Did I Actually Save Half My Income? (February Spending Recap)

Ok friends, we’re going to try this whole monthly recap thing again.

I’ve done them before, mostly in months where I was participating in a challenge – like tracking my spending, or trying out the Mindful Budgeting Program.

February just ended, and although I didn’t have a specific challenge going, I was tracking my spending. At this point, it’s become a habit that I don’t want to give up, especially since the data has already come in handy.

It helped me calculate how much I’m actually spending on The Dog every month, and after that shocker I’m hesitant to actually look more closely at other categories for now (I’m mostly joking. …Mostly.)

In the interest of giving you guys a bit of an update, I wanted to share some of the wins and not-so-much-wins from the past month! It also helps that a wonderful group of Track Your Spending challenge participants and I kicked off the first day of the challenge strong yesterday, so it seemed like as good a time as any to take a deeper look back at the past month.

Big Win – Gas

This month was a big win for my gas spending – and not only because gas prices are shockingly low right now. After a January that was surprisingly filled with car-related adventures, apparently I drove way less this past month, because I spent a grand total of $30.57 on one tank of gas in February.

Perks of having a car that deserves the name Little Car, I guess!

Not-So-Much Win – Parking Ticket

This one was totally my fault.

Unlike the time I got a $458 ticket for not renewing my license plate, this one I saw coming from a mile away. Or a kilometre, I guess, but who says that? That’s totally not the saying.

Anyways. Here’s what happened.

I park my car on the street, because the only time that our street parking is restricted to a few hours at a time is during the day, Monday to Friday, when I’m at work. Since I drive to work, problem solved, right?

Right.

Until you stay home from work so sick that you can barely leave the couch. Moving your car every three hours when you feel like that sounds so bad that a $41.50 parking ticket almost seems worth it.

Almost. Sigh.

Alas, I’m giving my past self a pass on this one. It’s definitely not a win, but I remember feeling pretty crummy, so whatever. It could be worse! It could have been a $400 ticket.

Goal Progress

As my blog name blatantly states, my current goal is to save half my income.

And you guys.

I came so close this month.

Close enough that I could almost taste it.

Like, I-saved-48.7%-of-my-income close.

That was in large part due to the fact that my spending was at its lowest final tally since I’ve started tracking, ringing in at a cool 51.1% of my income. I have to say, when I calculated how much 1% of my income really is, I couldn’t help but give the new handbag I bought this month the side eye.

Sure, I really needed it, and the straps on my old bag were all but falling off, and that old bag has since gone into the donate-or-give-away-or-maybe-throw-out pile. And sure, I use it every day and it’s not like 1% of my income really accounts for the purchase of a designer bag (sorry to disappoint if you thought I was Scrooge McDuck you guys, but no piles of money over here. Just a reasonably priced handbag.)

But like… Gah.

I was SO CLOSE.

But you know what, I’m counting February as a win, and I can even forgive my new handbag. Really.

Because this month also saw me going out to brunch, having dinner at a restaurant with friends before they went on a big trip, buying The Boyfriend a small present for Valentine’s Day, going for drinks with people at work, treating a new employee to lunch, hosting friends for dinner at our place and buying The Dog a new toy that he went legitimately nuts over. Oh and I drank some really good beer.

It is not like I was taking a hard-line stance on frugality over here. If I had been, my goal would have been toast.

The fact that I was able to get this close to my goal, without even focusing too hard on it beyond my regular habit of tracking my spending, makes me optimistic about the potential to hit that goal in the future.

Someday.

For now, I’m starting March with optimism, a fresh spreadsheet, with a whole team of Track Your Spending challenge participants who are diving into the habit of taking a look at where their money is going.

I’ll also be taking the Small Change app, from UnitedWay Ottawa, out for a spin, and challenging myself not to buy fancy coffee drinks for the entire month (I can still buy plain coffee and tea, because baby steps.) The premise of the app is simple – it helps you keep track of your savings goals, and for every time you track your savings against a goal, TD Canada is donating $1, up to $50,000, to support financial literacy programs here in Ottawa.

I haven’t really put it through its paces yet, but I’m excited to try it out, and I’ll let you know how it goes in my March recap.

50% savings goal, I’m coming for you.

Do you guys have any big money goals or challenges you’re taking on this month? Or wins from last month you want to share? I would love love love to hear about them! Also, what do you think of spending recaps – love or loathe? Am I the only one who loves reading them?