Monthly Financial Update: August 2019

In December, when reviewing my finances for 2018, I mentioned my desire to look at them on a monthly basis in 2019. Justin and I spent a little too much in 2018 and let our finances get the best of us. Maybe by looking at our finances monthly (and let you guys/gals keep me in check), we will do better this year.

That's the goal anyway.

Here's month #8:


green = this year, yellow = last year

Last Year:
• We spent more on everything except…
• we spent less on uncategorized expenses. (And I don't even know what they were!)

dotted line = last month, green line = this month

Last Month:
• We spent more on everything except…
• We spent less on fees (yearly fee for Capital One Venture).

Where We Spent Our Money:

Top 10 Merchants:
1. Electricity
2. Anthropologie (2 dresses)
3. Starbucks
4. Embassy Suites
5. RaceTrac (gas)
6. Kroger
7. City Farmer's Market
8. Free People (2 dresses)
9. Amazon (2 books for French class, champagne flutes, headphones)
10. Destin Ice Market (wine, meat, bread)

Top 10 Categories:
1. Food & Dining
2. Auto & Transport
3. Shopping (clothes, books, headphones, champagne flutes)
4. Bills & Utilities
5. Travel (hotel, Lyft)
6. Life Insurance
7. Fees & Charges (balance transfer fee)
8. Uncategorized (No idea what these were! 🤨)

9. Personal Care

Gas & Fuel – over
Groceries – under
✗ Restaurants – over
Hair Appointments – under
✗ Everything Else – over

Net Income:


credit cards

student loans

How Did I Do On My Financial Goals for August?
✓- Get Chase Slate set up. (Set up, but not showing on Mint)
Continue to use the correct credit cards for gas and restaurants.
Quit eating out when we aren't hungry for a meal. It's bad for weight gain and for our wallet.
Spend less than we did in July on something (groceries, restaurants, or other). It doesn't matter what.
Return top to Belk.
Pay for car tags.
Look for a used wine fridge.
– Be careful with spending during our short Florida getaway.

* Loan Payoff Date 11/1/22
* Emergency Funds: $11,035
• 401K $43,021.41
• Credit Scores: 768 (Justin), 804, 807 (me)

Overview of the Biggest Impacts This Month:
1. Opened Chase Slate.
2. Bills increased.
3. Traveled to 30A. (gas, meals)
4. Buying clothes. 😬
5. Breaking all of the champagne flutes! 😳

What went wrong this month?
1. Bills increased again.
2. I probably bought too many clothes. But I love most of them. ❤️
3. Getting a break from work. But it was good for my mental health.
4. Gas was really expensive this month because we drove my husband's truck to Florida. (Trucks use a lot of gas. Also, traveling meant we spent extra on gas this month anyway.)
5. Breaking things and then needing to replace them. Always feels like an unnecessary expense. 😕

What went right this month?
1. Going to see movies for free! It was fun and a great way to get to know my co-worker!
2. We spent less on groceries this month than we did last month! Yay!
3. Credit score increased!
4. Got a check from Target for a data breach! And a few surprising opportunities to make extra money.
5. Being told in advance what book we would need for our French class and being able to order a used copy online.

Financial plans/goals for September?
1. Continue to reduce grocery spending. (We have lots of wine! We don't need anymore!)
2. Start purchasing gifts for Christmas.
3. Go low-key when purchasing birthday gifts this month. 😳
4. Aim to only spend around half (or, ideally, less) of our takehome pay.
5. Buy tires for my car.
6. Look at the budget and make adjustments. (Some are needed!)
7. Return dress to Free People, leggings and dress to Belk (if I'm not going to wear it).

September is looking to be quite expensive. There are so many birthdays! And my car needs tires. Can I ever catch a break?

On the upside, I feel like we did pretty good at accomplishing many of our August goals. Spending less? Win! I don't know if it's sustainable, but I hope we can continue that into September even with our extra expenses we know we have coming up.

How do you plan for months where you know extra money will be spent? Is your budget generally low enough that it doesn't matter and the extra expenses don't affect you? Or do those weird months throw you off for a bit? Anything I should think about before September hits?

Financial Resolution Goals 2019

August Lookback

It's another month and thus another edition of the "lookback". August is passing by far more quickly than I anticipated. (Don't most months?) School has started where I live, and I'm already missing the "lazy" days of summer. Where is the beach when you need it?

Anyway, here's what I've been up to –

Listening to: 

You've Got Mail

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom was looking for movies where ice cream is consumed. I thought this was one. We both decided it had been too long since we last saw it, so I've now got it playing in the background while I, again, don't pay attention to it and, instead, focus on blogging.

This brings up a fair point – do people actually sit back and watch movies any more? I feel like any time I'm watching movies or tv shows with my friends, we are usually on our phones multi-tasking. That or I'm editing pictures on my laptop or writing a blog post… I'm never sitting idle.

The good news? I'm going to a screening for a movie where I won't (and can't) be multi-tasking! No idea if the movie will be any good, though. Guess I'll find out. Maybe it will give me a chance to slow down and relax.


a time way back when, when getting an email felt like it did in the movie You've Got Mail

"I turn on my computer. I wait impatiently as it connects. I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You've got mail. I hear nothing. Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart. I have mail. From you.” - Kathleen Kelly in You've Got Mail

Now, advertisers capitalize on that feeling, overwhelming a person daily with email. So to combat that, we use programs like risking our privacy to prevent all of the stress that comes from 15,000 emails a day. Is there a way to get back to that feeling of excitement when you open your inbox? 


nothing at the moment 😳

Anxious about:

French 101.

I took German with my husband in high school, but we weren't even together then! He's so smart that I am certain I will fall behind. My hope is that, because the class is so small, the experience will be more about learning something and less about taking tests. If I can emerge from the class knowing something more about French than I already do, I will consider that a success.

Interested to Know:

I went to a party on Saturday at the house of a co-worker. She fixed the most amazing Colombian soup. She is kick-ass, extremely kind and generous, and has so much personality. My husband and I ran into her on a random date night and she oh-so-kindly went out of her to welcome us into her friend group.

So what I'm wanting to know is – how do you do that? How do you speak your mind and keep the peace?

Granted, she is older and thus has waaaaaaayyyy more life experience than me, but I would really love to emulate her. I would love to ooze confidence like she does. ❤️

Keeping A Secret: 

I figured out a Christmas present for some friends and I am super excited about it. I know it's far in advance, but I would need to send it early. Maybe after Christmas, I will blog about it. (Or at least after they get it; it's the kind of present that they really should open before Christmas.)


the Vanderbilt Skirt made by Maeve and sold by Anthropologie (I discovered it can be worn as a super-cute dress! Probably only works that way if you are short, though…)
Across the Sea Tunic in Lilac Fields from Free People (I love this dress in the other colors I've purchased! It has pockets!)
Coast to Coast Convertible Top in the Tomato Combo from Free People (No idea if I'll like it, but I think it could be cute with bike shorts.)
French Now for my French 101 class beginning later this month! (Bought used.)
• a Johansen Missy bag in mint for my laptop (Already gotten so many compliments! And it is so big! -- I bought mine used.)



I suspect that the number of books I read will begin to dwindle as I take on French 101 in the next few weeks.

What are you up to this month? Doing anything fun or different? Do you remember a time when checking emails was fun? Do you actually sit and watch a movie rather than multi-tasking through it?

101 in 1001 Review


Idea from: Wandering Weekenders

The Challenge: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days (roughly 2.75 years)

The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and be stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days?: Many people have created lists in the past – frequently simple goals such as new year’s resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks.

START: October 31, 2016
END: July 29, 2019

See post here.

What Went Well –
• Cleaned and organized my belongings: got rid of more than 100 items! And made some money too!
• With social media: I grew my twitter following and cleaned it up! I also started using facebook.
• I tried new things with my photography – like shooting the stars!
• Losing weight is easy when you are depressed. (But not at any other time!)
• Even though we weren't able to complete all of our altruistic goals, working on this area has encouraged us to give more thought to the poor people in our community, We tended to do better with giving money to others as opposed to offering up our time.
• We completed most of our travel goals. A lot of them had to do with a trip to Hawai'i. I feel like future travel goals should be more generic. It's easier to visit "a memorial" as opposed to the "Pearl Harbor Memorial". Know what I mean?

What Went Badly –
• Work on the blog. I think my goals were too big and not specific enough.
• I didn't touch pinterest or instagram too much. Maybe future goals should be more specific?
• Sharing my photography with friends and family is hard. I think I'm too judgemental and overthink it.
• It was hard to keep up with my reading goals. I almost felt inactive and like I wasn't working on a goal when I was reading. Obviously, I was, but that's not what it felt like.
• Also, make-up takes too much time.
• I don't like goals related to buying things. I already spend enough money as it is.
• I'm not very creative outside of photoshop and editing photos. Once again, as with reading, doing creative activities often felt like a waste of precious time.
• Goals requiring help from another person (like food-related ones) were harder to accomplish, because, often, those people weren't around or were busy doing other things.
• Even though Justin and I accomplished a few of our money goals, this is the area of 101 in 1001 that we worked the hardest on. If I decide to do 101 in 1001 again, I will definitely work on this area again.

My favorite goals/the most life-changing:
• Ice skating! I hadn't done it in over 10 years, and it was amazing to get back on the rink for the first time since!
• Cleaning and organizing. I got rid of so many clothes and books. And I loved reliving my high school "glory days" through my journals. I know that a lot more organization needs to happen, but the 101 in 1001 challenge got me started on what was and is a daunting process.
• Shooting the stars and fireworks. I've got awesome photos to show from it!
• Going to the drive-in to see a movie. It was just so much fun! And so cheap!
• Trying a pina colada. It opened up my world to tiki-style drinks and the tiki culture.

If I do 101 in 1001 again…
• There are some areas where I need to be more specific and some where I need to be less specific.
• I should limit any goals that require help from others.
• For travel goals, I should be less specific.

Areas I would work on again…
• Money
• Photography
• Cleaning and Organizing
• Limited recipes
• Blog and social media goals (if they are specific)

Areas I would avoid…
• Anything that requires buying/purchasing (unless it fits into the organization category or is for fixing something I already own).
• Losing weight and exercising. It wasn't fun and I'm not entirely sure it benefited me in any way.

I did love the push to try things – some that I had done before and some that I had not. I'll have to put some thought into how I broke up my list and see if there is a better way to do it. I might also need to lessen the number of goals – even over the course of 3 years, 101 things seemed almost unattainable.

Are you one of the bloggers that participated in 101 in 1001? What did you think about the challenge? Were you successful? Or can you see where you need to improve?

If you didn't participate in 101 in 1001, would you consider a challenge like that in the future? Is there anything you would change