February 2019-Cost of Living

If you’re the type of person that loves a turn around story, stick around. I don’t think we kicked off February to a great start with our spending. The good news is that we’re still at the start of this process and we have lots of opportunities for improvement. That’s a nice way of saying we have nowhere to go, but up.

Review of Last Month

Last month was the first time we estimated our cost of living. You can review that post here. We estimated our total cost of living to be around $2,775 per month. Of that total, housing took up the majority of the expenses at just over 43%. Food costs were the second highest, at just over 25%.

Cost of Living Details

Overall, this was a very expensive month. I suspect that outside of the unusual costs, we would have met our goals for both saving amount, and savings rate. Let’s see what the math says.

Home Costs

This month we spent pretty much in line with our budgeted amount. We had to buy a little more propane this winter than normal (97.98). We usually budget around 500 gallons a year, but this winter has been wild. We’ll take note of this and adjust our budget for next year.

Food Costs

Last month we estimated $714 for food, and we spent $734.49.
We identified “Dining Out” needed to be reduced, but we saw total spending of $292.24. To be fair, I didn’t plan to start addressing this goal until March. This is the second month to confirm we’re spending way too much on “Dining Out”, so we did validate it wasn’t a fluke of spending.

Unexpected Costs

Like a lot of people, we can get surprised by unexpected costs. This month we had annual reoccurring costs come due. Annual costs are bills you know occur once a year that you budget for. If you refer back to the first Cost of Living post, you can see that represented in the “Yearly Expense” column. Just because you might know they’re coming doesn’t mean they don’t take the wind out of your sails. How much did these non-routine costs limit our savings ability this month? Well, let’s identify what they were first. We have Propane, Car repair, License Plate fees, Pet Care, Land Tax, and Amazon membership dues.
$97.98 + $228.20 + $76.28 + $213.54 + $685.63 + $119 = $1,420.63

Propane, pet care, and car repair were surprises. The other expenses were known costs that occur annually, so it’s not a huge problem. The only real issue here is we’re limited to how much we can save this month because of these large out of routine costs. $1,420 is a huge amount we could have saved.

Take Aways

We spent $4,176.98 for the month. Time will tell how much of our initial estimates were in line.

Looking forward to March to see our food costs get under control.

Here is a link to our Goals.

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Dustin

Author of firein10.com Tracking my goal of achieving financial independence in 10 years.

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