Each month Lanny and I challenged ourselves to save at least 60% of our income. This high savings rate will allow us to jump-start our dividend income snowball by allowing us to invest as much as possible now and allow the power of compounding interest to do the rest! Not only that, but I have found this exercise very beneficial as it allows me to take a hard look at my expenses each month and help me trim the “fat” of my expense outflow. I have had a very successful beginning to 2015, as I was able to save 60% of my income in both January and February. Can I keep the streak alive in March? Let’s dive into my March savings rate summary and find out!
I am changing my format slightly this month, as I like the way Lanny’s article looks. Plus, since he was able to save 61% of his income this month, I am hoping his luck will transfer to me! So I don’t want to say that our formats are going to be the same; however, they may be very, very similar!
Income from Employer: 95.35%
Dividend Income: 4.65%
Apartment Expenses (Rent, Utilities, Cable): 15.74%
Car (Loan Payment, Insurance, Tune Ups): 16.38%
Entertainment (Nights Out, Family Events, etc.): 3.34%
Gas/Transportation (Fuel for Car, Transit Fees): 2.87%
Food (Lunch/Dinner Expenses, Grocery Bills): 3.25%
Total Expenses: 47.51%
Savings Rate: 52.49%
Discussion of Results
Damn! All good streaks have to come to an end, ask Joe DiMaggio. While saving 60% of your income for 2 consecutive is not nearly as an impressive feat as DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak, I was starting to enjoy and get used to the satisfaction that comes with defeating the challenge! But I had a hunch this was coming this month, as I alluded to in my quarterly review article last week, because I had many additional expenses that I needed to incur this month. Sure, they are one time expenses, but they all seemed to smack me at once. I can’t complain too much, as Lanny has an insane number of weddings and bachelor parties to attend that are much more expensive, but I was bummed that I could not spread the expenses out over multiple months to ease the pain.
First, I had to get my car’s oil changed. You can’t dodge that bullet. Unfortunately my car has synthetic oil and the change was pricier than normal. Luckily you don’t have to change your oil as frequently, so you incur this expenses less frequently. However, this month the expense caught me and it sucks! I see why Lanny always complains about the costs associated with a owning a car. Luckily it was only an oil change this time, but the next time it could be much worse. But I should have another solid 10k before my next change, so the $45 post tax should last me a while. Second, at the end of the month, I had unfortunately was sick and had to make a surprise visit to the doctor. Luckily it wasn’t anything too major and I just need some R&R that found me purchasing a lot of soup since eating anything solid was painful. Again, nothing too major, but man, I did not want to have to incur the co-pay and additional food costs right at the end of March, especially with how the rest of the month has been!
Lastly, the major expenses came in conjunction with switching of jobs at the end of the month. The first major change is that my new company does not reimburse parking, so I was staring an extra daily parking expense in the face, which could be anywhere between $8-$10 since my new job is located downtown. Luckily for me, I live less than a half mile away from our public transportation and have the option of taking the rail in each day. A one way ticket is only $2.25, so my daily commute costs only $4.50; potentially saving me 50% on this new expenses. I love taking the rail because now I don’t have to sit in bumper to bumper traffic and can now spend that time relaxing or reading articles on my commute. Plus. the total commute only takes about 20-25 minutes if I time everything perfectly and will save me on gas in the long run, so not only is the commute less stressful but it will help reduce expenses elsewhere. This was my best case scenario for commuting to my new job. I had one other new expense for my job in March because man did I really needed new dress shoes. I had the same pair for over a year and the winter really beat them up. If you want proof, see the picture below. No everyone, I did not purchase gray dress shoes. At one time they were black! So I purchased two pair of shoes on a great sale at Macy’s for ~$62 a piece. Instead of beating the heck out of one pair over the next year, I wanted to spread the wear and tear to two pairs to hopefully preserve them longer. Let’s see how well my theory works!
I am bummed that my streak came to an end. But on the bright side, I have a 66% success rate with achieving a 60% savings rate, which is higher than my current goal of a 50% success rate. So I am headed in the right direction. Next month will be exciting for me. I will begin receiving my increased paychecks from my new job, which will provide a very nice boost to my top line. In addition, I am set to receive dividends for the first time from new investments such as SLB, further increasing the top line. I will also have a reduction in expenses as many of the one-time expenses I discussed in this article should not happen again. So I have a lot of positive momentum for the month of April, the question is, can I capitalize? Or will I find myself in the same position this month?
How was your month of March? Were you able to push yourself and save more income than usual? Any suggestions on how to save for lunches during the week since my new job has less travel and I will find myself packing much more frequently?