July 2015 Monthly Budget Review

Have you ever suffered from writer's block? Mine lasted for three weeks this month.

I went for long, contemplative walks, chatted with friends, gave money advice, and wondered what might be interesting enough to share. But nothing came.

What did I do instead? Three words: Friday Night Lights. And once I started watching, I couldn't focus on much else. Other than freelance writing (and my day job), I haven't done much I'd consider creative or productive over the past few weeks. But now that Tim Riggins is permanently out of my life, I'm feeling optimistic about things getting back to normal.

Have you heard the phrase “if you don't measure it, you can't improve it?” That's how I'm approaching both my blog and wellness this month. Because, let's be honest. July was kind of lame in both of these areas. But, hey! At least my budget was decent.

The July Monthly Budget

You know what's awesome about keeping a detailed budget every month? When you stop tracking for a bit, your habits take over.

Even without meticulously tracking every penny, I managed to save between 40-50% of my take-home pay over the past few months. I've finally reached a point where frugality is ingrained in my consciousness. I'm hoping that my diet can one day reach that point of discipline, too.

Excel spreadsheet of July budget


Gifts: $29.50 (vegan cupcakes), $4 (card), $50 (donation to a friend's Go Fund Me for medical expenses) 

Other One Time Expenses: $280.70 (FinCon flight), $251.20 (Labor Day weekend flight to Boston), $47.21 (lawn treatment for beetle infestation)

Other Goals

Cashville Skyline 

July posts: 1

Twitter followers: 3,257

Facebook likes: 253

Google+ followers: 131

Pinterest followers: 268

Feedly subscribers: 77

Email subscribers: 69

MoM Traffic Change: Sessions: -6.10% / Users: +.35% / Pageviews: -2.10%

Cumulative Adsense earnings: $130.87


My boyfriend recently asked if I wanted to read Tim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Body with him. I thumbed through the diet chapters a couple of years ago, and I'll admit, I was pretty close-minded. But I agreed to read the whole book, and talk about it over this past weekend.

While I'm hesitant to try many of the crazy things Ferriss suggests, we've committed to experimenting with the slow-carb diet for the next month. The diet eliminates grains, sugar, dairy, and alcohol and focuses on eating green vegetables, meat, and legumes. Pretty intense, right?

I've had great success with similar diets in the past and I'm actually looking forward to giving it another spin. Ready for my starting numbers?

Weight: 173

Body Fat: 43%

July Miles Run: 7.1 miles

July Steps: 214,545 / 93.2 miles

August Goals:

1. More Cashville Skyline content! Stronger traffic and engagement is the direct result of more regular posts.

2. Stick with the slow-carb diet for 30 days. Enough said.

3. Run three miles.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the image above references East Nashville's Tomato Art Festival. It's a totally weird, but cool, annual neighborhood event. It's worth checking out this weekend if you're nearby.

Readers: How was your July? What are your goals for August?

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Discussions — 27 Responses

  • Ali @ Anything You Want August 3, 2015 on 4:31 pm

    Wow – how on earth is your electric bill so low for July in Nashville! Running our AC means that our electric bill is over $100 in the summer months in Boston!

    July wasn’t a great month for me budget wise, but it was as anticipated. I’m looking forward to doubling down on my budget in August to meet my goals!

    • Kate Dore Ali @ Anything You Want August 4, 2015 on 8:10 am

      I should note that this is my share of the expenses (half of mortgage and utilities). And you’re right! It’s been brutally hot. Best of luck with August, Ali. Let’s hope we both crush our goals 🙂

  • Tre August 4, 2015 on 6:41 am

    I’ve never heard of a slow carb diet. Not sure I could do it long term. I think I like bread too much 🙂
    July was good for my health goals, not so good for other goals. Good luck with your August goals!

    • Kate Dore Tre August 4, 2015 on 8:12 am

      I know, I’m kind of worried about the long-term sustainability of this diet. But I’m definitely going to commit for at least 30 days. Way to go on your health goals! They’re what’s most important.

  • Bridget August 4, 2015 on 11:06 am

    This made me LOL so hard:

    “The diet eliminates grains, sugar, dairy, and alcohol and focuses on eating green vegetables, meat, and legumes. Pretty intense, right?”


    One of my friends is doing the 4-hour Body thing right now. I love Tim Ferriss but I’ve never tried the 4hr Bod, so my friend was telling me about it and our conversation went like:

    “You can’t eat anything white”
    Me: “Yes that makes sense, my trainer calls those foods ‘the white devil’.”
    “And you can’t eat fruit”
    Me: “Well of course not, fruit is full of sugar.”
    “So you’re supposed to get all your carbs from vegetables”
    Me: “Duh.”
    “And eat a lot of legumes”
    Me: “Did you know peanuts are actually legumes and not nuts? I eat so much peanut butter. Like a teaspoon right from the jar before bed.”
    “He says to do that.”
    Me: “Of course he does, Tim Ferriss and I are soulmates.”

    Honestly it’s kind of sad that our food culture has conditioned us to eat so poorly we view a health diet as difficult, but it does take so much time and effort to eat well when you first start out. The cravings are bad — like BAD — in the first 2 weeks. You’ll probably feel like you’ll murder someone for sugar. But after that it goes away. And then you get hyper sensitive to everything. I eat like half a chocolate bar now and then am in tears crying, “take it away, take it AWAY i’m going to throw up”

    • Kate Dore Bridget August 4, 2015 on 7:48 pm

      You are totally right, Bridget! It’s awful that the average American diet is considered normal. It’s been okay for the first couple of days, but I’m definitely looking forward to reaching the two-week mark 🙂

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach August 4, 2015 on 8:38 pm

    You can never get FNL and Tim Riggins out of your mind forever…it’s impossible! 🙂 Good luck with the diet and can’t wait to meet you in person!

    • Kate Dore Tonya@Budget and the Beach August 6, 2015 on 7:15 am

      Let’s be honest, Tim Riggins was one of my main motivations for watching the show. I’m really stoked to finally meet you in Charlotte, Tonya! 🙂

  • Mrs. Budgets @MrandMrsBudgets August 4, 2015 on 11:39 pm

    Your so right, I find that when I stop tracking my budget for a week or two that no damage has been done because I am so used to meticulously keeping track of everything. Spending wisely has become second nature to us.

    • Kate Dore Mrs. Budgets @MrandMrsBudgets August 6, 2015 on 7:16 am

      Congratulations! It must feel great to have reached that point!

  • Holly@ClubThrifty August 5, 2015 on 7:36 am

    Sorry to hear about the writer’s block. I think everyone goes through that! I get it every few months and it’s brutal. I try to save my dull and boring higher ed work for that time because it requires no creativity on my part.

    • Kate Dore Holly@ClubThrifty August 6, 2015 on 7:17 am

      Yeah, it was definitely rough! That’s a good tip, though.

  • Michelle August 5, 2015 on 10:38 am

    Writer’s block is HORRIBLE. I suffered when my daughter was born. My husband, who is a professional-fancy-pants writer told me to just write random things until it became something. It’s worked for me, sort of! LOL.

    Also, awesome job on the savings. You are killing it!

    • Kate Dore Michelle August 6, 2015 on 7:19 am

      Sorry you experienced that, Michelle! Thanks for the advice. I’ll definitely keep that in mind for next time. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  • Abigail @ipickuppennies August 5, 2015 on 4:48 pm

    Diets and exercise are tough. FinCon always motivates me. Though last year, it motivated me because I didn’t fit in my pants. Whatever works, right?

    If you feel like the exercise is overwhelming, I really like YouTube exercise channels. I have health problems, so the 8-12 minute videos are perfect.

    And it’s easy to say that you can’t handle 20-30 minutes of exercise. Harder to convince yourself that you can’t get through 8 minutes.

    • Kate Dore Abigail @ipickuppennies August 6, 2015 on 7:21 am

      Nice! I’ll have to check out some of those videos. And you’re right about motivation! Doesn’t matter where it comes from, as long as it’s there 😉

  • Duncan's Dividends August 5, 2015 on 5:23 pm

    The whole culture we’ve built around food is terrible, but it’s a byproduct of cheap crappy foods that are flavored with chemicals that we crave. Pretty sure flaming how Cheetos are delicious, pretty sure that redish orangish color isn’t a natural occurrence in the natural world. I like the eat in moderation thoughts and try to stick to it, but I definitely find a way to be active everyday. Good luck on the diet!

    • Kate Dore Duncan's Dividends August 6, 2015 on 7:22 am

      You’re right and I’m guilty of eating way too many processed foods. Hopefully the slow carb diet will help get me back on track!

  • Hannah August 6, 2015 on 7:00 am

    I slow carbed for a while- Whole30 and then Paleo. I still try to keep to what I call a clean-ish diet, but I’ve had to go back to eating “fast carbs” including bread because otherwise I ate like $80 worth of food per day, seriously half a dozen eggs, 2-3 chicken breasts, a pan of stir fried veggies, it was getting ridiculous.

    • Kate Dore Hannah August 6, 2015 on 7:25 am

      That’s great you’ve found a diet that works for you, Hannah! I’m only on day four and I’m starting to notice how pricey it’s getting! It will be interesting to compare my food budget to previous months’ once I’m done.

  • Dane Hinson August 6, 2015 on 4:43 pm

    I hate getting writer’s block. It’s tough to overcome. I find that I have specific time of day that I feel most creative and therefore in the best position to write. It’s usually in the morning when I’m fresh… right after a cup of coffee of course.

    • Kate Dore Dane Hinson August 6, 2015 on 6:23 pm

      Me too, Dane! Morning works best for me. And definitely while sipping a fresh cup of coffee.

  • Melanie @ Dear Debt August 7, 2015 on 11:50 am

    I’ve had writer’s block but I can’t really afford to. So sometimes I’ll submit work that I don’t think is my best, which I hate. Your mortgage is cheap! Jealous! I’ll be interested in your slow-carb diet. It’s not for me, but I have been more mindful about sugar, alcohol and dairy. What can I say, I love cheese 🙂

    • Kate Dore Melanie @ Dear Debt August 8, 2015 on 11:23 am

      My expenses are half of the total costs. Even still, $1,358.36 a month is very cheap. Nashville’s gotten a lot more expensive over the past few years and I’m not sure if I could afford to buy a house now! The slow carb diet has one cheat day a week, and today’s that day. Hopefully, I won’t go too crazy with the junk food and drinks 😉

  • Derek @ MoneyAhoy.com August 12, 2015 on 6:57 am


    Really nice savings numbers! It looks like you are really rocking those bills and keeping everything in line! One thing that jumped out at me is your cell phone bill. $66 a month is pretty high. Have you looked at other options? You can switch to Cricket Wireless or Republic wireless for around $35 for a single phone. If you have the ability to add family and friends, you can get the price down to ~$20 per phone.

    Also, congrats on your health journey! I have been undergoing the same sort of journey to improve my health. It’s been a multi-year process 🙂 To force myself to get better with exercise and eating, I started my own health blog along with my wife. You can stop by and check it out here: HealthierDay.com. I literally just started it this week, so there really isn’t any content up yet. Maybe give it a week or two before visiting. I plan to start cranking out posts in the next week or two after I finish the layout. If you have any interest writing a quick post on your health story/background, or have ideas that you’d like me to research and write about just send me an email. I’d love to work with you on a couple articles if you have the time 🙂 I’m the kind of person that if I write out my goals to an audience, it helps me stay accountable. If you’re the same way, we could try a before and after post type of thing (again, if you have the time/interest).

    Good luck!!!!

    • Kate Dore Derek @ MoneyAhoy.com August 12, 2015 on 8:28 am

      Thanks for the encouragement, Derek! My cell phone bill continues to be a nail in my side. I know it’s higher than it needs to be. I just have so many friends and family members who live far away. I talk on my phone a lot and bad service would be rough. Also, I’d love to participate in your project! I’ve been tracking my weight really carefully and I’m seeing some awesome progress in a short amount of time. Who knew the white stuff was making me fat? 😉

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