Author Topic: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)  (Read 10858 times)

BryanR

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Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« on: March 16, 2012, 12:20:39 AM »
OK, as a Jr. Mustachian I'm a bit embarrassed by our annual spending from 2011. Household income $161K, total spending (NOT INCLUDING taxes, savings, giving) is around $76K. It feels bloated, I want to cut $30K off that $76K, but having a hard time seeing how. Or, actually, I see how to do it, but it feels hard. Comments welcome. See attached.

outsidethebox

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2012, 01:35:37 AM »
I have a mac and can't open your file but wondered if you had read any Jeff Yeager, Crystal Paine, Dave Ramsey and Amy Dacyzyn books?

I like to learn from the best then adjust that knowledge to fit my family.

Able was I ERE

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OK, as a Jr. Mustachian I'm a bit embarrassed by our annual spending from 2011. Household income $161K, total spending (NOT INCLUDING taxes, savings, giving) is around $76K. It feels bloated, I want to cut $30K off that $76K, but having a hard time seeing how. Or, actually, I see how to do it, but it feels hard. Comments welcome. See attached.

Here are the categories that jump out at me for improvement.  However, it's all a personal choice what you chose to min/max.

$32.5k housing: that's 40%+ of your expenses  and an obvious place to look (although admittedly hard)
$5.5k husband: seems a bit high.  Almost half is "vitamins"?
$4k cars: insurance seems high, but total seems reasonable--but no repairs?
$9.5k grocery: definitely seems room for improvement

You have a few categories split across multiple subcategories that could use a look in aggregate:
$4k+ Misc, atm, fun, and entertainment--personally, I find these categories tend to overlap
$2k eating out

$29k savings: any of this tax-advantaged? 
$29k taxes: if savings not currently traditional 401k, you may be able to save here by reducing your taxable income.

(P.s. You'll probably get more responses if you copy your spreadsheet data into a post-)
« Last Edit: March 16, 2012, 06:14:21 AM by Able was I ERE »

Ben

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2012, 06:17:03 AM »
A few thoughts:

-If you want to cut off $30k, you will have to do something major about your housing costs. If you reduced spending to $46k like you want to do, you would be spending over 75% of your budget on housing costs. Can you start searching for a smaller house? Can you pay down/off the mortgage?

-Is the vitamins total a typo? Or are you taking $200+ a month in supplements?

-How many children do you have? It looks like you are spending about $1000/month on food between groceries and eating out, so depending on how many kids are in the house that could be an easy (or more difficult) place to make some adjustments.


arebelspy

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2012, 09:19:13 AM »
Some things to think about.

$200/mo on vitamins?  Are they medically necessary, or personally preferred?

ATM withdrawal of $600 as well as "misc" for 550 under wife is interesting - what's the difference?  Where is that $100/mo going? (husband also has 100/mo going to "misc/fun money")

Spending $200/mo eating out (adding up separate eating out from husband section, wife section, and combined husbands and wife's section.. plus kids, so maybe more..?).

9500 on healthcare?  none covered by work?

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BryanR

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2012, 10:36:39 AM »
Hey Everyone,

I'll try to respond to all of your questions:

1) Housing: I work from home, and we do have a bit of an expensive home, we paid $520K and owe $320K. I'd love to pay it off, but I don't have $320K. Also, we live in CA, and my property taxes are $5K / year! So yes, I agree with everyone, housing is my big one. I'll have to think about this. I just don't think we are going to move any time soon.

2) Vitamins: Yes, these are medically necessary for me (unfortunately). That vitamins category is inclusive of some other treatments I need to do after a long bout with a nasty health condition which is fortunately 99% gone now.

3) Cars: Wife's car gets 13 miles/gallon, mine 17, so could definitely improve here. Reason I don't sell cars and get better gas mileage cars: I have this paranoia about wife driving around with kids in a tiny car and getting broadsided by an F-350. Anyone else worry about that?

4) Grocery: I definitely see this as a place we will be working to improve

5) Health / car / home insurance: all of these are very bloated and I'll be putting some energy into fixing. $1320/yr home, $1600/year for 2 cars, $850/mo health. I think I can probably cut these by 30%.

6) Yes, some of my savings are tax advantaged but if we are to live the MMM way, we need money before 60, right? I am 33 years old and have a hard time putting money away that I can't touch for 27 years. 

7) We have 2 kids, so yes, the grocery bills are out of hand. We unfortunately live in a small mountain town and don't have costco, walmart, have to drive 45 minutes to get to them, so buy groceries at a small retail store.

Right now here is our 'Stache:

  - $60K in cash
  - $20K in I-Bonds (basically same as cash)
  - $8K in a health savings account HSA
  - $10K in my SEP-IRA
  - $7K in taxable trading account

I am making some steps toward lowering monthly expenses, such as, re-fi'ed primary mortgage saving $135/month, hopefully can save $300 / month by shopping around insurances, talking about grocery plan with wife who does shopping, etc.

I think, though, that even after all the changes I could make, you are right, Ben, that my housing costs are enormous. If I wanted to truly do the Mustachian way, I'd need to pay off mortgage or downsize. Or better yet, move the heck out of this town to a cheaper place. Problem is, I've lived here for 28 years, family is here, and my backup career is here in case my current self employment situation doesn't work out.

The nice thing about life at this time is that I do work from home and I have a very flexible schedule, so the drive to retire early isn't as strong with me, because I see my family a lot already. Huge blessing. However, what I want to be able to do is tame the monster of spending, start investing more, and start to begin to cover some of my expenses with passive income.

RE: Investing: Am I crazy to be considering putting $20K into AGNC right now, a REIT that pays 16%? Would be $350 or so / month passive income. But diversified. I'm completely new to investing. My dad has owned real estate for years, so I'm a lot more comfortable with that route of investing, and in fact I have a real estate license. But real estate in my city makes no sense, it is very expensive with low rents. I'm sort of considering buying a rental house in Oklahoma, cost $50K and rents are 700/mo. Leverage part of purchase to achieve cash flow of $200/month and let the tenant pay off the mortgage in 15 years.

Thanks for listening ... any and all thoughts welcome! Don't go easy on me!

-theskyking

arebelspy

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2012, 11:41:49 AM »
Quote
RE: Investing: Am I crazy to be considering putting $20K into AGNC right now, a REIT that pays 16%? Would be $350 or so / month passive income. But diversified.

How is putting a large chunk of money into 1 REIT diversified?

Unless you have 0% real estate in your AA (unlikely, if you have a home, unless you don't count your home as part of your AA.. some do, some don't) and want to move it to 5% or something (so your portfolio is around 400k.

That aside, my biggest advice is pick one thing.  You said (paraphrasing) "yeah groceries can be trimmed" and "yeah insurance needs to be lowered" and things like that multiple times.  Okay, so you have a bunch of stuff that can be worked on.

Pick one.  Do it.  Move on to the next.  Some will be one time (calling for insurance quotes, switching providers), others will be ongoing (lowering grocery bills).  But pick a focus item of the week, or month, and hit that hard.  Otherwise, with so much stuff, none of it will get done/change.

Good luck!
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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shedinator

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2012, 11:46:48 AM »
If your house is still worth $520k, and you only owe 320k, you could probably find a 350-400k house that meets your needs, put nearly 200k down, and cut your mortgage payments significantly. Or you could use that 60k in cash to bolster the down payment and cut it even more. a $90-140k mortgage is a whole lot more manageable, and you could likely turn the savings back into 60k in cash in a relatively short period of time... but you wouldn't want to. You'd want to set up a HELOC, and put the cash savings into an investment account, starting by maxing out non-taxable retirement accounts, of course. Part of what that will require is budgeting your space- I can say for certain how much room you need, but it looks like 3+ beds in San Francisco at 350-400k is doable, so I'd imagine that's the case in the rest of CA, and with 2 kids that should be sufficient. If you really can't find any way to make the mortgage more affordable, then don't worry about the size, but definitely put that 60k cash to better use. savings- $??

$1045/year in clothes is a lot. With your budget, it looks negligible, but that's going to add up. I'd cut those numbers in half. You probably already own all the clothes you really need, and at this point you're in wardrobe maintenance mode- ie, you replace the things that wear out... and if you can do that at thrift shops, go for it. Savings- 600+

You spend over $1900/year eating out, plus another 2200 on misc/fun money. That's 4100. You could probably cut it down to under $1,000 and not notice any difference in your level of happiness. Savings- 3100

Groceries are also really, really high. Costco's 45 minutes away? drive there once a month and stock up like crazy. Borrow a friend's minivan if you have to Then you're just using the local grocery for stuff that goes bad in less than a month, which is really just fruits and veg. You can freeze dairy, meat, and bread, and keep other staples in dry storage. Also, plan ahead and track your usage so you know how much you need of various supplies, and therefore when to stock up. I'm guessing it would cut your grocery bill in half (we have a child who eats like crazy, and spend <4500/year). Savings- 4700

I'm guessing $2500 in home furnishings and decorations does not need to be an ongoing expense. Savings-2500

That's just a quick look, focusing on major spending categories that should be easily adjustable, and it's over $12k in savings, not counting any potential mortgage-related savings. You can shop around for insurance products, trade to less expensive vehicles, convert to a one car family, travel less, and reconsider preschool, to name a few options. It's possible you've already done all this, but if you haven't, it's worth considering.

arebelspy

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2012, 02:17:21 PM »
If your house is still worth $520k, and you only owe 320k, you could probably find a 350-400k house that meets your needs, put nearly 200k down, and cut your mortgage payments significantly.

They're in CA, and depending on what part, 500k+ may be the median home price.

Still, that's a good idea, they should check into it.. 200k in equity put into a 400k house is a 50% down payment, and their mortgage would probably be half (or less) of what it is now.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Ben

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2012, 02:46:58 PM »
I agree with ARebelSpy, you seem like a sharp guy and have highlighted some areas that could improve, but it's easy to find ALL of these areas overwhelming. Pick an area with an EASY win (e.g. insurance) and try to cut costs this weekend. Don't worry about anything else.

Think that a cheaper home would be good but can't stand to think about it right now? Table it, and come up with a meal/grocery plan instead. If you decide you want to live more frugally, come back to the house in three months.

It would probably be good to read more about investing (especially index funds), as you'll need a place to put these piles of money that you will be saving soon.

Ben

sol

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2012, 03:48:28 PM »
Okay, I'm going to be the asshole in the room and suggest that this young man needs less coddling and enabling, and more punches to the face.

I'll make an upfront exception if he has six special needs children at home.  There are certainly family situations that necessitate these kinds of expenses, and such people are obligated to have very high incomes or very long working careers or both. 

Otherwise, most of this budget is just unnecessary fluff.

His housing expenses are too high to meet his proposed budget, so he needs to move if he's serious about retiring early.  He can probalby afford to stay in his current house if he wants to work until he's 62.  If he wants out earlier, he needs to cut his housing expenses.  This means either downsizing to something more in his price range in his current town, renting out part of his current house, or moving to a new town.  Everyone says "oh I couldn't possibly move" when the truth is EVERYONE can move.  There is no life situation that is truly impossible to change, it's just a matter of priorities.  If he values his current home more than he values retiring early, then this forum will be of no help.

That vitamin buget is pure BS.  There's a name for alternative medicine that's been proven to work: medicine.  Supplements are untested at best, and fraud at worst.  Besides, if the condition is in remission, why is he still paying for the vitamins?  He can keep taking the pills, but it will delay financial independence.

That grocery budget should get chopped in half.  We feed a family of four for less than $5k/year, and that includes copious fresh fruit and vegetables.  If he's overpaying because he buys from a local grocerymart, he needs to stop doing that.  Or, you know, postpone retirement.

I see thousands of dollars per year evaporating into uncategorized expenses, and thousands more going to categories that shouldn't even exist.  WTF, mate?  If you're blowing through $300/month in cash that you can't even identify, then you have a ways to go yet before you can start thinking about retiring.  That sort of wasteful lifestyle spending is the very reason that so many americans are debt slaves, and that condition will not change until you root out this kind of waste.  Focus on the things that truly bring happiness to your life, and cut the spending on everything else.  Or keep working unti you're 62.

Two 15mpg cars?  Because you think small cars are unsafe?  If you're rationalizing keeping two SUVs because you're worried about your wife getting creamed by a truck, then you are letting fear contribute to your debt slavery.  At the very least, you should keep one giant gas guzzling offroad monster truck, and get a second (used, high mpg) vehicle for the majority of your driving.  Or if you're serious about this, get a bicycle.

Stop fretting about maxing your 401k and just do it.  The money can be withdrawn prior to age 59.5 without penalty several different ways, which have been outlined elsewhere on this site.  The tax savings are enormous, $8500/year in free money if both of you max the 17k in the 25% bracket, and you'll get it back out (penalty free) before you turn 59.5, while you are in a lower tax bracket after you quit working.  If you get an employer match, it's almost suicidal to your financial health to not take it.

 

 


zoltani

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2012, 05:00:01 PM »
Hey Everyone,

I'll try to respond to all of your questions:

1) Housing: I work from home, and we do have a bit of an expensive home, we paid $520K and owe $320K. I'd love to pay it off, but I don't have $320K. Also, we live in CA, and my property taxes are $5K / year! So yes, I agree with everyone, housing is my big one. I'll have to think about this. I just don't think we are going to move any time soon.

Yeah that is a big one, and probably your biggest obstacle to saving and investing  significant portion of your income.  However, from you comments you do not seem willing to make the serious choices necessary to change that.  Your outstanding mortgage is more than twice your income, not a good thing IMO.

2) Vitamins: Yes, these are medically necessary for me (unfortunately). That vitamins category is inclusive of some other treatments I need to do after a long bout with a nasty health condition which is fortunately 99% gone now.

Not sure where you are getting your vitamins, or what you need them for.  If you need heavy doses of specific vitamins get a juicer and juice vegetables and leafy greens.  You will be getting a purer form a vitamins and live enzymes.

3) Cars: Wife's car gets 13 miles/gallon, mine 17, so could definitely improve here. Reason I don't sell cars and get better gas mileage cars: I have this paranoia about wife driving around with kids in a tiny car and getting broadsided by an F-350. Anyone else worry about that?

Wow, that is just pathetic.  It is hard for me to have empathy for people who complain about the cost of driving when they drive such wasteful vehicles.  Sell one car, buy a bike, commute, profit.  No, I don't worry about me or my wife getting broadsided by an f-350, and we ride bikes exclusively.  Are you in southern CA?

4) Grocery: I definitely see this as a place we will be working to improve

Yes, indeed. How will you take the steps to do that?

5) Health / car / home insurance: all of these are very bloated and I'll be putting some energy into fixing. $1320/yr home, $1600/year for 2 cars, $850/mo health. I think I can probably cut these by 30%.

Cutting these expenses sounds like a plan.

6) Yes, some of my savings are tax advantaged but if we are to live the MMM way, we need money before 60, right? I am 33 years old and have a hard time putting money away that I can't touch for 27 years. 

I somewhat agree with you here, as i do not put money into my company's 401k, even though I know I am throwing money away by not getting the match.   Currently we have one rental property and would like to buy another, and trying to keep some assets more liquid.

7) We have 2 kids, so yes, the grocery bills are out of hand. We unfortunately live in a small mountain town and don't have costco, walmart, have to drive 45 minutes to get to them, so buy groceries at a small retail store.

I don't think the 2 kids are an excuse here, nor is the not having a costco/walmart/whatever store nearby.  Do you buy a lot of convenience foods? Organic everything?

Right now here is our 'Stache:

  - $60K in cash
  - $20K in I-Bonds (basically same as cash)
  - $8K in a health savings account HSA
  - $10K in my SEP-IRA
  - $7K in taxable trading account

I am making some steps toward lowering monthly expenses, such as, re-fi'ed primary mortgage saving $135/month, hopefully can save $300 / month by shopping around insurances, talking about grocery plan with wife who does shopping, etc.

I think, though, that even after all the changes I could make, you are right, Ben, that my housing costs are enormous. If I wanted to truly do the Mustachian way, I'd need to pay off mortgage or downsize. Or better yet, move the heck out of this town to a cheaper place. Problem is, I've lived here for 28 years, family is here, and my backup career is here in case my current self employment situation doesn't work out.

Downsize!

The nice thing about life at this time is that I do work from home and I have a very flexible schedule, so the drive to retire early isn't as strong with me, because I see my family a lot already. Huge blessing. However, what I want to be able to do is tame the monster of spending, start investing more, and start to begin to cover some of my expenses with passive income.

RE: Investing: Am I crazy to be considering putting $20K into AGNC right now, a REIT that pays 16%? Would be $350 or so / month passive income. But diversified. I'm completely new to investing. My dad has owned real estate for years, so I'm a lot more comfortable with that route of investing, and in fact I have a real estate license. But real estate in my city makes no sense, it is very expensive with low rents. I'm sort of considering buying a rental house in Oklahoma, cost $50K and rents are 700/mo. Leverage part of purchase to achieve cash flow of $200/month and let the tenant pay off the mortgage in 15 years.

Throwing that amount of cash at one stock seems kind of risky to me, and i agree that that is not diversification. Who would manage a property in OK?  Why OK?

Thanks for listening ... any and all thoughts welcome! Don't go easy on me!

-theskyking

BryanR

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2012, 11:57:20 PM »
Thanks for all the responses. I'll give some specific answers in a while, but for now:

Bikes are not an option. We live in a snow climate, 5 miles from town. My work requires a lot of driving around to and from various properties, on a tight schedule, often in the snow. My wife is taking kids around town a lot, can't do with a bike. However, I do agree that we could downsize into something more fuel efficient.

RE: selling the house. I'm not saying you guys aren't right about doing that, but my wife is mostly a stay at home mom and I work from home, so we are home A LOT, and our last small affordable house was too small for us all to be cooped up here together with me working. I think I actually make MORE money now because I have space to work. And it is only 2200 square feet, not a castle. Downsizing might have to happen some day, but I'm not willing to do it now. This may be a bad move. OK, I can deal with that.

My wife is into organic foods, and yes we need to cut our grocery bill down.

401Ks are for people with bosses. I don't have a boss. I'm self employed. My version is a SEP-IRA, which I can really load up, like $25K / year. Does any one know how I can take that money out before 59.5 years old? I'll google it.

So............... what you guys are making me realize, is the question of just HOW MUSTACHIAN is a person willing to get, i.e., how serious am I about this. That is a very good question. The answer is, get serious or work forever. I get that. It may take baby steps, but I do think I am moving in the right direction.

A big part will be getting my wife on board. She is certainly not AGAINST this, but she is also not passionate about it, and so she won't really dig deep, yet. But I think I can make progress there.

I appreciate you guys, the tough and the loving of you :-)      The Mustachian journey really is a hard one, and I am grateful for the support and encouragement I get here. I'll have my wife read this thread. We'll be on our way, albeit slowly.

And, another interesting point: I don't really want to "retire" early, I just want to be financially independent early. I guess the distinction doesn't matter that much, but my enjoyment of working at home perhaps makes me less motivated than someone who lives in a cubicle and has an annoying boss. But I would like to increase my motivation despite liking my job, because it is the right thing to do and more importantly, because my business could evaporate and at that time I'd be very grateful to be more financially independent.

Thanks again everyone. I'll report back after my wife has read this!

Able was I ERE

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2012, 05:09:55 AM »
401Ks are for people with bosses. I don't have a boss. I'm self employed. My version is a SEP-IRA, which I can really load up, like $25K / year. Does any one know how I can take that money out before 59.5 years old? I'll google it.

There are a couple of ways to withdraw from retirement accounts before 59.5:
  • 72(t) - substantially equal periodic payments
  • Withdrawing Roth IRA principal (can convert traditional IRA monies to Roth on a 5-year rolling-basis)

See this thread for more details: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/investor-alley/ira-early-withdrawl/

Being self-employed, you have multiple retirement options.  You can probably defer more money in a Solo 401(k) because you can contribute both as the employee ($17k) and the employer (25%, up to $50k).  Using the calculator on this page: https://www.fidelity.com/retirement/small-business/self-employed-401k I computed for $100k in net business profit, you can contribute:

  • $18,587 in a SEP-IRA
  • $35,587 in a Solo 401(k)

sol

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2012, 07:41:48 PM »
Skyking,

I understand that you're unsure about how to make progress on your savings goals, given your current high consumption family and living arrangements.  Since you seem marginally worried about your self-employment income evaporating, I suggest you consider this process as protecting your family from future downturns, rather than a current sacrifice.

For example, if your business goes kaput next year, you guys are screwed.  You have huge debts, huge expenses, and you would rapidly end up living on the street without your current generous income. 

For some reason, rather than banking that big income as security, you're wastefully blowing it all, moment to moment, without providing your family any of the protection it so deserves.

Cutting back your expenses dramatically for a year or two now will give you the savings cushion you need to resume your current high spending lifestyle in the future.  But before you continue to drive two SUVs and eat wholly organic food every meal, shouldn't you at least have your family's basic necessities covered?  Isn't it more important to ensure your wife and kids have a roof over their head and something to eat than it is to continue buying new fancy home furnishings"?

Especially for someone like you who is self employed, I think everyone agrees you need a slightly larger savings cushion to shield your family if something should go wrong.  Your current lifestyle is putting their safety at risk.  Remember that every time you want to buy another shiny bobble or bottle of vitamins.  Every one of those dollars could be put to use providing for the future for your family instead.

James

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2012, 08:34:49 PM »
And, another interesting point: I don't really want to "retire" early, I just want to be financially independent early. I guess the distinction doesn't matter that much, but my enjoyment of working at home perhaps makes me less motivated than someone who lives in a cubicle and has an annoying boss.

The distinction is not lost on me, I'm in the same boat.

Regarding all the individual issues, others have given good input, I'd just say there is a difference between going "Mustashian", and going half way.  I'm half way right now, working on getting closer.  There is NOTHING wrong with half way, but it's fair to recognize that it is ONLY half way.  Key question is whether you want to go all the way, and the clear answer I'm seeing is no.  So recognize that and focus on what you can do.  Don't get off track because you can't be MMM, hit it hard where you can.  You can make tremendous progress in so many areas, and as you make progress you can then double down and add to your successes.

Pick an area and hit it hard.  Let us know how it goes!

Ben

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2012, 10:33:04 AM »
Since you are self-employed, would it be possible to relocate further from a metro area to find a cheaper house of similar size/quality?

What actions steps (if any) have you taken since you posted last week? It's important to get the ball rolling with some sort of meaningful change, even if it is in the "easy win" column.

BryanR

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2012, 10:44:01 AM »
Ben, you are right. My income is not location dependent and I live in one of the most expensive places in the COUNTRY. I could move to backwoods Kansas and live like a king in a mansion for cheap. However, there are a few things keeping me in this town. My parents, and hence my kids grandparents. A fantastic part time job for my wife that she loves making $40 / hr. And my back up career in real estate with my dad. And our community. But good point.

And yes taking some action steps. New budget, will report more later.

zoltani

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2012, 11:53:14 AM »
Bikes are not an option. We live in a snow climate, 5 miles from town. My work requires a lot of driving around to and from various properties, on a tight schedule, often in the snow. My wife is taking kids around town a lot, can't do with a bike. However, I do agree that we could downsize into something more fuel efficient.

5 miles from town and bikes are not an option? LOL, not like you are 50 miles from town.  Snow riding is possible with studded tires, but at least you could pull out the bike in the spring/summer/fall?

I still get the feeling from your posts that you want to cut expenses but are not willing to make the choices that will allow you to do so.

BryanR

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2012, 02:17:50 PM »
OK, I promised everyone an update. we have been chipping away. Some big gains to report!

1) Got new health insurance, cost down from $830 to $530 - savings $300 / mo

2) Re-Fi'd home - savings $135 / mo

3) Put 40K cash just sitting there in i-bonds - gain $100 / month

4) started doing some more investing with a millionaire friend of mine as mentor - he is an attorney and CPA and has been living off his investments for 15 years, making 10-20% / year - gain unknown, but hopefully will be significant. Starting with about $40,000

5) Wife and I turned the screws on our budget and cut the fat in a few areas and got grocery and other spending town - savings - probably $300-400 / month

Total so far - About $800 / month.

This is pretty huge for us, and wouldn't have happened without MMM's and pals help!

Still some areas to tackle - gas guzzling cars, and our nice home. Not sure we'll change those, though. And of course, everyone above has had other good suggestions which I'll be considering and digesting over the coming months.

Still, $800 / month is no small victory, so thanks everyone for your help! I'll be back to report more in time.....


AJ

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2012, 02:25:07 PM »
3) Put 40K cash just sitting there in i-bonds - gain $100 / month

I could be wrong, but I thought you were only allowed to purchase $10k in IBonds each year. Did you put some in your kids' names or something?

BryanR

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2012, 02:31:18 PM »
Yep, $10K for wife and I each, and 10K for 2 kids, total of 40K. I can redeem the kids as their parent until they are 18 or transfer to them. Will probably end up using for their college - if redeemed for education, the gains are tax free !

Mrs MM

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2012, 02:38:55 PM »
Great job!!  Thanks for putting that spreadsheet out there for open criticism!  :)  Sorry if some of this has been mentioned by others.

You mention that you work from home and your wife is a SAHM.  Why do you have childcare and preschool in there then?  You could probably wipe those out, couldn't you?

Cleaning... is this a person that comes to clean your house? You can get rid of that.

What is in "children"?  It says "tot spot", but I'm not sure what this means - more childcare?

Family entertainment is also a big category - not sure what a sup board is, but it's expensive!!  :)

Home furnishings should be one-time thing, no?  By the way, $2500 for dining table and chairs sounds like a lot!!  We recently purchased a new dining table and chairs for about $250 (I think) from World Market.

Your health insurance seems really really high to me as does your car insurance and gas.  If you have an HSA, why is your insurance so high?

Vitamins?  You may want to review this area.  I know you said you needed them, but it's worth a look.

What is the $947 misc?  That's a lot given you already have clothing, eating out, and research equip in there.

Groceries could be cut by at least $300/mo with still a lot of organic/yummy food.

It's interesting that you have separate eating out and together eating out.  Why not only eat out when you're together and then you'll save a lot.

Clothing seems really high to me too.

Great job on the giving!  But, if you have an FI goal, is this something that can be reduced until you get there?

I'm not going to bug you too much on the house, but what is w/s/t and what is included in maintenance & improvements?  What about gas/electric?  Any room for improvement there?  Maybe shop around for insurance - that seems high too.

This is actually encouraging because it seems like there's a lot of room for improvement.  The first step is putting it all out there.  This might all sound harsh, but you're on the right track!!  Also, since you seem to be spending twice as much as your wife, you can start with yourself, which is another bonus!!

Mrs MM

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2012, 02:42:00 PM »
OK, I promised everyone an update. we have been chipping away. Some big gains to report!

1) Got new health insurance, cost down from $830 to $530 - savings $300 / mo

2) Re-Fi'd home - savings $135 / mo

3) Put 40K cash just sitting there in i-bonds - gain $100 / month

4) started doing some more investing with a millionaire friend of mine as mentor - he is an attorney and CPA and has been living off his investments for 15 years, making 10-20% / year - gain unknown, but hopefully will be significant. Starting with about $40,000

5) Wife and I turned the screws on our budget and cut the fat in a few areas and got grocery and other spending town - savings - probably $300-400 / month

Total so far - About $800 / month.

This is pretty huge for us, and wouldn't have happened without MMM's and pals help!

Still some areas to tackle - gas guzzling cars, and our nice home. Not sure we'll change those, though. And of course, everyone above has had other good suggestions which I'll be considering and digesting over the coming months.

Still, $800 / month is no small victory, so thanks everyone for your help! I'll be back to report more in time.....

Wow!!  Awesome! 

Sorry I just realized I was late to the party - I thought you just posted your first post today!  Thanks for the update and keep it up - you are doing really well and your frugality muscles will only continue to grow.

BryanR

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Re: Help analyzing my budget (excel spreadsheet)
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2012, 01:45:11 PM »
Mrs MM,

Thanks for your helpful comments. You are right about a lot of the things you pointed out. We'll be working diligently to keep chipping away, and I have to say, Mr & Mrs MM have been a huge inspiration to me and have definitely changed the direction of our family and how we look at spending. While I think it may take us a few years to totally turn the boat around, we are making some great progress and are very grateful for your blog.

Thanks again!