Monday, November 2, 2015

October 2015 Expense Report

Here is our expense report for the month of October. It is every penny that we have spent during the month. Before you wonder why some categories are not shown this month, I will attempt to explain why.

This is after tax income or net income. We paid cash for our home and our car. So there is no mortgage or car loan payments. We pay our home and auto insurances yearly so you will see them during the months that we pay them. We pay our property taxes on undeveloped land in another state once a year. We own it with 2 other family members so we pay 1/3 of the taxes. We pay our property taxes on our home in September and January. Our property taxes in January include trash pickup for the year. We pay for water quarterly. We have one cell phone which we pay once a year. We give to charitable organizations once a year. Poverty programs receive over $2500. a year along with donations to other pet charities. You will not see them listed in our monthly expenses because we give them from our investments when and if we want to. I am not showing what we pay monthly for Medicare because we are reimbursed by a former employer. 

$ 454.05                      Groceries                         Food Only

$ 167.87                      Restaurant Meals             3 Birthday dinners, takeout                                                                             donuts and yogurt

$ 73.69                        Electric Bill                     $18. lower than last year

$ 19.24                        Natural Gas Bill               Cooking

$ 139.80                      Cable TV, Internet,Tel.    Home Telephone-necessity

$    7.99                       Netflix                           Entertainment 

$ 792.81                      Medical                         Insurance, prescriptions, Dr.
                                                                       & Dentist, medical equip.

$ 139.69                      Automobile                    2 year registration, etc.

$ 45.45                        Gasoline                       Car & Riding Mower

$ 115.42                      Gifts                             PIF with CC Reward Cash 

$ 461.14                      Household Goods           Non Food & Equipment

$ 59.85                       Household Maintenance   Alarm Monitoring, Teen Help

$ 51.94                       Property Taxes               Undeveloped acreage

$ 24.00                       Haircut                          Me

$2437.52                    Total Expenses 

Groceries are high this month because it includes some stockpiling for the winter months. Stockpiling will continue in November for turkeys, cranberries, and other rock bottom priced Thanksgiving items.

I don't think we have ever had such a high restaurant meal bill. We overdid it for my birthday but enjoyed it. We hope to reduce this cost next month. 

The electric bill is for last month and is lower than last year because we now have all LED lighting outside and inside our home.  The natural gas bill was for cooking on the stove top and oven.

We know that cable TV and Netflix are not real necessities but they are entertainment for us. We don't go out to the movies or sporting events anymore. Our internet is a necessity to keep in touch with family and friends and without it I would not be blogging. I recently got our cable company to reduce our monthly bill by almost $ 44. a month by threatening to cancel all of our services. We had the bill creep up to over $183. over 5 years. I tried to get it reduced in prior years with no luck except when they gave me credits for lousy service. I decided enough was enough. Finally I succeeded. I was prepared to cancel if they hadn't reduced it. I would have replaced the home phone with another cell phone, gotten internet elsewhere, and gone without the Cable TV. Besides having Netflix and Amazon Prime Movies, there are other options.  

Our medical is very high this month because of an  emergency dental checkup and x-rays($250.00). It also includes a year's worth of hearing aid batteries, reading glasses, OTC drugs, vitamins, and a special pillow besides all of the other items listed in the chart.

The automobile expenses were the auto registration
($81.50) and the cost of getting our snow tires mounted on the car (50% off) and installing four new tire valve stems($58.19). We had been losing air in one of the rear regular tires for most of the spring and summer. We had taken it to two different shops and were told by both that we needed to check the air more often in the warmer weather and fill the tires up. So we have been doing that about once a month for about 6 months. With the summer tires off, my husband asked the tire place to look at the tires really well and find out if they saw a problem. Sure enough, we have been driving for 6 months with a huge nail wedged in that tire. We have taken 500 and 140 mile trips during that time. I guess we were lucky we didn't have a blowout. By state law, the shop could not repair the tire because of where the nail was. So we will be planning to buy two new tires for the rear in the spring when the snows come off.

I buy my gasoline at 2 different stations that are very close to my home.  If I have supermarket reward points for more than 10% off, I go to that station. If not, I go to a station that gives me 10% off for having it automatically come out of my checking account. Of course, I am always checking the price per gallon to get the best deal. This month's cost was one tank of gasoline and filling up the large container to refill the lawn mower tank. 

The gifts were for Christmas and a birthday and are all paid in full using my rewards card cash back for reward points and saved rebate cash. We charge almost everything all month to earn reward points. The credit card bills are paid in full every month. We have more Christmas shopping to do this week and then we should be done. You will see this excluded in the total since they were free with points and rebates.

The household goods included a leaf bagger for our John Deere riding lawn mower ($395.65), an outlet and wall plate, toilet paper, reusable Kcup lids, a toner waste container for our laser printer, tall kitchen garbage bags, and a 4 pack of packing tape. Next month this should be a lot lower. 

Household maintenance was our monthly house alarm monitoring fee of $ 29.85 and $ 30.00 to the teenager who does our weed wacking for us. They are both necessities. However this is the last month we should need to use the teenager until spring.

Property taxes were for our 1/3 share of undeveloped acreage that we own with family.

I have very short hair so the salon haircut is a necessity.

At the end of October, we were able to invest 63.9% of our net income (explained in a prior post).   We would like to see that number closer to 70% next month so that we can reach our goals.

I know a lot of you can't invest that much because you have children, debt, mortgage payments, car payments, kids in college, etc. However you can strive to raise the amount you do save and invest every month by paying off that debt and cutting costs. We are an example of what you can accomplish after decades of cutting costs and saving. We didn't get here overnight. It took years of planning, saving, investing and always trying to lower costs.

For those of you nearing retirement, the best advice I can give you is to lower your housing costs by paying off your mortgage before you retire. It is costly enough just for household maintenance and property and school taxes. I also urge all of you to realize that large items like cars and appliances all have to be replaced when they wear out even when you are retired so take that into account in your savings. 

For those of you with a long timeline until early retirement, time is on your side. Because we saved and invested early, we live well today in retirement. But we haven't stopped saving because costs keep going up, our family lives to their late 80's and early 90's, and we still have goals.

You may not be able to save as high a percentage of your net income as we do but even 10% is fantastic. That is where we started out years ago. As you get into the rhythm of saving and investing, it becomes a game. You try to beat your savings total month after month. You may have setbacks but that is okay. Don't let those setbacks discourage you. Just keep at it.   

I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Ask me by leaving a comment. I truly want all of you to be able to retire early and enjoy life on your own terms. Remember there is nothing better than not having to answer to a boss day in and day out. Not having a commute is a close second.         

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