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Update and Personal Finance Report – January 2017

Posted on February 24, 2017 in dividend investing

The below post is copied from mattcroce.com/blog, which is my new-ish site. I’ve had the domain for some time and haven’t done anything with it until recently. I recommend everyone buy their own personal domain name.
Anyway, I haven’t posted here at Rising Returns for quite a while and I’m unsure of what my posting schedule will be in the future. I’ll be making updates at mattcroce.com/blog. These updates will range from personal family updates to personal finance updates to investing updates, similar to what I’ve been posting here at Rising Returns. Come join the party and sign up to get email updates from me as well.

Well now that we are pretty much at the end of February, it seems like a great time to take a look at my personal finances for the month of January.

Income for the month was 21.5% over budget. This is because I don’t include my wife’s income in our budget. Her income is somewhat irregular, so I don’t bother to include it.

Expenses for the month were 38.1% over budget. This is partially due to the way certain expenses are timed – I paid two gas bills in January, for example. But mostly this number is high because there were several expenses that were planned, but not included in the budget number. These mostly fell into the “Household” spending category, which covers everything from clothing to shoes to other general stuff like items bought at Target or from Amazon. Anyway, these were pretty much planned for, just not included in the budgeted spending number. Our checking account carries a bit of cushion in it for things like this so there wasn’t really an impact.

Savings rate for the month was 43.68%. That’s a terrific number, but slightly inflated. Like I said earlier, we carry some cushion in the checking account. That means that sometimes, when I’m feeling froggy, I’ll move some money from checking into a savings or investment account. So the 43.68% isn’t purely coming from monthly income, but the total amount saved/invested is compared to monthly income. Make sense? Ok.
A quick note on savings rates: There are many ways to calculate this number. I use a fairly simple method. How much did I transfer into a savings or investment accounts that month compared to my monthly income. This is all net of taxes, so I’m not including my 401(k) contributions, which are currently something like 12% of my gross pay. This also isn’t including my buying into the Employee Stock Participation Plan, which allows me to buy shares of company stock at a discount each month. I only contribute something like 2% or so of my net pay to this.

I started tracking spending and net worth differently in January of this year, so I’ll use January 2017 as a baseline for net worth reporting. I’m not yet sure if I’ll be sharing actual numbers, so for now we can say that my net wort at the end of January 2017 is 1. I’ll report each month relative to that number. So next month might be 1.1 or .96 or whatever.

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