Budget January 2015 – Gotta start somewhere

Published February 2, 2015   Posted in Budgets

Audio introduction

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 :

  1. Seeing if we can refinance one of our homes to lower that mortgage cost.
  2. Checking out our insurance and seeing if any adjustments can be made.
  3. Switching garbage providers for a nice quarterly savings.
  4. 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 🙂

We track our net worth using Personal Capital


6 responses to “Budget January 2015 – Gotta start somewhere”

  1. Nice savings rate. You have inspired me to start calculating that next month.

    I hear you on the doggy daycare. Before we bought the house we were in, we lived in a high rise with no way for our pet to go outside to do its business. So we alternated between spending $35/day at the daycare and $10/day to have a dog walker come to our apartment during the day to take our dog out for 15 minutes.

    Now we have a backyard so we eliminated that expense.

    Looking forward to the next report.


  2. Oh and a quick question. Is the income net after taxes and retirement contributions?

  3. Steve,

    That’s a really solid month, especially considering it’s the first time you’ve ever tracked every penny. Outstanding.

    That high income is a big advantage. That allows a lot of leeway in the budget that perhaps other people lack. You guys probably spent pretty freely and still saved half of your income. That’s fantastic. That means you could comfortably cruise to freedom or crank it up and get there ultra fast.

    Keep it up!

    Best regards.

  4. Nice job! My wife and I have been trying to hone in on what our fun money amount should be each month. I did leave in some other categories that we may just want to combine into the fun category to simplify it. We always find a way to go over on food, too.

  5. Brian says:

    Looks like y’all are going to see where your spending is getting the better of you. As much of a pain as it is, I can’t tell you how much tracking every minute transaction in the budget has helped us. We even worked out an excel sheet that makes it easy and tracks our income. It is nice to be able to see and know how much you are saving pre-tax and of the take home pay. It does make you get a little obsessed with spending and when that number goes down, it drives you nuts! Keep it up!

  6. […] and we keep a fairly strict budget, and we record how well we managed them online from month to month.  For […]

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