Income/Expenses For July 2011

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 July 2011:

$2,235–Regular Paycheck
$59–Dividends
$140–Bonus and Spiffs

Total Income: $2,434

Expenses from July 2011:

$637–Rent
$160–Student Loans
$104–Groceries
$53–Restaurants
$36–Fast Food and Pizza
$36–Pharmacy
$40–Mobile Phone
$37–Internet
$30–Public Transportation
$75–Everything Else*

Total Expenses: $1,212

*-The Everything Else category includes things I don’t have a regular budget for. In this case, it was an application fee for an apartment complex I am likely moving to. I will talk about this very soon, but basically I’m trying to cut down my rent costs and also move closer to the bus stop for public transportation. Double whammy.

As always, in the interest of full disclosure I like to display my income and expenses from every month for public view. This will catalog my journey to financial independence and prove that it is possible to achieve early retirement on relatively modest means.

Well, I believe this is another successful month in terms of budgeting. My income was WAY down, and this was due to a number of circumstances. First, this is off-season in southwest Florida, and typically the auto business is way down during the summer months. I expect things to ramp back up in late August and segueing into September. Second, I took some time off in June, and while the vacation was completely free, it did have an impact on my bottom line. I am on a 100% commission pay-plan at work, and when I don’t sell work I don’t earn income. Oh, well. Time off is well deserved and needs to be taken when necessary.

I’m extremely pleased with the expenses. Although the income was off, the expenses were right in line with what I had anticipated. The only non-recurring expense was my application fee to a leasing agency. Without that, I would have been below $1,200 for the second month in a row. Overall, this is a fantastic expense line. Food costs were a little high, but I ate healthier during the course of the month. I ate less ramen noodles and more meats/cheeses for lunch at work.

I managed to save 50% of my net income this month. That’s actually pretty good, considering how far down my income was. I’m hoping to get that number north of 60% for the rest of the year. We’ll see how successful I am with that, as a few planned expenses will be soon approaching such as purchasing a small moped.

I hope these numbers are inspiring for any frugalists out there who are determined to keep a high savings rate and invest for their future. It’s challenging, but extremely rewarding.

My goal is to average a 50% savings rate of my net income, monthly. So far, I’ve hit rates of:

52.5%-January
54.4%-February
39.9%-March
61.8%-April
35.9%-May
72.9%-June
50.0%-July

I am now at an average of 52.4% for the year. I’m ahead of my goal and am confident I will meet and exceed a 50% savings rate average for the year.

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: RambergMediaImages

Comments

  1. says

    I’m not sure if you’re doing this or not, but have you ever thought of maybe getting a rewards program credit card for your purchases?

    My wife and I have been using our VISA Aerogold for a lot of purchases (especially big-ticket items) so that we can accumulate points for travel, etc.

    Nice post – keep up the great work monitoring your expenses!

  2. Anonymous says

    This blog will make a great book when you hit your goal. I’m sure you are keeping a journal. …. J ….

  3. says

    Great work, Mantra!

    You’re doing an excellent job of keeping your finances in check.

    I make a little more than you, but I also unfortunately spend a bit more, too, which means we’re saving about the same amount but your “frugality” percentage leaves mine to be desired.

    I really appreciate how open you are with your portfolio and your entire financial situation. My inclination is you’re likely helping a lot of people out by doing this. I really admire your blog.

    Have a great week and keep up the good work!

    Pey

  4. says

    Inq,

    I haven’t realized any earnings from this blog yet. I just recently crossed the $100 mark, which is the minimum Google will pay out on. When I realize any earnings from the blog I’ll likely include it as income in the “bonus” section of my budget account.

    Take care! :)

  5. says

    The Wealthy Canadian,

    Thanks for stopping by. I actually use a BOA rewards credit card for almost all purchases. It does accumulate points which I turn into gift cards. I pay off transactions almost immediately after they post. I think this is a fantastic way to track purchases and also accumulate a little side money.

    My only problem is that I don’t spend a lot of money, so the points accumulate very slowly. The frugal conundrum I suppose!

    Keep in touch.

  6. says

    Anonymous,

    Wouldn’t that be fantastic? You know, it’s because of books that I started this blog. I’ll write about this in the future and expand on this thought, but I read a few books that tell “How I retired young”. You don’t read a lot of live journals where it shows you “This is how I’m doing it”. This is a bit of a book on how to retire early, but it’s streaming at you live, instead of me telling everyone 10 years from now how I did it.

    Thanks for the comment, and that’s something I meant to touch on.

  7. says

    Pey,

    Thanks for the compliments. I do hope that in the end I help others through my openness. Some people might think I’m too open, but I don’t agree. It’s transparency between the investment community that helps us all prosper. This is, again, something I mean to write about…but saving/living frugally/investing is NOT a zero-sum game. I don’t directly benefit by others’ losses. We all really have something to gain by sharing!

    It sounds like you’re doing pretty well if you’re making a little more and spending a little more. If you meet your goals, that’s all that matters. Not everyone dislikes their job and not everyone wants to retire as early as I do, anyway.

    Keep in touch!

  8. says

    Pey,

    There are many reasons, and few of them could be expressed easily on this blog. Plus, I don’t want to use this as my soap box. Boiling it down, I deal with very unhappy people on a daily basis and it becomes very draining and unsatisfying. I have unhappy clients that don’t want to see me, technicians that generally don’t want to fix cars, and I’m in a highly competitive atmosphere that pays me completely on commission. It’s more stressful than I’d like.

    There is a chance I would switch industries. I have thought about taking a detour on the way to my early retirement if it becomes too much. Say I’m earning $500/mo in passive income and I only need another $600-700/mo in earnings, I could easily find that that in something else. I have thought about that. We’ll see though. My earnings will definitely not be replicated anywhere else due to my lack of diversified skills. I’ll have to sacrifice the earning power to do that switch.

    Thanks for the questions. I hope that clears it up a little bit!

    Take care.

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