Finance Tracker: April 2013

April 2013 calendarEvery month – at least in 2013 – I keep track of my expenses and income down to the last penny. April turned out to be the most-expensive month to date, mostly because of taxes and some dental work. My savings rate suffered as a result, though at just under 50%, I can’t beat myself up too much about it.

I challenge you to keep track of your spending, even for just a month. You can use my amazingly detailed finance tracker (Google spreadsheet). The numbers are revealing, and sometimes terrifying. Speaking of which, let’s do the numbers.

Expenses Amount Comments
Groceries $145 About average
Utilities $117 Trash plus electricity
Mortgage + Escrow $1,014
Internet $15  AT&T promo rate
Cell Phones $93 Two Sprint SERO plans
Rental House $779 Mortgage, Escrow, and yard-work
General Merchandise $162 Mostly Costco
Gasoline $280 $200 of this was bought on a gift card
Life Insurance $62 Two term policies
Restaurants $61 Higher than average
Dental $266 Paid for two cleanings
Taxes $241 Federal plus Kansas taxes
Total $3,235

April was our most-expensive month so far this year, and I admit that it caught me off guard. Namely, we had to pay taxes, and while this shouldn’t be a surprise, I had expected a small refund since for the first time we were eligible for the child tax credit ($1,000). While we did receive the credit, our total income for 2012 was the highest it has even been – a high enough total to phase us out of the retirement contribution credit (also for the first time). In other words, we earned a lot, and the child tax credit was not enough of a counter-balance to provide a refund. First-world problems, I know, so no complaints here.

Otherwise, I paid for two dental cleanings, which should cover me for the rest of the year. We also spent $280 on gasoline, though this number is artificially inflated. My local grocery store (HEB) offered a 12-cent discount per gallon on gas if you pay for it using an HEB giftcard. So, we bought a $200 giftcard, which will be used exclusively for gasoline. Our May fuel numbers should be lower by comparison.

Here’s the income side of the equation:

Income Amount Comments
Salary $4,356 After taxes, health insurance, and 403(b) reduction
Rental Income $835
Freelance $55
Taxable Dividends $85
Retirement Dividends $70
Royalties / Web $249
Total $5,650

Our total income was lower than in March, though some of that is to be expected as April was not a dividend month. Still, I received a payout from the few GE shares that I own, plus a muni-bond fund dividend and a pathetic smattering of bank interest.

Our rental house in Kansas dutifully doled out its monthly paycheck. I keep waiting for a major repair to happen, such as an A/C replacement, but nothing so far. My book royalties  and online income paid out more than expected. Given the variable nature of this passive income, anything above $0 is great as far as I’m concerned.

Savings Rate

Using the above figures, my savings rate from April is 42.7%, our second-lowest rate to date. When I factor in my automatic 403(b) contribution and employer match, it gets a healthy boost to 48.6%.

I suppose I shouldn’t kick myself for allowing the rate to drop below 50%. After all, we only earn one full-time income and have a new baby at home to boot, but there’s something about the magical 50% hurdle that makes me brood whenever we come up short. Oh well. I’ll have to get used to it since my wife is quitting her part-time teaching job at the end of May to stay at home with our son, so it may be a while before we once again leap over the 50% barrier.

Here’s to a healthy and prosperous May!

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