March’s Spilled Beans

Let’s take a look at my March financials and try to identify the areas we are doing good, and where we need some work. Also, we have set a savings goal of $75k this year, as you may remember, we were able to save $70k last year, How a family of 4 saved $70k in one year, so this seems like a realistic goal.

March Income – $20,804.57!!!

The month of March is always one of my favorite months of the year. It’s when I receive my annual bonus from work and also my salary adjustment (if any). So our income looks AWESOME! But don’t be fooled we will come back down to a still healthy reality of $9k or so next month. Here is a break down of the numbers.

-Regular Pay – $8,690.09. This includes my salary as an Accountant and my wife’s salary as a teacher.

– Dividend – $781.74. This is our first quarter dividend from our taxable savings account which is invested in VTSAX.

– Bonus – $11,332.74. This is my annual bonus after 33% of the beans have been taken out for tax (that always stings). I immediately put $10k of this in to our taxable vanguard account and we’ll use the rest for trips and other expenses that will certainly pop up throughout the year.

March Expenses – $3,840.80

Our March expenses were pretty typical. Once we take out $1,728.00 for our mortgage payment (includes property taxes) we are around $2000 per month or $24,000 per year. Let’s break down each category.

-Tithe – $456. We started giving a tithe consistently to our church five years ago. At that time we were giving 1% of our take home income and we have upped it 1% every year since then. The goal is to get to 10% and then push beyond that. This is the greatest investment that we make in my opinion and it is on this list first for a reason.

-Dance – $67.50. My 4 year old daughter is in ballet and tap and this is the fixed monthly fee.

-Utilities – $158.72. This is made up of our water/trash, gas, and electricity. Not too shabby. I recently renegotiated our electric rate, and made $100 in the process. I plan to do a post about it soon.

-Dog Food – $53.98. We are the proud owners of a German Short Haired Pointer and this is the cost of a 25lb bag of food that will last her the month.

-Karate – $139.00. My son is in Martial Arts and this is the monthly fixed cost.

-School – $185.00. My daughter is in a preschool program 3 days per week for 4 hours a day and this is the monthly fixed cost.

-Cell Phones – $41.11. 2 phones on Republic Wireless. Unlimited talk, text, and data on one($29.97) and unlimited talk, text and data over wifi only on the other($11.14). Tough to beat!

-Gieco – $42.27. Auto insurance for our 1 car which is a 2005 Toyota Corolla.

-AT&T – $63.09. Monthly fixed internet bill. Being cord cutters we aren’t able to bundle this with anything, so we pay a little more for internet. Anyone have any suggestions to get this lower? This is one area I feel that we overpay.

-Netflix – $10.81. Still one of the best values around as far as cost versus entertainment value. Let’s hope they can keep the monthly rate down.

-Gasoline – $97.51. We did some extra driving this month because of spring break. Still came in under budget though, so I’m happy.

-Groceries – $265.40. There is a little timing issue with this number as it is for 03/01 – 03/31/17 and I spent money on groceries for March in February. But it all evens out over the long run. I really take pride in keeping our grocery bill as low as possible while still being able to eat plenty of good/healthy food. The biggest trick to this is eating a plant based diet. I also am starting to incorporate baking soda in to different areas as I discussed here. How to hack your grocery bill

-Miscellaneous – $382.71. This represents money that we spent on random things throughout the month. It is well below our goal of $450.00 so I won’t bore you with all of the details. Considering that this includes a week of spring break for the wife and kids, I think it’s pretty good.

2017 Savings – $25,406.74

We have set a 2017 savings goal of $75k this year. This is going to be made up of income from our day jobs ($59,500), income from my bonus ($10,000), and dividend income ($5,500). We may fall a little short on the dividend income piece as our first quarter dividend was only $781.74. If so, we will have to get creative to reach our goal. Luckily as the Magic Bean Counter, getting creative is where I earn my name. Here is a break down of our savings through 03/31/17(all savings are invested directly in to VTSAX with Vanguard).

01/15/17 – $2,425
01/31/17 – $2,425
02/15/17 – $2,425
02/28/17 – $2,425
03/15/17 – $12,425 (10k bonus)
03/20/17 – $781.74 (1st Qtr. Dividend)
03/31/17 – $2,500

As you can see there is no trick here. The key is finding an investment strategy that works for you and being consistent with it.

All in all I’m happy with our March report. Once we take out our mortgage (which will be gone upon retirement) we are living as a family of 4 on about $24k per year. We stayed under budget in every category that isn’t fixed so I can’t ask for anything more. One thing that I learn by doing these is that it is absolutely priceless to have a spouse that is on board with this lifestyle. Couldn’t reach these goals without the help of Mrs. MBC.

Ok, so now it’s your turn to spill the beans. How was your March spending?

10 thoughts on “March’s Spilled Beans

  1. You are doing very well so far on your way to your goal! $75k in a year is fantastic…

    My March spending was fine – I put an extra $4k to my mortgage (I’m getting rid of PMI in the next 6 months) and I kept my other spending down.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Nice! We will have enough to pay off our mortgage in a few months, but I may just let it ride. With the rate so low, I feel like the money can do better just staying invested in VTSAX. I do like the idea of the mortgage being paid off though.

    1. Thanks Bert! It was the best bonus I have received since working with my company. Certainly cant complain. I had a goal to save $8,500 of it, so when I saw I could afford to throw in $10,000, I was pumped! Thanks for the comment.

  2. Just out of curiosity, how is your bonus so high?
    My spending is pretty consistent from month to month and doesn’t really fluctuate unless I take a vacation. I’ve been pretty busy with work recently, so no time to head out.

    1. Hi Troy, my bonus was a little over 20% of my salary before tax. The bonus structure at my company has 3 parts to it. One part is my performance over the past year, one part is the companies performance over the past year, and then after working with the company for 3 years (I have been here 10+) there is a grant that pays out every year. The grant is set up similar to that of a Roth IRA conversion ladder. So the grant paid out to me this year was purchased back in 2013. Its a pretty sweet set up to say the least.

      Its good to have spending stay consistent from month to month. It makes it easier to save/invest! Thanks for stopping by.

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