending, we squeezed out a 36% savings rate in May, and bumped it back up to 50% in June. My husband did get a small raise, which means our savings are slightly better, as we pretend it doesn’t exist.
Halfway through the year, we’re sitting at a 43% savings rate. Food prices are up a lot, but we’ve managed to squirrel away quite a bit of money regardless. If the last year and a half has taught us anything, it’s that having a solid savings rate is so, so important to be able to best weather whatever comes.
It’s been more than three years 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.