Once again I find myself late to the party on this one. Here it is early June and I have neglected to post both my March, April, and May updates. What a sorry blogger I am. That will soon be rectified.
March saw both higher income than usual and higher expenses. If you are interested in tracking your finances down to the penny, you should try my stupendous IM Finance Tracker spreadsheet. It’s free!
And now let’s see the March 2014 numbers:
|Mortgage + Escrow||$995||Main mortgage, taxes, insurance, HOA|
|Rental House||$0||See note below|
|Life Insurance||$62||Two term policies|
|Groceries||$248||Just about average for 2014|
|Online Services||$11||Domain name renewal|
|General Merchandise||$187||Costco, Wal-mart, Amazon|
|Cell Phones||$44||Ting Wireless|
|Restaurants||$0||No dining out!|
|Alcohol||$293||What a lush! Actually, see note below|
|Internet||$20||Sharing wireless connection with neighbor|
|Auto Parts||$6||Transmission fluid|
|Other/Misc||$9||Pet food for family|
|Memberships||$110||Costco membership renewal|
|Dental||$180||Paid for two cleanings|
|Travel||$152||One plane ticket|
Starting in March, I made one huge modification to how I calculate these totals. Convinced by my friend BNL, I no longer count the mortgage on my rental property as a monthly expense. Conversely, I also do not count the full rent check that I receive as income. Instead, I only track the difference between the two, which could count as either income or an expense depending on whether the rental finances are in the black or red for that month. If there are no repairs or maintenance to complete, I will earn a small profit each month. That was the case in March.
Some expenses were even lower than usual. For instance, we didn’t go out to eat at all during March, which is a first. Other categories were far higher than average. Take Alcohol, for instance. We spent nearly $300 on alcohol? What kind of soggy lushes are we? What happened to my previous household alcoholic reformation? Did Mr. IM fall off the wagon? No, not exactly. In actuality, I decided to get into the art and craft of homebrewing my own beer (as well as cider, mead, and wine). The bulk of that $293 was just a startup cost for the equipment and ingredients. That said, homebrewing has already proven to be fun, rewarding, and even frugal. Expect a homebrewing post… eventually.
Oh, and how about that $36 power bill? This is why I love San Antonio in the early spring.
And now for the income side of the equation:
|Salary||$3,401||After taxes and health insurance|
|Rental Income||$87||See note above|
|Royalties / Web / Other||$1,907||Includes income tax refund|
|To HSA||$537||Pre-tax payroll deduction|
|To 403b||$666||Includes employer match|
Our March income was higher than I anticipated. For one, I received a royalty payment from my technology books as well as a little blog income. The biggest chunk of it, however, is a larger-than-anticipated federal tax refund. Usually I have owe money at tax time, but since my wife became a stay-at-home-mom, our 2013 income was lower than the previous year, so I ended up getting a big refund. Still, no complaints here.
March signaled the end of the first quarter, which means we earned some fat dividends. All totaled, we earned $615 across all accounts in dividends. I’ll take it!
Using the above figures, our savings rate for March works out to 63.6%. I find it hard to describe just how happy that number makes me. I recognize that it is an anomaly considering the large tax refund we received, but I still take great delight and comfort in seeing such a high savings rate, especially since we’re a one-income household. Hopefully future months will maintain at least a 50%+ rate.
Expect April and May updates soon.