Income/Expenses For October 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 October 2012:

$3,410–Regular Paycheck
$154–Dividends
$556–Bonus and Spiffs

Total Income: $4,121

Expenses from October 2012:

$493–Rent
$189–Student Loans
$111–Groceries
$118–Fast Food
$97–Restaurants
$53–Internet
$65–Public Transportation
$40–Pharmacy
$40–Mobile Phone
$30–Gym
$742–Everything Else*

Total Expenses: $1,981

*The Everything Else category includes expenses I don’t have a regular budget for. In this case, it was mostly travel expenses. I spent $705 on airfare to fly my girlfriend and I home to Michigan for Christmas. I paid for my entire ticket, and as a Christmas gift I paid for half of her ticket. I also spent $37 on an anniversary gift for my girlfriend.

Income was a little lower than usual due to lower sales during the month of September. My monthly commission check is based on the previous month’s sales, and September was a rather lousy month for me. Other than the low paycheck, income was rather nice. September’s dividends were great and my bonus income was mostly made up of a freelance writing opportunity and Google Adsense revenue. I don’t anticipate my bonus income being quite this high on a regular basis.

Expenses were obviously high due to the airfare I purchased for the annual trip home for the holidays. Factoring that out I ended up at $1,276, which is actually pretty comfortable. My core expenses were in-line, with no major surprises anywhere.

Food was a little higher than I’d like it to be. I’ve been considerably more relaxed on food expenditures, and so the food budget has been steadily rising since this time last year. I was targeting a $180/month food bill for quite a while, but have since revised that and at this point I’m okay with a food bill around $300 for an entire month.

I managed to save 51.9% of my net income this month. Not as high as I’d like it to be, but I’m extremely excited to visit family for the holidays and the money spent on airfare is well worth it.

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
55.2% – May
22.3% – June
29.9% – July
70% – August
76.9% – September
51.9% – October

I’m now at an average of 52.3% for the year. Not bad, as it’s about 17 times higher than the average American’s savings rate, but I do hold myself to a higher standard. I hope to improve on this number as we end the year and improve even further in 2013!

How are your budgets doing?

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: RambergMediaImages

Comments

    • says

      Ryan,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Buying plane tickets sucks, no doubt about it. What sucks even more is that they’re a little cheaper now than they were when I bought them. Ah, well. It is what it is. Visiting the family for the holidays is priceless, anyway.

      Best wishes!

  1. Anonymous says

    This is very inspiring that you are very disciplined. I think you have a good balance of where to cut and where to spend. Good work DM!

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Thanks for the support! I appreciate it.

      I’ve definitely learned where to cut the spending and where to dial it up a bit. I find a lot of satisfaction in good food, especially when it’s shared with great company.

      I’ve definitely been more lenient with that lately…especially after a year of ramen noodles and PB&J. Those lean times certainly provided a bit of a springboard for where I’m at now.

      I hope you’re doing just as well on your journey.

      Best regards.

  2. says

    Saving over 50% is fantastic. Good job! I’ve been very relaxed with my budget the past month and need to tighten it up a little bit. I don’t even want to know how much I spent on food.

    Keep it up

    • says

      Compounding Income,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Hey, we all need a break from budgeting once in a while…so a month off here and there is really no big deal if it keeps you on the track to long-term success. I certainly took a break from budgeting during the summer, and I’m more dedicated than ever.

      Keep up the great work on your end too.

      Best wishes!

  3. says

    DM

    Glad to see you get to spend some quality time with your loved ones this holiday break!

    I think some of us FI seekers get a bad rap for being too frugal, when that isn’t the case at all. We definitely know when things are worth paying for, and this is definitely one of those instances.

    52% savings in a month is an awesome rate! I’m sure my spending will also go up as we approach the holidays. Gotta love this time of year.

    Take care!

    • says

      FI Fighter,

      Yeah, I think people who seek financial independence at such a young age, like you and I, do get stereotyped a bit. I would say in some instances the stereotypes are deserved, and in some cases they aren’t. It also depends on perspective. If you compare me to the average American, as evidenced by the link above, I’m downright extreme. Conversely, to someone saving 90% of their income I’m not trying hard enough.

      I do love this time of year. It’s funny how different the holidays are down here in Florida. I spent most of my life living in Michigan, and the holidays are really special up there. The cold weather, cider mills, pumpkin picking, the lights everywhere, families getting together around fireplaces. It’s really cool. Down here in Florida, from my experience over the last three years, isn’t quite the same at all. I’m sure the weather has something to do with that.

      Hope you enjoy your holidays!

      Take care.

  4. says

    DM,

    Congrats on another solid month. A 52% savings rate even after buying the plane tickets is awesome. It’s good that you’ll get to go see family over the holidays. Getting to spend time with family is my favorite part of the holidays.

    I know my spending will go up, but I’ve saved money every month this year to pay for the gifts that will be coming up.

    Your comment about a year of PB&J and Ramen noodles makes me want to try that for a month to see just how low I can get my food expenses. I won’t be doing the Ramen noodles, but rice, beans, tuna, PB&J and oatmeal might be on tap. If I do try this it’ll probably be February.

    Congrats again on another good month of savings.

    • says

      I bought a 20lb of Rice for $10 6 months ago for one person, me.

      This might take 2 years to finish! 2 cups of rice = side portions for about 5 meals for one person.

      Occasionally mix in eggs, beans, chicken, beef, etc.

      Rice is much cheaper then bread for a filler.

      When i was in Tokyo, they hardly touch their rice, while becoming stuffed by Fish and veggies. They all are lean and thin with full sets of hair for the men from this diet and walking/biking to work! It was quite an eye opener for an American Cubicle Worker.

    • says

      PIP,

      I still eat my fair share of PB&J sandwiches. In fact, I had that for dinner just yesterday. I’ve given up ramen noodles, however. After a year of them for lunch I can’t even touch them anymore.

      I do love spending a little more on food, but spending much over $300 is probably out of my range. I want to lighten up, but still keep a pretty tight lid on things. As is, food is a pretty large part of my budget now.

      I’m with you on spending time with family during the holidays. It’s just a special time of year, and something I greatly look forward to.

      Best wishes!

    • says

      It’s what I do too.

      I pack some bags of Basmati, more during the winter (I’m in Canada). I prepare about 4 cups on the weekends, that give me enough meal to eat all the next week long (mixed with some veggies and salmon) including even some breakfast.

      It’s really cheap and slow greatly the drain of my 2 weeks food budget.

  5. says

    I haven’t seen your post yet on student loans, but if their interest is 6.8%, you might want to invest in taking care of those. I know you have ten year promises, and currently student loan interest rate is deductible; but Obama wants to do away with that deduction, increase all taxes, etc.

    I say student loan interest has less then a year left for being deductible.

    I did away with all my debts first (student loans), and after a while you forget about so many others paying so much interest on all their debts while my savings rate keeps growing.

    I know your dividends will be growing throughout your life and that is fantastic, just consider paying off the student loan burden too, especially when all student loaners get hit with the deduction going away and forget that their interest rates were rising fast every year in college.

    • says

      I do agree with freeyourchains above ~ it really depends on the interest rate though. I got lucky and locked mine under 4.5% a couple years ago when I graduated. But its like owning a big share of stock that has a negative 4.5% yielding dividend!

      Good month though DM

    • says

      FYC,

      My interest rate is right about 3.15%, which isn’t detrimental. However, it would be nice to have the loans completely paid off.

      I’m not sure where the tax policy is going in regards to student loans. I certainly hope the deduction remains, as Obama has, so far, been pretty kind to student loan holders. We’ll see.

      It’s also fair to keep in mind that if I were to suddenly lose my job student loans are very flexible in their repayment terms. It’s that favorable treatment that allows me to be okay with holding the loans right now.

      Best regards.

    • says

      Investing Early,

      Thanks for the support! I hope you had a great October as well.

      I hear you on the “negative dividend”. That’s pretty much true of any debt you hold, other than something that’s concurrently building equity like a mortgage payment. If I could go back in time, I’d change many things…not the least of which would be taking out student loans. Live and learn!

      Take care.

  6. says

    Great post DM!

    I saving about the same as you (about 50%/month).

    “I was targeting a $180/month food bill for quite a while, but have since revised that and at this point I’m okay with a food bill around $300 for an entire month. “

    Yeah, $300 is what I take too for food, $180 is really something hard to reach :)

    Cheers

    • says

      JF Baconnet,

      Great job saving 50% of your income each month. That’s a fantastic rate. I think 50% is a great long-term rate that is not only giving oneself a great opportunity to achieve early financial independence, but also a rate that is sustainable. Saving 80% of one’s money every month is likely not sustainable, unless of course you’re earning a massive amount of money.

      I hear you on the food budget. I do enjoy eating great food. Of course I’m very Buffett-like, in that I really just love a good cheeseburger and an ice cold Coke! I say no thanks to foie gras and other haute cuisine for the most part.

      Best wishes!

    • says

      Not Working,

      I probably pay a little more than I should. I’ve called up and threatened leaving in the past and been able to save money, but that came with introductory rates on slower internet. I do online gaming, and it turned out to be unsatisfactory.

      I’ll have to try that again soon, and see if I can retain my speed while still saving some cash.

      Best wishes!

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