As I do every month, I’m sharing all of my income and expenses this month in hopes of being as open as I can about my finances here to chronicle my journey to financial independence. Keeping my expenses low each month will allow me to have more money to set aside and invest in high quality, dividend growth stocks that I will use to reach financial independence. I hope that by sharing these monthly updates I can also prove that it is possible to take control of your financial life and invest a high percentage of your income, even on a small salary.
So how’d I do in October? Not so great, but I knew coming into it that October would be an expense heavy month with a cross-country road trip and 3 weeks visiting family and friends back home. Managed to still spend less than what I took home, but no where close to my 50% savings rate goal. That’s okay though since I usually only get to go home once every year or so and I had plenty of cash built up so I could still make some regular stock buys.
So here’s how it all broke down:
Job Income: $2636.51.
Rent/Utilities: $532.53. Rent is $500 a month and I’m also responsible for the electric bill which includes heating costs. So far seems to be running between $30-40 a month. We’ll see how much this increases with cold weather coming up very soon.
Renter’s Insurance: $0. I decided to pay this all up front just to take care of it for the next 6 months in July.
Food/Drinks: $139.50. A lot of cheap beer plus my share of the grocery bill while staying with my parents while on vacation.
Dining Out/Fast-Food: $175.85.
Household/Personal Expenses: $326.86. Took advantage of the time being home to take care of some small home improvement projects around my Mom’s new house that needed to get done before winter. Also a pretty good excuse to buy some more power tools (insert Tim the Tool Man’s grunting noise here.) 🙂
Gas: $810.59. That’s what over an over 5000 mile round trip across the U.S will do to you, plus a lot of driving around while I was at home. Non road-trip expenses, my gas total came to $114.59. Going forward I’d like to keep this to about $40-50 a month, not including any travel for weekend trips, vacation, etc.
Auto Insurance: $0. Switched to liability in July after the recommendations of several people here in the blogging community, cutting my monthly bill down to less than $40 a month. Decided to just pay for the remainder of this year so I don’t have to worry about it until January.
Car Maintenance: $66.94. A couple oil changes for the car.
Phone: $43.86. Been looking at various other options, but with the limited service choices in my area and having gotten used to having a smart phone, I’ll be sticking with Net10 for the forseeable future. Still not a bad deal, compared to the monthly rates companies like Verizon charge for their contacts.
Entertainment: $7.99. Good ole Netflix.
Donation: $25.00. This will be a new monthly category here as I’ve decided to donate $25 a month to start off to Child Fund International, a great charity that my family has been donating to for quite a while and I’ve donated to randomly over the last few years. This month and going forward I’m donating to their “Essentials for Survival” fund which provides basic necessities like access to water, food and healthcare to children around the world.
Other: $367.09. Lots of money spent in tolls (thank you Illinois and New York 😉 ) plus some motel rooms along the way, and misc. expenses while I was home.
Total Expenses: $2551.20.
Expense Rate: 97%
Savings Rate: 3%
How did you do in October, did you meet all of your budgeting goals?