It’s reporting time in the personal finance blog space and here’s our October 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 took a short break in October and went to Asia to spend time with my family. I was expecting last month to be another expensive one, but it wasn’t. We did it again – we spent less than my net pay in October.
Last month’s living expenses were lower than previous months but we did spend a fair bit of money for travel. These expenses are not reflected in our October numbers because:
- Most of the expenses have already been paid for the previous months, like the tickets I purchased in July;
- Other expenses that were not prepaid were allocated funds for. I planned a trip to Singapore with my parents and we set money aside for that at around July, too;
- My parents gave me some shopping money*.
Our food expenses were also lower since I was away half of the month. I cooked for my boyfriend before I left. I portioned everything for single serve and kept everything in the freezer. I did this
because I felt bad for leaving him so he wouldn’t be tempted to eat out while he’s by himself. More than the money, I didn’t want him to eat junk the whole way through. Between the two of us, he’s the better cook, but he doesn’t like cooking for himself.
The only expense category we spent a bit higher on last month was Shopping. Most of the stuff we bought were gifts for my family.
We made up for our September miss and invested more in October. We purchased two new holdings, on top of our regular Vanguard contributions. We already have some purchases lined up for November, too. I think we’re both getting the hang of investing. I really hope we can keep our investing momentum.
HEALTH AND FITNESS
I wrote in the last update that September was the worst month for our fitness goals, but October turned out to be worse than that. I had a fair bit of exercise when I was overseas, thanks to constant walking, but I’ve been a couch potato since I got back. I doubt that my boyfriend did any form of exercise.
We cancelled our gym membership at the start of the month because it was starting to get warm. We can go walking in the afternoon, I can do my short HIIT’s, he can go fishing. Or so we thought. Melbourne is still in winter mode and without the extra motivation (paid membership), we both chose the slob life (and the slob life chose us).
Despite failing our fitness goal, we are still doing pretty well with our diet. I did forget about Meatless Mondays while I was overseas, but I got back into it as soon as I got back. We also took more plant-based lunches to work, than meat-based, in October and we plan to continue doing this.
October was about spending time with family and catching up with some friends. I had to make good use of my time because my trip was short. The last time I went back home was in late 2014, you can just imagine how much catching up I had to do!
The only book I read was The Handmaid’s Tale, which I didn’t finish (so good, though). I saw three in-flight movies, one of which was King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which I really enjoyed (we are Guy Ritchie fans).
Oh and shopping, I did a fair bit of clothes shopping for myself and for my boyfriend. Although I had some free money, I still spent it wisely. I shopped where it was cheapest for good quality items; where $100 got me at least 3 pairs of jeans and 3 shirts. I bought clothes that I can wear all year round, with layering, of course. Clothes shopping in Asia is always fun for me, because 1) they’re cheap if you don’t care about brands and 2) they actually fit (me) and I don’t need to pay extra for alterations.
We experienced our second fitness fail in October, but at the same time, we hit our financial goal (best to date) during this time. I also got to spend time with my family and friends, who I haven’t seen for a long time. Overall, October was a good month. I’d say it’s one to remember, but I think my boyfriend will disagree because I did leave him behind. Ha!
How did October treat you? Did you travel or did anything unusual last month, too? I’d love to hear your story!
*I know some are against the idea of accepting money from family, but I’ve said no to my parents too many times already. Also, shopping there is (really) cheap and yes, I saved some of it (of course!).