This month’s spending report has some pretty big news, and some seriously awesome wins after completely blowing the budget last month. I am happy to report that:
- My spending is now under control.
- I was $401 under budget.
- I PAID OFF MY CAR.
- I’ve decided to switch tactics from paying off my debt to saving up… for a down payment on my first property.
Yes. Big news. And I’ll explain why I’m deciding to switch tactics toward the end of this post.
But for now? On to the categories and spending report.
Categories: Where My Money Went
May 2019 Spending Report
|4/26/2019||$500.00||car repair||Transportation/Car Insurance|
|4/29/2019||$2,470.00||PAID OFF MY CAR||Debt|
|4/29/2019||$155.00||Rothy’s Bday Gift to Myself||Personal|
|4/29/2019||$25.00||FB promotion||Clo Bare|
|5/4/2019||$100.00||donation to CF||Personal|
|5/4/2019||$38.00||CBBB website and such||CBBB|
|5/8/2019||$63.00||Mother’s Day Gift||Personal|
|5/9/2019||$15.00||money order for lost badge||Personal|
|5/15/2019||$56.00||dinner with parents||Travel|
|5/20/2019||$44.99||Memory foam pillow||Personal|
Total Money Spent: $7,444
For once, I don’t have that many fuck-ups but the few categories I did go over by a little bit, are transportation, personal and Chicago Boss Babes Brunch (CBBB).
This is where the $500 on my car accident was finally taken out and because of a few extra events (birthday party, cubs game, and my own birthday) I bought a few more Ubers than normal. That shit REALLY adds up. In this spending period alone I spent $129. That’s insane! So not worth it and want to cut back on those for this next spending period.
I spent a CRAP ton on personal this month because it was my birthday. I treat myself when it’s my birthday, and I kind of went all out for myself. I got myself a spa day, ordered some vitamins for my hair, donated to one of my friend’s charity fundraiser, bought myself some Rothy’s, went out with some friends, refreshed my lavender oil supplies, and just didn’t worry about spending as much.
I regret nothing and am glad I treated myself.
I spent more on CBBB this month because I volunteered to pay for the entire brunch and have everyone Venmo me back what they owe’d. Due to our poor math skills, what should have cost me $20 ended up costing me $43. Not a big deal, but last time I’ll volunteer my card.
That’s hard for me to write because I like being generous. I like buying things for people and I like paying for bills because I like to treat people. But, I need to stop doing it frequently if I want to spend less. I’ve gotten better over the years, but my lifestyle creep is slowly peeking its head out, and it’s time for me to act like I make half of what I actually do.
The Successes Demystified
I’m feeling really relieved and less anxious now that I got my spending back on track for this month, and paying off my car?
Holy shit, what a good feeling it was.
On a whim in early May, I decided to empty out most of my savings account (I had about $700 left) to get wipe out my car loan. Probably not the smartest thing to do, but I knew I didn’t need any cash between when I paid it off and when my next paycheck came in, so I just went for it.
It’s exciting and it felt like such a relief to pay it off. Now I’m re-allocating a portion of what I put down on my car to my student loans.
Again, I don’t want lifestyle creep to make me live outside my means, so as soon as I paid off my car, I immediately went to my student loan provider and changed my automatic payments to include an extra $350 a month.
It’s an easy way to double my payments on my student loans without feeling an impact to my daily living since I’m already used to spending that money on my car.
Budgeting Bare Goals
This was a good month for my goals that I set in the April 2019 Spending Report. Here’s how it panned out:
- Pay off my car.– DONE
- Stick to my goddamn budget.– I was UNDER budget
- Budget for birthday expenses.– DONE. But I technically went over.
- Stick to my goddamn budget and stop eating out so damn much.– DONE!
I’m working hard to be more frugal in social situations.
Entertainment is expensive in Chicago, if I let it be. I haven’t been doing enough cooking together or game nights or other low-cost to free things but I’ve been making more of an effort to do exactly that.
Those thing bring me more joy than going out and dropping a $100 on dinner and a few Ubers. At the end of the day, the company I’m with matters more than what we’re doing or where we’re at. It’s important to remember as I move into saving for a house.
Oh yes. I didn’t forget. Let’s talk about this house thing.
Big News: Why I’m Starting to Save for a House/Condo
I decided to start saving for a condo/house because I’m tired of paying rent and I would also like to settle down into my own place.
Holy shit, those are words I never thought I’d write, especially not before 35 years old.
After Italy, the big realization hit me that I really want to live alone and start this next chapter of my life. In the past, I never thought of buying a place. It felt like it wasn’t even a remote possibility because I know that I want to stay in Chicago and I also know how expensive real estate is in Chicago.
Plus, buying property as a single woman? That’s a huge and expensive and slightly terrifying undertaking.
So originally I started looking at apartments for rent that I could afford that would allow me to live alone, stay in my neighborhood, and also get a dog.
But you know how much that costs?
Almost $2k a month with utilities, pet rent, non-ground unit, in a walkable area, close to the Blue Line, not a shit-hole and in Logan Square.
I don’t want to spend $2k a month on rent. I would much rather spend $2k a month on a property that I own and am building equity in.
I know owning a house or condo can be more expensive because no landlord is taking care of your yard or your broken appliances or the roof, but renting is also expensive when you look at the long game. But I’m starting to think that buying makes a whole lot more sense for me especially because I’m interested in getting started in real estate investments including rental properties and flip properties.
I’m still deciding a lot of things.
Suburbs or city?
Condo or single-family-home?
If city, what neighborhood?
Needs a crap ton of work or move-in ready?
Flip property or forever property?
Rent out a room or live alone?
I’m figuring out what makes most sense for me.
The older I get, the more I realize how important financial independence to me is. I would like to retire early, make a passive income, let my money work for me, and not have to worry about my finances. I’m very excited and interested in getting into the real estate investing world, but I think that starts with owning my own place so that I can stop paying rent.
Now, I’m far from ready for this, but I think I have a plan and I’ll dive a little bit deeper into the “SAVE FOR A HOUSE” plan in my next personal finance post. But what I’ll share now, are some of my goals.
I want to save up at least 10% for a down payment before my lease is up next year, and honestly I’d like to save more than that to cover moving costs and closing costs.
Now, that’s a very ambitious goal. We’re talking about saving $25,000 in ten months or saving $2,500 a month and that’s just for the down payment. I’d like to save an extra $10k to cover moving expenses and closing costs. The ONLY way I can do that is if I start to live on half my take-home income or even less than half if possible.
I’m giving myself a little bit of wiggle room though because I know how hard it’s going to be and I also know that shit happens. I want to have $35,000 saved within the next 18 months, which amounts to a little under $2k a month to save. BUT, my stretch goal is to do that in 12-14 months by working my ass off, saving all the freelance, working overtime, and not spending any money on extras unless it won’t impact my savings goals.
Now here are some milestones I’d like to meet:
- June 2019: $5k in savings
- September 2019: $11k in savings
- December 2019: $17k in savings
- March 2020: $23k in savings (at this point I can start looking to buy)
- June 2020: $29k in savings
- September 2020: $35k in savings
Do-able? Yes, but it won’t be easy.
Am I excited about it?
In order to do this, I’m going to start sharing how much I saved each month. And I’ll start with May!
May 2019: How Much I Saved
Even with paying off my car, I managed to save $1,200 this month. With my most recent paycheck, which isn’t included in this budgeting period but is still included in May, I saved another $1,000 bringing my total May savings to $2,200 with a total accumulated savings of $3,500.
How’s your budgeting going? Are you running into any challenges? What tips and tricks or words of wisdom keep you motivated?