Alright. This is reckoning time. I am posting my expenses online to keep me accountable and to make me think about my expenses more actively (versus passively when I review them in the privacy of my own home).
Net Income After Tax, Insurance, and Donations: $4,416
Investing Interest Expense: $106
Books and Music: $74
Eating Out: $141
Toiletries and Stationery: $10
Total Expenses: $2,131
Total Savings: $2,285
Savings %: 51.7%
I report my income net of taxes, insurance, and donations as I consider these unavoidable expenses.
My fitness expense was high because I have a guilty pleasure: expensive yoga classes. I'm not too concerned about this fee as after FI, my cost will drop to $0 as I will volunteer or teach at a yoga studio for free classes.
I went to San Francisco for the Labour Day long weekend which resulted in some travel expenses for the month. While I enjoy travelling, I do not plan on travelling much until after FI as I believe that FI is a much more important goal. Once I hit a level where I can pay for my basic needs (about $20K a year), I can always work a few odd jobs to pay for my travel expenses. However, the trip was worth it as I got to meet the founder of ERE and some other like minded people!
My interest expense relates to a $37K loan that I have for investment purposes. This will also drop to $0 after FI.
Transportation costs were high as I needed to rent a car for two weeks this month. That cost will drop after FI as I won't need to drive after I retire.
My real focus should be on my eating out and grocery expenses. I remember only spending $40-$50 a week during my undergrad days on food. I definitely have some fat to trim. I have started by bringing my price book with me when I shop and I am planning to limit my Starbucks expenditures to $40 a month (another guilty pleasure). I am aiming to cut my food costs down to $300 and see if I still feel deprived at that point. The goal is to reduce expenses without feeling impoverished!
Books and music were also unusually high as I spent about $70 converting some old VHS tapes into DVDs; definitely worth it as those tapes are scarce.
I certainly feel like a spendthrift on this forum but wow this exercise will definitely help me to move out of my saving 40%-50% comfortable zone to the 70%-80% extreme zone.
Question -- How do people past those wonderful graphs and charts into the post? I think that would be much easier than having to type each line item manually!