Every month Nate and I will sit down and review our finances for the month. This month we are reviewing our October Spending Report.
We do this in order to notice patterns and ensure our spending aligns with our values. We value date nights, being with friends and family, travel, and giving to charity. Our spending habits should reflect that and not be rooted in other categories in which we don’t care: clothing, fast food, and other unnecessary categories.
Let’s take a look at how our spending looked for October!
Fixed – $1,517.99
We separate out our fixed expenses from our variable spending to provide more consistency in comparing month to month.
Our fixed expenses went up a bit month over month for two reasons.
Car Insurance – $105.23
Both of our car insurance plans renew at the same time of year! And each year they increase a bit. Mine started in September and Nate’s started in October, so we have seen a slight increase month to month. Overall, we are paying about $20 more per month compared to our plans last year.
Renter’s Insurance – $20.72
Our renter’s insurance is also renewed in October (lucky us). Our lease is up at the end of December of this year and we are exploring our options.
Since we are not sure if we will need renter’s insurance for an entire 12 months we decided not to pay for the entire year in advance which is what we had done in the past. Paying in one lump sum saves you money over the course of the year compared to paying monthly. So our insurance is $8 more per month but will only be carried through for three months.
Variable – $877.21
Now, onto our variable spending. This is where we spend the majority of our time evaluating. This is where our values should be reflected in our spending.
Overall, we had a great month! We actually came in under budget by $10. And if you saw our September Spending Report, that is something we can definitely celebrate.
No Spend Days
For October, we challenged ourselves to 14 No Spend Days. We ended up getting 16 and being more aware of our convenience shopping. By cutting out as much convenience shopping as we could, we were able to cut down on our overall spending!
Parking – $47
There were a few categories that were a bit higher than we had hoped for. This is definitely one of them. Had these parking charges been for date night, or a day trip somewhere, I would be 100% fine with that.
But this was a completely unnecessary parking charge for jury duty. Our county doesn’t reimburse for parking nor do they have any free parking in the vicinity of the courthouse. They do offer a free public transportation day pass for jurors.
However, I live over 30 miles from downtown. It would take me over an hour and a half to get downtown via public transportation. When you have to be there at 7:00 am, not gonna happen. I value my time way more than the money I had to spend on parking.
The first day I parked in the first place I found (bad idea). It cost me $30 for the day! The next day, I asked some guards where I should park and they directed me to a $10 lot just down the street. Thank you!
So although it was more than I typically would like, I definitely still chose the best option that I could given the circumstances (parking vs. free public transportation).
The other $7 was from toll roads that Nate accidentally took on the way to my parents. Another unnecessary charge. We have since updated his navigation to avoid tolls.
Laundry Coins – $100
We live in a great apartment but there are two things that I wish we had. Although if we did, they most definitely would increase the rent.
- A pool
- In-unit laundry
Luckily, we have a laundry room on property, but we have to pay for each load. They only take quarters so I have to go to the bank every 2-3 months to pick up quarters.
I usually pick up $50 at a time, but for no reason at all, I decided to pick up $100 in quarters this time. The teller actually asked me if it was for my business and I told her it was for laundry and she almost fell on the floor. But this will cover our laundry for the next 4-6 months which is nice.
Gas – $272
Our average for the year so far has been $260 a month, so we were right in line with what we are used to.
However, if you were to only compare our gas category month over month (i.e. September vs. October) we actually spent $100 more than last month. That’s a huge difference!
Last month was abnormally low because we were gone for a week in DC and weren’t driving. A simple and mundane response, but it’s important to find the why behind the ups and the downs. And to not use just one comparison point.
Utilities – $17
We had a great month for utilities, especially compared to our summer season costs. They reached into the high $50s. This low bill was a welcome relief. Hopefully, we can keep it that way, now.
Every paycheck, Nate will make a 10% contribution to the church he attends every week. It is always one of the first things we do each payday and we never skip it just because the bills are high.
This month had two paychecks, so we made two deposits into the general fund at his church. Ideally, we would like to be able to make one lump sum payment to the church at the beginning of the year. Until then, we will continue to donate each paycheck.
As I mentioned before, vacations are something that is definitely valued in our lives. We aren’t looking for five-star resorts or first-class air travel. Although, we aren’t opposed to that someday. Right now, we try to take whatever we can squeeze into the schedule and the budget.
Last month, was a pretty big month for us with a week in Washington D.C. for FinCon and a weekend in Anaheim at Disneyland (check out why we had Disney passes). This month, we did not end up traveling together.
I was able to get a weekend away for Mother Daughter Family Weekend at the casino. Always fun and not too costly.
All in all, we had a great month and were able to stay below the budget we had set for ourselves.
Remember, it’s important to track your spending but it is more important to review those trackings. Finding the whys behind each category so you can learn and adjust to create a life you are proud of.
How did your October Spending Report turn out?