So I’ve been experimenting with lots of different spreadsheets in the last few months. Check them out here and here. I used my June 2018 income and expenses to tryout a few more. It turns out Microsoft Excel has loads of templates to try. It’s been really neat to see it all visualized in so many ways.
Without further ado, here’s a recap of my income and expenses for Jan to Aug 2018, a little early I know. I don’t currently intend to publish these monthly namely because my income and expenses don’t fluctuate with any significance month-to-month. But I think it’s worth checking in with myself and sharing with those on a similar journey. Be inspired to check-in on your finance from time to time. My goal this year is not so much a focus on how much I am spending. Rather my priority is to reach my savings goal. Check back in a few days for that update or subscribe below because you don’t want to miss it!
For the spring semester, I had a side hustle as an adjunct professor. I dove head first into FIRE. To put it mildly, I didn’t love the side hustle. However for the sake of exiting the workforce as soon as possible, I am mildly interested in some other way to earn money.
Of note, income is just my net pay. In the figures above, it does not include my 401k contributions. This is worth noting because in calculating my savings rate, I do count my individual 401k contributions as part of my total income since it is money I would otherwise have to put towards expenses. (Updated 02Oct2018 when I realized I completely neglected the Income section!)
I still haven’t decided on a good spreadsheet. This data was extracted from a Google Sheets doc that lists all my expenses over way too many categories for Jan to Aug 2018, but I like it enough for now.
Notes on expenses.
The first sheet includes the amount I put towards savings each month, most of which is automated so I just count it as an expense. The jump in June was not due to an increase in income, but rather aggregated savings that I had no immediate plans for which was transferred to my investment accounts. Savings is targeted for around $3,100 each month. Check out my working budget page for more information.
The second sheet is monthly expenses thus far. To best trend any particular data point, start from the bottom and move up. My intention is to trend around $2,500/mon or less. So far I’ve been over every month except for June. In fact, my target spending for this year is $30,000 of which I’m already at $23,458, and at month eight, I would want to be around $20,000. So I’m over about $3500.
Of note, May was a high expenditure month due to helping out a sick family member. June was unusually low due to a break I got on my rent. August was another high expense month because I bought a mattress (classified under “home”), signed up for a fitness class, went on a self-proclaimed writer’s retreat which consisted of a weekend stay in a hotel close by (classified under “travel”). I have also been covering Aunty MERJ’s rent for the last three months (classified under “dependents/fam”). Transportation was higher in July because I had to pay my six-month premium for car insurance. Medical and health expenses finally came back down after my surgery earlier this year. I’m still healing from that which has required monthly follow-ups at a $40 copay each visit. Technology in August was for purchasing a hosting plan for my blog. I had been on Blogger prior to this.
For those of you new to personal finance, I would encourage you to start somewhere with keeping track of your finances, e.g. apps, spreadsheets, envelopes. Visuals really help to trend where exactly your money is going. It’s easy to round numbers off in your head and think everything is on track. I will admit I don’t particularly enjoy putting the reports together but in the end the updates are worth it because it benefits me to have a physical and mental image of my finances and how they are trending. Overall, it’s very beneficial and worth the effort. I would strongly encourage you to start tracking your finances no matter where you are in your personal finance journey.
A firm tenet in FIRE is recognizing and increasing your savings rate. Tracking income minus expenses, here is what the data reveals.
I am pretty pleased with my financial progress thus far. I’m a little early for quarter three but I have other things coming up in September and I wanted to get this update out of the way for that. This is my first year of My Early Retirement Journey and the financial focus is simply creating awareness and having some sort of framework or plan for what to do with my money. So far, I believe I’m on the right track! Additionally, it really helps to visualize it all! Thanks to Four Pillar Freedom for the great visualization ideas. Thanks for stopping by!