budget book
Finances,  Investments

Financial Surprise

As I caught up on the task of logging the money I’ve spent this month I discovered that I’ve done a lot better than I anticipated when it comes to reducing my spending. Even with stocking up this month on pet food and supplies atop of saving some money back for the upcoming book/surplus sale the local library is hosting soon I will have more money left over at the end of this month than I anticipated.

Between that, the fact that I still have last month’s royalties stashed away, an extra paycheck coming this month, and a new round of dividends hitting my account I might be able to afford another round of investing. The stock market is down at the moment; prices on my favorites are at a delightful low. If I could afford to toss another hundred dollars into them that would allow me to inch a bit closer to financial freedom. The extra dividend income may come in handy once Katie moves out but if I don’t need it I would have that much more to reinvest once winter ends.

I’ll know more at the end of the month. For now, it gives me hope that I’ll be able to survive the winter without being forced to suspend my goal of financial freedom entirely.

It’s always a treat to discover that you’re doing better financially than you thought.

Have you ever looked at your finances and realized that you’re doing better than you thought you were? Please share your stories in the comments below.

2 Comments

  • Lyn

    Well I wish I could say I am doing better than I think, but that is not the case. I find the last few months have been challenging. Extra bills and trying to prepare for winter.

    The good thing is that I’m aware, so I am trying to get slowly back on track. Any tips/advice on building savings slowly and dealing with higher-cost months? Also, do you track your expenses monthly?

    • Annie

      Hi Lyn!

      Sorry that it took me a bit to reply to this comment. I’m still getting back in the groove.

      When I first started out, I began tossing all of my change into a jar. It wasn’t much but I didn’t miss the money since it was just a bit here and there. I would roll up the change as the jar filled, stashing the collection in an out-of-the-way box. Once I built up a tidy amount of rolled change I took it to the bank and used that money to open a savings account. That inspired me to start transferring $5-$10 dollars every paycheck to the savings account each payday. It wasn’t much, but it motivated me to continue. I credit those baby steps into helping me become the frugal person that I am today.

      As for dealing with the higher cost of winter months (or summer, depending upon what area of the world you live in) I find that the first year I live in a home to be the worst since I don’t know how much that first winter will cost. I strive to keep my income at a level where I can afford to pay even my winter bills without too much struggle. That is the easiest route, and it makes the cheaper months a time when you can afford to splurge. Failing that, I generally estimate how much my bills will increase for the coldest months and build up the “pillow” in my bank account to accommodate. Barring that, you can also discuss the issue with your utility company to arrange for Budget Billing. That allows you to pay a flat fee every month that is adjusted for year-round usage.

      Some of my friends deal with this issue by renting a place where the utilities are covered in their rent. That way, no matter how high the heating or cooling bills are, they know that they are covered. I’ve been tempted to do that myself in this area. Some of the units in my area are quite beautiful in comparison to my current home, and the $400-$500 monthly rent is comparable to what my bills run year-round without the financial ups and downs I face annually. It is an option I’ve kept on the table for when my largest dog passes on (she was born in 2012).

      Hope this helps! Feel free to email me with specific questions or clarification.