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.
Time for month number 2 of tracking every cent we spent….though this month was a strange one. For one it’s the shortest month so that should make it easier! However, because it’s the shortest month and we knew we’d be okay on the budget we decided to stock up on some bulk supplies we’ve been needing. This means a slightly skewed month when it comes to groceries which you will see in my next post.
Also, we spent the entire last week in February in Florida visiting my in-laws and going on an all expenses paid trip to Disney World with Steve’s entire side of the family. Look forward to his take on Disney World coming soon. What this meant for the budget is that we didn’t spend a dime of our own money in the last week of February. My in-laws are absolutely amazing and paid for everything from the hotel, to breakfast and dinners, to snacks and lunches in the park. They even gave us money for souvenirs. So while we met our budget in almost every category, this was almost a cheat month, and I certainly won’t look a gift horse in the mouth!
On to the numbers!
- Fixed Costs (Mortgages, HOA, Loans) $3625.19/ $3200.19 (We are going to be overspending in this category for a few months. We are refinancing my home and have to pay for the appraisal, fees etc. Everything will work out and we’ll start saving money in 12 months time).
- Utilities (electricity, gas, water etc.) $161.23/$450.79 (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.) $123.73/ $555 <–Again not all savings since some costs are incurred sporadically. This is more of a yearly goal.
- Food (groceries and restaurants) $349.50/ $500. YAY! We hardly ate out at all since we had overspent soooo much in January (the infamous San Francisco trip). We spent $282.96 on groceries. Since we didn’t need to pay for food the last week of the month this should be lower – but knowing the last week’s expenses would be light, we stocked up on some bulk items we knew we’d need down the line. We’re still working off January’s overspending in Restaurants so as long as we stick to the plan in March we’ll be able to start eating out occasionally again in April. I’m seriously craving a spicy tuna bowl from a local Asian restaurant.
- Fun (Travel, Mr.’s fun money, Mrs.’s fun money, Mr.’s camera fund, gifts) $1076/ $700. This is high but isn’t really a concern. First we booked our lodging for our trip to Glacier Park in July. Our travel budget category is a yearly goal so we simply spent more up front this year. We don’t plan on spending much more on travel since all our lodging for all of our 2015 trips is now booked AND we’ll be flying using points and the Southwest companion pass to all our destinations. The Hubby also bought a new camera lens. However, he sold 3 other pieces of equipment to make up for it and stayed budget neutral. We haven’t gotten the check in the mail yet but when we do he’ll end up making money from the deal. You gotta love that! Lastly, we split the bill at a birthday brunch for myself and mother-in-law while in Florida. We paid for it (which was awesome since they were on the Rapid Rewards Dining Plan). Steve’s brother is Paypal’ing us the money but it won’t be here until next week. That should also help.
- Additional Income: $89.57 . This is a random assortment of checks, interest and other sundries that came in this month. Unexpected money is a plus! We reinvest all our dividends, etc. so those don’t get counted in this roundup.
Another great month on the books.
Now, let’s take a look at the money-shot numbers.
Total February 2015 income: $11,681.20 (Steve’s quarterly bonus didn’t hurt!)
Total February 2015 expenses: $5,335.86
This means our total February 2015 Take Home Savings Rate came in at: 54%. WOW! We broke the 50% mark (though with a bonus so I don’t know if this counts)
And our February 2015 Total Savings Rate: 67% (includes maxing out our 401ks).
Our net worth: $548,295.21. This is up from last month, but only because we hadn’t included one of my retirement accounts in the net worth calculation then.
We’re doing great! Just gotta keep on keeping on.
Our Plans for February were to Keep Saving by:
- Seeing if we can refinance one of our homes to lower that mortgage cost. Yes! In the process of doing this now!
- Checking out our insurance to see if any adjustments can be made. YES! Done! Quite a bit of savings to be found.
- Switching garbage providers for a nice quarterly savings. Need to do this in March
- 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! YES! Done. The girls are no longer going to daycare and instead we either go to the dog park or go for desert walks. They don’t seem to mind the change.
Our Plans for March are:
- Switch garbage providers (moved forward from February)
- Look into grooming the dogs on our own. At least Penny our boxer mix. We’re going to purchase a Dremel tool to take care of her nails on our own. Patti is a poodle and needs to be washed, brushed and trimmed. We’re sending her to the groomer one last time this month (she’s pretty grimy) and then we’re going to attempt it on our own. Wish us luck!
- Try to decrease our spending on water by only running loads of laundry when they are full (Hubby is a laundry-doing fiend) and decreasing shower lengths.
Another adventure awaits!