Ever since we decided that the path for us is out of the rat race and into an early retirement of our choosing, the Mr. and I have been keeping an eye on our finances and scaling down our spending. Neither one of us were complete clowns, but we certainly weren’t looking out for our future selves at anywhere near the level we want/need to be.
So in comes the budget. Budgets don’t work for everyone and in the future it may not be necessary for us but for now it is the way we are buckling down and meeting the tough goals we’ve set for ourselves. Read more about how we budget here.
This it the first month we have EVER kept track of every cent spent (hey, the rhymes!). We’ve saved all our recipes and entered them into our handy dandy excel spreadsheet. Lets see how we did:
- Fixed Costs (Mortgages, HOA, Loans) $3200.19/ $3200.19 (expected)
- Utilities (electricity, gas, water etc.) $272/$407 (expected) <– Not actual savings since some utilities are paid quarterly so this was a lighter month
- Monthly Costs ( phones, internet, gym, pets, car maint, etc.) $469/ $655 <–Again not all savings since some costs are incurred sporadically. This is more of a yearly goal.
- Food (groceries and restaurants) $772/ $500. OUCH! I’m proud to say that we stayed under our lessened grocery budget this month $292/ $300 (see an upcoming article to see what we ate!). However our trip to San Francisco with much more spendy friends killed our restaurant budget. We didn’t eat out at all this month except for our trip and the plan is to not eat out at all in February to make up for the fact that we already spent February’s restaurant budget. Next time we’re planning ahead and setting boundaries with our travel companions so this kind of craziness doesn’t happen again.
- Fun (Travel, Mr.’s fun money, Mrs.’s fun money, Mr.’s camera fund, gifts) $774/ $700. A little over here as well specifically in the Mr.’s fun money, gifts and travel category. Travel is more of a yearly cost so I’m not worried about that one. The others are again due to our San Francisco trip and will be mitigated next month. Right now the hubby is saving long term for some camera upgrades. As this will hopefully improve his side business, I’m all for it! I plan to start saving for a pair of hiking boots in February. We’re going to need them for our trip to Glacier National Park this summer. I just don’t think my running shoes will cut it this time.
- Additional Income: $55 . This is a combination of loose change we cashed in, Hubby’s Etsy store, My Ravelry Store and interest earned from the savings account. We automatically reinvest all other dividends and earnings so those don’t get counted in our monthly roundups.
So for our first month not so bad. In fact if you look at the big picture we’re doing great!
Now, let’s take a look at the money-shot numbers.
Total January 2015 income: $10,101.24
Total January 2015 expenses: $5,490.93
This means our total January 2015 Take Home Savings Rate came in at: 46%.
And our January 2015 Total Savings Rate: 66% (includes maxing out our 401ks).
Our net worth: $514,495.43. This number did not include a retirement account that I am now including in our net worth.
Not too shabby. I’d really like to get our Take Home Savings Rate to 50% and our Total Savings Rate to 70% but for our first month tracking we didn’t do too bad. We also learned some valuable lessons about planning ahead.
Plans for February: Keep Saving. We’d like to work on long term saving by :
- Seeing if we can refinance one of our homes to lower that mortgage cost.
- Checking out our insurance and seeing if any adjustments can be made.
- Switching garbage providers for a nice quarterly savings.
- Looking into dog parks in the area and deciding whether we can stop taking the dogs to daycare and instead take them there 1-2 times a week. This could save us $200 a month!
Stay tuned to see how it goes 🙂
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.