March was much better than February, although that was mainly thanks to the fact that I actually had income coming in again. It's amazing how your budget looks a lot better with an income as opposed to just expenses. I had been on FMLA to be with my son but in February it was time to head back to work.
Total expenses for March came in at $2,866.88. We spent way too much on restaurants this past month but it's one of our few "getaways" from the hospital so I'm okay with splurging a bit on that. Ideally we wouldn't but it's pretty difficult unless we want to eat sandwiches for every meal. Eventually this will normalize and I expect to get it down during April but it will still be higher than where I'd like. Pretty much every variable expense came in over budget which really put a dent in the savings for March. We're still trying to get used to how to budget on my salary alone but this month was a bit of an aberration because the income was lighter than it will normally be since I had very few days at work on the paycheck and didn't receive any expense checks which normally amount to about $1k per month.
Dividends and interest income perked up as it usually does at the end of the quarter. Dividends came in at $751.84 with interest adding another $1.84. Total passive income for the month came to $753.68 and covered 26.29% of our expenses for March. There's still a long way to go to reach 100%+ coverage but I'm working on it slowly but surely. 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 2.54% using my net worth excluding traditional retirement accounts, came in at $587.54. That's about a $10 decrease from February 2015 mainly thanks to the decline in the yield. FI income covered 20.49% of March's 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.
|Category||Budgeted Amount||Actual Amount||Subtotal|
|Debt Payment (Fridge)||$0.00||$0.00|
**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.
***Expenses shown are all expenses except for charges that are explicitly medical related, i.e. doctor/hospital bills.
It wasn't a great month for budgeting but we're still adjusting to higher expenses. And I'll gladly take a month of higher expenses but still be able to add to my savings by a decent amount. Expenses will probably remain elevated throughout the rest of the year, but once I get back into a routine with work the income side of the equation will start to grow and give an even larger cushion. I expect stock purchases to be a bit light over the next month or two while I build up the emergency fund but starting around the middle of the year I should be able to get back to investing aggressively in excellent companies.
I've updated my Progress page to reflect March's changes.
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How did you do on your budget for the month? Were you successful with your budgeting goals through the first quarter?