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My Household Budget (May '17 Edition)

If you have never thoughtfully (and somewhat brutally) taken a scalpel to your budget, I highly recommend you make an effort at some point in the near future to do so.  In 2015, my wife and I really paired down our necessary living expenses, which was a refreshing and freeing experience.  However, since then, I have let things slip and our expenses bloat.  So, in an effort to get back on track and hold myself accountable, I will begin posting my household budget here.  No further ignorance.  No further excuses.

OVERVIEW

I started with a rundown of this year's expenses, broken down by month.  Each month I have also calculated a rolling average of monthly expenses to get an assessment of whether or not expenditures are steadily moving higher or lower.  I am not accounting for miscellaneous expenditures (clothes, travel, meals out, etc.) as they are rather discretionary and personal.  Instead, I want to hone in those necessary items that are somewhat fixed and more predictable, so that I can honestly evaluate where there is room for a reliable budgeting improvement.  Upon first review, it appears there is definitely room for efficiency.  Here is what I found.

OBSERVATIONS

  • Through May, total household expenditures have averaged almost $3,250 per month.  This is a bit higher than I would have guessed, but not too far out of range.  We opted for a nicer apartment in the city last year which upped our rent and parking expenses.
  • Insurance expenses for April were higher due to payment of an annual life insurance premium.  Total costs should remain around $500 for the remainder of the year which will put downward pressure on the rolling monthly average.
  • Automobile expenses will decrease in June, as we made our final car payment in May (hooray!).  I highly doubt we will ever finance a vehicle again, as ongoing payments for a depreciating asset really annoy me.  The spike in auto expenses for February was due to an auto insurance payment.
  • Another irritation is that our internet bill has been slowly rising.  We are now paying over $100 for internet and local TV, which seems high.  I will be finding a way to trim that back.

GOALS

  1.  Bring the rolling monthly spending average to under $2,900 by the end of the year
  2.  Eliminate our parking lease ($214/mo) by this time next year (May 2017)
  3.  Reduce our rent/mortgage expense by at least 10% by this time next year (May 2017)

If all targets are met, this should result in nearly $700/mo of savings from our current rolling average of $3,250/mo.  The rent/mortgage savings might even be a conservative target, assuming I can land a property to house hack.  The key will be to find a lender who isn't weary of a self-employed household (lenders really like a W-2).  I have already been denied once, but the search will and shall go on.

 

Bonus:  Here is a blank version of the Excel budgeting template if you would like to track expenses for your own household!