January 2016 Monthly Budget Review

There's something really enchanting about Nashville in the snow.

Growing up in Massachusetts, snowstorms began losing their appeal somewhere around mid-February. Because you were tired of starting every morning shoveling or scraping. And you just wanted things to be less of a hassle.

But it's different here.

Especially when there's more than a few inches of snow.

A few inches of snow means schools are closed. Everyone's working from home. Or taking the day off. And anywhere with a hill becomes a prime spot for boozy sledding.

It's quiet; there's a stillness. Or, as The New York Times eloquently put it:

“The snow cares not for your deadlines, your happy hour plans, your scheduled C-section. It wants only to fall on the ground and lie there. And it wants you to, too.”

Last month, Nashville was hit with 8 inches of snow for the first time since 1902. Yup, over one hundred years ago! And it was such a lovely, peaceful start to the year.

The January Monthly Budget

When you stick to a strict budget for a while, it eventually becomes second nature. I checked in on my food budget a couple times. And it's still higher than I'd like. But mostly, January's expenses fell into place.

I had to replenish some personal care products. And I replaced my Sonicare toothbrush. They only last 2-3 years. But it's still totally worth it.

Spreadsheet of expenses

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

A few months ago, I started using Personal Capital to check my expenses and track my net worth. And I love seeing all my accounts in one place!

Note: If you sign up for a free account through my affiliate link above, I may receive a small bonus. I'd never recommend a product I don't save time with and enjoy!


Personal Care: $23.90 (Clarisonic Mia replacement brushes), $99.95 (Sonicare toothbrush replacement), $11.54 (floss), $33.98 (Morrocanoil Mousse), $10.90 (toothpaste/shampoo/conditioner)

Household: $3.14 (zip lock bags), $18.37 (mouthwash/toilet paper/laundry detergent)

Gifts: $18.03 (friend's birthday gift), $22.94 (cards)

Other One-Time Expenses: $250 (XY Planning Conference ticket), $3 (parking), $15 (ice skating downtown), $11.99 (XLR cable), $14.50 (microphone stand)

Other Goals

Cashville Skyline 

January posts: 2 (-1)

Twitter followers: 4,594 (+500)

Facebook likes: 837 (+210)

Google+ followers: 187 (+27)

Pinterest followers: 470 (+86)

Feedly subscribers: 122 (+16)

Cumulative Adsense earnings: $182.62 (+$8.37)

Side Income

When I got back from FinCon, I wrote about the importance of setting intentions. Because if you want to make progress, you have to be specific.

Four months ago, I set a goal of earning $10,000 side income before next year's FinCon. This income will come from a variety of sources including:

– Blogging
– Freelance writing
– Social media consulting
– Dividends from my taxable portfolio
– Selling stuff
– And more!

So how's my progress looking?

September – $350.72
October – $858.61
November – $738.71
December – $823.32
January – $580.04
Total – $3,351.40

I've got $6,648.60 more to go. So I need to earn $949.80 per month for the next 7 months to reach my goal.

My side income in January dipped because I needed to make time for a couple of larger writing projects. But those should wrap up within the next couple of months.


I've written a lot about my weight.

Last year, I opened up about my struggle with binge eating. And I vowed to try a different approach to losing weight. Instead of endless diets and boot camps, I promised to finally see a therapist.

But I didn't.

Rather than trying to work through my emotional attachment to food, I wrestled with the slow-carb diet, on and off, from August through November. And I made some progress! But I'm still worse off than I was a year ago.

Failing so many times over the past couple of years has been exhausting. And constantly being hit with unsolicited nutrition advice is even worse.

You reach a point where you don't even want to tell anyone you're attempting something new. Because the last thing you want to do is let everyone down. Again.

That's why I'm getting professional help. I'm working with a personal trainer and nutritionist once a week. She's a self-described diet-abolitionist who runs a body positive wellness group in my neighborhood twice a month. She's also a writer who's publishing her first book in May.

“We operate on the assumption that everybody is always in the process of getting better or worse. Walking around the block or eating a piece of fresh fruit, we are getting better. Sitting on the couch with a bag of chips for the fourth night in a row, we're getting worse.”  

This description of her wellness group made me feel more optimistic than I've felt in a long time. I'll be attending my very first one tonight. 🙂

Also, I'm going to see a therapist at Vanderbilt who specializes in eating disorders. I've got my first consultation later this week.

January Wellness Numbers

Weight: 166.4 (no change)

January Steps: 113,525 (+35,672)

Graph of weight changes over a year

January Goals:

Instead of setting specific goals, I’d like to shift my focus to being more mindful about balance and self-care. Working from home makes it easy to fall back into my old patterns. PASS!

I’d love to eventually establish one screen-free day a week (maybe Saturdays) to recharge and spend more time outdoors. Have you tried it? FAIL!

February Goals:

Keep hustling. But commit to wellness.

Trust the professionals. And block out the rest.

Readers: How was your January? What are your goals for the rest of the quarter? 

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Discussions — 15 Responses

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach February 8, 2016 on 8:25 am

    I hope the wellness things goes really well for you! I like your goal of a screen-free day, even though it didn’t work out very well. I really need the same thing. It seems like something ALWAYS comes up and I just can’t pull myself away. I think I might have to add something similar to my life!

  • Endre February 8, 2016 on 9:43 am

    Hope you will manage with loose weight with your fitness instructor. Have one thing in mind exercise don’t means you going to loose weight. Sometime can happen even opposite. Exercising everyday will build you muscles, and they are more heavier than fat. But you will become stronger and better looking 🙂

  • Abigail @ipickuppennies February 8, 2016 on 4:01 pm

    That person sounds like an excellent solution to your weight issue. I hate how, as you/the lady said, we’re always in progress. And that there’s normative vocabulary like “I’ve been bad” to describe eating some junk food.

    I just read Dietland. It’s fiction, but I really recommend it. It was kind of eye opening to some of the presumptions in society.

    I’m just waiting to see how things shake down for the end of our financial month (mid-month on the calendar). Unfortunately, I think we’re going to have to dip into savings a little, but hopefully I’m wrong.

  • Tawcan February 9, 2016 on 4:36 pm

    Fitness instructor is a great idea. If weight is an issue have you looked into Whole30? Did it a couple times and lost a bunch of weight. 🙂

  • Charlie February 9, 2016 on 11:47 pm

    That’s a beautiful snow photo!
    I’ve lived in Massachusetts and I totally agree snow is a different beast in MA. I remember one time digging my car out of snow for half an hour and I went to work, only to find out I didn’t need to go to work, and drove back home and spent one more hour to dig my car back into the parking spot!
    Thanks for the post. I probably should start looking at some side hustles as well

  • Broke Millennial February 10, 2016 on 7:49 am

    It seems like you’re really starting to crush it and I’m so proud and excited to have followed this journey from when you were an in the closet blogger with no “real” name! It’s also really brave of you to be this open about personal struggles outside of money, granted all that stuff is usually tied together. I’m trying to hop back on the 4-Hour Body slow carb band wagon, but eventually a trainer may be a good option.

  • Taylor February 10, 2016 on 11:59 pm

    Thank you so much for your honestly about your struggles with dieting and binging. (I’ve been there too and sometimes still relapse) So, so happy for you that you are starting a program with someone who *gets* it. Good luck with this new chapter. I’m sending all my best.

  • Cynthia February 11, 2016 on 4:36 am

    You’re making progress just keep yourself after those goals it can be tempting to gain pounds again! It’s all relative and you’re still moving forward.

  • Brian @ debt discipline February 11, 2016 on 8:43 am

    We have the same feeling about snow in NY. The first few snowfalls are great but after several it just annoying. It is beautiful to look at. You’re crushing the saving rate! Nicely done. Good luck with the wellness, sometime a little help is the boost you need.

  • Jen @ Frugal Millennial February 19, 2016 on 8:23 pm

    I live in Minnesota, so I totally understand how you felt in Massachusetts with the hassle of shoveling, scraping ice off windows, etc. getting so annoying by February! Good luck with your goals and thank you for openly sharing the wellness info! I have struggled with my weight and overeating, so I know how hard it can be to lose weight. Best of luck.

  • Cadman_eur/usd forecast February 26, 2016 on 6:02 am

    That individual sounds like a phenomenal answer for your weight issue. I detest how, as you/the woman said, we’re generally in advancement. Also, that there’s regulating vocabulary like “I’ve been terrible” to portray eating some garbage nourishment.

    • Kate Dore Cadman_eur/usd forecast April 10, 2016 on 9:47 pm

      Totally agree! It’s an endless cycle that I really hope to be getting closer to breaking. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  • Michael Consultant April 9, 2016 on 11:17 pm

    It looks great that you’re leading ahead with attractive each monthly budget. As a writer earning that amount I hope will be easier for you. Since writer have huge value these days. You look anywhere people are always looking for fresh content from experience writers. I hope you’ll achieve your goal nicely.

    • Kate Dore Michael Consultant April 10, 2016 on 9:43 pm

      Thanks for the kind words, Michael.

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