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Well, the checks are all deposited, and money has been shunted to my ridiculous number of savings accounts. So let’s see how we did.
But first: Where did the money go?
My car has less than 78,000 miles on it, so it should still have plenty of life left in it. Especially since during the pandemic I’m driving even less than usual (which wasn’t much to begin with). So yeah, it should hopefully last quite a while.
Still, I’m putting $300 away each month toward a new down payment. Since this is a long-term (more than one year) savings goal, it counts toward my saving rates. (I do three of them, hence “rates” plural.)
I put $150 a month toward my yearly car insurance premium. This is less than a one-year goal, so it doesn’t count toward my saving rates.
I work for myself — well, I have an S-corp where I’m the only employee — so I have to pay both halves of FICA for my “employee” salary (which is only part of my actual income, yay S-corp savings). In addition, I obviously have my individual state and federal income tax. I put aside a sum each month and pay quarterly. So $1,857 went into that.
Obviously, this isn’t a long-term saving goal, so I don’t count it for saving rates purposes.
My credit cards were back to their normal low(ish) amounts this month: $583.62. Of that, $79 is for my business’s Internet alone, and a fair chunk of the rest was my giving, which (unsurprisingly) went over budget this month. So all in all, I’d say it was a good month for the cards.
Obviously, this doesn’t count toward my savings rate. But I’m documenting where my money went this month, so I thought these were worth mentioning.
My mortgage is incredibly low — $599.57 — so it doesn’t divert too much away from savings. I also put saved savings toward my mortgage (more on that later in the post).
Obviously, the mortgage itself isn’t saving. But again, I’m documenting where my money went this month. So it’s worth mentioning.
I put in $100 this month, but I’m going to stop contributing for a while after this.
That’s because I now have $2,500 in the account, enough Marriott rewards points for five to seven days in a hotel and 60,000 miles on American Airlines, which is enough for a round-trip ticket to Europe. So I really don’t need any more money in this account.
In fact, since travel is going to be iffy for a while, I’m debating taking $1,000 from this account and putting it in savings.
But anyway, this month I did put in $100, which is definitely a long-term savings goal at this point. Sigh.
I’m putting $100 a month into a pet medical fund for my cat Josie. I’ll probably stop when I get to $1,000, but that’s still several months off.
Hopefully, she’ll stay healthy for a while, so I count this as long-term savings. Thus it counts toward my saving rates.
I put $500 a month into my Roth IRA to max it out. Thanks to my tax refund, I’ll actually max it out early. At that point, I’ll just start saving the $500 to put into my SEP IRA. Because I party hard like that.
Retirement is obviously a long-term goal. So this counts for saving rates purposes.
Over the years, I’ve trimmed my expenses in various ways: switched to Ooma for my landline, cut cable, etc. I save about $160 a month, and that gets put into an account called saved savings.
This account also gets any money I save from sales, coupons, store rewards, etc. (That said, I only put it aside if I would have bought the item anyway. Purchases induced by sales don’t count, since they’re spending, not saving.) The money from my credit card rewards also goes here. Since I’d forgotten to request a reward for a while, I got a check for more than $121. Woot!
Along with that and some other notable savings (like $24.99 saved from an app download because Mom gave me an iTunes gift card for Christmas and $13ish for some sunscreen Mom bought with Amazon GCs from Swagbucks), I saved $220.14, for a total saved savings of $380.14
These funds are added to my mortgage payment, so they count toward one of my saving rates.
Guest house rent (or not)
Normally, I get $500 in rent, which also goes toward my mortgage. But my tenant was getting furloughed for two weeks this month. So I told her to skip May’s rent. So $0 this month toward the mortgage from this category.
I’m trying to work toward a six-month emergency fund. I put $200 a month in plus a little extra. The “extra” comes from taking what’s left over after all of the above accounts have been dealt with (leaving only the main savings account/SEP-IRA money) and rounding that down to the nearest $100. For example, $550 would be rounded down to $500, and the extra $50 would go into the EF.
This month, that extra amount was $35.20, so $235.20 went into the emergency fund. I pray this is a long-term goal, so this counts toward my saving rates.
This left $2,200 from my check for the SEP and savings accounts. I put $300 into savings. I actually put more than that away — $628.56 to be exact — but the rest of that was leftover money from the previous pay period. And I’m only calculating how much I save out of my paycheck. So the extra $328.56 doesn’t count toward my saving rate.
That left $1,900 for the SEP. But I had a blog/book income this month, so that added $139.79 to my contribution. Combined with the rest of this year’s contributions, I have only about $5,700 to go before maxing out my SEP-contribution (25% of my S-corp’s “employee” salary). Pretty exciting!
Both of these are long-term saving goals, so they both count toward my saving rates.
After those amounts, I was really patting myself on the back. And then…
A few days after I figured all of the money out, I thought the balance on my secondary checking account (where I keep my extra funds for the month) looked a little low.
I called up the spreadsheet again — and found out I’d somehow forgotten my mortgage when adding up expenses for the month. Not sure how I missed that. Pandemic-brain I guess?
So I had to transfer $599.57 back out of savings, meaning I actually only put $28.99 into savings. And even that doesn’t count because that was out of the leftover from the previous month.
Argh. Oh well, at least the savings balance didn’t actually go down from last month.
All in all
As mentioned I compute multiple rates: one on my pre-tax income, one on post-tax and one on post-tax that includes additional mortgage principal paid.
So my rates this month were:
Post-tax, incl mortgage: 55.9%
Given that my goal for all of this is 50% (including extra mortgage principal), this was a great month, despite my mortgage foul-up.
Here’s to many more, now that COVID-19 precautions are lowering my spending. A crappy way to save, but at least I’m saving, I suppose.
As always, a reminder
Please don’t feel discouraged if your results don’t look like mine.
I’m in a very fortunate financial position. Whatever your feelings on kids and partners, having more people in the house does mean more expenses. So being alone keeps my expenses are pretty low. As does owning my car outright and having no student loans. And my healthcare expenses, while not low (they’re around $600 a month, including my insurance premium), could certainly be worse.
I’m also lucky enough to have a high-paying job (though pandemic-induced industry shakeups are making me very nervous). This means I have more money to put away.
So let’s remember that everyone’s situation is going to look a little different, and we can’t compare ourselves to other people. Well, we can. But it’s not a good idea.
How did everyone else’s month go? I know some of you are out of work, so those folks should please just let me know if you’re doing okay in general.