Well friends, I am one month into my six month shopping ban and things are going well! I have not had too much of an urge to shop for things not on my approved shopping list. When I think of something I would like to buy that isn't on the list I write it down, and I'll see if I still want those things at the end of July when my shopping ban ends.
I've had a few questions regarding our emergency savings, so I thought I would explain what it is to us. Our comfort level emergency savings would be roughly about 3 times our full monthly expenses. Because we have income from several different areas, it is unlikely we would lose them all at the same time making us unable to pay our bills, so three months expenses is what we feel comfortable with, as a minimum. With our move in December and kitchen remodel, we had dipped significantly into these funds, which is why we need to build it back up. Once we have 3 months expenses saved again, we will devote more money to home improvements, but continue to save at a slower pace, eventually reaching 6 months of saved expenses. Home improvements are also an investment of our money since they add value to our home. Additionally, we save for retirement and healthcare in accounts separate from our emergency savings. Both of those are taken out before taxes, so those percentages are not included in the numbers below. Our budgeting numbers are based on take home pay.
So now, on to the numbers for the month!
Savings - 14% - We are very pleased with this amount! It was nice to see a decent size jump in our savings account balance after so many months of seeing it get smaller and smaller.
Monthly Bills - 42.5% - This was lower this month because two of our bills (garbage and water) are quarterly, thus we did not have to pay them this month.
Groceries - 15% - This percentage is a bit off because I started spending my grocery money at the end of January, but didn't start this challenge until February 1. The money is gone, but my money app shows me I technically only spent 11% in February. This gives me hope that I may be able to lower the grocery budget by 1-2%, but we shall see. Some months I have to order vitamins or buy more things in bulk, which make it more expensive. Also, since one of my personal goals was to not buy beer last month, that has been a savings as well.
The remaining 28.5 % were split up between the envelopes (18.5 %) and saving for Remington's school and expenses for him (10%).
Personal Spending - I bought only two things in February with my personal spending. I am allowed to buy one book per month on my shopping ban, so this month I chose Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More. The book was excellent and I highly recommend it if you are looking to simplify your life or career. Courtney's story of simplifying her life after her MS diagnosis was very relevant to me and my life with fibromyalgia.
I also bought a chair for our deck. The wooden rockers that sat on our porch at the farmhouse had to be moved down to the lower deck because I didn't like them getting rained on. The upper deck is where we usually sit and is not covered so we needed a waterproof chair. We already had one, so I bought another one so Chad and I can sit on the deck together. We enjoyed a few hours last Saturday on the deck with a beverage, and can see we will get much use out of the chairs this spring and summer!
I have a bit of my money left in my envelope to carry over to March. My birkenstock's broke completely this week so I am trying to decide whether to replace them next month, or wait 1 or 2 more months. I really want to buy a plant and book in March, both of which are on the approved shopping list.
Envelopes - All the remaining envelopes, Date, Mocha, Fuel, Car Repair, House Repair, Gifts, Donations, and Travel/Hosting have money left which will carry over to next month.
March looks to be a little more expensive. We have two birthdays and our anniversary, but all of those should be covered with the appropriate envelopes. I also have been considering doing a float session in a sensory deprivation tank. Have you heard of those or have you tried a float before? The tanks a are filled with 900 pounds of Epsom salt which causes your body to float. The water is heated to skin temp and the tank is sound proof, so it is supposed to be highly relaxing and good for anxiety and pain. It sounds interesting, so I may work it into the budget. I need to see if I can use our healthcare funds for it first though. We will also continue the shopping ban and approved shopping lists.
Month 2, here we come! I will update April 1 to let you know how March went. How did your month go, friends?