January 2021 Spending

What we spent in January

January was the first month we combined our income and looked at our expenses collectively. We definitely struggled with looking at these numbers since it was double what we’re used to seeing on our individual budget trackers. Although we definitely felt like we could have done better, we were ecstatic to see that we saved over 34% of our income! Let’s dive into how we spent our money this month.

We decided to bucket our spending into 3 different categories: fixed spending, semi-fixed spending and fun spending.

  1. Fixed expenses: these are our static expenses that are exactly the same each month. As expected the majority of this category is rent, our car lease payment and car insurance. Our subscriptions include our American Express monthly credit card fee, Spotify, Scribd (e-book subscription) and Melissa Wood Health (an online Pilates membership).
  2. Semi-fixed expenses: these are bills that we know we’ll have each month, but they tend to vary. January was pretty typical for our utilities and gas amounts, but quite high for groceries and our dog. Here’s why:
    • Groceries: we had a Costco haul where we stocked up on bulk items that we use daily which accounted for 41% ($346) of our total grocery bill. We try to do a big haul like this every few months.
    • Puppy: one of Chandler’s nail broke, which we wouldn’t usually be too concerned about, but it was bleeding after every walk and causing him to limp for a few days. We got it looked at by a vet to make sure it was healing correctly and wasn’t infected. Fortunately, we got the thumbs up from the vet, but it cost us more than we would have liked.
  3. Fun expenses: these are the categories that if we really had to, we could live without, but our philosophy is that we need to find the right balance between enjoying our lives and saving. Granted, we overdid it a bit in this category this month. Our 3 biggest categories here were restaurants, gifts and home expenses. Here’s where our money for these categories went:
    • Restaurants: after lots of relaxing during the December holidays and New Years we were still in vacation mode and ended up ordering most of our meals for the first week of January before we got back to work.
    • Gifts: there were tons of events this month that ran up this bill. Since we were in lockdown, we weren’t able to celebrate birthdays or milestones with family and friends, so we agreed to send them all a small gift (flowers, cookies or donuts). We had 4 birthdays, 3 babies born and 1 engagement. Lots of big life events!
    • Home expenses: as most people have done during this pandemic, we bought some home workout equipment (exercise ball, weights, skipping rope), which was the bulk of this category. We also caved and bought the little green machine carpet cleaner that was trending on TikTok for about $100. And take it from us, it’s been life-changing!

Summary

Overall, we spent $7,686.65 and our income was $11,660.66 bringing our total monthly savings to $3974.01.

It’s far off from the $5,500 we hope to save moving forward, however that new goal accounts for Ryan’s $20K raise that will take effect in February, which will add about $1,100/month to our income (after tax).

We’ll start tracking our income, expenses and saving using the chart below. We want to see our income (brown line) as high above our expenses (blue line) as we possibly can, so we can drive our ending balance (pink line) higher each month.

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