February 2017 Budget Review

I’m always excited to sit down for another monthly budget review, as it gives me a good opportunity to reflect on the changes in my life since my last review. This past February, I’ve continued to be really focused on wellness and gratitude. I’ve been doing some journaling, keeping up a plant-based diet with more fruits and veggies, drinking (and eating) less caffeine (less chocolate), meditating, spending less time on social media (weekends offline!), and intentionally being more in the moment not just with my husband and children, but when I’m alone. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit my best friend in San Diego, spend time with family in north Florida, and connect more with friends living locally. And did I mention I turned 30 this past month? Growing older is an experience I have come to cherish so deeply as not everyone gets the opportunity to witness so many seasons and changes. It has also taught me how to balance being prepared for the future and still live in the moment, in terms of wellness choices, intentionality, and finances. I’m a ridiculously lucky, privileged woman, and I hope to continue to live in a way that shows my gratitude for my life, gives more to others, and provides inspiration. So I’ll start right here by giving you a peek into my family’s pocket-book in hopes that it helps others to be inspired to get a better understanding of their own finances.

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February 2017 Budget Review

Essentials (60% of the month’s income)
We did it, y’all! The first month with a grocery bill under budget! $821 to be exact, and there are a couple of reasons why I think I was able to keep it low, but still feel like we were eating well. It was a short month, we were out-of-town for a couple of days as a family, and I was out of town solo for a couple days. If there were one more day in the month, I would have tacked on an add’l $90 in groceries which is still better than the average. Breakfasts have been less expensive than previously. The kids used to eat a ton of cereal, but they’re now on an oat grouts kick which is much cheaper (and healthier). I also switched to green smoothies in the morning versus my previous protein shake. I’m still working on compiling all of our grocery costs (for separate blog post) so I’ll be able to give you a better idea exactly how much each meal costs us. But to balance out the lower grocery costs, we still had some higher pet costs in the form of our twice yearly Trifexis expense. So in the end, this whole category was about average.

Lifestyle  (12% of the month’s income) 
This category inched much closer to the usual 10% goal so I’m pretty pleased about that. Besides the monthly Jeep (Grand Wagoneer) costs, barre membership, streaming services, and take out costs, I also spent a bit more on personal care products (bought and am loving a few things from RMS Beauty), and we bought a cedar fireplace mantle.

Goals – Short-Term (22% of the month’s income) 
We were able to put a lot away towards short-term savings goals, something we haven’t been able to do in a while. In the coming month’s we will be doing a termite treatment, setting up quarterly pest control, and doing some landscaping so this account happily accepted some bolstering.

Goals – Long-Term (6% of the month’s income)
This category was a little lower than usual because we had some trouble getting our auto deduct set up for the kids’ savings plans (we recently switched banks). Otherwise this is just the usual 401K, IRA, and HSA transfers.

Next Month’s Projections
I’m excited about next month because we’ve made two changes towards long-term savings goals. (1) We doubled the contribution towards retirement. There is no better time than now to ensure you are prepared for the future. And with this change in our contribution, on the current trajectory, retirement will be welcomed, not dreaded and pushed back. (2) We increased the amount going towards the additional principal payments each month. When we got our mortgage on this house, we decided to go with a 30 year, just because we wanted the minimums to be small in case we fell on hard times. I’m a firm believer in not maxing out your monthly house payments based on your income. But we also knew we wouldn’t just pay the minimum every month. With this newest change in payments towards the principal, we’re projected to pay off the house in May 2025, exactly nine years after we bought it.

I get so excited thinking about achieving such a huge goal, especially in regards to what it means for our family’s security and financial freedom. Are you currently working towards any financial goals? I would love to hear what they are, your plan to accomplish them, and any road blocks you think you might face along the way. Thanks for reading!

xoxo Lauren

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