Bert’s August Income and Expense Summary

Last month I ended my three-month hiatus of posting savings rates articles and afterwards, I vowed to publish my monthly summary in a timely fashion.   One of my goals for 2015 is to defeat the Dividend Diplomats’ Savings Challenge and save 60% of my monthly income 6 times in 2015.  Will I be able to recover from my just miss in July, where I saved 56.9% of my income?  Let’s find out!

Piggy Bank

Income Summary

97.5% -Income from Employer

2.1% – Dividend Income

.4% – Other

Expense Summary

5.1% – Rent

9.3% – Automobile (Car Payment, Insurance, and Gas)

5.3% – Transportation

1.4% – Utilities (Cable, Gas, and Electric)

3.6% – Groceries

5.2% – Entertainment

5.3% – Travel

4.8% – Other

40.2 % – Total Expenses

59.8% – Savings Rate

Discussion of Results

Oh no!  I just missed my mark here….UGH!!!   Man, this one hurts.  I thought I would have for sure crossed 60% given all of the activities of the month.  But I guess I was too focused on the income side and ignored the mounting expenses.  Although I must say, I had a really fun month with my fiance, family and friends, so that is the silver lining in all of this.  I don’t mind missing the 60% mark if I have some amazing life experiences to go along with it.

Let me start with the income side and as I mentioned in the last paragraph, there was a lot of activity here.  This was the month where I felt the income impact from switching jobs again.  I am loving to re-birth at my old job so far!  When I started, I received a little extra capital as a part of returning and received the sign-on check this month.  So talk about great timing for the bonus, especially as I learned my last investing lesson about always having a watch list prepared.  You need the capital to pounce on your watch list after all, right?   In addition, I received an extra half paycheck from my previous employer for the one week I worked in between pay periods.  So technically I received 1.25X salary this month.  These provided a nice jolt to the income side, that’s for sure.

As you can see by the percentages, the next two items didn’t have nearly the impact as the income from my employer.  But there is no such thing as too small of income!  The dividend income received in August saw a nice increase during the month and hopefully that total continues to climb!  Second, this was a fun experiment for me, I took a stab at knocking out one of my other goals of receiving $1,000 in “Other Income” during the month.  I started out the year with a full head of steam, earning $500 by selling some electronics that were collecting dust.   The problem was that I had liquidated my most valuable inventory, so I had to look elsewhere to find new items to sell.  Luckily for me, I was bored one day and started surfing Craigslist while watching an Indians game.  I came across a few ads for undervalued PS4 games, believing I could double my money.  The seller accepted my offer and I posted my new inventory on Amazon hoping for a quick flip.  Within 4 days, I sold my inventory and realized a 50% profit.  The problem was…this gain was only $25.  So I still have $475 to go if I want to knock out my goal of reaching $1,000.  I learned a few things from this experience.  First, I forgot to factor in the fees for selling on Amazon when calculating my profit.  My goodness did that eat away at my profit. I will have to consider the magnitude of the fees for all future sales.  Second, I questioned whether it was worth the time for only $25.  Selling these products individually on Amazon added four trips to the post office (as everyone knows, this isn’t exactly the fastest moving enterprise out there) since none of the products sold on the same day and I was told that I had to ship the items within two days of the sale.  In total, I spent nearly 2 hours between walking to the post office and waiting in line.  In this time, I could have been generating income other ways such commenting on other blogs, tweeting, or watching videos on Swagbucks.  I need to calculate a value on the time lost moving the sold inventory.  But at the end of the day, I was able to realize a nice profit and the experience was positive overall!
Now onto the expense side.  Sorry for the long income summary everyone.  Told you it was a crazy month.  What’s funny is that my weekends were just as action packed (if not more) and as a result, my expenses sky-rocketed.   The weekends included activities such as attending Indians games, a live concert watching the Cleveland Orchestra cover music from the British Invasion, hosting out-of-town guests and trying to sell them on moving to our city, a weekend getaway, and so on.   I mentioned this before, I loved all the memories I had and I wouldn’t trade them…especially now that the Indians are making a late season playoff push.   I’ll focus in on my favorite though, the weekend getaway, because my fiance and I had a much-needed trip away.  We visited a bed and breakfast in the heart of Ohio wine country.  It was so peaceful being away from the city.  Everything was so quite and the amount of visible stars in the sky compared to back home was unreal.   During the daytime, we visited several of the local wineries and tasted a lot of wine.  They were unique as the wineries we visited that specialized in creating sweet wines with different fruits.  They were delicious and unique compared to the standard wines we can purchase at a grocery store.  We loved the wines so much that we bought a case, some of which we will keep for ourselves and some we will distribute to others as gifts.  I loved the trip, but between the dinners and the wine the costs began to add up.   But you know what, who cares!  We had a great time…that’s all that matters.

There were a few other expenses worth quickly noting.  We booked a flight to St. Louis in September and I drove a lot for work over the last two weeks.  What sucks about the latter is that I have to pay the gas up front and receive the fuel reimbursement later, which won’t be paid out until September.  The price of two gas tanks is small, but every dollar counts when I missed 60% by .2%!



It always hurts to lose, it is a part of our competitive nature.   What was tough about this month was that I thought achieving a savings rate of 60% would be a shoe-in given the extra income from starting my new job.   I guess the moral of the story is that you cannot take anything for granted.  Going forward, I will be able to use this month as a learning expense and work harder to find ways to keep my expenses lower.   Regardless though, I had an amazing month and I wouldn’t have done one thing differently.   Hopefully this is what the rest of my life and financial freedom feel like.

How were your months?  Were you able to save more income than expected?  Did you take any fun trips?   Do you have any recommendations on how to earn “Other Income” outside of selling old items and flipping video games?  I have four months to go with this goal and I still have some work to do.  I am looking forward to reading your comments everyone!


10 thoughts on “Bert’s August Income and Expense Summary

  1. Bert,

    Nothing but a rounding error, my friend. 🙂

    Excellent job on the savings over the last year or so. You’re killing it, my friend. The difficult part of saving a high rate of your net income is keeping it up and staying consistent. One month here and there isn’t all that hard. But saving 50%, 60%, or 70% of your net income month in and month out for years is tough. Keep it up!


    • haha thanks Mantra! I like your suggestion of rounding, but I would have felt like I was cheating if I ignored the decimal point to favorably round up. I’ll just swallow my pride and show my true colors. I agree, the challenge and key is in consistency. That’s why these kind of articles are so important because it allows you the opportunity to identify the negative expense that is killing your savings rate. The obvious one is the car, but seeing the impact of smaller things like eating out, grabbing a few extra drinks, etc. is a healthy exercise for us frugal livers.

      Have a great weekend!


    • Thanks Tawcan. It was definitely a positive change for the better. No complaints here on my end. Public accounting is a meat grinder though, but I am happy and excited to soak up these experiences before I have a family to tee up my later life and hopefully financial freedom!


    • hahaha thanks! The hard part is the entertainment is the most fun expense. That’s what makes it so difficult to cut, especially during the summer time when there seem to be activities everyday. I definitely have some work to do with controlling this expense.


  2. Haha you could have it rounded to make 60%! Great job. I wish I could save 60% of my income. I pay too much on rent which is not easy for me to minimize as I am married and I should provide my wife a safer environment than living in a bachelor basement apartment 🙂 Thanks for sharing. You are so close!



  3. Hi guys, I have just stumbled across this blog. I really enjoy it and love reading the updates.

    I am curious as to how you distribute capital each month. Do you have savings accounts for short term goals such as a house down payment? I am in mid 20s and will buy a house in the future but I do not know when. I try to invest as much as possible each month but sometimes I am torn between investing and saving cash for something with an unknown future date.

    Any thoughts?

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