Tag Archives: expenses

May 2014 Balance Sheet

Today I’ll be sharing my personal balance sheet, listing all of my assets and liabilities to figure out what my current net worth is. Tracking your net worth is a good exercise in my opinion since it provides you a quick snapshot of your financial life.

Considering the high level of extra expenses I had in May, I think overall I had a decent month. Due to the expenses and situations back home, I didn’t make any investing activities this month so all investment account value changes are due to the market. Note: the +/- after each category total represents the change only from the prior month.

Assets

Emergency Fund:$4501.01 (+.73). Yay for interest! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cash Savings: $6157.25 (+558.15). This includes all short-term savings and my checking account.

Roth IRA: $10,692.92 (+123.96). Just market gains at this point. Apple continues to lead the way on that front.

Brokerage: $10,608.35 (-140.92). Just following the ups and downs of the market at this point plus some new dividends.

Loyal3: $2028.56 (-61.42). No newย purchases this month as I focused on building up cash after a few large expenses used up most of my investing capital.

Thrift Savings Plan: $1176.85 (+112.42). I started contributing a small portion of my paycheck to the TSP in March, splitting my contributions between a S&P 500 and a small-cap stock index fund. This is the one portfolio where I’m investing primarily for total return as these funds do not pay dividends. However, they do have some of the lowest expense ratios you can fund in a retirement plan.

Auto Worth: $5716.00 (-22). My car value continues to trend downward which is to be expected for a 10 year old car. The only reason I include it here is that it is the one non-financial “asset” that if I ever needed to sell, could probably get close to its market value.

Assets Total: $40,880.94 (+545.92).

Liabilities

Credit Cards: $224.21 (+31.97). As I never carry a balance on my cards and the billing cycles ends in the middle of each month, this is simply my current balance at the end of the month. Like a lot of personal finance bloggers, I’m only in it for the rewards! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Net Worth: $40,656.73 (+513.95). Compared to last month, May was a much smaller gain, but all the categories continue to trend in a favorable direction.

How was your May for finances? Do you track your net worth and if so, are there any other items you track? Please leave a comment below and thanks for reading!

Disclosure: I am long Apple (AAPL).

Bro, do you even budget?

Budgeting, the backbone of your financial life. Since this is a personal finance blog, I figured I might as well write a little about the topic and share how I create my budget.

The first step is to know exactly how much you are bringing in for income per month. I only count the income from my paycheck as it is always a steady amount and doesn’t fluctuate on a month to month basis. I don’t count my dividend income as I usually re-invest all of it back into my stock portfolios.

If this is the first time you are making a budget, it really helps if you have at least several months worth of your spending records. This will give you a better starting point at what you normally spend and if there are any areas that you should try to reduce. If you’ve never tracked your daily spending, it can be a real eye-opener once you do it. Those $1.00 sodas from the machine at lunch and latte’s in the morning can really add up if your not tracking them. If you are someone who uses a debit/credit card for everything, you can simply use a copy of your month’s transactions. Personally I prefer to use a simple Excel spreadsheet, using six columns: Date, where I made the purchase, amount, category (food, gas, clothes, etc.), description (groceries, new work clothes, etc.), and then what I used as payment: cash, credit card, automatic online payment, etc. This way at the end of the month I have a complete picture of all my daily purchases. This helps me realize what areas I can potentially save money. Once you see “Starbucks” in that “Where” column everyday it quickly becomes obvious what you need to work on.

Using this information I can start to create a budget. I budget for three types of purchases: monthly, sporadic, and annual. Monthly includes food, internet bill, auto insurance, etc. that I pay for each month. Sporadic spending includes items such as clothes and textbooks that I usually spend a steady amount on per year, I just never always know what month I’ll be spending it. Annual expense are those one-time expenses that I pay every year such as my car registration renewal fee. If you pay off your insurance premium in one payment at the beginning of each year, then this could also go into the annual category.

Using this system I am able to know how much cash flow I will need to cover all my normal monthly expenses and how much I know I need to save specifically for those upcoming sporadic and annual ones instead of just throwing all my extra money into my portfolio or spending it on unnecessary expenses. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you have a budget? How do you set it up? Does anyone use any of the online budgeting/money tracking services like Mint? Let me know in the comments below.

February Income/Expense Report

Another month down, another month closer to financial independence. Still a long way to go though ;). As I did for January, I’m sharing all of my income and expenses in hopes of being as open as I can with my finances here to chronicle my journey to financial independence. So how’d I do for February? Well I met my overall spending goal, spending only $542.12 out of $2017.02 income for an overall spending rate of only 26.87%! I’m sure it helps a little that February is a little shorter than most months, but still, I’m really happy with this. Of course, it probably helped that I spent the whole month working the night shift at work, so there was really no time to go out and blow any money on drinks/entertainment.

So here’s how it all broke down:

Income
Paychecks: $2017.02 (after taxes, includes base pay and food allowance). Slight increase as I adjusted my tax withholding. I had completely forgot to change it from 0 to 1 once my parents stopped claiming me as a dependent when I moved out a few years ago. Oops! Oh well, guess that explains why I should be getting a decent return again this year ๐Ÿ™‚ . This should go down next month as I start my Thrift Savings Plan deductions from my paycheck again.

Expenses
Food: $243.84. Slight increase from last month (+24.50) but overall staying pretty steady. I budget for $250 so I’m still in good shape here. While this may look like quite a bit for one guy, it does include a monthly 54.99 purchase of whey protein (gotta get ripped ya know ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).
Household Expenses: $27.87. Managed to stock up on quite a few items in January so this went down from $37.85.
Gas: $10.00. Hooray for walking, haha! Managed to keep my car parked the majority of the month. With all of this cold weather lately I think I spent more time letting my car warm up than actually driving ;).
Auto Insurance: $118.66. This will stay the same until at least July when my term expires. Used to be around 90 but got one speeding ticket a few years ago and can’t find any better rate than this right now. Come on 25 years old and that reduction…
Phone: $49.22. Still have my unlimited talk/text/data plan from Net10. If you haven’t heard of Net10 you should check it out. They have some pretty good deals for entry and mid-level smart phones and usually are introducing new plans and more options several times per year. I would like to try out Republic Wireless but alas they run on only AT&T networks which are terrible in my area. Net10 supposedly runs on any available network (doesn’t explain how my Verizon friends seem to always have better service!).
Internet: $54.99.
Dining Out: $0. All homemade meals for me this month. With my financial and fitness goals for the year, I’m trying to avoid spending much in this category.
Drinks: $0. My base has a program where you can volunteer to be a designated driver and pick up military members in the community that call for a ride. I volunteered on the majority of my off days this month as I choose to take a month off from drinking myself. Good for my health, my budget, and I get to help out my fellow brothers and sisters here. Triple win.
Entertainment: $7.99. Good old Netflix membership is all I need for at home entertainment. With so many other things to do, when I’m not working (gym, reading, blogging) I really don’t see the point of ever getting cable. It just seems to be such an unnecessary expense.
Other: $29.55. Some of this was buying “The Single Best Investment” by Lowell Miller. Being my frugal self, I have been trying to find this through the city library or maybe an inter-library loan for a while but no luck so I eventually broke down and got it off Amazon a few weeks ago. For those of you that don’t know, it’s supposed to be one of the best investing books out there on dividend growth investing which is the method I use. Once I read it I’ll post a review on here.

Total Expenses: $542.12.

How was February for you with your spending? Did you meet all of your budgeting goals? Leave a comment below to continue the conversation.