Category: Expenses (page 1 of 2)

Ridinkulous Quarterly Expenses: Q2 2017

Hi, Ridinkuloids! I hope you had a great quarter full of wise financial decision-making. We did better this quarter than last quarter in terms of spending, mostly because we had no property tax or home insurance bills come due. That said, our expenses were not as low as I would’ve hoped. Like I mentioned last quarter, we had to put down one of our rabbits, Cornelius. The credit cards for all of his exams and treatment came due this quarter. It took many visits to figure out what was wrong with him, and just to keep him going.

Our pet medical expenses also included a dental cleaning for Maeby! This requires her to be knocked out cold because, although she’s a chill dog, she won’t allow anyone near her mouth. So in order for her to keep her notoriously bad greyhound teeth in tact, she periodically has to go in for that procedure.

In good pet news, though, we adopted a new bunny. Her name is Freya and here’s a picture of her relaxing in the gym.

 

Total Expenses: $10,424.14
Avg Per Month: $3,474.71

Excluding Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $8,340.40
Avg Per Month: $2,780.13

Savings Rate: 55.3%

Summary

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Serious Stuff  $2,167.66 $722.55
Food $2,405.33 $801.78
Transportation $1,015.44 $338.48
Utilities $590.75 $196.92
Fun Stuff $1,243.59 $414.53
Pets $2,396.32 $798.88
Miscellaneous $605.05 $201.68

 

DIY lounge chair

Details

Serious Stuff :

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Mortgage $2,083.74 $694.58
Home Insurance $0.00 $0.00
Property Taxes $0.00 $0.00
Medical $0.00 $0.00
Home Maintenance – DIY $83.92 $27.97

Just the normal mortgage payments this month, although I’m planning on making extra payments again starting next month! The DIY expenses were mostly for building a lounge chair in the backyard, which we’ve been enjoying on the weekends. (Plans here)

Sometimes we eat out

Food:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Groceries $1,441.86 $480.62
Wine & Beer $73.05 $24.35
Dining Out $715.82 $238.61
Takeout Food $174.60 $58.20
Total Food $2,405.33 $801.78

Massive food expense this month! We way overspent dining out. With Marge going on a trip to Vegas, several trips out with friends, and visiting the grand opening of a new branch of our favorite restaurant (now dangerously close to home) we will definitely end up far ahead of 2016’s total dining expense. Grocery expense was also $500 more than last quarter, and I’m not even sure how! I am proud of making those DIY bagels, though.

 

Transportation:

Quarterly Total Month Average
Auto Maintenance/Other  $149.25 $49.75
Gas $165.19 $55.06
Car Insurance $601.00 $200.33
Parking $0.00 $0.00
Bus Tickets $100.00 $33.33
Total Transportation $1,015.44 $338.48

Well if it wasn’t for that damn insurance, transportation cost would be almost nothing! Just AAA membership, new wiper blades, tolls, registration, and some gas. Plus my usual bus tickets since I usually take the bus to work.

 

Utilities:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Cable $119.97 $39.99
Electric $145.94 $48.65
Gas $197.72 $65.91
Telephone $29.96 $9.99
Water  & Sewer $97.16 $32.39
Total Utilities $590.75 $196.92

Cooler months mean less spent on gas heat. And once we fixed the toilet, the water bill went back down under a hundred dollars a quarter. We just received our new internet bill, and the price is going from $39.99 to $44.99 since Spectrum just bought our company Time Warner Cable. Hey, I thought corporate consolidations were supposed to save us money! Ha ha ha ha ha!!

Green Animals Topiary Garden

Fun Stuff:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Entertainment $203.73 $67.91
Recreation $155.68 $51.89
Travel $884.18 $294.73
Total Fun Stuff $1,243.59 $414.53

Entertainment includes Netflix, Hulu, New York Times online, a few albums, and a month subscription to Tunnelbear (shhh!) so we could watch the Eurovision Song Contest live. For Travel, we paid for our hotels in St. Kitts and Nevis later this year, and bought our Megabus tickets to Toronto for the CNE!

Maeby enjoying the beach in Eastham, Cape Cod

Pets:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Boarding $89.90 $29.97
Food $192.42 $64.14
Medical $1,953.04 $651.01
Other $160.96 $64.14
Total Pet $2,396.32 $798.77

Like I said, those pet medical bills are a killer.

 

Miscellaneous:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Cash $80.00 $26.67
Charity $164.00 $54.67
Clothing $82.72 $27.57
Gifts Given $57.41 $19.14
Home $135.14 $45.05
Personal Care $79.27 $26.42
Postage $6.51 $2.17
Total Miscellaneous $605.05 $201.68

Very good so far this year on clothing expense. We’ve hardy bought anything. No need to institute a clothes shopping ban! Just replace things when they need to be replaced. I assimilated into the borg joined the club and got a FitBit, which is included in home expense. No need to buy a new one at an exorbitant price, though. I got mine for $20 on eBay.

Goal Progress

Total 2017 Spending of $30,000 (excluding debt payments): 

  • Spent so far: $19,661.52
  • On track to spend: $39,323.04

Not doing so well here. Those unexpected expenses always get in the way. We can only spend just over $10,000 for the rest of the year and still come in under $30,000.

 

Savings Rate of 65%: 

  • Savings Rate this quarter: 55%
  • Savings Rate so far this year: 46.1%

Falling short again! It always sucks to miss this goal, but then I remember that the average personal savings rate in the U.S. is about 5%. Our method for calculating our savings rate is shown here.

 

Max Out 457 Plan and Roth IRAs

  • Goals: $18,000 in 457 Plan / $5,500 in each Roth IRA
  • Saved so far: $8,888.92 in 457 Plan / $2,000 in each Roth IRA

We’re on track to max all of these out. We’ve even started to contribute to Marge’s terrible 401(k). The mutual fund choices may be awful, but we desperately need to reduce our tax bill. We simply make too much money! So even though the fees on the 401(k) are bad, the effects of the tax hit now would be marginally worse, so we are contributing to the 401(k), but not maxing out. Those vultures are not going to get all of our money!

 

Read 24 Books

  • Read so far: 10

Behind schedule! I read Your Money Or Your Life, the sort of ur-text for the modern early retirement movement. I should really write a review of it, since I have thoughts on it. But then I also read Grimm’s Household Stories, and I probably have MORE thoughts on that! I mean, I’m all about improving your financial know-how, but Grimm’s fairy tales are just so unbelievably bizarre, I think it would be good for everyone to get lost in its weirdness, so I have to recommend that.

 

Years of Savings:

This magical calculation demonstrates how far we could get if we kept living every month like this quarter.  We take our investable assets and divide them by our monthly expenses above. The number to shoot for is 25, because at that level of savings, you could afford to live forever on your stash. According to our monthly average expenses (excluding debt payments) and our investable assets, we have…

9.45 years of savings

Retirement Location Possibility!

If we take that number of years of savings above, and divide by 25, we can figure out where in the world we could afford to retire right now by dividing another country’s cost of living  price index by our own cost of living. I used Rochester, NY, for our own cost of living since it is the closest city to us on Expatistan’s index and is very comparable price-wise.

Our International Retirement Cost of Living Number is….

65

According to Expatistan’s index, that means we can retire… Chisinau, Moldova! I don’t know anything about this place, but a Google search’s second result is Is It Worth It To Visit Chisinau, Moldova where the author calls Moldova the most boring country in Europe. Work on your SEO game, Moldova!

Ridinkulous Quarterly Expenses – Q1 2017

Well it’s time for our quarterly expense wrap-up. The first quarter of 2017 here at Ridinkulous headquarters held some serious highs and lows. Among the highs, we got to spend ten days in Thailand seeing the sights, eating great food and relaxing on the beach. Later, Marge went on a trip to Vegas and I did some hiking around the Hudson Valley. I competed in a cooking contest, and celebrated my birthday by buying a bunch of smoked meats at the Polish deli.

Our low point came two weeks ago when we had to make the extremely difficult decision to put down one of our pet rabbits, Cornelius. I could write a macabre but potentially useful entry about what happened, the associated expenses, and how we made the decision, but not today. Send your well wishes to his brother, Klaus, who is living alone now. We hope to get him a buddy sometime soon.

Cornelius (left) and Klaus

Total Expenses: $13,404.86
Avg Per Month: $4,468.29

Without Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $11,321.12
Avg Per Month: $3,773.71

Savings Rate: 37.7%

Serious Stuff :

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Mortgage $2,083.74 $694.58
Home Insurance $985.00 Annual
Property Taxes $2,584.62 Annual
Medical $77.01 $25.67
Home Maintenance – DIY $2.14 $0.71

A couple big ticket items jacked up our spending this quarter: Home insurance and most of our property taxes. Well at least that’s $3,500 in non-debt spending that won’t show up next quarter!

Food:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Groceries $911.86 $303.95
Wine & Beer $73.25 $24.42
Dining Out $219.54 $73.18
Takeout Food $254.71 $84.90
Total Food $1,459.36 $486.45

We did pretty good on food this quarter. Less than $500 per month! Last year we averaged over $600 per month. We ate a lot of great, cheap food in Thailand for ten days in January. And I experimented making new foods at home. I made a couple semi-successful loaves of bread. I got America’s Test Kitchen’s Bread Illustrated for Christmas and I want to learn how to bake real bread this year. Still, nothing’s turned out perfect (not risen enough, crumbly texture) but I’m learning.

I also made takoyaki (fried octopus balls, left) for the first time in that fancy pan, which was another Christmas gift. And I competed in a mac-and-cheese contest that Marge has competed in twice. I was also unable to bring home the gold. I was definitely cheated.

Our cars during the March 14 snowstorm

Transportation:

Quarterly Total Month Average
Gas $174.58 $58.19
Car Insurance Not  this quarter Bi-Annual
Bus Tickets  $100.00 $33.33
Total Transportation $274.58  $91.53

Holy moley, that’s a good transportation bill! Both of our work was cancelled during the great March 14 snowstorm. Transportation Savings! We spent under $60 a month on gas this quarter, and the only other expense was my bus pass. We averaged $286 a month last year, so $91/mo is great, but it won’t last when the car insurance bill hits.

 

Utilities:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Cable $119.97 $39.99
Electric $150.75 $50.25
Gas $339.83 $113.28
Telephone $44.08 $14.69
Water  & Sewer $373.83 $124.61

WATER FAIL! Our boring water bill suddenly got a lot less boring this quarter!  It spiked to 3x more than normal!

This happened once to my parents when they moved to a new house. There was a sudden spike in the water bill, and they thought it just had to do with shower having multiple showerheads. It turned out to be a leak in the main between the road and the house! Luckily they had insurance to cover this repair. So immediately, my mind turned to this and I was sure we had a leak outside, because I was sure there were no leaks inside the house. The water main goes under our brand new patio and shed, so my mind was racing with nightmare repair scenarios.

The handle in question

I called the water department and they sent someone out immediately, not with tools, but with computer printouts. Have I told you I like my city? The printouts showed a huge spike in our water usage, but only while we were on our vacation. The gears clicked into place. The woman who watches our rabbits used the toilet and left it running. Unless you nudge the handle up, it can remain down. And it was running when we came back from Thailand. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it had been running for ten days. Well, did you know a running toilet uses 120 gallons an hour, or 3,000 gallons day?? You know now! And it’s all due to a faulty handle. (I fixed it)

 

Koh Kood, Thailand. Enjoyed this in January, paid for previously

Fun Stuff:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Entertainment $195.84 $65.28
Recreation $28.28 $9.43
Travel $2,040.52 $680.17

Entertainment was mostly Netflix and Hulu subscriptions, a few albums that I bought, and the $35 Oscar festival pass.

Travel expense is artificially inflated. We paid for a rental on Cape Cod over Memorial Day for $1,075, but we’re getting $400 of that back as a deposit, plus another few hundred from the other couple staying with us. Travel also includes $210 for our next round-trip flight: St Kitts and Nevis! We paid using Lufthansa frequent flyer miles, so that is just the cost of fees and taxes. We’re going after Thanksgiving.

Maeby hiking the Hudson Valley

Pets:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Boarding $514.50 $171.50
Food $225.86 $75.29
Dog License $12.50 Annual
Total Pet $752.86  $250.95

Pet expense was extraordinary because of Maeby’s boarding expense while we were in Thailand, and also because of the rabbit sitter. That cost us $25 and $18 a night respectively.

 

Miscellaneous:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Charity $117.00 $39.00
Clothing $89.23 $29.74
Gifts Given $1,127.53 $375.84
Home $244.29 $81.43
Personal Care $271.29 $90.43
Postage $43.11 $14.37

Home expense included a new (to me) camera bought on Ebay for $91. That is offset by the $41 I sold my old (identical) camera for. The old one had a scratch on the lens I was getting sick of, and I wanted to get rid of it for Thailand.

Also, I Marge and I each bought used Amazon Kindles on Ebay. I bought an older model for $10 just to try out the “ebook lifestyle” and I like it a lot. I still prefer using Paperback Swap for books because I can keep them for as long as I want, where the ebooks I get from the library get returned automatically after a few weeks. House expense also includes our Christmas tree and a brand new snow shovel, replacing one we bought for $10 ten years ago!

Gifts Given is last year’s Christmas bill.

 

Goal Progress

Total 2017 non-debt spending of $30,000: 

  • Spent so far: $11,321.12
  • On track to spend: $45,284.48

Ouch! Our first quarter is always hard because of the property taxes and home insurance. I fully expect to not meet this goal this year anyway, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try!

 

Savings Rate of 65%: 

  • Savings Rate so far: 37.7%

Gonna have to do better than that! Our method for calculating our savings rate is shown here.

 

Max Out 457 Plan and Roth IRAs

  • Goals: $18,000 in 457 Plan / $5,500 in each Roth IRA
  • Saved so far: $4,200 in 457 Plan / $750 in each Roth IRA

This shouldn’t be any problem. Marge’s 401(k) plan is still not worth investing in, so I will probably save that extra money as cash at Vanguard, wait for a stock price “correction,” and then invest it.

 

Read 24 Books

  • Read so far: 5

Will have to pick up the pace on this a bit. My favorite book was Alan Partridge’s Nomad, but that’s a bit of an acquired taste. You might enjoy The Skies Belong To Us: Love and Terror In The Golden Age of Hijacking, a book about the airplane hijacking craze of the 70’s. It’s a fun one.

 

Years of Savings:

This magical calculation demonstrates how far we could get if we kept living every month like this ones listed above.  We take our investable assets and divide them by our monthly expenses above. The number to shoot for is 25, because at that level of savings, you could afford to live forever on your money stash. According to our monthly average non-debt expenses and our investable assets, we have…

6.42 years of savings

Retirement Location Possibility!

If we take that number of years of savings above, and divide by 25, we can figure out where in the world we could afford to retire right now by dividing another country’s cost of living  price index by our own cost of living. I used Hartford, CT, for our own cost of living since it is the closest city to us on Expatistan’s index and is comparable price-wise.

Our International Retirement Cost of Living Number is….

47

According to Expatistan’s index, that means we can retire… nowhere!

The Ridinkulous 2016 Annual Expense Report

Boston Museum of Science Van der Graaff generator

Another year has wrapped up here at Ridinkulous HQ, and despite the best laid plans of mice and men, this year looks extremely similar to last year in terms of spending. Not that that’s a bad thing. When the average savings rate in the U.S. hovers between 5-10%, hitting more than 50% year after year is a good thing.

You see, frugality is a lot like this Van de Graaff generator at the Boston Museum of Science. It’s loud and bright and it takes a guy in an oversized bird cage to operate it. And there are gigantic belts inside that generate static electricity. And it kind of looks like a butt.

Or maybe I’m just stretching for a reason to post that picture.

Total Expenses: $51,122.91
Avg Per Month: $4,260.24

Excluding Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $35,851.62
Avg Per Month: $2,987.64

Savings Rate: 52%

Summary:

2016 2015
Serious Stuff $24,396 28,847
Food $7,226 6,445
Transportation $3,433 3,339
Utilities $2,686 2,836
Fun Stuff $4,650 5,881
Pets $2,018 2,671
Miscellaneous $6,312 4,018

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Ridinkulous Quarterly Expenses: Q3 2016

dutchess-county-fair-2016-8

Puzzling sign at the Dutchess County Fair bird barn. Don’t be like Breakfast

The calendar on the wall says it’s October. You know what that means! Time for cardigans and hot mugs of mulled apple cider. Time for leaf-peeping and apple-picking. Time for scarves and slippers.  Logs for a fireplace or wood-burning stoves? Burn ’em if you got ’em! You know how I do. I’m Mr. Muh-fuggin’ Autumn Man! Welcome To Fall!

How did we do on our expenses for three months leading up to this most auspicious season? All I can say is, what a difference timing makes! Looking at our savings rate, you’d think we had failed spectacularly since last quarter! Our savings rate has been slashed in half from 71.7% down to 34.7%!  But in reality, our discretionary spending was nearly identical to the previous quarter. How could this be? Two things caused the drop in the savings rate:

  1. We paid our property taxes. We paid our school taxes for the entire coming year ($1,965), and half of our county tax for the year ($641.26). This $2,606 alone accounts for almost the entire jump in total non-debt expenses from last quarter: $5,745 to $8,505.
  2. Last quarter contained an extra paycheck for both of us because of the way the weeks fell. That’s thousands of dollars less in income this quarter.

Crazy fluctuations are the reason why I do a quarterly expense report rather than a monthly. But even after trying to smooth out expenses, we still see crazy swings due to big expenses from quarter to quarter.

Total Expenses: $10,589.53
Avg Per Month: $3,529.84

Without Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $8,505.79
Avg Per Month: $2,835.26

Savings Rate: 34.7%

Serious Stuff :

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Mortgage $2,083.74 $694.58
Home Insurance  N/A N/A
Property Taxes $2,606.96 N/A
Medical $116.04 $38.68
Home Maintenance – DIY $63.72 $21.24
Home Maintenance – Contractors $300.00 $100.00

All pretty much status quo here. We had some dentist co-pays under Medical. And the $300 is a down payment for a gardener to make our backyard look nicer. We don’t trust ourselves with plants.

 

felafel-scratch

Felafels from scratch

Food:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Groceries $1,228.24 $409.41
Wine & Beer $91.39 $30.46
Dining Out $298.48 $99.49
Takeout Food $201.45 $67.15
Total Food $1,819.56 $606.52
okonomiyaki-mac-n-cheese-1

Mystery mac and cheese

On the whole, up just slightly from last quarter. We keep our food costs down by rarely eating out, and making cheap, delicious meals at home, as outlined in the Cost Per Serving series. Those are from-scratch felafels. They’re super easy if you have a deep fryer. And only use dry beans, never canned.

I also worked out a recipe to enter in our local mac-and-cheese cooking contest which Marge has entered twice. Can I bring home the gold? Some other time, I’ll let you in on the recipe, which its un-Googleable status proves to me is completely unique. Any guesses?

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Ridinkulous Quarterly Expenses: Q2 2016

Poli Genova, Batman! We had a tremendous savings rate this quarter. Almost 72 percent! How did we do it? See the specifics below, but basically we enjoyed a few extra paychecks by how the pay periods fell, and we didn’t have to pay any big bills like property taxes or home insurance. We also spent less than normal on most of our usual expenses. We had so much surplus cash this quarter that we paid off the rest of our student loans over Memorial Day weekend!

And according to our Planting Our Pennies-inspired Retirement Locale calculator, for the first time since we’ve been releasing quarterly expense reports, we can afford to retire somewhere in the world! Where could we immediately quit our jobs and move to? Read on to find out!

And remember, I exclude all income and expenses related to our income property.

Total Expenses: $11,194.08
Avg Per Month: $3,731.36

Without Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $5,745.21
Avg Per Month: $1,915.07

Savings Rate: 71.7%

 

The Necessary Evils :

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Mortgage 2,083.74 $694.58
Student Loans Go Bye Bye 3,365.13 $1,121.71
Home Insurance N/A N/A
Property Taxes N/A N/A
Medical $193.68 $64.56

Bye bye, student loans! I will be more than happy to see this line item disappear. I got this delightful email from Sallie Mae when it was all done:

 

NavientSuccess

Indeed.

 

Mr. Bucket

Mr. Bucket

Home Maintenance and Improvements

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Contractors $145.80 $48.60
DIY $10.58 $3.53

The only big expense here is hiring the professional to fix our leaky pipe.

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Quarterly Expenses and Goal Progress: Q1 2016

Well it’s the first quarter of a new year, and a new year means a new set of goals to keep. Let’s see if everything is “on fleek” so far. Did I just use that correctly?

Total Expenses: $16,323.43
Avg Per Month: $5,441.14

Without Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $10,668.49
Avg Per Month: $3,556.16

Savings Rate: 45.8%

The Necessary Evils :

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Mortgage $2,083.74 $694.58
Student Loans $2,578.08 $859.36
Car payments $993.12 $331.04
Home Insurance $960.00 N/A
Property Taxes $2,162.99 N/A
Medical $209.52 $69.84

That there is the final car payment! Marge’s 2013 Toyota Corolla is officially paid off. Fun fact: The car has 15,000 miles on it, which after 2.5 years means it is averaging only 6,000 miles per year.
Marge and I both had several doctors and dentists’ visits this quarter, making for an unusually high Medical expense.
That is our home insurance for the entire year, and we made $2,000 in extra student loan payments to help get them paid off very soon. And that is also just more than half of our property taxes for the year.

Wine Club Feb 2016 (5)

Food:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Groceries $1,225.60 $408.53
Wine & Beer $70.50 $23.50
Dining Out $127.52 $42.51
Takeout Food $157.33 $52.44
Total Food $1,580.95 $526.98
Moroccan Stew

Moroccan Stew

I think there is some leftover Christmas party and gift food inflating that grocery bill, and many, many cinnamon babkas made for friends and parties. We also hosted about sixteen people for a wine-tasting party with mucho food, and Marge competed in a mac & cheese competition (if you’re curious, reuben mac & cheese, and no). All things considered, this is a pretty good total. And a lot of good food.

 

 

Poets Walk (1)

Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge seen from Poet’s Walk

Transportation:

Quarterly Total Month Average
Auto Maintenance/Other $54.00 $18.00
Gas $197.16 $65.72
Parking $77.76 $25.92
Bus Tickets $130.00 $43.33
Total Transportation $458.92 $152.97

Mostly just commuting this quarter, although we did meet my parents down in the Hudson Valley for lunch and then Poet’s Walk hike in Rhinebeck. $65.72 a month for gas is about $10 less than what we spent on average last year. No car insurance or work on the car this quarter. All is good!

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Our 2015 Savings Rate

Savings rates are great. How much money do you need to live vs. how much money do you make? Are you kidding me? That’s a perfect measure of how efficient you are behaving! I am a fan of savings rates.

What I’m NOT a fan of is calculating savings rates. What do you include as an expense and what don’t you include? Do you include 401(k) contributions as income? Is the whole debt payment an expense or just the interest part? Is home maintenance an expense or an asset?

Everyone seems to have their own method of calculating their savings rate, and just to muddy the waters, I’m going to introduce my own!

Unrelated picture of rabbits

Unrelated picture of Cornelius & Klaus

Expenses: Here’s our 2015 expense report. For this report, I will exclude the principal payments on debt and include only the interest portion as an expense.

Income: Here’s where it gets complicated. This will be all of our take-home income, after everything gets taken out, with our 457 and 401(k) plan contributions added back in… but at 60%.

I know, I know, it sounds crazy. But hear me out. We can safely assume that if we had been paid those contribution amounts as income instead of putting them in tax deferred accounts, they would have been taxed at a 25% federal rate, plus state taxes and various payroll taxes. So let’s estimate that 40% would disappear before it hit our bank account. By adding back the contributions as income at 60%, we are mocking up what our take-home pay would have been if we took our entire paychecks home.

But what about our rental property? I am excluding all of our rental property income and expenses because I like to treat that as its own self-supporting business, separate from our personal spending. And the way I see it, the rental is an investment, so all of the start-up costs we endured this year (down payment, closing costs) are by default included as savings, same as if we had invested it in the stock market.

Caution – I will be showing you our after-tax income! Since it’s inherent in any savings rate calculation, I know you’d just be doing it in your head anyway, so why not just include it.

I can never think of any good pictures for these number-based posts…

Goats in Trees

So here’s a picture of a goat calendar.

From our annual expense report, we know that…

Expenses Excluding All Debt Payments = $35,373.10. Now add…

Interest Paid On Debt

Mortgage Interest $2,413.02
Student Loan Interest $172,18
Car Loan Interest $85.52
Total $2,670.72

So for our purposes, Total Expenses, Less Principal Payments = $38,043.82

We put almost $20,000 into tax deferred accounts (would’ve been more if it weren’t for Marge’s terrible 401(k) choices!), so our mocked up After Tax Income is $89,354.48. The difference is our savings at $51, 310.62.

Savings Rate = Savings / Income = $51,310/$89,354 = .574

So our Savings Rate is 57.4%! I was hoping to hit 50%, so I’m happy.

 

image

Another utterly irrelevant picture

Hey kids! Here’s a lesson I wish someone had taught me years ago. Through determining your savings rate, we can discover how many years it will take until your investments will cover those expenses, and you can retire! Incredibly, there is a formula for that and it works.

Mr. Money Mustache teaches us that a 57% savings rate means you only have to work about 14 years until your assets support your lifestyle.

Here’s a fun chart

SavingsRate2015

 

What does the average Joe save?

The Federal Reserve keeps stats on this. Ever since the early 1990s, the average individual’s savings rate has hovered around 5%. During one month (December 2012) it peaked at 11%, and the highest the savings rate has been in the observable past is 17% in May 1975. I got you beat, Average Joe! I beat your ass two time! Three time!

At a 17% savings rate, you’ll still have to work for 40 years like a sucker before you can be financially independent. And at 5%? Well, I don’t even want to think about it! If you save 5% of your income, you’ll hopefully be relying on a pension or Social Security, or else be enjoying a restful retirement from the grave.

What’s your savings rate for the year? What convoluted method did you use to calculate it?

 

The Ridinkulous 2015 Annual Expense Report

Holy guacamole! Happy 2016! Can you believe a whole year has passed?

Osaka Intercontinental (8)

Fancy Japanese hotel!

It’s been a ridinkulous year here at Ridinkulous Headquarters. We bought a rental property in order to hasten our early retirement goals. We spent almost three weeks on vacations in Peru and Japan. And we DIY built a stone patio, wood fence, and an 8’x10′ shed in the backyard.

Surely all of this fancy living will show in our expenses, right? Wrong! Because while compiling our expenses for the entire year, I found we spent less this year than ever before! Well, as long as you eliminate money spent on that rental property… I count that as a separate business and its own income statement is forthcoming.

In the next few weeks, I’ll compare this year to past years and see exactly how we made 2015 our most frugal year ever. But today, let’s just look at the numbers.

2015
Total Expenses: $54,038.23
Avg Per Month: $4,503.19

Excluding Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $35,373.10
Avg Per Month: $2,947.76

The Necessary Evils :

Annual Total Monthly Average
Mortgage $10,834.96 $902.91
Student Loans $3,018.27 $251.52
Car payments $4,811.90 $400.99
Home Insurance $940.00 $78.33
Property Taxes $3,757.32 $313.11
Medical $759.53 $63.29

Pretty self explanatory. For more details on those loans, check out our Debt Progress page.
Property Taxes – People in the blogosphere are often astounded at how little we paid for our house and rental property in upstate NY. The flipside of our low housing prices is our high property taxes. And as any debt paydown aficionado will tell you, you can pay off your mortgage, but those property taxes will follow you to the grave.
Medical – Much of this is our hepatitus A shots for visiting Peru.

Finished Fence (2)

DIY all the way

Home Maintenance and Improvements

Yearly Total Monthly Average
Contractors $1,950.84 $162.57
DIY $2,773.83 $231.15

Contractors – This is the cost to eradicate bats from our house, and also the cost of re-wiring the electrical to our house after the neighbor’s tree fell in our yard.
DIY
 – The DIY cost is basically the entire cost of our backyard patio and shed project. We paved our backyard with real granite stones and built a 8’x10′ shed with plans found on the internet. You can see the work in progress above. It’s all done now, and photos are forthcoming

Kyoto Sushi

Food:

Yearly Total Monthly Average
Groceries $4,554.81 $379.57
Wine & Beer $283.05 $23.59
Dining Out $913.80 $76.15
Takeout Food $693.02 $57.75
Total Food $6,444.68  $537.06

This is our lowest total food expense since 2007! Incredible. I chalk it up to making lots of big batches of food for lunches and dinners, and nearly eliminating Takeout Fridays.
Dining & Takeout Food – Despite restricting our eating out expenses, we still had many amazing meals. Not a dollar was wasted. The only things I eat outside the house are things I just can’t get or make at home. See the fresh maguro bowl at Tuskiji fish market or the ceviche or the chocolate con churros in Lima. The key to not spending a lot dining out is to never go to a chain or a place that makes everyday food. (I lift this rule for the occasional breakfast diner, a guilty pleasure)

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Ridinkulous Quarterly Expenses: Q3 2015

A quick note here. I am excluding many expenses! Since we have a rental property now, I think I am going to treat that as a completely separate entity with its own income statement posts. Our quarterly expense reports now will be just our living expenses. These are the figures you and I are most interested in anyway, since these are the numbers we have to bring down the most in order to hasten and estimate our early retirement goals.

We only do quarterly expense reports, not monthly, in order to eliminate all the noise, noise, noise.

Total Expenses: $14,578.19
Avg Per Month: $4,859.40

Excluding Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $9,336.37
Avg Per Month: $3,122.12

Previous Quarters:
2015, January-March
2015, April-June

The Necessary Evils :

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Mortgage $2,083.74 $694.58
Student Loans 628.08 209.36
Car payments 2,500.00 833.33
Home Insurance N/A N/A
Property Taxes 1,633.40 644.46
Medical 176.00 56.66

We put enough into our car loan to almost pay it off this quarter. There’s less than $1,000 left. Other than that, we only made the regular debt payments. On that note, check out our new Debt Progress page!

 

Home Maintenance and Improvements

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Contractors 1,342.84 447.61
DIY 1,126.94 375.64

Neighbors Tree (1)Two big money spending time items this quarter. We paid the second half of our Batman bill. The summer is nearly over and we are still bat-free! And then we had to pay an electrical contractor to re-connect us to the power lines after this tree fell into our yard.

The DIY items have basically been all of the materials for our backyard shed. We rented a U-Haul pickup one day and brought home loads of lumber, plywood and siding. All of that will be written up as part of my Patio series at one point. Right now, the shed is nearing completion, but there will be a lot of finishing touches to put on.

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Ridinkulous Quarterly Expenses: Q2 2015

This was a fun quarter. Starting out in April, we were exploring Peru, then we decided to finally eradicate our house of bats, I biked to work a ton, and we ended the quarter doing a lot of work outdoors on our stone patio. Oh, and we had our offer accepted on a rental property! Despite all this excitement, we only spent $3,556 per month on average including all debt payments.

Green numbers are lower than last quarter.
Red numbers are higher than last quarter.

Total Expenses: $10,668.08
Average Per Month: $3,556.03

Excluding Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $7,443.60
Average Per Month: $2,481.20

The Necessary Evils :

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Mortgage $2,091.00 $697.00
Student Loans $627.48 $209.16
Car payments $500.00 $166.66
Home Insurance $0.00 $0.00
Property Taxes $0.00 $0.00
Medical $6.00 $2.00
Rental Property 795.00 N/A

Rental Property is a new expense this quarter. The $795 relates to our purchase of a rental property. Appraisal and inspection costs.
We made one $500 car payment, and paid nothing extra on the other loans this quarter. We were mostly saving up for the closing on the rental property.

Sand Screeding (6)

The Patio: Beginnings

Home Maintenance and Improvements

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Contractors $608.00 $202.67
DIY $1,002.20 $334.06

For contractors, we told you about how we hired Batman. The $608 is the first half of eradicating bats from our house for good.
All of our DIY expense is related to the patio we’re building out back. There’s basically over $770 of materials, including $500 worth of cobblestones, some tools and a permit. I’ll tell you all about the patio in a future series.

Homemade Doughnuts (7)

DIY Doughnuts

Food:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Groceries $1,013.85 $337.95
Wine & Beer $73.63 $24.54
Dining Out $371.03 $123.68
Takeout Food $132.61 $44.20
Total Food $1,591.12  $530.37 

We almost came in under $1,000 for the quarter on groceries! We have been making a lot of food at home, and I have even gotten into bread-making. And as you can tell from the picture above, doughnut-making!
That dining expense, though? That’s high. Most of that is due to our trip to Peru, where we ate out a lot and spent $273.35 on food in ten days!

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