April Expenses

Each day we are still learning and exploring new ways to save. Our budget is a constant work in progress, and although I strive to save at least 40% of our income, as you can see, sometimes we fall short. We do manage to average roughly between 35%-40%, but I hope to get closer to 50%.

We currently live in a high cost of living area, and that is clearly reflected in our housing expenses. We are moving this summer, and we expect our housing to drop from 24% to 14.6% as we transition to a lower cost of living area. Our transportation costs were a little higher than usual this month at 5%, largely due to a GPS update, and our seasonal tire swap. We will be doing a very long road trip this summer, and we needed to update our maps. Our recreation budget was also a lot higher than usual at 6%.  We made a deposit for our family summer vacation.  Our dogs were due for their annual vaccinations, which contributed to our medical expenses. Our gifts came in a little high this month at 4%.  We are in the middle of moving, and decided to purchase a few gifts ahead of time for May. We had a total of 4 birthdays between April and May, including our daughter’s. Allowance, clothing, and monthly subscriptions like daily burn, all come out of our personal budget. As temperatures began to warm up a bit, I brought out our summer clothing. My son hit a growth spurt in the last 6 months, and none of his summer clothing fit. A large portion of our 4% personal expenses this month came from buying our son an entirely new summer wardrobe. We have reached a point in our budget where we have minimized and eliminated a lot of expenses so that when we do have unusual costs arise, our savings rate is still the largest percentage of our budget. Your percentages do not have to look like ours. Think about what’s important to you and your family. We choose to spend less on going out to eat, and more on our recreation budget, because traveling is important to us. You may have to sacrifice in one area of your budget, to give a little more in another area that’s important to you. Your savings rate can start smaller, and you can slowly work your way up.  We started at just 15%.  Are you working on increasing your savings rate? Let us know how it’s going.

2 thoughts on “April Expenses

  1. I love the pie graph! I have an excel spreadsheet with broad categories like “fixed expenses” for things like mortgage and utilities and cell phone bills that don’t change drastically, but are also pretty much necessities. Then categories like “flexible expenses” like gas and food and home improvement, which can vary greatly each month, and “comforts” like entertainment and eating out. I still break down the broad categories into smaller categories so that I can see where we can cut back (I had to put myself on a budget for food, because sales would get me, but I had so much food stocked that it was unnecessary). In your savings category, do you include the amount you put toward any work-related savings or just what you save from take home? We invest in TSP, but I still try to budget in some monthly savings plus savings for the summer trips. I have a separate excel sheet just for tracking investments to see how they progress monthly.

    • I always love hearing how other people budget. When we first started, I had very broad categories, and then I became too specific the following year. This year, I think I have finally found what works for us. With our savings rate, I include all of our savings, so it includes our contributions to the TSP and Roth IRA. I think that’s awesome that you track your investments too. That is my next goal. I really want to start tracking our growth each year, and then posting it to the blog at the end of the year.

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