May Income and Expenses Report

Every month I still create a budget, even though I’ve been debt free for three years. I print it out and put it on the refrigerator.

It’s a constant reminder to keep on top of my finances.

My husband and I have a sporadic income since we are both self employed. Keeping track of our income and expenses is a huge part of being able to live this life style.

INCOME

Every month it’s hard to know if there will be a surplus or a deficit.

We have a ‘Monthly Bills Fund’. It’s basically a separate savings account to pay our bills with. Each month I move the total amount of the budget into our checking account.

Our income from May was $7,413. This was a surprise since I thought we would break even. Matt had a few last minute shows added at the end of the month. I love it when that happens.

Summer months are usually best in terms of income, but we act like squirrels to hoard nuts for the winter!

EXPENSES

Mortgage

Our mortgage is only $1,530 per month (20 year fixed). We pay $1,712 so the house will be paid off in about 16 years.

Taxes

We have to pay quarterly for income taxes. Last year we paid $1,000 per month. Our accountant suggested we pay $500 instead since we have another child and a larger home office to deduct.

It worries me a bit that we might have to pay next April, but I love the lower monthly budget!

Phone/Internet

We had DSL and a phone line. It cost $85 per month. I found out last week that we could get cable internet for $30. So we canceled it. We just started using a Magic Jack for our phone service. So far it’s working well. (a review of the Magic Jack will be coming!)

Grocery/Eating out

We increased our grocery budget by $50. Our daughter just turned one and is eating a lot more food. We’ve also made it a goal to buy more organics, fresh fruits and vegetables.

The going out to eat fund is for my husband since he is on the road often.

Our Monthly Fund/Entertainment

Matt and I both get $50 per month to spend any way we choose. The kids get $100 per month for things like diapers, and clothes.

We also put $25 into entertainment for date nights. We are frugal, and end up either going to a matinee or going out for tea.

Health Insurance

We switched health insurance providers this month too. Our previous plan had a $5,000 deductible for $609 per month. It was a horrible plan in general, but it was the cheapest we could find.

We just switched to a $10,000 deductible for $406 per month. It actually covers more and we’ll save $200 per month.

This month we are paying for the old plan, and the new plan. Ouch.

The new plan has an incentive. If you pay for a year in advance you get a month free. I plan on doing this in a few months so we can save $406 per year. The adjusted cost will be $372 per month.

Childcare

Child care costs for the month just included our nanny working 20 hours per week. Our child care will be going up next month. We found a new nanny that costs more per month. She will also watch the children in our home and will count as an employee so we will have to start paying payroll taxes. (I still have to figure out how to do all of that!)

Other

We have so many friends and family with birthdays in May. We call it our second Christmas. The average cost per gift is about $17 and we have 10 people to buy for.

The Results

That leaves a $2,052 surplus. Most of the surplus was squirreled away for the winter, but $500 of it was put aside for a trip to Montreal that we took last week. It was a great trip and I am so glad we decided to go.

So that is the month of May for us.

I’m curious, what was May like for you?

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Hi I’m Jaime. Each and every week I bring you the top business advice from the people who know best.

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25 responses

  • Just found your blog from Get Rich Slowly. First time reader. Your budget seems to be missing some items. What about life insurance? (It sounds like you have small kids, so you really should have term insurance.) What about disability insurance? What about retirement savings? What about home maintenance?

    • Thanks for reading.

      I actually pay those things yearly, so I add it to that month’s budget. So our term insurance comes due in August, and we pay it fully then.

      Retirement savings comes out of the Monthly Bills fund once it hits a certain number. Home Maintenance just comes out of the regular income when things come up.

      We will be adding a car replacement fund in the near future too.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • I always like to see what others with variable income do to handle a budget.

    Our income fluctuates by a lot, so I took an average monthly income for 18 months, and I built my budget around that number. So now I push any excess into an “income float” savings account, and on low income months, I pull the difference.

    I think it is a good idea that you post your budget on your fridge. I tend to prefer a little more financial privacy though. I use manila sleeves, one per week. The budget is taped to one side, and registers are taped to the other side. I keep receipts, checks, and cash inside the sleeve.

    I love the portability of my system, as I carry the sleeve with me whenever I leave the house. (It slides into the crevice between my seat and the console.)

    • Your income float savings account is pretty much our Monthly Bills except we hold all of our money for the month there too. The way we get paid is so sporadic it can be hard to keep track. Great idea about the average though, I should figure mine out too.

      I want people that visit to see our budget actually. I’m pretty transparent and it has started a lot of great conversations. I think money shouldn’t be such a taboo subject. I want to help my friends and family and I want them to help me too!

      Smart idea about the sleeves though. Maybe I’ll add something like that to the fridge to keep all the receipts etc.

      Thanks for reading Cheryl!

  • Hello. Question: what’s your reasoning behind paying extra into your mortgage? Extra principle comes off the end of the loan, so if you bought your home in 2005, the extra money starts reducing/eliminating your payments in 2025 working backwards.

    Wouldn’t it be better to invest that extra money somehow (even a CD — ANYTHING that lets it try and keep up with inflation) and let it earn interest for 15 years, then pay off the mortgage in a lump sum 5 years early?

    (Technically you should be able to pay it off earlier because you are accruing all that interest for such a long time. Using today’s CD rates though, it probably isn’t very much. 🙂 But, it’s still better than 0% which I think is the equivalent of what that extra payment is doing today.)

    • You are 100% right. My interest rate is only 4.75% so it really would be smarter to invest. I just have this HUGE desire to pay it off and not have a house payment.

  • Wow, your deductible is very high for health insurance! My health plan wants me to pay that deductible before they pay anything. I went to a cardiologist last week and had a bunch of tests to figure out why I have “an anomaly” in my EKG. The insurance company wants me to pay the doc $2000–my deductible! I can’t imagine what we would do if it was $10,000! Well, yes I do know–I would not have any tests, have a heart attack, and then be stuck with thousands in doctor bills!!

    We do what you do–have an account just for the bills that we can’t spend from for anything else. But we don’t budget–which makes that $2000 hard to manage. We do flex, though, and I only put $1500 in it this year. Shoulda done more.

    • Health insurance is a pain. Our one year old daughter had a ton of tests not too long ago. The HSA comes in very handy for those types of emergencies!

      As you can guess though, I’m all about the budgeting 🙂 It’ll make that $2,000 a lot easier to manage!

  • Good to know about Magic Jack. And I think it’s awesome you’re paying your mortgage off sooner. The only thing I notice is the $88 for a cell phone bill. There’s lots of plans nowadays that are unlimited for $50 and Tracfone, I believe it is, gives you so many minutes/texts/Internet time for $25 that it’s the same as unlimited. No need to overspend on cell phones anymore. Just like you replaced what was likely an overpriced landline bill with a Magic Jack, you can do the same with your cell phone.

    • That’s a good idea Victoria. That $88 is for both of our cell phones. It’s a $70 plan, but with all of the fees it comes out to something like $86. I always budget $88 in case of a few texts. I’ll check it out though, thanks!

  • Mortgage only $1500 a month? That’s a lot of money in my book. I do know people that pay much more though. 🙂

    • I agree, it is a lot of money! I meant that it was only $1500 compared to the $1700 we pay. Houses in the Northeast are pretty pricey compared to upstate NY where I used to live.

      Our old house in NY was $70,000, and a comparable house here would be at least $160,000. It is quite pricey here. I wish it were $700 per month like our old house!

  • $7,400 is a great monthly income! There’s definitely no need for you to go back to the daily full time job grind with that kind of income.

    Perhaps you’ll even make even more side income with the Yakezie and the new challenge coming up!

    Best,

    Sam
    .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Personal Finance Bloggers Cause US Retail Sales To Plunge! =-.

  • Hey Jamie,
    I found your blog from get rich slowly as well. Great guest post! I was wondering, (and I’m sorry if you addressed this before) but what do you use to keep track of expenses and income? Quickbooks? Just a spreadsheet? I have a tentative budget in a Google Docs spreadsheet but didn’t know if there was an easy (yet affordable) program that’s better.

    • Hi Kelsey- Even though I am a computer geek 🙂 I still use spreadsheets for my personal budget. I use Quickbooks for our business. I really like the simplicity of a spreadsheet. I found when I tried other programs it became very complex. (like logging in, or loading software to update receipts etc)

      Now I think it’s mostly become a habit, so I haven’t tried anything new in awhile. Though I have been thinking of trying Mint.com again. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Hi,

    I ran across your blog via getrichslowly.org. Your blog caught my attention because I am also paying off debt. My debt is $22k in the form of a second mortgage.

    I was wondering how/what made you determined to increase your mortgage payments by $200? Did you determine that if you paid an extra $200 a month you could pay your mortgage in 16 years? If you were going to plan to pay off your house in 16 years, couldn’t you have gotten a 15 year fixed mortgage with a lower interest rate when you were first purchasing the house?

    Other than that your budget looks solid. It’s awesome motivation for me to pay off my debt.

    • Well it’s a bit of a long story! But if you don’t mind – I’ll tell it 🙂

      Since we are self employed getting a loan is only based on our tax returns. Since I hadn’t been in business longer than two years they didn’t count a lot of it. Plus our net on our tax return was pretty low. We didn’t qualify for a 15 year when we bought this house, so we got a 20 year mortgage with 4.75%.

      The bank said the payment would be $1712, and I had accounted for that in the budget. It turns out the taxes were lower and the payment was only about $1500. I’ve been paying $1712 just as planned anyway.

      Glad it gave you motivation! I love hearing that 🙂

  • Jaime,
    Thanks for answering my question and I’m sorry I spelled your name wrong in my previous comment!

    With your last response about the mortgage, did you find it difficult to get a mortgage being self-employed? When my fiancé and I starting looking for a house in about a year, I will have only bee freelancing full-time for about 1.5 years. Did you find it difficult to get a mortgage? Did people just brush you off immediately because you were self-employed? I’m really worried about that.

    • No problem, my name is spelled wrong all the time!

      My husband has been self employed for over 10 years now, so it wasn’t as hard as I thought. You usually need to be in business for 2 years to be approved though. (which is why my income didn’t count to apply for the house) You should ask the specific mortgage company you are applying to though, because they are different. We also had to send a letter from our tax accountant verifying everything. It was a big pain! But once it’s done it’s done!

  • May was okay, I did pay off my final interest debt besides my house but am working on a personal loan from a friend to pay off this year. Then I am debt-free besides my house.

    I’ve paid off quite a bit of debt in the last year myself 🙂 One day I hope to have an income like yours!

    • Congrats on only having one debt left! Doesn’t it feel good?

      If you can really get serious and pay off debt like you are, I can’t see why you can’t put that same effort to create an amazing income. 🙂

  • I have income envy. 🙂

    Other than that, I love the fact you’ve entered the world of full disclosure blogging! I really like being completely open so I can get as many opinions as possible.

    In regards to mortgage overpayment, I’m with you. We have a 15 year mortgage at 5.375% that would have been $740 a month, but we pay $900 and it looks like it will be completely paid off in 10 years total or less. I cannot wait. I’m sure we could invest elsewhere and make a better return, but I want debt freedom. We also do invest in stocks and mutual funds already, so it’s a form of diversification in my opinion.

    • Thanks! Our income fluctuates a lot though. Some months are over $10k and some months are almost zero. It really depends!

  • I just wanted to stop in and say hello and thank you. I read your story via GRS and your success has meant something to me. Today I am almost exactly where you were in January 2006, in terms of the debts, the size, and the household income situation. So seeing how it can be done and the rewards it brings from someone who could have been my gender opposite twin (like I said, ALMOST exactly where you were =D) is empowering.

    THANKS for sharing!

    • Haha. We can be fraternal twins 🙂

      Thanks so much for saying hello. And if you have any questions just shoot me an email.

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