Didn’t I just do one of these?
Kinda, yeah. But that’s because I got paid late last month and the check took several days to clear thanks to a weekend, a holiday and just a weird hiccup with the bank. Then this month, my check arrived a few days earlier than usual.
So that’s why the updates are a little closer together than normal.
At any rate, all of the funds have been shuffled to the credit cards and various savings accounts. So it’s time to look at how I did.
This was a pretty darn good month, despite a large set of credit card bills totaling around $2,200. Ouch.
Why was it a good month? A larger-than-usual check, thanks to an extra workday (23 instead of 22 days) and some extra overtime (in addition to my normal OT hours).
Let’s take a look.
First, so that you don’t think I went on an irresponsible spending spree, I wanted to explain the credit card bill:
- $470 to the electrician
- $325 for yearly Orkin termite protection
- $375 for health insurance
- $135 CT scan copay
- $111 for a three-months supply of one medication
- $95 annual card membership
Then there were charitable donations and some discounted gift cards for future expenses. Hence the crazy (for me) bill.
Anyway, on to the savings part:
While I’m hoping my 2012 Civic lasts forever — just 76,000 miles on it so far — I’m girding myself with a $300 “car payment” each month into a car fund. This way I’m used to having a payment come out of the check each month, and it’ll ensure I have a hefty down payment when the time eventually comes. Emphasis, I hope, on “eventually.”
This is a long-term goal (over one year — at least I hope) so it counts toward my saving rate.
I put $150 a month into a fund for my yearly car insurance premium. This is a short-term goal, since it’s less than a year out, so it doesn’t count toward my saving rate.
I put $100 a month into the fund for an eventual trip. The next planned one is to London, which may not be until 2021 depending on a few factors. So this counts toward my saving rate.
This is a relative new account, prompted by an unpleasant vet bill. So now I put $50 a month into the fund for any future unplanned vet visits. I hope that this is at least a year away — Josie’s pretty healthy overall — so this counts toward my saving rate.
I put aside $500 a month in order to max out my Roth IRA for the year. Due to some financial gifts from family members, I maxed out the Roth early this year. So I now put that $500 into the SEP IRA.
I put $200 into my emergency fund each month. I’m trying to build it up to about six months’ worth of expenses, but at this rate it’ll take a while.
Normally, I also round down to the nearest hundred anything leftover for the SEP-IRA/savings account. But I forgot this month. So just a straight $200 went in.
Obviously, contributions to an emergency fund count toward my saving rate.
I take $160 out of my check each month as “saved savings.” That is, amounts saved by having cut the cord, lowered my Internet bill, switched to Ooma, etc.
In addition, last month I saved $47.84 via coupons and sales on things I was going to buy anyway.
Both of these amounts go toward my mortgage, so they count toward one version of my saving rate. (I calculate my rate as pre-tax, post-tax and post-tax with extra mortgage payment.)
I received $450 in rent this month. It’s normally $500, but I took $50 off because the power to the fridge went out for around 16 hours. I wanted to compensate her the hassle and/or for any food that went bad.
I put the $450 toward the mortgage, so it counts toward that version of the saving rate.
This, including the $500 from the Roth IRA, left $1702.87 for the SEP-IRA and savings account. Wowza.
I focused most of those funds on the SEP-IRA because I’m doing my best to max out it out this year. (I can put in up to 25% of the salary I pay myself.) To give myself the best chance of maxing out the SEP, I put just $200 into savings and threw $1502.87 into the IRA.
This means that next month I can max out the SEP as long as I contribute a little over $550. Which, barring a huge expense explosion (no whammy no whammy no whammy) should be accomplished with no sweat. Woot!
My saving rate
As a reminder, I’m going for a 50% savings rate (when including extra payments on my mortgage). But there are a few ways to calculate your saving rate, so I break it down all three ways:
Post-tax w/ extra mortgage payment: 39.3%
Given how much I put toward the SEP-IRA, I’d expected the final rate to be much closer to 50%. But I did have a large paycheck this month, so I guess it evened out a bit. Still, some pretty good percentages overall, especially given the high credit card bill.
If your numbers don’t look like mine, please don’t judge yourself harshly. I have a lot of things working in my favor.
First my mortgage is low — only about $600 a month. Second, it’s just me. I don’t have any kids to pay for, and no spouse to spend the money or otherwise generate expenses.
And most importantly, I have a high salary. Not, like, doctor-pay high. But still pretty darn good and significantly more than many people make.
So if our situations don’t look alike, there’s definitely no reason for you to try to judge yourself by my results. (And I’m a firm believer that two situations rarely look alike.)
On the other hand, if you’re doing even better than I am inre: savings amounts/rates… Kudos! I’ll do my best not to judge myself too harshly either.
Though admittedly, I could save more money than I do, but I choose to go out with friends and to not cook. So it is at least somewhat my own fault that that I don’t consistently reach a 50+% savings rate. But there’s always next month!
How did you do this past month?