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.
We are labeling April the Month of Unexpected Costs. Nothing serious just a bunch of bills hit us all at once and we had a couple of things we weren’t expecting. This biggest of these was a trip to the Emergency Room for some stitches in my foot after a knife fell tip-down into it. Ouch! I’m being more careful about where knives are now and slowly healing. Luckily we have insurance and keep money in the budget for medical/health expenses.
So what did all the unexpected costs mean to us? More of Steve’s income was spent this month than we like (we always save all of mine). So no, we did not have to touch our emergency savings. In fact we still saved all of my income and 10% of Steve’s, so not too shabby. I love that we haven’t budgeted Steve’s entire salary because it means when months like this happen it doesn’t mean pulling money out of savings.
On to the numbers!
- Fixed Costs (Mortgages, HOA, Loans) $2304/ $3200.19 While awesome looking this is really just because April’s mortgage for our home was paid as part of the refinance process in March. May will be back to normal.
- Utilities (electricity, gas, water etc.) $600.62/$370.79 (expected) After 3 months of being under in this category things started to even out. We had an insurance payment come due (the first one for the year). We also had our trash bill come due. Not only that but I FINALLY canceled service with our current trash company and went with a competitor which turned out to be less than half the cost of the first. We went from two days of trash pickup a week to one but we could care less with that kind of savings. In addition we got a check with a bit of a refund from the first trash company which will be reflected in May’s numbers.
- Monthly Costs ( phones, internet, gym, pets, car maint, etc.) $1217.25/ $600 Waaa? This is why this month is called the month of unexpected expenses. First a not-so-unexpected expense that we were hoping to put off a little longer was replacing all the tires on the car I drive to and from work. They were literally bald and were starting to effect the drive and the safety of operating the vehicle. So new tires were important. This almost maxed out our car maint fund for the year in the budget. Hopefully the only other maintenance necessary will be oil changes otherwise we will go over budget. We shall see. The other unexpected expense this month was an ER co-pay for me. Having a knife fall into your foot is not a fun experience let me tell you. Luckily we have some wiggle room in the budget for medical/health expenses so while over for the year at the moment I’m confident we will make it up in a couple of months. And my foot is slowly healing so I should be ready to hike Glacier National Park in July.
- Food (groceries and restaurants) $456.76/ $500 On budget in both categories. Actually we kept it a little under this month to make up for previous months and now we are under budget for the year. This makes me very happy.
- Fun (Travel, Mr.’s fun money, Mrs.’s fun money, Mr.’s camera fund, gifts) $749.83/ $725. The main expense here was taxes (why is this in fun money you might ask?!). So we’re a bit over in our business budget category for the year. We’re setting a time in a few months to really look at our taxes and see what else we can do next year to get the number down. We might have to look into a w4 calculator or something like that. Otherwise everything in this category was on or under budget.
- Additional Income: $14.38. 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 April 2015 income: $11,623.21 (3 paycheck month for me!)
Total April 2015 expenses: $5,328.46
This means our total April 2015 Take Home Savings Rate came in at: 57%. Only reason it’s this high with the unexpected expenses is the extra paycheck that went directly to savings.
And our April 2015 Total Savings Rate: 67% (includes maxing out our 401ks).
Our net worth: $554,683.22. I think we have all our accounts finally squared away so hopefully this number will only continue to grow from now on.
We’re doing great! Just gotta keep on keeping on.
Our Plans for April were to Keep Saving by:
- Switch garbage providers (moved forward from February). Done! And will save us 50%.
- Look into grooming the dogs on our own. Somewhat done. We bought grooming supplies and we trimmed our poodle ourselves. While not the most professional job she looks pretty cute. Unfortunately we didn’t finish the process and bathe her because of my foot incident but this idea still might work.
- Decrease electricity bill as much as possible. Going well! We had our AC turn on for the first time on April 30th. Not too shabby for AZ. Keeping the garage and blinds/curtains closed can really help.
- Get our act together and our accounts consolidated to eliminate any confusion of what our net worth is and make this process easier next month! Done! Much easier process this month getting all the numbers together.
Our Plans for May are:
- Start researching more tax avoidment opportunities (as Steve calls them).
- Focus more on ideas for side income streams since we’ve currently hit all our big savings ideas.
Another adventure awaits!