Money Well Spent- May 2021

By Sam •  Updated: 06/16/21 

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Here it is- my monthly recap of my spending, saving, doing, and blogging.

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What we did in May

May was a glorious month. When I wrote my April post, I was complaining about how I couldn’t remember a time before COVID. Well, May was the beginning of the end of lockdown and new beginnings.

The best part of the month was restarting weekly runs with my running group. Although everyone is a little bit slower than we were in the autumn of 2019, I still enjoy the social aspect of it.

We have also been spending a lot of time at playgrounds. (At least the youngest and I spend a lot of time at playgrounds). While it’s natural for kids to grow up, I miss announcing, “who wants to go to the playground” and having them running around trying to find shoes.

Now I look at it as a pleasant surprise when either or both of the older children come. I also try to be “fully present” and enjoy my time at the playground. It’s easier to be present now because I know these days are numbered.

child on the swings
It pains me to think that this might be my last summer pushing kids on swings until I’m a grandparent.

The other day our youngest asked me to push her on the swings. My first response was to reminder her she was big enough to pump her legs all by herself. But then it occurred to me that this is the last year she’ll ever asked to get pushed. This is my last summer pushing my own kids on a swing. Realizing how scarce these times are has made me realize just how precious simple moments are.

Community Garden Update

It’s hard to believe we’ve only had our community garden for 6 weeks.

Somehow within the first 2 weeks, the kids have already decided they don’t like being dragged out there. (The resistance to gardening is directly proportional to their ages). I’m sorry to say that Mrs. Gov has done almost all of the garden rehabilitation work. (However, I hope that she enjoys the break from the kids).

community garden may 2021

The garden looks so much better than last month’s weed patch. I’m excited about the garden. And I’d like to think that I’ll be able to go out and help. But so far my role has been limited to making sure the kids are safe at home.

What we spent in May

Last month I shared our top 10 expenses. I enjoyed presenting our spending this way so will do something similar this month. We use CountAbout to track all of our expenses and receipts. I enjoy pulling a CountAbout report every month to look at these different spending categories.

spending categories may 2021

This month was a little different because we had some vacation expenses. They included putting down a large deposit on a rental we will stay at this summer. Since a portion of the deposit gets refunded, we’ll probably have a month in the future with “negative” vacation spending.

Groceries- $760.25

We spent less than the USDA Thrifty Food Plan budget of $814.20 for a family of our size. (The Thrifty Food Plan is the basis for “food stamps” or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Our grocery budget was almost $200 more than last month. However, I think that just reflects the fact that our grocery budget is on more of a 6 week cycle than a 4 week cycle. Low grocery months are usually followed by high months and vice-versa. It’s not like we changed our eating habits on May 1st.

Kids- $77.55

One of the kids’ water bottles exploded all over her Chromebook. While we were not charged for a Chromebook repair, we thought it would be wise to buy waterproof cases for their Chromebooks.

We also bought everyone new summer pajamas. Seeing kids in footie-PJs in 85 degree weather is insane.

Pets- $95.87

This represents about a 6 week supply of food for Kenny the greyhound and a 3+ month supply of dry food for Cheeto the cat. Somehow Kenny needs to eat enough food for a 120 pound dog even though he weighs less than 80 pounds.

That’s a lot of dog food.

Gas & Auto- $90.13

It’s hard to believe that we filled the car up 3 times in May! I think this is one of the real signs that the pandemic’s effect on our life is winding down. Mrs. Gov drove to see her grandparents, GovTeen and I drove to a trail race, and we visited Mrs. Gov’s family.

Talk about money well spent, that gas money brought us a lot of happiness!

Progress towards financial independence

Speedometer showing that we are 18 months until financial indpendence

So according to a spreadsheet template that I got from my friend Jessica of The Fioneers, I’m only 18 months away from Financial Independence. The way I ran the numbers I wouldn’t feel comfortable retiring at this point. Maybe calling it “financially secure” would be a better nomenclature. At that point, our assets could sustain our current standard of living at a 4% withdrawal rate. If we both lost our jobs, we could in theory survive without earning another dollar.

Once we reach that milestone, I’ll work on coming up with an “early retirement” milestone when we could live the lifestyle we want without ever having to think or worry about money again.

Blog highlights (28 months)

This is the second month where I haven’t felt like writing a lot about the blog. I feel like I’ve been neglecting a blog a little bit. Perhaps it is a natural shift with summer. But all I’ve been able to do is keep up with my posting schedule and that’s it.

I was happy about my piece on taxes in retirement though, so that is a win.

So that was my month! If you enjoyed the article, please leave a review

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Sam i.e. "Gov Worker" started working for the government at age 18 and loved it so much that he never left. He started GovernmentWorkerFI in 2019 to help fellow federal employees understand their benefits, take control of their finances, and live their best lives.