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).
$235–Bonus and Spiffs
Total Income: $5,306
Expenses from February 2012:
$133–Fast Food and Pizza
Total Expenses: $1,341
*The Everything Else category includes expenses I don’t have a regular budget for. In this case, it was expenses related to purchasing flowers and a card for Valentine’s Day.
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.
The income was a huge surprise this month. I can definitely see where the recent promotion at work is going to provide a little boost to the journey toward financial independence. I feel incredibly blessed to be taking home over $5,000 a month in net income. This may have been an abnormally high month in terms of income for me, even working in my new position. It’s hard to say, however, as I’m still getting a feel for it.
Expenses were a little higher than normal. Part of this is due to the fact that I now have auto insurance and gas to pay for, which are a couple of expenses I haven’t had in about nine months. I also decided to go back to paying for a gym membership. I may write an article about this in the near future, but basically I found my motivation level severely lacking without a fully equipped gym to go to. I was doing fairly well jogging and working out outside, but I could tell that my fitness regimen was suffering. I find my physical health to be well worth the $30 monthly investment.
Food was much higher than normal. I typically target ~$180/month in all food related expenses. I went well over that for a couple reasons. First, I took my girlfriend and I out for an expensive sushi dinner for Valentine’s day and spent over $100 on one dinner. That’s a bit unusual for me, but we really enjoy sushi and it was a special occasion. Second, I was a bit more flexible with my food budget this month. I’m still trying to balance frugality with quality of life and I decided to “let loose” this month in terms of what I was willing to spend on food. I found it to be a nice break from watching every dollar spent on groceries and take-out. I may try to get back to my normal food expenditures in March.
I managed to save 74.7% of my net income this month, which is phenomenal. This is a fantastic number, and hopefully I can remain near this number for the rest of the year while still allowing myself some flexibility with expenses.
My goal is to average a 65% savings rate of my net income, monthly. So far, I’ve hit rates of:
30% – January
74.7% – February
Obviously a tale of two budgets there, but January’s miss was due to the fact that I purchased a car and paid cash and counted it against one month’s expenses. Some people choose to amortize a large expense like that, but I chose differently. I’m now at an average savings rate of 52.3% on the year, which is a great start toward my goal.
How are your budgets doing?
Thanks for reading.
Photo Credit: RambergMediaImages