Monthly Review 

Financial Outlook – Summary of Spending and 401k Allocation (Mar ‘05)

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Last month I cranked out some of my personal financials (sorry, only percentages, I’m not as comfortable as many of my contemporaries) and in keeping with the review of my Financial Outlook, I’ve compiled some of the more interesting statistics here. March saw me spend less because I was finally clear of any additional payments as a result of the car accident at the end of last year. I also had the good fortune of earning a “Results Sharing” bonus, that I didn’t even know existed for my company. So I spent less and earned more…

Expenses Mar. Target %
Rent 18.66% 20%
Utilities 4.86% 5%
Meals 7.70% 7%
Groceries 4.63% 7%
Clothes 0.28% 0.5%
Cleaning 0.00% 0.5%
Automotive 0.65% 2%
Transportation/Gas 6.68% 7%
Recreation 2.22% 10%
Other 1.04% 3%
Savings 53.28% 25%
Budget Reserve 13%

1. These percentages are calculated against my post-tax income, which already has 20% contributed to my employer’s 401k plan.
2. Budget Reserve is simply my safety blanket in the budget for overruns. 13% seems like quite a bit but any excess falls into Savings!

Budget Notes:
Meals was the only category that missed estimates by a small amount and I didn’t really see it as a big deal because it was down from the month before! I do enjoy going out to eat on the weekends after a week of my own pathetic cooking (where I eat the same thing for dinner and lunch the next day).
I thought that the Transportation/Gas component this month was going to be a little higher than usual because that’s where I put all my travel costs, including airline tickets, and I purchased a flight to Boston on Southwest for around $98 this month for my sister’s graduation. But apparently it didn’t push me over my target.
The numbers above don’t reflect any of the “Results Sharing” bonus I received. 20% of that went straight into my 401k, the other 80% went into my savings account. The bonus represented a 28.8% increase on my monthly gross income so you can see I was able to put a lot away, which will probably go towards a downpayment on a house.
I would’ve been 0% on clothing again, as is the expected, except for St. Patty’s day when I bought myself an Old Navy “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shirt. No one believed me though.

Eventually though I’ll have to pay my taxes ($372) and I’m not sure where that’s going to fall under, I suppose Other. So next month I’d expect to see some very skewed numbers in some categories. Cheers and thanks for reading.

{ 2 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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2 Responses to “Financial Outlook – Summary of Spending and 401k Allocation (Mar ‘05)”

  1. your blog reader says:

    thanks for sharing the information. in my house hold I push for some financial discipline but with little success. i came up with several easy-to-use metrics and process – simple excel spreadsheet – to keep track of monthly and yearly savings goals, expense tracking to make this personal financing process easy but still I am finding my difficult to get my message thro’ . I will refer your blog to the household and see if it makes any difference. by the way, do you use any software tools to keep track of the personal financial information?


  2. jim says:

    I know a lot of people who use Microsoft Money with great success and the benefit of using that over Excel is the automated entry of data from your credit card and bank accounts. Personally, I just use Excel too because it’s easy and I’m very familiar with it.

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