In April 2020’s Spending Report, I’ll cover where my money went in April 2020, and how I’m updating my yearly budget now after a few life changes (including coronavirus and adopting a dog!). Life changes, and so should your budget. Not sure how to adjust your budget due to life changes? In this post, I cover everything you need to know about adjusting your budget.
It’s now May (can you believe it?!) which means the April 2020 spending report numbers are in…annnnnd? Technically I went over budget by $9, but I have an excellent reason why….
I adopted a DOG!!!
I mean. Come on. Just look at her. Definitely worth going over budget for my little lady, Logan.
She’s wonderful, and I love her so much that sometimes my face hurts from constantly gritting my teeth in the “OMG YOU ARE SO CUTE I CAN’T STAND IT” kind of way. She’s chill, a major cuddler, athletic AF, and just the sweetest lil’ thing. I very quickly failed at fostering when I brought her home and immediately fell in love.
Best. Decision. Ever.
But man, dogs are expensive! I knew this going in, and it’s one of the reasons I’ve waited so long to get a dog. After living with my ex and his Newfoundland (who I also loved), I spent no less than $5k on that dog in less than a year due to his medical issues. That experience kind of scared me off of getting a dog on my own for a while, but with recent quarantine and shelter-in-place orders, I decided to take the dive and try fostering first.
Anyway, long story short– I failed at fostering and ended up adopting my little lady. No ragurts. But, budgeting wise, I’ve had to make a few adjustments which we’ll talk about later on in the post.
But first, let’s just talk about the categories, shall we?
April 2020 Spending Report Categories
As you can see, I went over by $9 this budgeting period, because dogs are expensive and I didn’t realize just how expensive. That’s really my only fuck-up and to be fair, I wasn’t anticipating adopting a dog so soon after moving in. But good ole’ Corona helped me out with finally pulling the trigger on the dog of my dream.
The expenses in these categories are still pretty high for a few reasons.
Groceries (AKA Cookie Dough and Frosting)
I spent more on groceries because I’m stress eating (hey, homemade cookies with buttercream frosting) and because I’m cooking at home even more than I usually do. Plus, prior to COVID-19, I didn’t drink coffee at home except on weekends. Now I’m making it every day at home, and that fancy Aldi coffee adds up.
But mostly the extra costs here are from my stress eating binges that have happened about once every other week since the shelter in place order. I’m not happy about it, but I’m also pretty understanding with myself during all this.
Read more about my history of stress eating binges in “Me, My Eating Disorders, and this Red Dress.”
Things are weird, and if my worst vice is eating too many cookies while sheltering in place?
I’ll take it.
The good news is I’ve started organizing my week better so that I can stop at Aldi on my way home from worksite visits. It’s INCREDIBLE how much less expensive Aldi is, seriously.
At Jewel, it felt like I’d leave every week spending a minimum of $70, and at Aldi, I keep it closer to $45-$50. Maybe it’s because Jewel has more selection and exciting items to try or maybe it’s because they are just THAT much more expensive than Aldi. I think it’s a combo of both and according to this article, Jewel is 72% MORE EXPENSIVE THAN ALDI.
Watch this Post on Adjusting Budgets due to Life Changes
Home: Rugs Because Dogs Have Nails
My Home category was a little bit more expensive than normal too because dogs have nails and I’m trying to protect the floors in my apartment so I can get my security deposit back.
Will that happen? To be determined.
But for now, I’ve covered at least 600 square feet of my 1000 square foot apartment in rugs or furniture. That should help, right? I’ve been grinding her nails too to try and minimize the damage, but my lady has some very sharp nails I can only trim so far.
So I’ve come to terms with the possibility that I might lose some of my security deposit to refinishing floors, but I plan on staying in this apartment for a while so that’s a future Chloe problem.
Debt: I'm Pressing Pause on Extra Payments to Debt
You might also notice that I spent about $1k less on debt this month, and that’s purposeful. I only put the minimum payment on my student loans because I want to focus on saving more cash in my emergency fund.
Because times are weird and there’s really no certainty right now.
If for some reason I lose my job or get furloughed, I want to have a large enough cash store to make it as many months as possible without a job.
It seems like my spending is a little more under control now that I’ve had a month of quarantine and there haven’t been any major life changes outside of getting a dog, but how am I doing with my yearly goals?
Let’s check it out.
Yearly Budgeting Goals as of April 2020
Looking a little different than my March 2020 numbers, right?
How did I go from being on average $34 under budget each pay period, to $66 over budget each pay period??
Well, I adjusted my goal numbers to try and spend less the rest of the year.
Adjusting Your Budget Due to Life Changes
Due to coronavirus, I’ve adjusted almost every category on my budget to reduce my spending and adjust for my new monthly item– my little lady Logan. I looked at all my spending across categories and decided what I could spend less on in order to create an entirely new budget item.
And I’ve been doing that for other things throughout the year.
Remember when I added Special Occasions to my budget?
How about dating or renter’s insurance? Parking?
That’s the thing about budgeting– it’s an art that sometimes needs refining.
Why do I adjust my yearly budget goals?
I have an overall goal of spending around 50% of my take-home income, ensuring the rest is going to my student loans or savings. In order to stick to that, my budget needs lots of adjustments as life changes happen– which is good and normal. Life is always changing and that’s why it’s important to adjust the budget as we go.
It makes me feel good knowing I’m still spending less even though I have more categories than I originally planned for.
How do you adjust your budgeting goals?
It’s actually pretty easy to adjust your yearly goals.
- First, determine how much you think you need for your new category. Let’s use a pet as an example. For me, I calculated the monthly cost of Logan’s food (~$15 a month), plus all the upfront costs of adopting her ($450 + $200 for supplies), the anticipated cost of treats and on-going preventatives (~$20 per month) and any medical bills ($300 a year).
- Calculate your monthly cost. With the numbers above, this calculation looks like this: [($15 X 12) + ($650)+($20 x 12) + ($300)]/12=$114.16 per month, or $57 per pay period if you’re on a bi-weekly payment plan.
- Determine how many months you have left in your budgeting period. I got Logan in March, which means I only have 6 months of expenses for her for the rest of the year, so my total category number would be $684.
- Add any additional expenses you may think you’ll have for that category outside monthly costs. For the pet category, I had to frontload all the costs of adopting her, so I’m actually going to bump up that category number to $1,500 because I’d prefer to have the month there in case of an emergency since I have already spent $877 on her as of May 11th (when I’m writing this). Will I end up spending all $1,500? Hopefully not. But I’d rather be prepared.
- Add the total anticipated number into your budget. Yay, new category!
- See where else you can eliminate some dollars to make up for the new category. For me, I started chunking money off of entertainment, personal, travel, and transportation. Why? Because owning a dog is more important to me than ALL of those categories combined.
So, let’s take a look at what my original yearly budget goals were and how they’ve changed.
Original Yearly Goals
PPP= per pay period
Groceries ($115 per pay period)
Clo Bare ($38 ppp)
Health/medical ($57 ppp)
Home ($557.69 ppp)
Transportation ($88 ppp)
Personal ($88 ppp)
Entertainment ($100 ppp)
Utilities/Cell Phone ($126 ppp)
Travel ($192 ppp)
Debt ($846 ppp)
CBBB ($19 ppp)
Total Original Spending Planned: $58,200
Adjusted Yearly Goals as of April 2020
Groceries ($107 per pay period)
Clo Bare ($25 ppp)
Health/medical ($30 ppp)
Home ($730 ppp)
Transportation ($58 ppp)
Personal ($46 ppp)
Entertainment ($76 ppp)
Utilities/Cell Phone ($126 ppp)
Travel ($184 ppp)
Debt ($846 ppp)
CBBB ($13 ppp)
Special Occasions ($65 ppp)
Dating ($15 ppp)
Renter’s Insurance ($9 per month)
Dog ($58 ppp)
CBBB ($13 ppp)
Total Adjusted Spending Plan: $63,737
Why am I Spending an Additional $5k More than Originally Planned?
At first glance, that’s a pretty painful difference between my original plan and my newly adjusted route. What’s with the change?
Well, getting and budgeting for a dog added $1,500 to my anticipated expenses. Parking, renter’s insurance, and a new keyboard also added about $1,025. My housing costs went way up in comparison to what I was planning for because instead of aiming for about $1,000 a month in rent, I decided to up my budget to $1,450 a month in rent because liking where I live is important to me.
That added about $4,500 to my housing costs. So in total, my additional expenses actually would’ve totaled $7,025 more than my original budget, but because I’ve focused on taking down other numbers within my control (Entertainment, Groceries, Personal, Transportation, Travel, etc), my TOTAL spend for the year only went up by just under $5,000.
Am I okay with that?
Yeah, actually I am.
I may be spending more than I originally planned but I am still on target to spend almost the same amount of money I spent last year while putting more money on debt and affording to live alone and have a dog. That’s means I’ve cut back on areas that aren’t as important to me in order to afford to live my ideal life right now. And isn’t that the goal?
For me, it is because this new plan reflects my values.
That works for me even if it means spending almost $5,000 more per year than I originally planned.
Are there Areas for Improvement?
Absolutely. I think next year I’m going to start tracking every dollar I spend on alcohol because I would really like to limit that to only a couple hundred dollars a year. I think my special occasion budget could also use some work since that has kind of turned into a dump truck of “Well, I didn’t budget for it so let’s add it to the special occasions budget!”
Utilities and Cell Phone
Also, my utilities and cell phone bills are really high. I’ve heard of a service called Tello that allows you to bring your phone (and phone number) over to them and use their discounted service for as low as $12 a month.
I haven’t done it yet because my phone was on a lease (costing me an extra $30 a month) but I decided to bite the bullet, purchase the phone, and then in a few months, I should be able to transfer over to a cheaper service. To be determined on how that goes, but I smell another blog opportunity to talk about my future cell phone bill.
My housing costs are really high, and I don’t love that either. I’m not planning on moving next year BUT I think in the future I’m going to look into house hacking. Clearly, for the last couple of years, I’ve lived with roommates so that technically is the equivalent of house hacking, but I’d like to someday own a property that I can live out of a unit and rent out another unit.
That’s probably several years down the road, but something I’m already starting to think about as I continue to work towards a life where I’m free from having to work a standard 9 to 5.
Anyway, enough rambling about expenses. Let’s move on to the spending report, shall we?
April 2020 Spending Report
dog bed, treats/toys, medicated shampoo
toys and treats
allergy medication, contact solution
cookies and beer
cookies and beer
dog treats and poop bags
CBBB website renewal
thank you gifts
parking permit renewal
dog emergency— won’t eat
nail grinder and enzyme cleaner
box of wine
birthday gift for sydney
Total Spent: $4,662
Total Debt: $37,930
- 401(k): $38,340
- Real Estate Investment: $36,000
- Savings Account: $5,400
- Total Savings: $79,740
Total Net Worth: $41,810
How I Increased my Net Worth by almost $10k in One Month
Love seeing that net worth jump! Last month my net worth was at $32K, so due to the stocks doing better and my cash savings increase in addition to paying off debt, my net worth jumped up more than $9k in a month! Pretty cool.
Thank you to the stock market for doing better.
Goals, Goals, Goals
So I feel good about where I’m headed, but let’s talk about how I’m doing with my goals from last month and what my goals for next month are.
Goals I Set for April 2020
- Spend SO LITTLE on entertainment. I did it! I spent about $20 per pay period which is THE LEAST amount I’ve spent on entertainment I think ever.
- Start being organized with grocery shopping trips. WOOOO. Got my ass back to Aldi which helped me reduce my grocery bill. In March, I spent about $224 on groceries and in April, I spent $214. So not that much less but a little less.
- Save at least $500 to get my emergency fund up to $4k. Boom– saved $1,900 which is badass as fuck. It was truly only doable though because I put a freeze on putting extra money on my debt in order to build up my savings account because I had no decent emergency fund. Now? I’ve got $5,400. I feel better with that, but I still need to ramp that up.
Goals for May 2020
- Spend LESS on my birthday this year. So May is my birthday, but I don’t want to go too crazy like I did last year when I spent $700 on my birthday (I love myself, sue me). Plus I adopted a dog, moved into my own apartment this year, bought a TV, and bought a bunch of rugs. While those I’m counting as Home costs, I’ve spent enough.
- Save another $1.5k for my emergency fund. Hopefully even more. Because I’d like to get back to paying off my debt. If I put another $2k, then I’ll have $7,400 which is at least three months of savings which is a decent
- NO SPEND MONTH. From May 5th to June 5th I’ll be hosting my very own no spend month where I will eliminate all unnecessary spending. I’ve been doing it now for four days and it’s going strong. If you want to join in, follow me at clo_bare on Instagram for daily check-ins.
How did you spend money in April? Has COVID affected how you’re spending money in May 2020? Share in the comments below!