Each month I will post my income/expenses for the previous month. I track every dollar in and out, so what you see is exactly what I earned and spent (rounded to the nearest dollar).
Income from March 2011:
$50--Bonus and Spiffs
Total Income: $3,488
Expenses from March 2011:
$42--Fast Food and Pizza
Total Expenses: $2,097
*The Everything Else category includes things I don't have a regular budget for. In this case it was a battery for my car that went dead ($49), taxes owed to the IRS due to capital gains and dividends received in 2010 ($358), a visit to the doctor and subsequent medications ($224), a gift for my father's birthday ($16) and a website fee to Google ($10).
I managed to save 39.9% of my net income, which is a disappointment. To be honest, I'm a little embarrassed to post this budget. I had a lot of things all converge on me at once, and a lot of the expenses truly couldn't be helped. I'm freakishly frugal at times, but you have to pay the IRS taxes due. I can't do anything about that. If anything, the high tax bill is just a reminder of how much money I made in the market last year. I also came down with a serious bacterial infection and had a high fever and it wasn't getting any better with herbal medicine and dietary measures. I had to visit a doctor and get serious medication to get rid of that. It was my first visit to a doctor in probably 5 years, but when you are sick...you have to go. My car battery died right before I got sick, so I had to replace the battery in order to start my car and get to work. I still haven't managed to get rid of the car, but with every month that goes by my plan starts to become clearer.
I did have a couple budget victories this month, namely food. I managed to get my total food expenses all the way down to $114. This is more of an absolute figure, and not something I'm going to shoot for on a regular basis. I didn't go out to eat at all, which is a nice money-saving tactic. However, eating peanut butter sandwiches and ramen noodles most of the time does get a little weary. I basically wanted to see how low I could get this figure, and this is probably the absolute lowest I'll ever get it; any lower and the money I save will be exponentially replaced with a loss in overall life satisfaction. The other victory was of course the income. I hit an all-time high in income and it definitely broke my previous record for a month's worth of net income. Coinciding my all-time high in income with an outrageously expensive month is not what I had in mind, but life is funny that way.
As I posted before, my rent will be reduced once my lease ends this summer. I hope to reduce this amount by 30% or more.
My goal is to average a 50% savings rate of my net income, monthly. I hit a rate of 52.5% in January, 54.4% in February and 39.9% in March. I have averaged 48.9% over the year so far. I am slightly below my goal but am extremely confident I will be back on pace in April and the rest of the year. Wish me luck!
Thanks for reading.