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  • Late Start Earner

๐Ÿ—“ Monthly Snapshot: March 2021

How well did I track against my goals this month?

I plan to write a post at the end of each month that tracks my health and progress towards goals. These cover the following main categories:

  1. FI (Financial Independence) Contributions

  2. Monthly Discretionary Spending Budget

  3. Monthly Flows Breakdown

  4. Self-Care

Check out my annual goals for 2021 and a detailed overview of how I think about my monthly tracking in my January 2021 Monthly Snapshot. Alright, let's dig in!



1. FI Contributions


Here is how I did at the end of March:

  • Roth IRA: โœ… Completed YTD goal --> 100% Complete! I maxed out my 2021 Roth IRA contribution limit in February 2021.

  • Pre-Tax 401k: โœ… YTD goal: On-Track. I maintained the per-paycheck retirement percentage contribution that meets my annual goals for both paychecks this month.

  • After-Tax 401k: โœ… YTD goal: On-Track. I maintained the per-paycheck retirement percentage contribution that meets my annual goals for both paychecks this month.

  • Emergency Fund: โ›”๏ธ YTD goal: Delayed. My Emergency Fund decreased this month since I diverted funds towards investments.

  • FI Investment: โœ… YTD goal: On-Track. I invested about $6,500 into the VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Mark Index) within my taxable brokerage account.

Overall, my March 2021 FI Contribution goals were โœ… On-Track (4/5 goals).


2. Monthly Discretionary Spending

At the outset of the year, my annual goal allowed for $20K in discretionary spending, split about equally between food and other spending. On a monthly basis, this allows for $1666.67/month of total discretionary spending, which I have rounded down to $1600/month to make it easier to track. In my Discretionary Spending chart below, I perform an easy sum of what my credit card company categorized as food/groceries, and then dump the remainder of my credit card transactions into the "Spending" bucket. This is where I get my "Unadjusted" number from, since it is the raw transaction totals coming from my credit card. From there, I deduct out reimbursements, shared expenses, and alternative spending categories to get my "Actual" number for the month. Finally, the "Budgeted" category is simply what I allowed myself for the month.


Here's how I did in March:



  • Food: โœ… Below Monthly Spending Target --> Success!

  • Spending: โ›”๏ธ Above Monthly Spending Target. I was about $500 over budget this month, which represents intentional spending from my bonus. The differential between "Unadjusted" and "Adjusted" values come from labor and improvements on our getaway property.

Overall, my March 2021 Discretionary Spending goals were โš ๏ธ Off-Track (1/2 goals).


3. Monthly Flows Breakdown


This section breaks down all the money coming out of my checking account for the month. It may not match up all the way with money in any of the previous sections, since I sometimes pay the entire previous month's credit card bill and/or pre-pay my credit card to reduce the ultimate monthly balance.


Overall, my March 2021 Monthly Flow was โœ… On-Track.


4. Self-Care

This month, I took a week off work and spent time with family on the getaway property. It was really special to share the space and experience with loved ones, and I look forward to the next time!


Outside of the vacation week, my self-care deteriorated quite a bit.

Overall, my March 2021 Self-Care ๐Ÿคฅ Needs Improvement.


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