How’d we do in our first month against our 2016 budget goal to reduce spend by 30%+ compared to last year?
We went over budget by 11%, or $360. This was mainly due to an intentional overspend in gifts given and dining out (Baby ModelMinority is coming soon and we’re enjoying our last nights out), and a way-too-high heating bill that I’m going to be much more careful about.
Our net worth tanked along with the market, dropping -4.9%. While it hurts, I’m feeling relatively okay about it. We’ll stick to the plan and keep our money in the market in accordance with our asset allocation. I may even put some more in later, depending on how we’re progressing against our value path (more on how to use value-path investing to mitigate risk in another post).
We went over unintentionally on utilities, due to a $198 heating bill that is 2x(!) our average bill. I worked from home most of January and it was unseasonably cold, so the heat was kept on nearly all day. Oops, time to turn off the heat and put on a sweater!
In contrast, our dining over-spend was done consciously. Baby ModelMinority is due in early March, and we’re trying to get out with friends as much as possible before life gets a lot more complicated. February will probably also go over. Compared to the $795/mo. dining spend that we averaged in 2015 though, this is still an improvement.
Groceries was slightly over. We’ve been trying out Green Chef and Blue Apron, which are meal services that deliver fresh ingredients to your door that you cook yourself according to their easy-to-follow and delicious recipes. Clearly, this is not the cheapest way to cook at home. But it is still cheaper and healthier than eating out, which is what we’re trying to wean ourselves off of. After trying both services, we’re sticking with Green Chef. It’s slightly more expensive ($80/wk vs $59/wk for Blue Apron), but it’s organic, the portions are bigger, and the food is tastier.
Gifts was another conscious over-spend. We had a couple of baby showers and my brother’s big 30th birthday.
Clothing & Personal Care spend should go down after this month, as we still owed one last payment on the massage club subscription that has since been canceled.
Ouch! This represents a $60K loss in January, and that’s painful to see. My asset allocation helped to mitigate some risk relative to the stock market, but it did not help that my company stock tanked by 10% over the month.
Se la vie. Good thing my meditation practice and gratitude journal seems to be working in keeping me grounded. After all, money can always gained back. Time, on the other hand, can never be recovered. And with Baby ModelMinority due in a month, my remaining time as a dependent-free adult is truly precious!