Income/Expenses For November 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 November 2012:

$5,518–Regular Paycheck
$145–Dividends
$343–Bonus and Spiffs

Total Income: $6,007

Expenses from November 2012:

$490–Rent
$189–Student Loans
$130–Groceries
$118–Restaurants
$81–Fast Food 
$53–Internet
$71–Public Transportation
$17–Pharmacy
$40–Mobile Phone
$30–Gym
$20–Movies/Entertainment
$4–Fuel
$1–Everything Else*

Total Expenses: $1,247

*The Everything Else category includes expenses I don’t have a regular budget for. In this case, I gave $1 as charity. My girlfriend’s son was taking donations for a school function.

Income was simply fantastic this month. I’m paid on a 100% commission basis, and as such my income for the current month always reflects the prior month’s sales. October was really great in this regard and so November’s income was way up. November’s dividends were slightly lower than my yearly average, but my bonus income was strong due to a payment by Google Adsense as well as some bonus programs we ran at work. This is my highest ever recorded income, and the first time I’ve ever crossed the $6k mark in one month. I’m so grateful for this. It should be noted that this kind of income is unusual for me.

Expenses were very well in-line. Food was a tad high, and that’s mostly due to the holidays. I expect my food expenditures to be slightly high through this holiday season and settle back down a bit after the New Year. I had a $20 movie expense this month. I took my girlfriend out to see the new “Twilight” movie. Not my kind of thing, but a great relationship is all about compromise.

You now see a fuel expense where there hasn’t been one for many months now. That’s due to the fact that I’m now occasionally riding my 1997 Yamaha Zuma. A four dollar fuel bill is pretty sweet!

I managed to save 79.2% of my net income this month, which is simply superb. That’s my highest ever! I came so close to eclipsing the elusive 80% mark, but alas could not. I’m really proud of this month’s savings rate. Maintaining such a high savings rate requires pretty consistent diligence and persistence, but I look forward to the challenge.

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
79.2% – November

I’m now at an average of 54.8% for the year, which is solid but well below my goal. I hope to continue to improve on this and finish strong in December. I expect December’s savings rate to be well below this month’s stellar result, due to holiday spending, but still respectable. I also hope to maintain a more consistent savings rate next year with less volatility between months. I had some ups and downs this year due to a variety of reasons, but I’m going to aim for more ups then downs in 2013.

How are your budgets doing?

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: RambergMediaImages

Comments

    • says

      Matt,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Yeah, I moved to this 2-bedroom apartment last fall and it’s worked out quite nicely. My girlfriend pays the electric bill (which can be as low as $60), but I pay the internet bill and I always pay when we go out to eat. So, she has basically no “restaurant” expense. I pay a little more in the end vs. completely splitting everything down the middle, but I’m more than okay with that.

      I know you maintain a pretty high savings rate, so to do that while still channeling more money in rent, utilities and gas bills is quite an achievement!

      Best wishes.

  1. Travis says

    Great job on the 79.2% savings rate! Back in April I had a fluke where I was paid some consulting fees for a couple months’ work all at once, plus my expenses that month were extremely low (just food, gas, and utilities), so my savings rate that month was 94.5%. If only I could do that every month!

    Do you have a Planet Fitness (gym) around you? One opened up in my area and it’s $10/mo plus $30/year. I have my weight bench and dumbbells at home so I don’t use a gym, but if I did, it would certainly be that one.

    P.S., it looks like you have a copy+paste error: “Income from October 2012:” and “Expenses from October 2012:”

    • says

      Travis,

      Wow, imagine if you could hit that kind of savings rate every month? You’d be retired in a year or two.

      I don’t have a Planet Fitness around me, unfortunately. But, I feel my gym expenses are pretty reasonable. At some point I’d like to see if I can cancel that fee and work out at home. We’ll see.

      Thanks for noticing the error. I copy the first few lines from a template and didn’t change it over. I appreciate you noticing that.

      Stay in touch!

      Best wishes.

  2. Ken says

    Just read through your thread on the ERE forums and tried to register there to comment but there was some kind of technical problem.

    Anyway, just thought I’d let you know that your progress is very inspiring. You obviously have great work ethic, a disciplined lifestyle, and an incredibly bright future.

    Congratulations!

    • says

      Ken,

      Thanks for following my journal over at ERE. That forum, and Jacob, really put me on the path that I’m on now. I’m eternally grateful for that.

      Thanks for the kind words and the support. I really appreciate it and I hope that you find inspiration and mutual kindness here.

      Take care!

  3. says

    Outrageous month! Wow, you really are trying to close out the year with a bang. It’s hard enough to save 70%, but you are knocking on the door of 80%. That’s awesome. I think Passive Income Pursuit is the only other blogger I know of who manages to pull this off (on a consistent basis too).

    Congrats! Should we be expecting more purchases this month?

    Take care.

    • says

      FI Fighter,

      Thanks man. I had a great November and I’m really proud of it. I stayed true to the course and hopefully I can end the year north of a 56% savings rate…which is respectable.

      You’re doing fantastic as well. Your progress, among others, inspires me and really keeps me going. It’s fun to be on this journey with like minded individuals!

      You can definitely expect more purchases this month. I already added to a position I mentioned in my recent “What are you buying” article and I have north of $3k still to deploy. Looking strongly at KMI, GIS, WFC, SBSI among a few others. Stay tuned for that.

      Anything catching your eye?

      Best regards.

  4. says

    Wow! Great numbers DM!

    I really would like to put 50% but I think that I can’t go further than 37% this year. But it was the first one that I invest so for 2013 I hope to reach at least 40%, I’ve set a non regular expenses tracking with a budget.

    Keep it up; your early retirement is the next door :]

    • says

      JF Baconnet,

      Hey, 37% is still fantastic so don’t get yourself down about that. That’s way above the average….way above. So keep up the great work there.

      Stay with us and keep us enlightened on how things are going. I hope 2013 brings you great things.

      Best wishes!

    • says

      Aspenhawk,

      Thanks for the support. I appreciate you still tuning in.

      I’m sure my rent is much less than yours, as you live in a fairly expensive location correct?

      I hope you have a great holiday season as well!!

      Take care.

  5. says

    Great savings rate this month and this year too. Given the volatility of the month-to-month rate, how volatile have your expenses been? I guess I’m asking is your savings rate volatile because your income fluctuates or because your spending fluctuates?

    • says

      Headed Home,

      Thanks for noticing that. My income does fluctuate pretty wildly due to my pay plan being solely commission based.

      However, some of the volatility was my own fault as I took the summer off. I plan no sch breaks in 2013 and so that will help smooth things over.

      Other than the summer break there were some transportation “issues” early in the year. Other than that, my expenses usually trend around $1200-1300.

      Hopefully 2013 is fantastic for both of us.

      Best wishes.

    • says

      Pursuit,

      Thanks buddy! You did great yourself this past month. Hitting over 80% is simply amazing. I hope to get there one day. Rising dividend income will help.

      Great job riding around in a Civic. Can’t get much better than that in terms of a frugal car.

      Best wishes.

    • says

      AAI,

      Thanks! I had a great November. I just hope the good fortune can continue.

      I look forward to seeing how you do and keep up the great work with the buys. You’re a machine.

      Take care!

    • says

      Shop Teacher,

      Thanks. I’m really grateful for my position in life right now. A lot of things have worked out just right for me over the last couple years.

      I see you’re still doing great as well. Stay in touch and keep it up!!

      Best wishes!

  6. says

    Haha a $4 fuel bill is definitely sweet. Great month man! Now you get to spend that hard earned money on some quality dividend paying companies! I’ll be interested to see what you buy. Not much is grabbing my attention at the moment, maybe INTC.

    • says

      Compounding Income,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      My favorite “expense” of all is definitely investing! It gives me great pleasure.

      I’m with you. Not much is grabbing my attention either. Quite a few that are on my radar have had a bounce up. Slight as they may be, it’s still a bounce. There are still quite a few attractive opportunities out there, but nothing has me really excited. We’ll see what the rest of the month brings us.

      INTC is one of the most compelling opportunities, and I’ll be discussing that company tomorrow.

      Best regards.

  7. says

    That’s an awesome month man, for savings and income. Once you get that student loan knocked out you will be down near $1000 a month for total expenditures. That’s awesome!!

    • says

      Money Monk,

      Long time, no see! So, you started your own business. Good for you. I hope it works out for he best!

      Yeah, those student loans make my expenses appear larger than they really are. If not for that debt service, my expenses are actually quite low. Hovering the $1,000/mo level is pretty great long-term. And only part of that “expense” is actually interest expense as the rest of it reduces my debt load and thereby increases my net worth.

      Stay in touch!

      Take care.

  8. says

    These are some really impressive numbers. I see that you have increased the size of your portfolio by $30K this year. At this rate you should be able to retire by your projected age, if not earlier.

    By the way, what level of monthly dividend income is the crossover point for you? I am just curious.

    • says

      DGI,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I’m really grateful I was able to grow the portfolio as much as I should have. However, I’m a bit disappointed as I know I left some progress on the table. I hope to stay truer to the path in 2013. In the end, if I’m able to retire by 40 then it’s all good!

      I would consider $1,200 my crossover point. At that level I’d feel very comfortable about giving up full-time work. My student loan expense will likely be gone at that point and if you take out the debt service my monthly bills are usually well under $1,200. Even if you factor inflation really taking hold and my expenses slightly eclipsing $1,200 I’d be okay with working on a very part-time schedule or even doing online freelancing to make up the difference. In fact, I quite enjoy writing and will likely seek to increase my output anyway.

      Hope all is well for you and hope you have a great holiday season.

      Best wishes!

  9. Anonymous says

    Great work,

    We are a family with me my wife our two kids and a third one on the way. Our best months this year were July and October where we reached a 75% savings ratio. Worst was July with a 54% mostly due to lower income with some unpaid vacation. Average for the year in line with budget just under 70%.

    Hoping to continoue on the 70% level also next year! What level do you think you could be at sustainably? 65% or more?

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Wow! Great job there. Averaging a 70% savings rate with a full family is simply fantastic. I know that if I had kids I would be nowhere near as high as I am now, but at that point I’d consider my significant other in the calculations as a family unit.

      I definitely think I could sustainably maintain a 65% savings rate indefinitely, and will target that amount again next year. This year I foolishly took a few months off from the saving game and I also made some transportation mistakes earlier in the year. These events really hampered my ability to save as much as I should have.

      I’m hoping to really knock it out of the park in 2013, but at the same time I’m aware that life likes to surprise us. We’ll see how it goes.

      Take care!

    • Anonymous says

      Thanks,

      This is by no means automatic but we are helped by a few things. Both me and my wife make reasonable good salaries and our employers contribute to our retirement in a good way. We also have access to low cost but very good childcare and we live in a small town/village with low cost of living. We have also lived frugally for a few years now so our house is all paid off so we have no morgage payments. All thesse facts together with a joint plan to retire before age 45 is what gets us going on that high level of savings.
      Thanks for a great blog i often visit to se if there is a new post.

      Oskar from Sweden

    • Anonymous says

      Wow, a whole $1 donation to charity! Bet your gf and her son feel valued. Mind you, you did “compromise” by gallantly taking her to a Twilight movie that is not your thing. And then again, you did take that one dollar from your own personal thousands, so that was a sacrifice.

      It’s your life, but i bet your priorities could use some fine tuning.

    • says

      Anonymous,

      We all have personal choices we must make.

      I often think of all the detractors who have often chided Warren Buffett and his decision for most of his life to limit his charity donations over the years. Of course, now he’s giving away 99% of his wealth. When and where we choose to give is a very personal decision.

      I’m also honestly putting my budgets out there for the world to see. That’s more than I can say for you, with your “anonymous” handle.

      Take care.

  10. Anonymous says

    Fair enough. A couple of things…
    Buffett is giving away a lot of money. I wouldn’t view him as a paragon of charity throughout his life, as you are probably well aware. Sure he is giving some away now, but while it is great for others who receive it, there seems little indication it is out of charity. Perhaps more like legacy building and reputation enhancing when he is dead. While he is a great money maker, he certainly made enough of it off the misfortunes of others. He was cut throat, despite his well honed image and grandfatherly ways. He even has his own kids brainwashed to think the great man values his legacy and not them. Read a few biographies and read between the lines and you may see this. There are millions of people who give away a good percentage of their money each month to help others. We never hear about them, as they are not the rich, who Americans seem to worship. They are sacrificing far more than he, but at least he is helping, somewhat belatedly.

    You are the one who has chosen to allegedly put his budgets out there. I hope it makes you feel better for chiding me for not being like you. :) To quote you, it “is a very personal decision.”

    I invite you to take criticism, not only lap up the deserved kudos. Money is a means to have a life. When your life is simply about money, well, there are tons of examples of how poor a choice that can be.

    Enjoy Michigan and your holidays, and may charity and peace emanate to you and through you.

    • says

      Anonymous,

      I’m certainly open to criticism, as I don’t delete comments like this.

      “Sure he is giving some away now, but while it is great for others who receive it, there seems little indication it is out of charity.”

      I think you’re highly underestimating the amount of money, and the purpose involved here. First, his giving makes him one of the most charitable people to ever live in terms of monetary amounts. Ever. He blows away Rockefeller and Carnegie on an inflation-adjusted basis. It’s not even close. Second, after reading “Tap Dancing To Work”, among other readings, it’s pretty clear that Buffett was inspired by Bill Gates and decided to start giving away massive amounts of wealth whike he was still alive. It’s definitely not repuation or legacy building. I honestly don’t know how you could come to that conclusion. If I wanted to build a legacy through charitable giving I would AT LEAST give it to my own foundation. He is not, he’s giving most of it to Bill’s foundation. Not only that, but he’s imploring other extremely high net worth individuals to give away vast amounts of money through The Pledge. The fact that he’s spending so much time on that will tell you how uncommon it is to do what he’s doing.

      “He even has his own kids brainwashed to think the great man values his legacy and not them.”

      Wrong. First, he’s still giving away quite a bit of money to his children. They’ll be far wealthier than most of us could even dream. Second, I agree with his stance on not giving away all of his money to his children. As he puts hit, he plans to give them enough to do anything they want, but not enough to where they can do nothing.

      I do plan on giving, but I plan on eventually giving my time. I don’t plan on ever having enough money to where massive monetary donations from me will ever make a huge difference. Rather, once I am actually financially independent I’d like to volunteer my time on a part-time basis to charities I deem most worthwhile. This is still a decade off, but something I think more and more about.

      That’s pretty much where I’m going to end this conversation. This blog is about financial independence, frugality and dividend growth stocks, not charity. There are many, many sites of reference on charity and charitable giving that would better suit your time if this is something you’re interested in.

      Best wishes.

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