August 2015 Monthly Budget Review

Two weeks ago, my grandmother died. She tripped on her front step and was gone before I was able to fly back to Boston. Sometimes it really sucks being far away.

Nine years ago, the summer I moved to Nashville, I lost two grandparents within a month. I was waiting tables and have to fly home again, unexpectedly. My manager was skeptical.

When someone close to you dies, you want to do something. You want to be helpful. But there wasn't much I could do. I was young. I was broke. I had moved away, so I missed the months of worrying, sleepless hospital nights, and the day-to-day stress of caring for an ailing loved one. I missed the hard parts.

But I could sing. And was asked to sing at both funerals. It was a small, meaningful gesture that my family seemed to appreciate.

This time was different. It's been years since I've performed publicly. And my body's just not ready for it. I'm disappointed I've let my instrument fall so far out of shape. I don't know. The whole situation just made me feel useless.

It's weird how we tie certain things to our identity. Like being the classical singer or the concert promoter. And without these things we're not really sure what our role is.

I wrote some copy for my grandmother's coffee cake recipe we handed out at the wake. And honestly, it was a struggle. My sister had to finish it for me.  

I took four days off from work to be with my family. But it just didn't feel like enough.

Needless to say, my monthly goals were shoved onto the back burner for about a week. Despite the circumstances, I'm still pretty happy with this month's progress.

The August Monthly Budget

My first impression? Not bad. But, damn, eating healthy is expensive! It's tough eat a cheap grain-free meal from a decent restaurant. Especially when tofu isn't part of the diet. That's always been a cheap go-to for me in the past.

Spreadsheet of monthly budget

Note: mortgage, alarm system, internet, electric, water, gas, household, coffee, and lawn treatment numbers reflect one half of the total bill. I live with my boyfriend, so we split these expenses.


Gifts: None!

Other One Time Expenses: $26.95 (travel wi-fi), $82.60 (miscellaneous travel), $12.42 (renew personal domain), $52.20 (car repair), $44.48 (treatment for beetle infestation)  

Other Goals

Cashville Skyline 

August posts: 4 (+3)

Twitter followers: 3,379 (+122)

Facebook likes: 269 (+16)

Google+ followers: 136 (+5)

Pinterest followers: 298 (+30)

Feedly subscribers: 81 (+4)

Email subscribers: 82 (+13)

MoM Traffic Change: Sessions: +12.87% / Users: +7.73% / Pageviews: -27.12%

Cumulative Adsense earnings: $138.96 (+$8.09)


Last month, I read Tim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Body and dove into the slow-carb diet. The slow-carb diet eliminates grains, sugar, dairy, and alcohol. The focus is green vegetables, meat, and legumes. One cheat day per week is required.

August Wellness Numbers

Weight: 163.9 (-4.1)

Body Fat: 41.8% (-1.06%)

August Miles Run: 0 (-7)

August Steps: 87,321 (-130,224)

Line graph of weight from Withings scale

I've been weighing myself every day, but my “official” weigh-in are Saturday mornings. Once I've weighed in and eaten a slow-carb approved breakfast, cheat day officially begins.

For example, Saturday I ate:

– one vegan pecan cinnamon bun
– one glass of Eagle Rare 10 year whiskey on the rocks
– one vegan cookie sandwich
– one glass of malbec
– spiedini appetizer (crispy mozzarella with lemon butter and olive tapenade)
– one green goddess sushi roll (lump crab meat, avocado, cucumber, tempura crunchies, cilantro, green onions, and lime)

The majority of this stuff is not slow-carb diet approved. And you can see the resulting spike in my weight the next morning. 163.9 to 166. But that extra weight falls off after a few days — usually by Wednesday.

I decided I wanted to isolate the results of slow-carb last month, so I didn't exercise much. This month, I'm adding back at least 10,000 steps a day. Anyone need a Fitbit friend? You can find me here!

August Goals:

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

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

I was strict for 3 out of the 4 weeks. See that spike between August 17th and 24th? That's when I went home for my grandmother's funeral. I didn't binge! But there were a couple of days that included ice cream and lots of pasta.

3. Run three miles. FAIL!

September Goals:

1. Continue progress with Cashville Skyline.

2. Continue progress with the slow-carb diet. My next goal is dropping below 160.

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

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Discussions — 12 Responses

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach August 31, 2015 on 10:20 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about your grandma. 🙁 When my two closest grandparents died I was across the country and it’s hard and there is always something you wish you could do more of. I know for me I still regret not talking to them more after I moved. I’m curious about the slow carb thing. I’ve been feeling rather bloaty (not sure if it’s this heat) so I might be doing a little change up soon if it doesn’t improve.

  • Tawcan September 1, 2015 on 12:56 pm

    Sorry to hear about your grandma.

    The numbers look great for August. The slow carb sounds interesting, is that something similar to Whole30?

  • Kylie Travers September 2, 2015 on 11:30 pm

    I am terribly sorry to hear about your grandmother.

    We love the Slow Carb/4 hour body lifestyle. My boyfriend introduced me to it and it has been a life changer. I wrote about it a little while ago. I don’t weigh myself at all anymore. I weigh the same as I did in 2012 yet my body is completely different, I am much slimmer and feel so much better.

    I have developed a few medical issues of late (not related to this lifestyle) and interestingly enough, when I stick to the lifestyle I feel much better and can do more. When I get lazy and let my eating go to hell I am sluggish and my health issues increase drastically.

    • Kate Dore Kylie Travers September 5, 2015 on 11:29 am

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Kylie! And it’s encouraging to hear slow-carb has been so helpful for you. I’ve definitely felt a lot better over the past five weeks. Sugar and carbs really seem to inhibit my productivity.

  • Mrs. Budgets @MrandMrsBudgets September 7, 2015 on 11:08 pm

    I am so sorry about your loss. The copy of your grandma’s recipe was a nice gift to give the people who attended her funeral.

    I hit most of August’s monthly money goals and looking forward to FinCon this month, hopefully it won’t ruin the budget.

    • Kate Dore Mrs. Budgets @MrandMrsBudgets September 8, 2015 on 8:17 pm

      Yeah, September is already turning into an expensive month. And FinCon’s a significant chunk of that. So worth it, though! Look forward to seeing you there! 🙂

  • Abigail @ipickuppennies September 9, 2015 on 9:32 am

    August was filled with various doctor visit for my husband (and some for myself) — though at least it wasn’t as bad as July.

    I kept up the workouts. Since I have the fatigue issue, I stick with short videos (8-12 mins) for legs and arms. But this past month I worked my way up to 2 videos for each day. And I even graduated to 8 lbs weights. Plus I added in a walking program.

    I’ve managed to lose about 6 pounds on the scale since mid-July, and I know I’ve put on some muscle. Now if only I could keep going after FinCon!

    You probably know this, but your weight spikes because most cheat foods have a lot of sodium in them. Whether that’s dessert or entree.

    On date night, I get cheese fries at Lonestar (and a salad because that *totally* balances out). My weight goes up around a pound just from that. Two days later, the sodium is flushed out, and I’m back to normal.

    I also weigh myself every day. I know you shouldn’t, but it lets me know if I’ve been drinking enough water. (Sometimes I wake up .5 to a full pound lighter than the day before. Then I know to guzzle extra water that day.) Dehydration in the desert means I get too dizzy and nauseated to function properly.

    • Kate Dore Abigail @ipickuppennies September 9, 2015 on 8:47 pm

      Wow, sounds like you’re totally on top of your wellness goals! And you’re right. FinCon will definitely be tough!

  • Kathy December 17, 2015 on 8:42 pm

    Hi Kate. Read about you long ago in Wall Street Journal and identified with you. I am extremely frugal. Just went through divorce at 62 after 20 yr marriage and raised two great kids. I sing too but not for money, sigh. Musical numbers mostly. Anyway, got the house and trying to get full time work is tough but making it one month at a time as I start a new life. At least I got out of bad situation and am free now. Am counselor but it takes long time to build up a new practice in north Orlando where there are already tons of counselors and I must learn to create a website and learn social media at 62. I am super frugal but need somewhere safe to put my IRA…..the little that I have. I have some savings I will keep in my checking account. What do you suggest. Scared of stock market volatility. Want to trade advice: I will answer anything as a counselor. Could you suggest safe place for my IRA . Maybe a 1 yr CD.? Thanks Kathy. I lived in Nashville and moved here for my husband which was a bad mistake. It is hot here all the time. Enjoy Nashville. So sorry about your grandparents; i went through the same thing. Hard to get through. Kathy…Oh, I should downsize house but want to wait til ex husband finishes paying off mortgage that I am entitled to…..then I might downsize and save money. Divorce is huge adjustment and just plain takes time.

    • Kate Dore Kathy December 21, 2015 on 12:47 pm

      Thanks so much for reaching out, Kathy! And I’m sorry to hear about your divorce and career challenges. I’d recommend speaking to a certified financial planner about your situation. I wish you the best of luck. And thanks so much for reading! 🙂