Income/Expenses For April 2012

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 2012:

$4,449–Regular Paycheck
$161–Dividends
$115–Bonus and Spiffs

Total Income: $4,725

Expenses from March 2012:

$507–Rent
$189–Student Loans
$128–Groceries
$93–Restaurants
$118–Fast Food and Pizza
$53–Internet
$22–Pharmacy
$15–Gas
$17–Public Transportation
$40–Mobile Phone
$30–Gym
$78–Everything Else*

Total Expenses: $1,293

*The Everything Else category includes expenses I don’t have a regular budget for. In this case it was birthday gifts for my girlfriend and her child, who both share birthdays in April. I also purchased a beach chair and miscellaneous beach supplies for the summer ($14).

This was another fantastic month for income. At this time I’m very satisfied with my income level and do not see any immediate improvements in this area. Things are humming along nicely at work for what it’s worth, even if I’m secretly planning my escape as soon as possible. No matter the income level I would still always choose to spend my time freely instead of trading it for a paycheck.

Expenses were pretty well in line. The only expenses that were a little higher than normal were my food expenses. This was due to a couple different reasons. Firstly, I’ve decided to eat a little healthier. After a year straight of eating ramen noodles almost exclusively for lunch I have moved on. I’m eating a bigger variety of food and I’ve also started to include protein supplements into my diet. I’ve become reinvigorated at the gym and feeling better than ever. The protein shakes/meal replacements allow me to keep my nutrition up on a financial/time budget. Second, I had family in town at the end of April. I spent more money on food out of the house than usual for this reason.

Rent has been increasing. This is due to the fact that apparently the water meter at my apartment had been broken and I was notified by the condo complex, owner and meter reader of this fact so now I’m being billed “appropriately” for my water usage. I guess I was getting away with a cheaper rate before. The rent shown above will likely be more representative of my rent charges going forward.

You’ll notice that my expense reports don’t really vary much month to month other than one-time charges like taxes last month or when I purchased personal transportation (my awesome 49cc scooter!). This is because I’ve learned to be happy with less and I’ve become content with my budget. I don’t have a want or need to purchase a lot of personal possessions that will require maintenance and/or storage.

I managed to save 72.6% of my net income this month. I consider anything above 70% excellent, so this was a great month.

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 
39.6% – March
72.6% – April

I’m now at an average monthly savings rate of 54.2%. Not bad. I had a bit of a rough start to the year but I’m coming back. I don’t anticipate any major expenses for the summer, so I’ll have a chance to get my savings rate above 60% quickly.

How are your budgets doing?

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: RambergMediaImages

Comments

    • says

      Anonymous,

      I still have quite a few payments left. The reason I don’t just pay it off is because the interest rate is very low (less than 3% last I looked) and the interest is tax-deductible.

      In addition, I consider risk. If I was to lose my job I could get a deferment on payments while my capital continues to (hopefully) grow.

      Best wishes!

  1. says

    What are you doing with the income that you are saving? Does it mostly go to a savings account or do you put it in dividend paying stocks?

    • says

      Squeezer,

      I invest most of the savings into dividend growth stocks while a small portion of it goes to cash. The cash portion is mainly used as a buffer/emergency reserve and a fund to dip into if a major stock market crash occurs.

      Best wishes!

  2. says

    DM,

    Your savings rate this month was excellent! Looks like I’m gonna have to bring my ‘A’ game each month to keep up with you!

    Working out / weight-training is a great way to keep fit. In regards to meal replacements, do you buy the individual packets, or jugs? I use to buy the packets but found those to be kinda expensive, so started creating my own blend. I’d mix some casein with some whey and slap on a multi-vitamin or two and use that as a meal replacement substitute. Probably not the best solution, but cheap ;)

    • says

      FI Fighter,

      You’re doing pretty great on your end as well! I think we’ll serve as mutual inspiration. :)

      In regards to protein supplements I buy them in the 2lb. or 5lb. jugs. I find that to be the most economical way to use them. I then buy milk for home and milk for work to mix them with.

      Sounds like you’re doing a pretty good job with your homemade meal replacements. I’m simply not that creative.

      Best wishes!

  3. says

    Way to go DM! My expenses run about yours (on a yen to penny basis) but unfortunately my income is not as high as yours. But nonetheless it really gives me something to aim towards. I’d imagine although we are in different countries and lead somewhat different life styles our consumption is probably pretty similar. If our paths are leading toward the same goal this makes me follow what your blogging about even more. Keep the great updates rolling in!

    • says

      The Kechi One,

      Thanks for the support!

      I’m glad to see we have similar expenses and consumption levels. It gives me a sense of satisfaction to know that I get a lot out of life by spending a fraction of what I used to.

      It looks like we are on similar paths and I think that the path we are walking holds a very bright future indeed.

      Take care!

  4. says

    I enjoy reading your blog. I will be following suit with my own dividend growth plan in about six months. But for now, I am saving for an addition to my house. Once that is done I’ll be able to start the drip-drip-drip of dividend investing.

    • says

      anonymoustravis,

      Thanks for stopping by and reading the blog. I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

      I hope all goes well with the addition and hopefully you can update us all once you start your own little dividend growth machine!

      Best wishes.

  5. says

    Very nice savings for the month — keep up the good work! It looks like you have a good-sized chunk of new capital for investment, so I’m guessing you’re on the prowl for some buying opportunities. :)

    • says

      deedubs,

      Thanks!

      I do have a nice chunk of capital with which to put to work. I am definitely trying to spot great opportunities and actually made my first purchase for May earlier today when the market was sliding heavily. I’ll make sure to post about it tonight or early tomorrow!

      Best wishes!

  6. Chicago says

    Congrats on another great month of keeping expenses in check!

    I would like to make a comment about something in your post though. You mentioned that you used to eat Ramen Noodles every day for lunch! While these kinds of foods may save on costs in the short term, they will no doubt cause a lot higher health care costs in the long term! Ramen Noodles contain an extraordinary amount of sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure/hypertension. I’m not a doctor, but there is a lot of high blood pressure and heart disease in my family, and I try to keep my sodium consumption under control. Even though I try to eat healthy fresh foods and I go to the gym several times a week, I was dealt some unlucky genes, and I have high blood pressure. I’m already taking a daily blood pressure medicine — at the young age of 30! If you haven’t already, I’d recommend you check your blood pressure just in case (because of all of the Ramen you have eaten!) Chronically high blood pressure leads to heart disease, which is the leading cause of deaths in the United States according to the CDC!

    Best Regards.

    • says

      Chicago,

      Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your helpful and insightful comment. You make a number of great points.

      In regards to ramen noodles, they are inherently just noodles. It’s the provided salt packet that is the demon in the package. I have mentioned a few times on the blog that I never really used the salt packets much. Sometimes I would just pinch a small amount from the packet for flavor, but dumping that packet full of flavored salt on my noodles sounded gross and very unhealthy…so I never did. I will admit they offer no nutritional value, but the savings were immense. I would say it helped me get to where I am today. I guess I’ll always have a soft spot for ramen. :)

      I had my blood pressure checked last year right in the prime of my ramen noodle eating and it checked out great. I do plan on getting annual check-ups though.

      I also hit the gym regularly and did so over the past year as I have since I was 11 years old (I’m a former bodybuilder). I think the exercise helps to combat some of the negative effects of my diet choices over the last year. I’m now eating a bit healthier, and spending a bit more on food.

      I hope your workouts continue to provide great results.

      Best wishes!

  7. says

    Over 70% is nuts! Congrats! $1300 a month in expenses is great as well; I keep looking at my budgets to try to figure out where I can cut down so your expenses is a pretty decent guideline.

    • says

      Vicky,

      Thanks for stopping by and supporting the blog!

      I took a look at your recent spending plan and I think you have some room to maneuver. That’s the good news. It gets a bit boring once you get to my level of expenditures as the cuts become small and meaningless. There isn’t much “fat to trim” from my budget, if you will. I had a lot of fun really demolishing my budget when I was spending a lot. It felt great to see such large amounts of progress. Now, the progress mostly comes in the form of savings and increasing dividends…which is still a lot of fun!

      Best wishes!

  8. Anonymous says

    We have about 60 % savings rate to go anything better than that we have to move or get rid of the cars. This might be an option but right now we think we are balanced where we are. I also think the savings rate will go up over time because we allways find little ways of improving on cost and income creap ut at the same time as we do not have any morgage anymore and the dividend payment start comming in even if it is still on a very low level. However I agree with DM that I loved the earlier years when there were more “big wins”.

    / Olin

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