As always, it’s time for another monthly expense update for February 2023.
My rent for this month was prorated due to my move in date for last month. This will return to the $1300 going forwards.
Overall my utility expenses include a $100 deposit for my water, and a $90 deposit for my gas and electric. The $90 deposit will continue until June or July where it will cease. Other than these deposits I expect overall my bills will be lower next month, I think this will mostly be a cyclical expense for heating (I don’t plan to use cooling at all) and some lights for my plants that really are only used in the colder and darker months (most of my plants will spend the warmer months outside after the last freeze).
Groceries are what they are at $390. I usually have between $50 with $100 of groceries every week. The more expensive weeks are when I stock up on some bulk goods that I don’t necessarily buy every week, such as the large bags of frozen fruit I buy for my breakfast. I expect this to be pretty close to constant. Next month I’m going to track all the food I buy and how long it lasts me so I can get a better understanding of what my expenses are and how much I’m spending per meal (excluding equipment and time).
To make it more interesting I’m going to try and predict the future. I think that my dinners or breakfasts are the most expensive per meal. For the dinners I get a lot of meals out of what I eat but I also tend to be making more expensive meals than my lunches or breakfasts. For breakfasts, most of the things I use to make breakfast are only getting used for that. Unlike my dinners which are also often repurposed as lunches.
As for my other expenses category, I’m breaking it into two smaller categories this month, discretionary and taxes. The bulk of the discretionary was buying a food mill. I use this to process chilis into chili sauce. It creates a better tasting product than more traditional methods. In total, discretionary was 99.
As for the taxes, the total was 193. Most of this (~66%) was charges from my tax preparer with less than $100 in owed taxes due to changes in my status from 2021-2022. For next year I’m going to look for a cheaper tax preparer for next year (or just do it myself) and make sure my W4 with my new employer is updated for my new status.
Overall, I spent about $1,523 this month. I expect this to be closer to $2,500 next month as I’ll have a full month of utilities and rent although the other expense category will be back down closer to $100 (I’m fairly certain it’ll be $102).
This month I got a portion of my signing bonus from my current employer. I’ll receive the rest after a year of service. In total I received about 7570 in my accounts this month. I expect this to go down slightly next month. As usual, I do not include investment income in this total.
The values of my accounts as of the end of day February 28, 2023 are given below.
|Account type||Amount ($)|
As always I like to graph these changes as an easier way to track my long term trends.
It’s still climbing up and to the right, which is the goal. I’m hoping as I get more data points I’ll have more to say as I’ll be able to identify trends. After I get a sufficient number of data points I may also include a trailing 12 months graph to take a look at trends over a shorter term as this graph will eventually span 7+ years of savings which may make spotting trends more difficult.
I should have calculated this last month. But I didn’t think about it until this month. So I went back and calculated it for last month. Much like graphing my net worth change, this is to look at trends in my savings and how they change month to month. Currently I shoot for an average of 66% or more. I do not include what’s taken out of my paycheck for taxes, just take home and total expenses for that month. This month, my savings rate was: 79.99%. I’m just going to round up to 80% this month. I don’t know if more than three figures really helps with savings rate.
Since I didn’t include it last month, my savings rate for January was: 52.5%. This was better than I thought, actually. I was expecting it to be much lower, it definitely felt like I wasn’t saving a lot. Granted I had an extra paycheck and a higher final paycheck from my previous employer.
Up through February my average savings rate was 67%. While I’d like this to be higher, this is in the range I shoot for.
The graph below tracks my long term trends in savings rate back to January 2023.
Overall, not much to say this month. Two data points don’t make for a lot to say. Like I mentioned above, I expect my savings rate to be lower next month. I’m expecting it to level off towards my average savings rate once I have a lot of data points.
Cheating and looking ahead to next month, I expect my savings rate to be about ~60% if I continue this month’s spending. I may need to find a way to lower my expenses to meet my goal of 66%+. I have a few ideas that I may try in March. I.E. I keep several grow lights on from when I get up to when I go to bed for my plants. I think for next month I’ll keep a closer eye on my expenses, exactly what I’m buying at the grocery store, for instance, and take a look at if there are cheaper alternatives for April.
The table below, as well as the goals page shows my current progress as of the end of February.
|Expand Emergency Fund||Short||One time||92%|
|Workout 5 days a week||Short||Continuous||On Track|
|Repair Forge||Medium||One time||25%|
|Enroll in a Spanish Course||Medium||One time||0%|
|Reduce Spending in a Category||Medium||Annual||0%|
|Repair 3D Printers||Medium||One time||25%|
|Expand Potted Garden||Medium||One time||25%|
|Net worth 150,000||Long||One Time||65%|
|Learn Spanish Verb Conjugation||Long||One time||25%|
|Set New Workout Goals||Long||Annual||On Track|
|Expand Engineering Skills||Longer||Continuous||On Track|
|Obtain some Degree of Fluency in Spanish||Longer||Continuous||On Track|
|Maintain Retirement Contributions||Longer||Continuous||On Track|
|Increase Savings Rate||Longer||Continuous||N/A|
|Expand workout Regime||Longer||One Time||On Track|
Let’s go over some progress I’ve made on some goals.
On reestablishing my emergency fund, I have about $11,000 in my emergency fund and a goal of $12,000. I also keep about $4,000 on hand to cover expenses throughout the month, even though a majority of my expenses go on my credit card which I pay off at the end of each month, and just top it off when I get paid. I’m hoping to begin shifting from saving an emergency fund to being able to invest again next month.
One advantage of reaching this amount was that I was eligible for my bank’s High-Yield Savings Account (HYSA). Unfortunately, my bank has terrible returns even in this account (0.1%APY vs the .01%APY I was making with a regular savings account with them). I may look to move these funds into an account with a more competitive interest rate in the future, but there is some convenience of just having it all through one bank, after all this emergency fund is basically going to sit there and collect what interest it collects. The goal is not to generate huge amounts of returns but to be available immediately should I need it.
For forge repair I’ve priced out the materials I’ll need. It will cost me about $100 for both the refractory cement and the kaowool insulation. I’ll probably buy each over the next few months. The upside is that the amounts I’ll buy will probably last for more than one relining of the forge, which means I won’t have to shell out the cash again for some time. I’m hoping to order these in May or June. After that it will be procuring or building an anvil stand and getting something to place my forge atop.
My 3D printers require a few things. For my SLA I just need some consumable parts and to recalibrate it. For the FFF I think I need a new bearing or another part with minor damage to solve the issues I’ve been having with it. I plan to just order both. Although I am going to take advantage of this downtime to lubricate all the parts as well. I plan to buy these in concert with the forge parts as they’re fairly cheap ~$25 for everything if I only replace the problem bearing. I’ll probably order a few extra bearings to just round it off to about $30 and account for shipping. We’ll see what my other expenses look like in the next few months, but it is looking like May or June for ordering these parts depending on when I decide to reline my forge.
As for my working out, I’ve been able to increase everything in my calisthenics to the next short term goal other than planks. I’m definitely getting a good workout from these now, usually I’m working up a bit of a sweat. I’ll keep going at this level for a bit just to get used to it before I start working towards the next one. The app I have been using to track my weighted workouts is going to be discontinued in the near future. So I’m going to take advantage of that to try a slightly different routine from Fitbod to see if I like what it suggests. I’m going to start with just using it every Friday while I still have the old app. If I don’t care for it, I’ll find a different method to track my workouts.
On to expanding my garden, I’ve started a batch of chili seeds. I’m not too concerned about them and I have plenty more should these fail. I’ve also started the seeds of a grapefruit tree. We’ll see if they actually sprout though. If these fail I’ll try again when the daytime temperatures in my house are warmer.
For the remaining plants (tomatoes, tea, and citrus) I’ve priced out getting the plants and I’m estimating they will cost about $82. I’m thinking I’ll get these sooner rather than later so the vendors do not run out of stock before I can order. I’m expecting this to be my April other expense.
I’m also going to add a new goal starting this month. Upon reflection, I eat a lot of meat and that’s not necessarily healthy. Going forward I’m going to try for two weeks of vegetarian/pescetarian dinners a month and two weeks where I can make a meat dish. I’ll add that to next month’s table. Sundays will be the only exception to that, as that’s when I make pizza, which usually has some pepperoni on it.
As for Spanish, I’m still working on Rosetta stone and watching Spanish soaps, but I found that the class times at the local community college will interfere with my work schedule. I’m going to see what I can find for online courses.
I’m still working on the past tenses for spanish as they are a little more difficult than the present tenses. Once I get past tense down, I’m going to start working on the future tenses. Then it’ll just be training my brain and learning more vocabulary. I’m thinking I may start journaling or something in Spanish. This will force me to learn new vocabulary as well as get practice in forming sentences.
That’s it for this month. I will see you all next month.