Part of the reason why I chose to represent my monthly expenses and savings in a 3D bar chart is for competitive reasons. I want my savings to tower over everything else each month! My tower of savings each month represents a new skyscraper of little employees that will work hard for me for the rest of my life through compound interest.
Each dollar stowed away will earn pennies per year, which sounds minuscule. But when you magnify this effect by thousands of dollars saved per month and over multiple years and decades, you eventually end up with a stash of cash that will make you financially worry free for the rest of your life.
On the contrary, each expense bar represents a tower of my valuable employees, (dollars), leaving me and entering the hands of others. These employees worked hard for me, and obviously serve specific and important purposes in my life. Life is hard to live without a roof over your head, and without food to eat.
Until I reach a savings rate of 50%, however, most of my income is going to immediate wants and needs: Entertainment, transportation, rent, and sustenance. I’m looking forward to increasing my income, and hopefully cutting unnecessary expenses from my life in pursuit of this goal. I want my hard earned dollars to stay with and work for me the rest of my life!
Still, I welcome the $1231 tower of employees on the right of the bar chart above that will help me on my quest towards financial freedom in the coming years/decades.
I’ll be making 2 trips home in the month of July for Independence Day and another event, so I’m not certain I’ll be able to match this month’s savings rate, but we will see!
It’ll be a lot of driving, but admittedly worth it. After 5 years of living thousands of miles away from my family, it’s good to be within driving distance. Being able to casually get together with my family over long weekends is a luxury that I haven’t been able to experience in years, so lucky me.
It’s situations like this where I force myself to ignore the environmental impact and financial implications of such massive amounts of driving, and just accept and enjoy the time together with my awesome family,
As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, we are social beings. We as humans are happiest with other humans that we can laugh and chat and interact with. I am an incredibly lucky human being, as I have an amazing and dependable family and a wide and trustworthy network of friends.
Breaking down and understanding the true cost of driving is an incredibly important consideration. Additionally, avoiding long daily commutes and biking instead will bring you hidden benefits beyond financial. Being aware of my car consumption makes me increasingly grateful for my 2 trips home next month (3-4 hours per trip)
For now, back to May’s line items:
Home/Rent – $1334
Rent – $1083
Internet – $107
Other utilities – $59
Household goods – $85
Auto – $364
Car Payments – $319
Gasoline/Fuel – $45
My automobile costs were simple this month. I paid the monthly payment on my car loan ($319), and $45 in gas. In my 3 months of vehicle ownership, this is my lowest monthly gas bill. I didn’t make a trip home this month, so that keeps things simple.
Transit/Travel – $0
No expenses this month. I did use public transport a few times but my account is prepaid with a few hundred dollars, which is far far more than my monthly usage. In general, prepaying hundreds of dollars onto a metro card isn’t the best use of the time value of money. However, the few hundred dollars I put on the card helped me achieve a minimum spending requirement to get a credit card sign up bonus.
This is a form of manufactured spending. I signed up and got approved for a credit card that pays back 3% cashback for transit and travel related expenses. As an incentive to sign up for this card, the issuing bank offers a sign up bonus. In this case, I had to spend $3000 in 3 months, to get a reward of $300.
The month I received my card ended up being the month I bought my car. My initial plan was to make a $3000 down payment on my car to knock out the spending requirement. However, my credit limit was set to only $1500, so I ended up having to get a little creative. Prepaying my metrocard ended up being an easy way to help get to that spending requirement, without splurging on something I don’t really need.
Health/Wellness – $4
(Ignoring my monthly health insurance premiums)
Sustenance – $142
June was low for food expenses, mostly due to eating the backlog of things already in my fridge, freezer, and pantry. Additionally, I did some meal prep. I made a ridiculous amount of homemade meaty spaghetti sauce. I still have some of it frozen and ready to thaw and eat on top of some freshly boiled pasta!
I spent only $25 at Chipotle this month, which is a record low for me! Only three meals!
Additionally, I spent $12 on fast food, exclusively at McDonalds. I’m not proud of eating that food, but I must admit it for the sake of transparency.
My alcohol expenditures are categorized as “entertainment” in my categorized expenses summary. For the sake of comparison, I like to include alcohol in my monthly sustenance graph.
An otherwise incredibly low spend month for sustenance was impaired by $58 in alcohol spending. However, this June’s alcohol spending has led to a surplus of IPAs and other high-quality beer in stock in my fridge. Good deal.
Daily Living – $27
From $209 in Amazon purchases in March, to $48 in April, to $0 in May, to a single purchase of $27 in this category for the month of June.
Entertainment – $447
Alcohol – $58
Entertainment – $251
Equipment for Hobbies – $138
Luckily my actual entertainment expenses for the month are about half of this number, thanks to being reimbursed for a lot of bowling expenses.
But yes, I admit it. My brother and I are pretty obsessed with bowling these days. Once a week, I’m driving 30+ miles one way, and paying $25 for only three games of bowling. Leagues are lucrative financial deals for bowling alleys.
At least one other time per week, we end up getting in some recreational bowling. At our local bowling alleys, there’s a $8 unlimited bowling deal. The only issue is that it starts at 9 pm, so bowling generally means one of us is going to have a late night and a late drive home. Additionally, they charge $5 to rent shoes.
Massive change in margin there. To avoid that cost, I found a pair of bowling shoes on Amazon that were $40. In 8 trips over 2 months, that investment has paid off quickly for me.
If you’re into bowling, check out late night deals at your local alley. Buy a pair of shoes, and avoid league unless you’re really serious about bowling. Bowling league is fun, but simultaneously a massive and unnecessary money sink.
It’s been a real good experience, but I prefer the instant gratification of little wait time and being able to play 7+ games in a row.
Also included in my entertainment expenses for the month was three rounds of golf, (including one round of using the luxury of a gas burning golf cart).
Misc Expenses – $38
Web Expenses – $35
Political donation – $3
Total Savings – $1231
With one less biweekly paycheck, my savings rate for June was exactly the same as May: 36%
June Purchase of the Month:
Purchasing the domain and hosting for this website! $35 for an entire year.
I couldn’t be happier with this price, especially compared to the $3000 debt trap I almost fell into when trying to find the perfect domain name.