Monthly Financial Update: January 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 letting you guys/gals keep me in check), we will do better this year. That's the goal anyway.

So, here we go …


green - this year; yellow - last year

Where We Spent Our Money:

Top 10 Locations
1. Marriott - 6 nights + food/drinks + souvenirs/stamps
2. Progressive - 6 months car insurance
3. Hyatt - 2 nights + entertainment + food/drink
4. Sheraton - 2 nights + food/drink
5. DHL - 2 shipments to the US
6. Chase Card Membership - Sapphire Reserve
7. Nile Airlines - flight from Sharm-El-Sheikh to Cairo
8. Kroger - groceries
9. Egypt Group Tour - with wedding party
10. Electricity

Top 10 Categories
1. Travel - hotels, taxis, flight, checked luggage
2. Food and dining
3. Auto & transport - car wash, public transportation, gas, floor mats, batteries for the fob, car insurance
4. Shopping - books, clothes, gifts, souveniers
5. Bills & Utilities - engineering dues, electricity, cell phone, email
6. Entertainment - museums, tours
7. DHL shipping
8. Fees & Charges - interest, transfer fees
9. Uncategorized - haven't figured it out yet!
10. Personal Care - dry cleaning, hair cuts
11. Financial - life insurance

(compared to last year)

Here's where I think we can improve:
• Obviously we won't be traveling in February (that I know of), so spending will decrease there.
• As a result of not traveling, food/dining, shopping, shipping (business services), and gifts should also decrease.
• Auto care might go up, because we need to get Justin's tires looked at and change the oil.
• I've gotten everything dry cleaned that needed to be after our trip, so the next time that will come up will be at the end of winter (April, May, June).

February is usually our least expensive month. We will see if that holds true this year. We are pretty motivated to get back on track with paying down debts at this time of year. The only unexpected expense I foresee is taxes.

Net Income:

It's a bit of a shocker to me that we haven't spent more than we made this month yet.


Our interest and transfer fees, as well as overall credit card debt, is up. We just paid for six months of car insurance, so I'm hoping this is just a fluke and that I will see a decrease next month. But that's why I'm tracking my debt here. Ideally, if it is not a fluke, I will see that it isn't and be able to work to correct it.

Luckily, student loan debt and our car loan are both down. And actually the car loan is paid off!! WOOT! Just before the car hit 100,000 miles. The student loan payoff date (according to Mint) is 11/1/22, one month earlier than it was last month. (It's my opinion that Mint is wrong based on what I've seen on the student loan websites, but I'm willing to give Mint the benefit of the doubt on this one. Please be correct Mint!!!)

* Loan Payoff Date 11/1/22
* Emergency Funds: $8936
* Credit Scores: 764 (Justin), 781 (me)
* Car loan paid off! YAY!!!
* Investments at -60.28% (Only slightly worse at .04% than a month ago.)

Overview of the Biggest Impacts This Month
1. Travel to Europe and Egypt
2. Car insurance
3. Bonuses!
4. Paying off car.
5. Transfer fees.

What went wrong this month?
1. Buying winter clothing because it was on sale.
2. Buying souvenirs and gifts. And then having to pay extra to ship them home … or for checking them at the airport.
3. Not sharing meals while overseas. Food costs were high this month!
4. Trying to use an expiring gift card on Amazon that ended up not going through, so they used our credit card instead. :(
5. Transfer fees. If we didn't have debt, this wouldn't be a problem.

What went right this month?
1. Paying off the car!!
2. Spending extra time looking at our finances and working out some goals for 2019.
3. Spending time with friends we otherwise might not have seen this year. Even if it cost us more.
4. Buying winter clothes on sale, because ideally I won't need to buy them at full price next time I travel somewhere in the winter.
5. Buying hard-to-get goods in other countries, because who knows when I will be back?

Financial plans/goals for next month?
1. Spend less on food.
2. Decide which clothes I want to return and do so.
3. Look at the Chase Sapphire Preferred and see if it is a card we can cancel.
4. Purchase Starbucks giftcards from Wal Greens using Chase Freedom to get 5% back and save on our morning Starbucks tea/coffee (and beat traffic into the city).
5. Try to spend less in February than we did in January and less than we did last February '18.

Anyway, that's where we stand. Will you be tracking your finances monthly? Will you help me stay on track this year? I'd love it if you would!

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