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February Finances

The month of February is short. Are you?

By Natalie Wagner, February 1, 2018

Thank goodness the month of February is short! The weather is gray and drab. We’re sick of the cold and ready for the freshness of springtime. But have you ever wondered if you should manage your money any differently, given February’s shorter time frame? 

I’m a believer that in order for your money to support your deep goals and values, it should always be adjusting and flowing with changes in your life, no matter what form those changes take.

February is roughly 10% shorter than other months. I feel an impact, and I notice one in the world around me. One one hand, it's nice because it gets us into the spring of March more quickly. Still, the difference can confuse our regular rhythm, and we should consider how to adjust our money to match. 

In February there are up to 3 fewer days to spend. Three fewer days to feed the family, buy coffee, or drive to work.  This means you may actually use less money than the average month, and it may feel like there is some left to spend.

On the other hand, you pay your rent/mortgage in full for 3 fewer days of housing. Utilities and food are cost we accrue by the day. So what are the real differences?

Let’s consider where you may be gaining a little financial leverage, and where you may be getting the short end of the stick.

First, let's note that pay is generally attached to time worked or value provided, not according to the calendar month.  This means that the calendar difference in February will not impact the money you bring in.

Next, any monthly bills are going to be more expensive per day in February than any other month. For example, a mortgage of $2,000/month will be $71.43/day this February, but only $64.52/day in March. A $100 yoga membership is $3.57 per day this February and $3.23 by the day in March.  These costs are roughly 10% higher!

And last, let's look at areas of ongoing spending, like food, social activities or transportation.  We pay for these primarily according to usage - not according to the calendar year. This means that a short month doesn't make a difference in what the cost means to you, even if there are 10% fewer days of these costs.

The point: Don't let February fool you! The 10% increase in monthly costs and the 10% decrease in days in which to spend essentially balance each other out.  Any sense of deep pockets is an illusion!

Now that we know how February is different, we can adjust accordingly. However, in this case, it means, don't do things differently!  This knowledge empowers us to use our money this month in ways that bolster your deep goals and values.  

Power to you!