It’s reporting time in the personal finance blog space and here’s our July 2017 update. This year we are tracking our progress on our 1) one paycheck project; 2) investing habit; 3) health and fitness; and 4) other fun stuff.
LIVING ON ONE PAYCHECK
Last March, we agreed to try live on one paycheck in order to improve our finances as a couple. We are trying to limit our monthly spending to my net pay, which is the lower pay, so we can save more than 50% of our total take home pay every month.
I initially predicted that we’d hit this target by June but big ticket unplanned expenses keep on coming up and they keep us from achieving our goal. We aren’t that fussed about it, we know that all these expenses are mostly one time, variable expenses. They can be easily eliminated when the need arises.
Our July 2017 spending exceeded my salary by $1,026. This is the 2nd highest monthly expense we’ve had since starting this project/experiment. The highest one was in May, when we had a diversified mix of extra spending (i.e. holiday, car, groceries, house, health). This month, though, the bulk of our extra spending can only be traced to two categories – travel and car.
*Note: This table shows our excess spending only. We do not publish our detailed expenses on this blog.
The biggest unplanned expense for us last month was my overseas ticket. We usually travel overseas in December, but I have to go home in two months to visit family. This is an unplanned travel and I got lucky that I was able to find cheap tickets. I know there are probably cheaper fares if I went with a budget airline but I’m willing to pay that extra $100 for a direct flight.
I also had some skin issues last month that I had to buy a few skin care products. My face usually doesn’t breakout but it did last month. It wasn’t that bad but because I haven’t had it before, I panicked. I changed my routine right away but it took about two weeks before my face started clearing out. I’m left with dark spots as I type this, but I prefer them over huge, noticeable zits. I’ll have you know that I do not know how to apply make up (why I invest in skin care), so yeah, there was no way for me to hide them marks.
We set aside $1,500 for investing this month. We haven’t bought any shares yet as we are planning to open a Vanguard Retail Fund account by September. We were talking about this for a while but it was only recently that we decided we’ll take the plunge.
I mentioned before that we didn’t pay much attention in investing since we started looking for a house. Since we already have saved 20% of what we are willing to pay for a house, we decided that from August, we will be investing most of his pay rather than saving it. We will also start allocating funds again. When we focused on saving for a house deposit, I gave up all my ‘funds’ and put everything to the house deposit fund. Our priorities shifted and we had to make some changes. Now that the deposit is fully funded, we can set some money aside for other purposes again.
HEALTH AND FITNESS
We celebrated our birthdays in July and we both asked for free passes. Yeah, we’re kids, sometimes. Our birthdays fell on the same week, so we skipped a week of gym – guilt free. We were still disciplined when it came to food, though. We ate what we wanted but in moderation.
My boyfriend lost about ~1kg last month. He did hit a wall at the start of the month. He was working out as hard, if not harder, as he’s always had but the weight wasn’t dropping as quickly as before. We think that the rest might help in resetting his body/metabolism/whatever. I guess we’ll find out by end of next month.
As for myself, my left knee is so much better. I still haven’t seen a doctor for it, but I will, I promise. I find that resting in between HIIT classes works – I used to do it everyday. This time, I do it every other day and on days that I don’t, I walk on the treadmill.
I managed to knit another scarf (with pom poms!) last month and I ended up donating 3 scarves to KOGO this winter. My heart feels full. I wish I have more free time to make more.
I didn’t read any books last month, but I watched a few movies. I’m not a movie person, I always fall asleep, I’m the worst. Also, Netflix doesn’t really have a great selection, but we were lucky to find a few good ones: Okja, Robot and Frank, Call Me Francis (not a movie, but we did watch it in one sitting). These are the type of movies/tv shows that we enjoy watching and I wish there are more titles like these in Netflix. We also saw Snowpiercer, but we’re not sure how to feel about that. It has great reviews though.
For our birthdays, we also spent a night in a nice hotel in the city. My boyfriend booked it as his gift for me. I booked our dinner and took him to a steakhouse (sorry Okja, my bf loves steak). We didn’t do much but we had a great time. We talked about how our year went, how great it went and how thankful we are. We are both happy about our lives are going, except for a few bad news, mostly of illness, from home. No one’s critical or anything, but it’s always hard when you’re away from family. (One of the reasons why I’m going home in 2 months is this.)
July was another expensive month for us but it is also the month that showed our progress in tackling our finances as a couple. My boyfriend has always been the listener but this month, he actively joined me in researching options for our money. He also showed interest in learning more about funds and shares. We may not have reached our goal of living on one paycheck this month, but on the upside, we also moved our couple finances game a level higher. Yay for small victories!
Was your July as disorganised as ours? What were your wins last month? I’d love to hear your story!