One of my goals in 2019 is to get back to fundamentals . I feel like I’ve succumbed to lifestyle inflation, so I am taking the time to track my cash into detail (together with my fave tool: Quicken 2007 for Mac) in an effort to detect problem areas. While I find cash leaks, I want to choose whether to remove them or take them.

While I’m skeptical that sharing my monthly spending report has some real value — and it invites unnecessary judgment (I am already estimating myself) — popular remark from GRS readers appears to be: Do it!

You folks like looking in my own struggles with money haha.

So, here is a fast look at just the way I spent my money at February — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

February Spending Report

Back in January, I spent 4819.27 to support my lifestyle. In February, I spent $4556.49, a decrease of $250.

That is great! But it still misses my target: $4000 a month. Even though this is an arbitrary goal, I think that it’s a great one. I really feel like that’s a sustainable level for your future. (In case my earnings from Get Rich Slowly and also other sources rises, then I can look at boosting my target spending.)

Here’s a quick run-down of the way I spent on certain Important categories:

  • I spent 726.00 on meals in February, up $24.99 in January. Obviously, $146.41 has been spent on dining out, which is extremely low for me. (For additional info see my recent write-up of two weeks together with HelloFresh.) In 2018I dropped $1038.03 per month on food (and spent $1104.97 in February of last year), so I’m happy with the decrease up to now in 2019. I’d love to find this drop much more, however. That seems like a lot. As a point of comparison, I pulled up the numbers from last year. In 2018I spent a mean of $121.40 a month to support our one dog and three cats. Apparently, that is just how much it really costs to feed and take care of our beasts. (And they’re certain they can consume more than we currently feed them.)
  • In JanuaryI spent $326.08 on sin, a class I use to track just how much I spend on alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. (Pot is legal in Oregon. I do not frequently use it recreationally, but I use it almost every night to help me sleep. A couple of times each year, I buy cigars and/or clove cigarettes.) In February, my spending on sin fell to $117.15. This is largely because I went four weeks without touching a fall off alcohol. And because I stopped drinking, I have been much more moderate in my own consumption.
  • As I mentioned at the close of the calendar year, the iTunes store is a dangerous spot for me. I’ve a propensity to browse and buy a whole lot of films. Back in January, I spent just $3.99 about the iTunes store. Last monthI spent only $39.94. That two-month total of $43.93 is way below the 356.33 I invested iTunes through the first two months of 2018. Progress!
  • Back in January, I had $1034.40 of one-time expenses. At the moment, I feared that each month would have one-time expenditures. That’s still a worry. In February, I spent $376.80 to replace the bald tires in my new 1993 Toyota pickuptruck. Additionally, I spent $1340 to renew our subscription to Broadway Across America (two tickets for seven shows during this year).

Despite spending 4556.49 at February, my net worth increased by $24,276.77 (roughly 1.78%) — and that is after a 2.29% increase in January. My net worth has increased $54,894.68 (roughly 4.11%) during the initial two weeks of 2019.

I wish I could state my increase in prosperity has come because I am so damn smart, but that’s just not the case. All credit goes on profits in the stock exchange. If we enter a rocky patch — or worse, a downturn — my net worth will fall fast. When that occurs, I would like to be ready to cut spending, if necessary.

Following two months of updating Quicken every day, I am noticing some patterns. As an instance, my paying falls into four broad classes.

  • Frozen expenses (for example, automobiles, insurance, and utilities) come to roughly $1100 a month.
  • Variable paying necessities (such as meals, haircuts, and home + auto fixes ) comes to about $1200 a month.
  • Variable spending on luxuries (for example, novels, sin, and the hot tub) comes to approximately $700 a month.
  • One-time expenses (new pickup, theater tickets, along with so on ) are totaling about $1500 a month.

I consider roughly half my spending to be needed; the other half is (largely ) indulgent.

The adjusted expenses are obligations. They are not going out and they’re not likely to modify. Variable spending necessities can be altered, though there’s likely to be a floor for each cost. (You’ve been watching in real time because I toy with my meals spending, for instance.)

I could absolutely cut these costs, if necessary. And, in fact, I’ve got my eye on some of those. Last, the one-time expenditures are a mixed bag. Some, like the 1993 Toyota pickup, are essentials (or near essentials ). Others, like the theater tickets, are absolute luxuries.

I suspect that I will want to reevaluate a few of my one-time expenditures from the time the season is over. Some are more like annual expenditures than “one-time” expenses, and I would likely profit from determining which to continue…and which to cancel.

Kim and I enjoy our theater excursions and our Portland Timbers season tickets, but when we really need to decrease costs, a few of these indulgences might need to go. We are going to see. For now, I am content monitoring them flagging them for future discussion.

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