Monthly FIRE (Financial Independence) Report – March 2020

Well here we are in month uhhhh, something-or-other of shooting for FI/RE! This monthly financial independence report is brought to you by the letter S, for “Send help, it’s day 29 of isolation for T”.

A great month spending-wise, but it has nothing to do with my savvy ability to cut expenses. No siree. Unfortunately it takes a worldwide pandemic for us to get our spending under control. HA! Anyway, let’s forget about all that for a moment, and focus on how we, the T on FIRE family, are going to do better next month and every month going forward, with or without a pandemic.

T on FIRE Family Update

Unfortunately, I was laid off work in late March temporarily until the COVID-19 thing sorts itself out. Fortunately, Hubs is still working. That said, it’s a big loss financially going into April & May. We’re tightening our belts a little, without giving up everything fun yet. YNAB (Budgeting Software) has been a huge help to determine how long we can go with our current income situation and still pay the essential bills. With my government benefits coming through, we appear to be good until the end of June. HURRAY! That said, I really don’t want to burn through the buffer we have been building since beginning the journey to FI/RE, so the focus for April needs to be:

      1. Limit spending to mostly essential things. It’s okay to spend some on things that bring sanity to our lives in isolation. Reduce expenses where possible.
      2. Call Air Canada, and try to get my money back for flights purchased in February that have been cancelled by the airline. Right now, they’re ONLY offering a credit via the website. This is unacceptable since my ticket was mostly refundable.
      3. Do my best to make extra $$ during quarantine. This will help offset losses, and count towards Challenge $1000, which is suddenly now more important than ever.

Highlights

Saved: $506. I cut TFSA contributions for the last half of March after being laid off to give us a bit of extra funds for essential bills over the next few months. I hope to make more room for savings before the next financial independence report. Next month, I plan to start counting my allowance which is going into savings for the most part.

Extra Income from Side Hustles: $222. This is all User Testing work except for $30 in Facebook sales.

Expenses:

Category $ Relevant Notes of Notey-ness
Mortgage Interest 590
Mortgage Principal 807
Interest Charges & Bank Fees 6 I almost have it to zero…still a bit more work to do here.
Property Tax 313
Childcare 394
Parking 117
Auto Insurance 92
Life Insurance 156
Electric 230
Internet 118
Netflix 14
Mobile Phones 75
Water & Sewer 0
Groceries, Toiletries, Supplies 1084 We overbought a bit in late March to stock up on a few things, with the goal to reduce the number of outings required during Pandemic 2020. That said, 1k+ seems par for the course for us because I can’t seem to get around to making improvements here.
Fuel 151 The spending goes wayyy down when you’re not commuting 40-50 kms a day.
Medical, Eyecare, Prescriptions,Vitamins 25
Health & Fitness, Sports 65 Weight Watchers membership and new bike helmet for spring! Mine had a big crack. Seemed unsafe.
Giving 53
Haircuts 0 Who can get a haircut these days, anyway?
Heat (Wood & Propane) 20 What I hope is the last batch of kindling until fall. We’re pretty much out of all wood now!
Vacations 0 For obvious reasons.
Auto Repair, Maintenance, Registration & License Renewals 349 We’ve been having problems with the oxygen sensor on the VW. Last time it was just cleaned, and it worked for some time. This time we were advised that it needed to be replaced.
Home Improvement, Services, Supplies & Maintenance 47 This contains a smattering of things, such as potting soil, tax software, printing paper, and a mystery Canadian Tire purchase.
Gifts & Holiday Expenses 281 Wowza. So this includes 2 birthday gifts, Easter gifts/baking, along with a birthday dinner ordered in from a favorite restaurant. Probably need to cut back a bit…this was a problematic category last year.
Clothing 171 Sooo I had a little bit of online retail therapy during quarantine, mainly caused by a 50% off everything sale.
New Tech 25 This is a new category to the report. We rarely spend in this category; usually we just save $$ into the sinking fund. Our desktop computer had a faulty RAM card, which took a while to figure out. Then we ordered one on eBay to replace it. It’s still not here yet…
Annual Memberships & Subscriptions 0 I cancelled our CAA membership renewal due in May. Depending on how things go, I may reinstate it. Since we are going pretty much nowhere, it seemed to make some sense.
Education 22 Books for M’s home schooling.
UNKNOWN expense 157 Most of this is a cash withdrawal which Hubs spent on various things but did not track. Some may still be in his wallet. Anyway, I’ve kind of given up on the idea that he might track expenses someday. the unknown category will live on forever.
Allowance – I 258
Allowance – T 155 Most went to high interest savings account. I also bought boots that were not 100% necessary, per se.
Dining Out – Family 103 Thankfully due to isolation, this is much lower than it would have been. For some reason we really went crazy early in the month.
Entertainment – Family 0
Lotto Tickets 7 No winnings as of yet…
Alcohol 0
Business Transactions 0
Total Expenses $5,885

Well, there you have it. If only every month could be like this during “normal” life. Haha! Oh well. I guess I should just be thankful that we still have SOME income to help cover these expenses. We are far better off than most since we found the FIRE movement back in 2018.

I hope you enjoyed this financial independence report. Signing off for now. Stay home and stay well.

4 Replies to “Monthly FIRE (Financial Independence) Report – March 2020”

  1. Thanks for the laugh… I enjoyed your “relevant notes”. I think I remember you are also from NS… I hope you are unaffected by the weekend tragedy and Northwood crisis. Stay safe and good luck!

    1. Hi Anique! I’m from the Maritimes but not NS. That should narrow it down. My husband knew one of the victims. Not well but he remembers her fondly from school. It is so tragic and horrible. Stay safe.

  2. It’s crazy how this pandemic has made it quite painless to spend less on all kinds of things.

    However, it’s not so nice that it’s also created losses in income. I hope both our hubs can hang onto their jobs through this crisis.

    It’s nice to read your updates and hear how you’ve been doing. Your posts never fail to make me laugh. Notes of notey-ness. LOL!

    1. Yes, I had no qualms about dropping $100+ on clothes, or $50 on art supplies so I can do paint nights from home. Gotta try to keep that under control. I hope you and your family are doing well. Glad I can give you a laugh. It’s hard to make personal finance funny. Haha!!

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