Monday, December 8, 2014

My 2014 Monthly Budgets from January to November

Since 2014, I have been tracking my monthly income and expenses. You can see a breakdown of every penny I earn and spend. For perspective, this budget is for a household of two in a small US city. By documenting my journey, I aim to demonstrate the feasibility of saving a significant portion of your income and provide some ideas and inspirations for your own budget.

Below are my monthly budget from January to November, 2014.
Jan 2014Feb 2014Mar 2014Apr 2014May 2014Jun 2014Jul 2014Aug 2014Sep 2014Oct 2014Nov 2014YTD
Income
Wages$8,877.20$8,877.20$9,149.00$9,149.00$9,149.00$9,149.00$24,149.00$7,421.00$7,997.00$27,997.00$7,997.00$129,911.40
Dividends$244.45$405.47$1,141.14$822.71$611.74$976.30$827.98$800.31$1,187.68$713.43$721.87$8,453.08
Other Income$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00$268.29$565.31$70.34-$347.96$262.35$818.33
Amazon sale$8.44$29.44$13.51$12.83$90.60$39.80$47.57$6.75$23.27$272.21
Ebay sale$26.15$10.75$10.77$9.79$28.90$88.62$29.46$91.76$22.34$318.54
Total Income$9,130.09$9,308.82$10,330.33$9,995.99$9,770.53$10,167.03$25,424.49$8,855.88$9,302.59$28,460.98$9,026.83$139,773.56
Expense
Federal Tax$0.00$0.00$312.62$312.62$722.14$312.62$4,062.62$722.14$722.14$5,722.14$722.14$13,611.18
Federal Tax Pmt/(Refund)$1,134.78$1,134.78
FICA-SS$335.75$335.75$352.60$352.60$352.60$352.60$352.60$352.60$352.60$352.60$352.60$3,844.90
FICA-Medicare$78.52$78.52$82.46$82.46$82.46$82.46$82.46$82.46$82.46$82.46$82.46$899.18
Rent$800.00$800.00$800.00$800.00$800.00$575.00$450.00$436.99$450.00$450.00$450.00$6,811.99
Student loan repayment$160.57$160.57$160.57$160.57$160.57$160.57$160.57$160.57$159.94$159.89$157.49$1,761.88
Grocery$138.53$67.65$57.53$53.38$66.63$75.43$122.90$102.25$215.53$105.77$120.00$1,125.60
Gasoline$38.20$41.36$101.98$34.00$35.98$11.15$23.31$285.98
Car Insurance$335.18$140.47$120.38$596.03
Car Reg/Tax$311.97$311.97
Cell phone$65.11$65.27$65.20$64.31$120.90$120.90$44.95$44.95$39.95$39.95$671.49
Electric$20.72$21.34$20.51$20.19$18.15$12.78$126.80$57.21$51.80$37.87$32.27$419.64
Clothing/laundry$27.00$15.00$13.00$15.00$6.50$18.25$13.00$13.00$20.75$141.50
Donation$2.00$15.00$20.00$37.00
Amazon sale costs$7.59$3.11$32.13$28.03$13.45$13.93$8.07$106.31
Ebay fee$16.64$2.29$2.10$10.71$4.38$1.01$1.56$4.32$43.01
Everything else$13.66$1.27$325.00$68.90$1.07$409.90
Total Expense$2,020.83$1,545.37$3,047.38$1,893.55$2,663.45$1,865.34$5,934.58$2,153.61$2,077.41$6,977.46$2,033.36$32,212.34
Ex-Tax Total Expense$1,606.56$1,131.10$1,164.92$1,145.87$1,506.25$1,117.66$1,436.90$996.41$920.21$820.26$876.16$12,722.30
Surplus/(Deficit)$7,109.26$7,763.45$7,282.95$8,102.44$7,107.08$8,301.69$19,489.91$6,702.27$7,225.18$21,483.52$6,993.47$107,561.22
Before Tax Saving Rate77.87%83.40%70.50%81.06%72.74%81.65%76.66%75.68%77.67%75.48%77.47%76.95%
After Tax Saving Rate81.57%87.28%86.21%87.61%82.51%88.13%93.13%87.06%88.70%96.32%88.87%89.42%

My after tax saving rate ranged from a low of 82.51% (May) to a high of 96.32% (October). The low was due to a one-time non-recurring expense of $325. The high was thanks to a $20,000 bonus paid that month.

Income
Wages are what pre-tax income from my day job, including base pay and bonuses. Dividends are paid from my stock investments. From January to November this year, I have received $8453 in dividends, which covered 66% of my after tax expense during that period, so I am making progress, 66% on my journey to financial freedom!

From time to time, I sell stuff I don't need on ebay and amazon, hence the category for these under both income and expense. Other income includes every other penny that come my way not fitting in the aforesaid categories.

Expense
Rent decreased from $800 to $450 per month as I relocated from an expensive city to a small city in June. This did not help my finances though, as I took over $1000 per month cut in my housing allowance, reflected in reduced wages above. Grocery was more expensive in the small city compared to before, probably due to less competition and higher transportation costs. Still, spending around $102 per month averaged over 11 months on food for two is not bad. I keep my food expenses down by not dining out, not buying meat, and buying cheap produce and grains on sale and in bulk. "Everything else" spending category is for nonrecurring items that I do not have a regular budget for.

Savings
From January to November, I managed to save 76.95% of my pre-tax income, and 89.42% of my after-tax income, which is very good. My goal is to save 90% of my after-tax income, which I have a chance of meeting for the full year of 2014, depending on how my December income statement looks.

Stay tuned for my December budget and end of year 2014 summary next month.

How's your budget? Did you save as much as you wanted to? On track to meet your savings goals for the year? 
Thanks for reading.

3 comments:

writing2reality said...

Wow, check out those savings rates! Some incredible percentages, and obviously a quick way to financial independence!

Anonymous said...

How is your federal tax rate so low? Looks like around 10% on $130K in income.

Journey to Total Freedom said...

Thanks for stopping by. Not all my income is taxable (maxing out on the retirement account helps), and I have various deductions. Also, I rather borrow from the IRS at 0% interest by writing them a big check the following year when I file my tax return, than to lend at 0%. My marginal tax rate is closer to 25%.