February is a short month, but historically is better income-wise than January. This proved to be the case again this year. I don't know if the warmer weather last month helped, but I'll take it. There have been early indications of layoffs in some of the smaller oil service companies around Houston. While it is good to be aware of potential economic storms brewing, everything seems to be chugging along nicely for us. Fortunately Houston is a much more economically diversified city than it was 30 years ago so I still feel good about the rest of the year going forward.
Anyway, here is the basic summary from last month.
Day job (take home pay) --- $13170.83
Dividends/interest --- $903.12
Total net income --- $14073.95
Expenses --- $4533.98
Savings --- $9539.97 Rate --- 67.78%
Overall I like the looks of my savings rate this month. My goal is still to get normal expenses closer to $3,200 while working. Then once I leave the working world they should drop closer to $2500.
The bulk of my expenses came from two areas.
- Walmart & HEB --- As best I can tell my wife spends more on Keurig cups than actual food
- Academy --- Replacement treadmill and a new exercise bike
The so called grocery expenses totalled $1200 and the exercise equipment came in at $900. It seems like every month $500-$1000 in unusual expenses pop up. I always, in my mind, plan for stuff like this. There is always going to be landscaping in the spring, taxes, medical emergencies, random vet bills, hot water heaters that break, leaky roofs, car problems and maintenance, eyeglass, birthdays, etc.
Trying to plan a budget without accounting for $750 in the "other expenses" column is wishful thinking in my book. What I can do is work on the regular recurring expenses that tend to drift up and up over time. I just noticed that my Direct TV bill came in at $170 this month. I wanted to cancel the premium channels, but my wife reminded me a new season of Game of Thrones begins next month. Now that's an emergency if I have ever seen one. I actually like watching the series and it gives us extra time to spend together. This is a perfect example of an area I can cut back on in a couple of months.
When the season is over I am cancelling the premium channels right away and saving about $50 a month. Next year I will resubscribe to HBO. There are many holes in my budget that if I focus on them I could squeeze a few hundred in savings here and there.
Guilty pleasures that won't go away are keeping the AC at 68 in the summer, eating at Saltgrass and Benihana quite often, and keeping some Crown Reserve at the house.
Life is too short to avoid some of the finer things and if I want the AC at 68 so I can get a good night's sleep on a hot Houston evening in July, so be it.
Anyway looking ahead to March I hope to receive enough passive income to cover almost all of our bills. I have never had a month in which I saved 100% of my day job take home pay. This could be that month.