Money well spent- March 2019

by Government Worker FI | Last Updated: April 9, 2019

When I started this blog, I thought I needed to do everything exactly like “successful” personal finance bloggers. That meant writing a detailed post (filled with affiliate links) of everything that I purchased in the past month. I actually wrote posts like that for January and February, but didn’t really enjoy writing them. In fact, I felt uncomfortable sharing that level of detail on our housing and childcare expenses. (Which are astrof*ckingnomical). After having an exestential blogging crisis, I realized that I am really only blogging for my own enjoyment. Therefore, instead of doing a full spending report, I decided to write a “money well spent” post each month.

In my “money well spent” post, I’ll write about what was unique about our spending for that month. And share some details about what we did as a family. Being a father is so much of my life right now (both personally and financially) it feels weird not to write acknowledge it.

So without further ado, here is my money well spent post for March, 2019.

Money well spent- major expenditures in March 2019

Money well spent- March 2019 infographic
Money well spent- March 2019 **UPDATE** No- we didn’t spend $500 on babysitters. I just copied and pasted the grocery budget for the other lines and forgot to change it. We spent like $60.

Environmental impact

I don’t want to just minimize the money we spend, but I’d also like to be frugal in how much we’re taking from the earth. Posting our utility usage helps me be accountable for that. Nothing too different from a normal month. But here are some highlights:

Groceries

We spent a lot less than our average ($612) on groceries this month.

Restaurants

Normally we just avoid restaurants (6 month average restaurant bill is $26/month). However, we decided to do some fun things with the kids for their spring break. We spent the first 4 weekdays at home with the kids- grandparents watched them for 2 days and I watched them for 2 days.

Dates

Dates are absolutely the best thing we spend money on every month. I *love* my wife. I love spending time with her. Unfortunately we both work, I have to travel, and the kids are so full of life that we don’t get as much time as we’d like to talk and hang out and catch up.

We’re pretty good about having “at home” dates after the kids go to bed, but it’s fun to have extra time away from together too. This month we had the babysitter come in the afternoon and we went for a bike ride, grabbed a pitcher of cider, and relaxed for a few hours before coming home, putting the kids to bed, and then continuing hanging out after they went to bed.

It seemed like in February the weekend days were *too long* with parenting and we’d be frequently burned out and crabby by the time they were in bed. I liked this mid-day date because neither of us lost our cool all weekend.

picture of me getting a haircut
We spent $0 on haircuts this month. Kid1 now cuts my hair (and does a fabulous job of it!)

Vacation

Oh man. I could write a thousand word post about this. But we decided to take the kids to Chicago over spring break for an overnight trip. Here are some frugality wins:

Anyway, it was cheap. The trip was less than enjoyable because :

I feel bad that the kids didn’t get the experience I’d hope we’d have had as a family. But I think we learned some lessons and it didn’t really cost that much…

Long term progress

March 2019 progress towards financial indepdendence
March 2019 progress towards FI

We were able to save 54% of our income this month (I include our mortgage principal payments as “savings”). I think that’s pretty good given our childcare outlays.

Our monthly snapshot at how close to FI we are looks good. I like to measure it two different ways. Our two biggest expenses are childcare and mortgage. If we retire early, we won’t need to pay for childcare. Also, since we are planning on paying off our house before achieving FI, we won’t have principal and interest payments on our house at that time. So I calculate our current & “expected” percent FI.

We’re definitely making progress towards our goals. Since FI needs to wait until mortgage payoff which is about 4 years away, I’m not too concerned about the actual percentages.

What do you think of the new monthly review? Any comments on what you’d like to see in next month’s review? Any ideas on places to save/spend? Leave a comment!