Monthly Financial Update: September 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 #9:


green - this year, yellow - last year

Last Year:
• We spent more on food, shopping, gifts (Christmas gifts, nephew's birthday gift), and fees & charges (interest).
• We spent less on auto (tires, rims), travel (New Orleans), and bills.

dotted line = last month, green line = this month

In August:
• We spent more on food, bills (probably electricity), and fees (Capital One Venture yearly fee)
• We spent less on auto (tires, rims), travel (New Orleans), shopping (dresses), personal care (got a dress fixed, had clothing dry cleaned), and gifts (a few birthdays).

Where We Spent Our Money:

Top 10 Merchants:
1. Tire Rack (tires + rims)
2. The Pontchartrain Hotel (friends owe us)
3. Electricity
4. Kroger
5. Amazon (gift, shut off valve for water, Delsey carry-on)
6. Kroger (groceries, cards, wine, gift bag)
7. Seven Lamps (restaurant)
8. Anthropologie (dress)
9. USpray (bug spray for the house)
10. Trader Vic's (restaurant)

Top 10 Categories:
1. Auto & Transport (tires & rims, oil change, multiple car washes)
2. Food & Dining
3. Travel (We should be getting back half of what we spent.)
4. Shopping (dress, bug spray, shut off valve for water)
5. Bills & Utilities
6. Personal Care (got a dress fixed, dry cleaning)
7. Gifts & Donations (2 birthdays)
8. Financial

9. Fees & Charges (interest charge)

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

Net Income:


Student Loans

Credit Cards

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

* Loan Payoff Date 11/1/22
* Emergency Funds: $12,927
• 401K $44,958.17
• Credit Scores: 740 (Justin), 805, 808 (me)
Overview of the Biggest Impacts This Month:
1. Tires and rims.
2. Paying for a hotel. (Friends owe us for their half.)
3. Bug spray.
4. Birthdays.
5. Dry cleaning. Or rather, going through clothes and discovering some of my favorites have stains.

What went wrong this month?
1. I didn't make returns that I should have.

2. Discovering I have stains on clothes that even the dry cleaner can't get out. Replace clothes? Live with the stains? … Decisions need to be made.
3. We spent more on everything else (shopping, travel, birthdays, house upkeep, car upkeep).
4. Birthdays are (or can be) expensive. I think I did good considering, but there is always room for improvement.
5. We started drinking the wine we had, so we needed to replace some of it. Oops!

What went right this month?
1. We continued to spend less on groceries! Second month in a row!
2. I got price adjustments on two dresses!
3. We spent less on restaurants this month!
4. Our friends realized they owed us from a year ago, so they are working on paying us back. (We thought the money was gone.)
5. Getting my dress fixed. In the short run, it cost us, but in the long run, I will be able to wear it again.

Financial plans/goals for October?
1. Start purchasing Christmas gifts!
2. Put 1-3 items on Poshmark to sell.
3. Cut restaurant spending … by at least a little?
4. Nail down destination for summer 2020 and start looking for flights/pinning down hotels. Look at rental car prices if that is our chosen method of transportation.
5. Decide what, if anything, we are doing for Christmas break.

In October, my husband and I will be helping my parents with some financial issues they are facing. I'm not sure this is the best idea for our finances, but it's hard to see family struggling.

We also have plans with friends to travel to New Orleans.

French 101 ends and we have to consider whether or not we want to continue taking French 2. If we do continue, we will need to pay in advance for the next 10 weeks of classes.

Then there is a Christmas gift I have to have finished by the beginning of November…

And finally, we are working on travel plans with friends for summer 2020. Ideally, I will be able to start looking at flights in October, assuming everything goes to plan. Flights could be expensive depending on where we go. Cross your fingers for me that everything works out.

So what does this mean for next month?

It has the potential to be quite expensive. Or … maybe not? I don't know. Either way, it will be important for us to watch our finances and not let expenses get too out of hand.

I'm grateful for all of the opportunities I have: taking French, being able to help my parents, getting to travel with friends. However, I need to be aware that all of these things come at a cost – sometimes in time, sometimes in money, and sometimes both. I need to take full advantage of these circumstances and make the best of every moment I have.

Do you plan for expenses really far in advance – such as buying Christmas gifts or a flight for a vacation that won't take place until next year in October? How do you handle or break up your expenses so you aren't paying for everything at once? Do you have any financial goals set for October?

Financial Resolution Goals 2019

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