Another month has flown by and tracking expenses is getting slightly easier. I was hoping each month moving forward would show a nice progression of reaching a more minimalist lifestyle. Unfortunately, this is real life. Sometimes you have to live a little and enjoy yourself and while that may be cheap some months, others it may be costly.
With living in a beach town and summer being here, that means pontoon trips and creek days. That’s exactly what happened this month: a pontoon trip. It was worth every penny.
Tracking Expenses and Making Mistakes
Last month I incorrectly added a vacation while tracking expenses. It was put on a credit card to get rewards points, but it was paid in full this month. So it didn’t make much sense to include it in March since it would reflect more accurately in April.
I’m not sure if that’s the correct approach as I’m pretty new to tracking expenses meticulously, but oh well. I figure as long I’m consistent with tracking it the same way in future months, it won’t matter too much.
I’m going to attempt to show months side by side for two reasons:
- to correctly reflect the adjustment with the credit card scenario
- to show a side-by-side comparison of where things went well and…not so well.
April Showers Bring Excess Spending (That’s How That Goes Right?!)
I’ve made adjustments in terms of including a separate category for savings instead of including it in the expenses. After all, it deserves it’s own category. I’m including my car loan payments as a part of savings so that I can see what type of savings I will have once it’s gone.
I’ve also decided to use an excel spreadsheet to make it easier to look at. So here it is:
Savings Rate Formula
Some people include 401k contributions in their savings rate but for the purpose of my budget, I’m keeping it simple.
The formula is savings/monthly income.
I’m not including a spending rate because the leftover income from the previous month offsets the true percentage and I want to keep it stupid simple.
Car Loan Balance
After an expensive month, I was still able to put $650 towards the car loan and that leaves a remaining balance of $9,339.24. I still consider that a rather favorable month towards being debt free, despite the rest of the budget.
Key Points in April
I was a month ahead again on rent this month, by using my leftover money after everything was paid for going into April. I’m still accounting for rent in the budget each month, but whatever is leftover from the previous month goes toward the following months rent.
I got the poker itch this month and decided to head up to my local card room outside of my bi-weekly home games. It did not prove profitable, but I consider poker a hobby as much as a potential source of income. So whether I lose or not, I still enjoy the thinking game that poker is and can be. Some may consider poker gambling and that it is antithetical to the nature of personal finance. I consider it a hobby and budget accordingly.
Vaping was much higher as I’m trying to switch to an online shop rather than a brick and mortar. I found a great deal online that should cut my average monthly vaping expense from $90 to $35.
The grocery and dining out portion are looking good, but were offset by a much more social month going out with friends.
Tracking expenses and meticulously budgeting has proved more complex than I thought. Bear with me as I add appropriate categories and sort through the numbers. Next month should look a lot less all over the place. But at least you guys get to see my own mistakes and see how I’m tracking. After all, that was the whole point of these segments.