It’s time the first monthly income/spending review here on Live FI Now! I love reading income reports and seeing how other people made money, spent money, and most of all– I love finding new tips/tricks they employed that I can borrow to do things more efficiently in my own life. I know a lot of bloggers don’t like to share dollar specifics but I think the specifics are the most inspiring parts; so here we go!
Full transparency: In our household of two adults and three puppers, I work full time and hustle on the side a little. My significant other receives full disability for a neurological disorder. He cannot work or risks losing his benefits, so I am the sole worker in our house. We do not combine finances and instead split the bills. He covers the bigger things including the mortgage (it’s his house) and the electric bill. I pay for everything else (dog food, car insurance for both cars*, our cell phones, internet, streaming, car payment [now a car savings transfer for a new car], groceries, household items (toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, cleaning products, etc.), gas, home warranty**, lawn service. I also consider my retirement contributions to be a bill because he doesn’t technically need to contribute to a retirement fund since his disability income comes every month and should continue to do so.
*We are currently sharing one car and I am only paying insurance on that (we’ve always had two cars up until April of this year). I was previously leasing a Jeep and chose to buy out the lease and sell it since I was able to make a decent profit on it in the current climate. The plan is to share one car until the end of 2022 minimum and then see where things are with the car buying plan. If cars are still obnoxiously overpriced, we may continue to share a car. Luckily, I work from home and he is home full time so sharing is not terribly inconvenient at the moment.
**I canceled the home warranty payment when they failed to help us when our AC went out last year. It was a nightmare and I instead transfer that $50 payment to a sinking fund for when the next thing inevitably goes out.
June was a slow side gig month for me because I took a week’s vacation (the first in YEARS!) and had a couple of other events (a three-year overdue concert because of Covid) occur that caused me to cancel some work. I taught less classes, didn’t dogsit at all during June, and slacked a little on surveys. My extra side income was only $200 this month. I am fortunate to have a great job that allows me to work from home and earn a commission on top of my hourly earnings. I get paid every other week (usually 2x per month with a few months during the year issuing what feels like a “bonus” paycheck).
Here’s the breakdown:
Company paychecks: $1066 each x 2 = $2132.00 (this is after IRA contributions that match the company max contribution and an additional amount deducted for taxes to make sure my side gigs don’t surprise me with a payment at tax time)
Sales commission check June: $2012 (paid when I reach at least 90% of my sales goal for the previous month plus other monthly contests/incentives. This is not guaranteed and so I do not count it until I have met my goal and also why I continue to side gig)
Side gig income June: $202.98 (teaching English online, Doordash, Mturk surveys)
Car Insurance: $104.00 (I actually paid this in full at the beginning of the 6-month period but pay myself back by transferring the monthly price back to my savings)
Hybrid car savings: $400/$400
House fund: $50 transfer to this sinking fund (held in Qapital goal)
Dogs: $116.65/$110 (over $6.65 — I increased this goal from $100 a few months ago but groceries/dog food continue to go up and I continue to go over each month)
Groceries: $279.00/$340 +$15 stock up fund=$355 ($61.00 under this month– I moved some money around from various categories to beef up this fund last month since grocery prices continue to go up. Looks like I overestimated a little). I also roll over $15 into a stock up fund every month for meat purchases so it doesn’t blow our monthly budget. Similar strategy for household items, below.
Household items: $45.00 transfer to stock up fund (I have switched to a quarterly buy plan so that I can buy bigger packs of items that will last us 3 months. It’s easier to have $130 and buy enough for several months rather than blow the $45 budget each month with a monthly purchase of TP and paper towels plus anything else we ran out of).
Gas: $40.10/$100 ($59.10 under– I was out of town a few days this month but even with gas prices being obnoxiously high, we don’t drive much and have a 12-year old Nissan versa that gets 25 mpg so I usually need to fill it up once per month (twice max). With gas being so high, I am topping it off when we get below half tank because it would cost SIXTY DOLLARS to fill it from empty based on current near $5/gallon prices. It’s painful considering it used to be in the $20-25 range. 🙁
Unplanned/spontaneous spending: $294.66/$295.00 ($0.34 under — I used every bit of this in June. I had a couple of dinners out with friends that were out of the norm, a concert (parking/expensive drinks at the show), and trip-specific items to buy (snorkeling gear, another swimsuit, a fishing shirt, hat, etc.). I usually have a little leftover in this fund but not this month.
Streaming/prime membership: $18 (family plans)
Personal/fun spending: $100/$100 (this is anything I just want for the joy of it rather than need or personal toiletry items, etc.– things that are only for me that no one else uses [perfume, deoderant, etc.])
Total spending: $1532.41
Money made-money spent= $2814.57
At this point, I look at what I have leftover (If I was successful in meeting my sales goal, it’s usually a large chunk of change such as this) and make a list of where to transfer it.
Every month I make these savings transfers and then focus on big goals with what remains.
- Savings: $150 (this goes into my emergency fund that is already funded, so it’s just adding a little to it)
- Traditional IRA: $100 (I have a Roth through my employer and regular IRA in a Betterment account. I like having a mix of both and get a tax break for these contributions)
- Gift fund: $135 (Not having to stress about gift giving occasions is one of the best things I’ve ever done)
- Taxes: $100 (I do gig work every month and never want to owe Uncle Sam at tax time. Some months I make more than others but I save this every month just in case. Last year I didn’t owe anything and was able to add this $1200 to my tax refund transfer to my savings)
I am currently working towards a few different, more immediate goals than FI. I met my goal of $5k in dividend stocks for 2022 so I will likely pivot focus for now because I have more pressing items to finish up in 2022 and then focus solely on dividend investing in 2023
- Hybrid car purchase end of 2022 – $1550 ($150 savings+$400 car savings in budget+$1000)
I’m tired of fretting about gas prices, so I decided a while back that the next car will be a hybrid one. I initially had planned to buy a used Prius at the end of 2022 but am leaning more towards a new one since used car prices are not much less than new cars at the moment. My goal is to have $15,000 in hand (but better is more). I am currently at $9686.
- Dog surgery – $500
Our Frenchie needs an airway obstruction surgery since she is smaller than most French Bulldogs and has narrow nostrils and an elongated soft palette that causes the snorting/snoring. While we find the sounds to be cute, it is impeding her breathing ability and will likely cause heart/respiratory issues later in life. I plan to have this surgery done in August or September. I currently have $1500 set aside for it.
- Hawaii trip – $350
I have not done much living in the past 3-4 years and said yes to weeklong trip to Hawaii with my sister later this year. This is the first time I’ve been in a position that I have extra funds to even consider something like this plus paid time off– so I said YES! We aren’t going until October, so I am setting aside a few hundred per month towards the things we need to book/pay for.
4. Succulent nursery- $150
One of my current projects is building a succulent nursery. I love succulents and tending to them, so this is a fun endeavor for me that I think will be an easy way to make extra money once I grow my supply large enough to start selling cuttings. I plan to set aside funds every month to keep adding new/varied plants.
5. Unplanned $329
I’ve learned that one of the best ways to embrace the living/doing part of life is to leave a little unaccounted for so that you can say yes to opportunities. If such an occasion arises, I don’t have to scramble for the funds (once I’ve transferred into goals/savings, that money is gone and does not come back out). If, at the end of July, nothing worthwhile presented itself, I will transfer this $329 to whichever goal is priority (probably the dog surgery since it will be first).
If you made it to the end, thank you! I love posts like this and hope that in sharing my strategies, you were able to pick up a tip or two that will help you towards your goals. Onto July!