Mr. TJL’s new art business website went live in March! I have been diligently whittling away at it for the last four months. Building an e-commerce site sure is a lot of work, especially if you have never done it before.
This is one skill I pride myself on; being able to learn most anything and execute it at least to a level just above mediocre. Good enough.
Things I’ve learned to do sorta okay-ish:
Bake bread and pizza crust
Start a blog
Design an addition to a house
Minor repairs to an old car
Create a personalized path to Financial Independence!
I know, big deal, right? All of you people have done these things, but for me, each one has led to a drastic improvement in my life. Even better, I continue to believe I can do anything I set my mind to; probably the most powerful skill!
Now, I’m no expert at any one of these things. In fact, I am probably not an expert in anything. But, guess what? That doesn’t matter at all, as long as the job gets done.
Speaking of getting stuff done, we also realized a lower phone bill this month after switching to Consumer Cellular. We decreased our monthly bill by $30 and we are happy with the service. Living in a rural community makes it pretty difficult to get cheap service, but this was a good first step.
I sold my last two ski lift tickets for the season. I just wasn’t into it this year, being preoccupied with other projects (website!), so I re-cooped my costs. Now I have some spending money for…..
New York City! That’s right, we are currently in NYC! I seriously have no idea what I am doing here but I figure it is as close to a foreign country as I can get in the United States. I am here to soak up some serious culture.
But that’s a story for April, let’s recap how we did in March or tax- apocalypse as it is known in our household.
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 March 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 March we realized a few income events; my annual raise, a small work travel reimbursement, tax return and dividend income. As a result, the gross income was elevated.
In addition, the art business pulled in $945; most of this was eaten away by Colorado state sales tax and accountant fees (boo!). I attempted to complete our taxes this year on my own and was wayyyyy off (by like thousands of dollars). So I continue to pay for this education. Maybe someday…
Total operating expenses were approximately on budget and maintained a high savings rate (for the win!). We remain $3,536 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 (update!)
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 $1,372 (as of 3/1/2017) per month. In retirement, we expect to withdraw $2,733* per month.
Overall spending went up in March due to taxes and tax related expenses; these expenses were budgeted. I am hoping that spending around $3000 per month or less becomes our “norm” (After April, that is, NYC is expensive!).
*Total retirement spending is expected to be $40,000 per year. We will receive $7,200 per year in rental income. Our investments will have to provide us with the remaining $32,800, hence $2,733 per month. If Mr. TJL’s art business provides any income, we will be able to withdraw less, but we are conservatively planning as if we will not make any income in retirement.