The March 2020 Spending Report numbers are in, and holy shit, did I spend a lot of money in March. Between putting down a hefty apartment deposit (one and a half month’s rent– ouch) and moving (YAY!), I spent a little more than eight grand last month and my bank account is hurting. I’m ready to start spending less and saving more after an expensive month. Since we’re in lockdown because of COVID19, I think I’ll be able to successfully spend next to nothing on entertainment, travel, and transportation.
Listen to March 2020 Spending Report
Because you know, literally everything and more has changed since last month.
Last month, when people were still able to leave the house and do stuff.
But on the personal finance front?
One of the small positives of the COVID-19 is that we don’t have to spend much money to stay home. It’s an opportunity to practice entertaining ourselves for free, and spend more time doing things that may be more meaningful. Like writing and painting. Or Zooming with family and friends.
Or you know, Netflix binges.
Regardless of your flavor of quarantine, it’s a good time to do some of the things that matter most to us and those things? They don’t cost much and most of the time they’re free.
But anyway, enough with the sentimental side of things. Let’s get down to budgeting bare business.
March 2020 Money Wins
- This is and isn’t a budgeting/money related win– I MOVED INTO MY APARTMENT! An apartment all to myself for the first time in my life! I can cook naked if I want to! Or walk from my bedroom to the bathroom naked! Or drink and paint in the living room while I listen to the Lumineers and sing at the top of my lungs! IT’S WONDERFUL. Why is it money related? Because I’m at a point in my life where I can afford the increase in rent and related expenses because I’m totally and completely in control of my money. Bow-chicka-ow-ow.
- I only spent $150 on entertainment last month and less than $100 on personal. Big improvements in both categories– although COVID-19 might help me lower that even more.
- I’ve almost completely evened out my budgeting categories for the year, which means I’m on target to reach my yearly budgeting goals! WOO! That is huge, my friends.
- I had the option to re-invest with the real estate opportunity I’ve been investing with since July 2019, and I did! That will take my investments from $30k to about $42k between now and August 2020. For more info on that investment, check out Wilson Contracting’s website.
Watch the March 2020 Spending Report
March 2020 Money Musings
Not a ton of wins last month because it was a spendy month with all the things happening. For the first time in a while, I saved nothing and instead had to take money out of my savings in order to cover my apartment deposit and moving expenses.
Doing so pre-COVID-19 didn’t scare me, but now with ‘rona around, I’ve realized I really need to work on building my cash-on-hand emergency fund. I’ll go more into that at the end of this post, but for now, lets move on to my categories
March 2020 Spending Categories
I know I spent $8k last month, but my actual category spending wasn’t so bad. I spent less on Entertainment than usual, less on Personal (just barely) and a little more on groceries per usual. If I could take out all the expenses of my apartment and moving– well things would be more normal at $3,795 which would actually be a very low spend month for me since usually I spend between $4k and $5k per month.
So this actually doesn’t look so bad as a whole. But what about in comparison to my yearly goals?
Let’s check it out.
When you subtract my “over budget” for debt– which isn’t really over budget because it just means I’m putting more money on my debt– I am UNDER BUDGET by $34 per pay period!!! YAHOOOOOOO! This means I’m on track to spend about 52% of my TAKE HOME pay this year if you include the sale of my car, my investment income, and other side hustle income. However, if you only look at my take-home pay from my 9 to 5 job, which I also save 17% of pre-tax, I’m on track to spend only 47% of my income from my job. If we look at post-tax, I’m spending about 64% of my post-tax income.
Not bad, right????? I’m doing the dang thing!
This is encouraging. Knowing I have a LOT more control over my spending makes me feel like my goals are actually within reach and that someday I’ll be financially independent even with this whole coronavirus shit going on.
I don’t have a lot of fuck-ups to explain this time, but I do want to talk about a few things before we get to the spending report.
Home and Grocery Categories
As you will see in the spending report, there are several expenses I attributed to “Home” this time, and that’s because I wanted to include all my moving costs from ordering in take out to spending money on groceries to restock my new place. Physically moving only cost me about $540 with movers and tips, but when I take into consideration the costs of restocking a kitchen and ordering a rug, the whole move cost me closer to $1,000.
Not bad honestly.
Also, groceries. Groceries, since I’ve moved, have been a little more expensive because I’ve been shopping at Jewel, the grocery store that is right around the corner. Literally a six-minute walk but the prices are quite a bit higher than what I’m used to. I need to make the switch back over to Aldi, but that does require a little more planning on my part since Aldi is not super close anymore.
Not sure grocery stores really matter? Oh, how you would be wrong. Check out this article about Aldi that shows just how much cheaper Aldi is than other grocery stores.
But anyway, let’s move on to the spending report!
March 2020 Spending Report
|2/28/2020||$5.00||bananas and seltzer||Groceries|
|3/5/2020||$55.00||Drinks and dinner with Vanessa||Entertainment|
|3/8/2020||$34.00||Groceries and Poke||Groceries|
|3/11/2020||$25.00||coronavirus supplies ie toilet paper and a snack||Home|
|3/12/2020||$2,610.82||Deposit on APARTMENT||Home|
|3/13/2020||$9.00||Renter’s insurance||Renter’s Insurance|
|3/13/2020||$28.00||food on moving night||Home|
|3/14/2020||$16.00||snacks for movers||Home|
|3/15/2020||$250.00||groceries and coronavirus prep||Home|
|3/19/2020||$25.00||health on target||Health/medical|
|3/20/2020||$30.00||toilet paper pre-order||Personal|
|3/24/2020||$95.00||people’s gas||Utilities/Cell Phone|
|3/25/2020||$10.00||painting supplies||Clo Bare|
Total Spent: $8,058
Total Debt: $39,375
- 401(k): $32,388
- Real Estate Investment: $36,000
- Savings Account: $3,500 (AGH– NEED TO GET THIS UP)
- Total Savings: $71,888
Total Networth: $32,513
Side Tangent: Let's Talk About Emergency Funds and Investing
As I mentioned above, we need to talk about emergency funds because this whole coronavirus mess has made me realize something HUGE.
I do not have enough saved up in my emergency fund.
Because most of my “savings” are tied up in investments, after paying my security deposit, my “emergency fund” savings is looking a little leaner than I’d like. What’s in my bank account right now could probably cover about two months worth of essential expenses, but if a huge emergency came up right now?
I’m one big emergency away from having to use my credit card as a savings account.
And that’s not something I want to do.
Because of it, I’m going to start focusing on building up my emergency on-hand savings account, because Coronavirus has made me realize that absolutely nothing is for certain.
My Thoughts on Emergency Funds Prior to COVID-19
Prior to COVID19, I wasn’t concerned about an emergency fund beyond a few thousand dollars in my bank account for a few reasons.
1. My job is pretty secure.
There are very few things that I could think of, pre-COVID that would make me lose my job. An entire economic shut down due to a pandemic is not something I ever thought was possible, and yet here we are facing it in April 2020.
2. I could find another job.
Pre-coronavirus, I was really certain that I wouldn’t have an issue finding another job quickly even if I were for some reason to lose my job. Now?? If I lost my job, I have zero confidence I’d be able to find something immediately with an impending recession and potential depression on our hands.
3. Investments count as emergency funds, right?
I thought my real estate investment since it’s a short term investment, was basically my emergency savings.
The issue with that? For one, I could totally lose the investment that I have in real estate. That is a totally possible thing. Then I’d be $36k out, and with almost no emergency fund to keep me covered.
Fucking YIKES, right?
And for two, I only have access to that investment once the project is over. Which right now, my current investment will wrap up in AUGUST. So that means if I lost my job tomorrow, I would not have access to almost $40k until August, and I would need to find a way to pay for all of my expenses until August.
So, I decided, I need to build my damn emergency fund while I still can because I’d like to cushion the blow if any of these “what if’s” as much as possible.
Because the impossible has happened.
I could have NEVER dreamed of the coronavirus happening, and here it is causing millions of layoffs within just a few months of its inception.
This is why a CASH emergency fund is a necessity.
Which brings me to my second point.
I’ve had people reach out to me interested in investing their emergency funds in the stock market or in real estate projects.
And you know what I think with my new ‘rona lenses?
YOUR EMERGENCY FUND IS NOT TO BE INVESTED.
Your emergency fund is for EMERGENCIES. DO NOT INVEST THAT SHIT.
Would you be okay if you lost your job and didn’t have your emergency fund available to you in cash?
Would you be able to pay rent for three months if you suddenly lost your “emergency fund” in an investment?
Would you be able to pay for your monthly expenses for more than a month if you lost your job and your emergency fund fell through because of an investment?
If you could not survive three months without your emergency fund, then you have zero business investing it. Period. Do not invest money that you need, invest money that you would be okay without if for some reason you lost it.
Just my two cents.
Investing is for money you do not need right now. Investing is the money future you will need.
Goals, Goals, Goals
Enough of my side rant. I just want my little baby bares to learn from my mistakes cause I love you all and want you to be smart with your monies.
Let’s talk about goals and check-in with how I did with the goals I set in February 2020 and what my goals are for April 2020.
- Keep spending less on entertainment! I DID IT. Thanks COVID-19.
- Stick to 2-3 TOTAL social things a week. LOL. Did it. Thanks again ‘rona…
- Stay within budget for the move. WAHOoO! Did it. I put my budget high– $2k, but I smashed that by spending half.
Goals for April 2020
- Spend SO LITTLE on entertainment. Like… $20 per pay period little. Well, maybe $30 which would mean I could order take out once every two weeks.
- Start being organized with grocery shopping trips so that I can stop at Aldi anytime I am out driving near one. I miss my Aldi prices and Jewel has too many tempting extras. Need to get back to my Aldi.
- Save at least $500 to get my emergency fund up to $4k. Since my rent went up and I’m putting more in my 401(k) my ability to save $1k each month is going to be cut in half, but if I’m smart with my spending I should be able to save $500.
Woo! I think that’s it for now. I’m feeling good as always and ready to spend less and save more for April 2020. After an expensive as fuck month, I’m pumped for a less spendy one.
How did you spend money in March? Has COVID affected how you’re spending money in April 2020? Share in the comments below!