June was a travel month for the Jolly Ledgers. As a result, our expenses were a bit elevated. Luckily, most of the trip was business related so the majority of our costs will be tax deductible for 2017.
Summer is a big festival time in our small town, so we tend to do a bit more eating out, although to date, we have only spent about $300 at restaurants and bars. We used to spend more than that in a month. Now, we consume and prepare most meals in-house, a habit that saves us thousands of dollars each year!
Other unusual expenses this month included four-weeks of swim lessons for Little Miss. We spend a lot of time around water and feel it is super important for her to be competent in the water. After about 4 years of lessons, she is finally able to swim the front crawl and breathe properly to the side.
Little Miss also got her ears pierced. She picked out some expensive studs that set us back about $65! She is super proud of herself for going through this traumatic experience. She loves her new look, but now she is talking about boobs and braces (she is only 7!)
My birthday falls very close to Christmas. As a result, I always celebrate in June. This year we went to a local hot springs with friends. Little Miss planned the entire event, with full on guest lists, menus and invitations. I love seeing her enthusiasm, and although all I want to do is relax and not have to deal with all the stuff in her agenda, I have to admit it was super fun! Plus, she gave me five of her hard earned dollars! So cute.
The Expense Report!
In the tables, I produce a monthly and year-to-date summary of expenses, the monthly spending average, and the budget. I keep track of progress and spending behavior. It is much easier to detect any problem areas by keeping careful track of where the money is going.
Summary of June 2017 spending
Green highlighted fields indicate income. We have four sources of regular income; salary and related benefits, rental income, interest and dividends and Mr. TJL’s business income.
Orange highlighted fields indicate expense and are denoted as a negative value in parentheses. Our regular expenses are categorized by monthly expenses and yearly expenses. The combination are our total operating expenses. Additional expenses are paycheck deductions of charitable contributions, health insurance and income taxes.
Blue highlighted fields are our investment and savings contribution.
The bottom line is the balance.
Our monthly budget is tabulated in the far right column.
In June, we earned a little less than usual since our rental property was vacant. Why do these damn college students want to graduate and stuff? However, we received dividend payments from our investments, which are automatically reinvested.
We maintained a high savings rate, but spent more than last month. Most of our larger expenses have occurred during the first half of this year. I hope the remainder of the year is a bit cheaper. We remain over $4,000 in the red for the year due to a major expense in January.
The Jolly Ledger’s Income Statement
I prefer to manage our finances like a business so I track all sources of income and expense. Below are the details for the monthly summary.
2017 FIRE Progress
I am on-track to retire in four years at age 45. To visualize my progress, I chart my expenses versus my passive income. Passive income is calculated as 4%, the safe withdrawal rate, of my investment balance including holdings in 401k, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and brokerage accounts.
Due to the contributions and earnings on our investments, our passive income is $1,476 (as of 6/1/2017) per month. In retirement, we expect to withdraw $2,733* per month.
Our spending has stabilized since January, although it still feels a little high. The last six months of the year should be less expensive. I am hoping that spending around $3000 per month or less becomes our “norm”.