Money Well Spent- February 2021

By Sam •  Updated: 03/10/21 

Hey Loyal Blog Friends!

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

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February 2021

If I had one word to describe February, it would be *cold*.

graph showing the temperatures  of February 2021

We experienced one of the longest cold snaps I could ever remember.

Luckily (I guess?) we live in a cold weather climate so our infrastructure can handle sub zero temperatures. Likewise, I’m used to dealing with the cold. That doesn’t mean I enjoy it.

For the record, I think anything above 20 degrees Fahrenheit is extremely pleasant. I just hate sub-zero Fahrenheit temps with a passion.

snowy Madison landscape after a big storm
Lots of walking in the snow this past month.

What we did in February

February was a month of survival.

I felt like we just needed to “grind it out” and wait for warmer weather. All of the public spaces were closed. It was much too cold for any outside activity (unless you wanted frostbite).

So I parented with a heavy dose of Mario Kart.

Screenshot of a perfect score in MarioKart
Yes. I took a photo of my “perfect score” of all 120 seconds in MarioKart.

Honestly, playing Mario Kart with all three of my daughters is kind of magical. It’s one of the few things that we can all do together. (In case you don’t know they range in age from 5-13.)

How many other things can a teenager and preschooler enjoy at the same time?

My wife and I used to be screen-dictators and really limit screen time. But I feel that the pandemic and Zoom-school has pretty much just caused us to give in and embrace the screen.

What we spent in February

February was a month where we spent relatively little money. Our biggest expenses were the mortgage, daycare, and groceries.

Sometimes I get bored writing these spending posts because they’re always the same. However, since we use CountAbout to track all of our expenses and receipts, it’s easy to pull these numbers and write these reports.

Money Well Spent February 2021 spending breakdown
Our spending & saving breakdown for February 2021

We reached an amazing savings rate of 72% this past month. Which looks impressive. However, mostly that was because our tax return came in this month. So our “income” was higher than a normal month. Our spending was very similar to our January 2021 spending.

In 2021 our youngest will stop going to daycare. We are also hoping to pay off the mortgage soon. These will free up a lot of money to put toward our early retirement goals.

Kenny taking a nap
Kenny thinks talking about finances are a big snooze.

Favorite Purchase

In January, Mrs. Gov and I splurged on a hotel room so we could take turns having a break from the kids.

February had no such splurges.

However, I did buy Mrs. Gov a really nice cast iron tortilla press for her birthday. (Before you come at me with pitchforks for such a domestic present, I want you to know that she hinted heavily that she’d like one).

The tortilla press is amazing! And having fresh tortillas makes our Southwestern food nights so much better. (Let me tell you, if you’re a GF/Veg, you’re going to be eating a lot of rice and beans, often in tortillas)

Groceries- $733.91

We spent a little less than $750 on groceries for our family of 5. This is 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 for a family of 5 used to be much lower before the pandemic. However, we still eat cheaply on a gluten free diet compared to the average family of 5.

Kids- 0$

We spent zero dollars on kids this month (again!).

For those of you keeping track at home our kid budget is at 0 so far in 2021.

I like to keep things real as a blogger. Kids are actually expensive. We just don’t spend a lot of money *on stuff* for them.

Pets- $41.07

For the second straight month we spent more on the pets than we did on the kids. This month we bought some cat food.

You might be thinking, “I had no idea Gov Worker had a cat. He only talks about his dog.”

Yes. I have a cat. And he has gotten zero love on this blog since I got Kenny.

To further drive this home, here’s another cute picture of my dog.

greyhound walking through the snow
Kenny was good for helping me get outside in the cold!

Gas & Auto- $153

We didn’t put gas in the car for the second straight month!

Our only car expense from the past month was renewing the registration. That’s two straight months of driving less than a tank of gas. I had to take my daughter to her school to pick up some school supplies and noticed that we still have about a half tank left.

The big question is if we will need gas in March… … …

Blog highlights (25 months)

If you read my reflections on 2 years of blogging you would know that I had an insane stretch goal in terms of blog traffic.

I’m here to say that thanks to Dogecoin I met my goal (6 weeks ahead of schedule)! If you’re curious how I did it, I recorded a whole podcast with Pete McPherson about it. I’m so excited to be on his podcast and will be sure to link to the episode as soon as it drops.

(Like so excited that I would tattoo the episode number on my arm (j/k))

Blogging Dollars & Sense

So- reaching 10k sessions per months means that I can move to the Ezoic advertising network. I’m in the process of moving to over to Ezoic. Maybe by the time you read this my site will be fully integrated.


So the good news is that hopefully I’ll be able to make a little bit more money on the website from display revenue. Between that and my first sponsored post on professional liability insurance for federal employees, I actually made money on the blog this month.

The bad news is that on the whole I am still investing more into the blog than is coming out. That’s okay. I can see it get better in front of my own eyes each week and that’s super satisfying.

Email Marketing

My biggest purchase this month was joining Liz Wilcox’s email marketing membership community.

Liz sends the most amazing emails. And while I currently don’t have anything to sell you, it is a great opportunity to learn from a great teacher for only $9 a month.

Once someone told me that when you find a good teacher you should study with them. It was an ancient physics professor who was taking euphonium lessons.

Over the past 6 months I took great courses from Matt Giovanisci, Pete McPherson, and Liz Wilcox. I feel so much more confident about blogging and am seeing results.

While I’m still not making a profit blogging, I am super happy to be creating a website I’m proud of. And perhaps after a few months with Ezoic, my website might turn a (small) profit.

That was February! Like the post? Subscribe below or share it on social!

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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.