Well here goes. I started reading ERE several months ago, and got inspired by Jakob's extreme savings abilities. I figure I can save about 70% of my take home income, but I've tried to no avail. I've averaged about 40 to 50% savings over the past several months. Hopefully, public accountability will push me closer to my goal.
So I contribute to a retirement account to max out my employer's contribution. Medical insurance, FSA, and commuter pass are also deducted. In this journal, I'll be dealing with my take-home pay, which comes to about $4400 per month.
Here is snapshot of December followed by my thoughts:
student loan: $186
finance charges: $10
bank fee: $1
savings: added $918 (21% of take home income) for a sum of $10K
debt: $2200 in undergrad student loan debt
Okay, some December expenses were actually incurred in November on a credit card and November was an unusual month: I filled my oil tank, went to London, and attended a charity gala.
In January, I'll focus on moving to a cash budget and reducing car-related expenses. I'm going to try a per diem cash budget system. Basically, I've labelled 31 envelopes and put $5 in each envelope. I'll leave my credit cards at home (perhaps frozen in ice) and every day I'll open an envelope and take my cash for the day. If I don't spend the cash, I can use it later.
As for reducing car-related expenses, if I can avoid driving to work, that should bring my spending down to about $150 per month for insurance and gas. I'm taking a twofold approach. First, I'm trying to make my T (subway) commute more pleasant by listening to music on an iPod that I inherited from a friend. Second, I plan to avoid the T altogether some days by biking. I live 6 miles from work and the bike commute would take me through the people's repulic of Cambridge, where cyclists rule the roads. Just this week, I took an old mountain bike I got on craigslist to a shop to make it rideable. As it turns out, I thoroughly enjoy biking in the cold. (The secret is to dress appropriately.)