Friday, September 12, 2014

Income Update - August 2014

I'm a big proponent of tracking every single penny that comes into your hands if you're really wanting to make a change to your finances.  Mental accounting is too difficult to keep track of and the mundane everyday expenses get forgotten.  Once you keep a detailed history you can see that you're really spending $400 per month on restaurants or $100 on coffee or whatever little expenses that are fine by themselves but add up quickly to destroy a budget.  This is why I like to keep track of all of my expenses to help keep myself accountable and looking to see what areas I'm just plain doing poor in.  If you want to improve your finances, then please track everything for a 3 month span and then take action to make positive changes.

August was not a very good month for expenses and ended up being the highest they've been all year long.  I wasn't too surprised at this though because money wasn't really on my mind throughout most of the month.  I'm glad to see August come to an end because it was an absolute whirlwind of a month.  Total expenses for the month came to $2,778.13 which was about $160 more than my YTD average through the end of August.  I knew the final results would be pretty ugly because there was a whole bunch of driving and food expenses that should hopefully come back down to a more normal level in September.  After getting the news about our son and all the accompanying doctors appointments there was a lot of driving back and forth to and from work every few days, and when that drive is about 250 miles that adds up quick.  We were also way too tired to bother with cooking most of the time that I was home because we usually just spent at least half a day with doctors so the restaurant expenses were way out of the normal range.  Those two categories alone accounted for about $200 of expenses coming in over budget.  My average monthly expenses through September increased from $2,619.97 to $2,639.74.

Even though August is a slower dividend payment month I did set a personal best by eclipsing the $300 mark.  I received $324.42 in dividends and another $5.93 in interest giving a monthly expense coverage of 12.39%.  Considering the much higher expenses that I had in August that was a hefty increase from the 10.07% coverage in May.  As a dividend growth investor seeking financial independence, my goal is to eventually have enough dividend income coming in on a monthly basis to cover all of my expenses and allow me to consider early retirement.  So it's great to see that the long-term trend is higher.

My FI Income, monthly income based on the 30 year US Treasury bond yield of 3.08% using my net worth excluding traditional retirement accounts, came in at $668.75.  Unfortunately that was a decline of about $33 due to the 30 year yield dropping from 3.31% to 3.08% throughout August.  Luckily my net worth got back on track with a solid increase as you'll see when that post comes out over the next few days.  My FI Income for August covered 25.08% of my expenses.

*Minimum Expenses are only the expenses related to rent, utilities, car, food, minimum payment on debt and other necessities. In other words, the required amount of replacement income I would need for financial independence.
*Total Expenses are the total monthly outflow of money.
*Potential Retirement Income is income received from dividends, interest, cash back from credit card purchases and any other source of income not related to my job.
*FI Income is my liquid net worth invested at the 30 year treasury bond yield at the end of each month divided by 12 to get monthly income.

Monthly Income
Category Amount
Paycheck $5,690.97
Expense Check $1,780.55
TOTAL $7,471.52

Monthly Expenses
Category Budgeted Amount Actual Amount Subtotal
Mortgage $911.84 $911.84
House Insurance $127.92 $127.92
Property Taxes $371.08 $371.08
Gas $175.00 $258.05
Car Insurance $222.25 $222.25
Groceries $200.00 $202.33
Restaurants $100.00 $221.95
Bars $0.00 $0.00
Debt Payment (Fridge) $300.00 $300.00
Cell Phone $10.81 $10.81
Gym Membership $40.00 $40.00
Miscellaneous $55.00 $111.90
Gifts* -- --
Car Maint./Repair* -- --
Trip* $0.00 $0.00

Emergency Fund -- --
Investing $4,957.62 $4,693.39

TOTAL $7,471.52
*Savings that is earmarked to be spent.  
**Expenses shown above are only expenses that I paid for.  My wife and I have split our expenses up due to my job having me out of town most of each month.  The current split is around 65/35.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the way the budget ended up considering all of the other issues that were much more important.  September should hopefully calm back down a bit and get back to a more normalized level.

I've updated my Progress page to reflect August's changes.

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How did you do on your budget for the month?  Is there anything you're going to focus more on in September?


  1. Such is the ebb and flow of life, and while the increased expenses at first blush can be frustrating, certainly the added stress and time commitment of managing your son's health is top priority. Hopefully September provides some relief and a return to normal for you.

    1. w2r,

      Yeah, my priorities were definitely focused somewhere else so I'm not upset with the added expenses. I also hope that September is a bit smoother sailing.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. JC,
    You saved almost 63% of your income, right? That's fantastic. Best wishes for you and the family.

  3. Keith,

    No real complaints since I still saved a huge chunk of money. Thanks for the well wishes.