Naked With Cash is the year-long series on Consumerism Commentary where seven readers’ households share their financial progress on a monthly basis, and February is “insurance month.” I’ve partnered with financial planners who will offer some guidance along the way. Read this introduction to learn more about the series.
LastDollar is thirty-three years old, an entrepreneur and single mom with two children with learning differences in private school. To learn more about LastDollar, read the bio published last month in advance of Naked With Cash. LastDollar is on Team Neal, with Certified Financial Planner Neal Frankle.
LastDollar’s update this month includes her net worth as of the end of February as well as her own commentary and analysis. This is followed by feedback from Neal Frankle, CFP. Last month’s update described LastDollar’s financial progress throughout January.
Keep reading for this month’s details.
Comments and analysis from LastDollar
I made more than expected in February, so I was able to pay at least the minimum on every single obligation I have for a change. Most months I rotate what gets paid late. I was also able to send extra to both my oil company and Electric company to start eating away at the back balances I have on those accounts.
I also found I spent double what I expected to spend in groceries for the month. This bothers me because I’m usually very conscious of what I’m spending on our family’s food. I did buy more meats than usual, since I did a bunch of prepared freezer meals that I could just pull out and throw in the crock pot on busy days, so maybe I will see a decrease in grocery spending this month since I haven’t had to buy much meat as a result.
I had a few unplanned expenses in February. The kids needed money for field trips and a new skating/swimming program their school is doing with the YMCA. This accounted for an extra $100 for the month I hadn’t anticipated spending. Then I had to replace lost gloves, lost snow boots, and ripped snow pants after the kids spent a weekend with their father and returned without gloves and with unwearable snow pants. (I tried fixing them, I really did. But they were ruined beyond repair!) That was another $50 I hadn’t planned on spending, but being in New York, March is still winter and the 7 inches of fresh snow we got today proved I couldn’t delay these purchases until next year!
All in all, February felt better than most months because I had the money I needed to pay for everything. March is looking like a different story so far, so the numbers may look a lot different at the end of this month.
Feedback from Neal Frankle, CFP
It’s fantastic that you made more money in February. What accounts for this? More hours? Did you get a raise? Is this something repeatable? I’d really like to know what accounts for this nice turn of events.
The extra money you spent on groceries and for the kids is just part of life. That’s one reason why I like to look at average spending rather than getting super excited (one way or the other) by what happens in one particular month. That’s why I’m a big fan of using the five-minute-a-month method in addition to tracking each transaction individually.
It sounds like you have a concern about March. Again, it’s natural for your spending and income to ebb and flow. That’s the case for most people. But you don’t have to be worried about it. I know that it’s very difficult right now but over time as you continue to implement the tools we are talking about things will improve.
Remember that you aren’t stuck. It will take time but things will get much better. Not many people are as serious about their finances as you are. And in my experience, that attitude is the “secret sauce” to financial success. Continue to do your best and capitalize on opportunities as they present themselves. Don’t beat yourself up for having a rough month here or there. That goes with the territory. Tally Ho!
Published or updated March 22, 2013.