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Dividend Mantra's Income/Expenses For August 2012

Each month I will post my income/expenses for the previous month. I track every dollar in and out, so what you see is exactly what I earned and spent (rounded to the nearest dollar).

Income from August 2012:

$3,742--Regular Paycheck
$154--Bonus and Spiffs

Total Income: $4,106

Expenses from August 2012:

$189--Student Loans
$60--Fast Food and Pizza
$59--Public Transportation
$40--Mobile Phone
$6--Everything Else

Total Expenses: $1,234

*The Everything Else category includes expenses I don't have a regular budget for. In this case, it was flowers for my wonderful girlfriend. 

This was a pretty great month in terms of my expenditure control and my savings rate. It was a very welcome departure from the past couple months. I took a break from hardcore budgeting and frugal living over the last couple months to try and "re-enter" normal society and live like everyone else. When you get enough funny looks and hear about how crazy you are, you sometimes start to wonder if it's true. I'm glad to say that I'm extremely normal in an abnormal world. As I asked before, why would I want to spend all my money on "stuff" when I don't even own my own time yet? Even better, I found I no longer have a desire for many material things any longer. When I first started this journey and started clamping down on expenses, I found it to be a bit of a drag but I continued on for the betterment of my future self. But now I feel I have transcended the attitude where "I'll live frugally because I want to save money and because I'll be much better off in the future for it" and now I've realized "I don't even really want things anymore and saving money has become extremely easy because I know that time means more to me than any material object".

A couple things to note. I begrudgingly and regrettably sold my scooter! I made a mistake here. I was almost in an accident one morning on my way to work when a truck entered my lane as I was turning. The thought of me plastered out on the concrete scared the shit out of me and I promptly sold my scooter. I now regret that decision because it was based out of fear and not rational thought. Instead of riding the bus more and the scooter less and adjusting to this incident, I acted irrationally. Unfortunate. I do plan on buying a scooter again as I still believe it's an extremely efficient and cheap way to get around.

I'm going to post my savings rate from the months that I was away from the blog, and you can see these numbers below. The savings rates were much lower due to a reduced income during the summer months where it's slower at work and increased expenses. I purchased clothing for the first time in a couple years and updated my wardrobe. I also purchased a plane ticket to see my family for the Labor Day weekend holiday. Food and entertainment expenses were also much higher than my historical average. I'm looking forward to getting back on track, and this blog helps keep me honest!

The only thing to note for this month's budget is that food was a little high. I hope to get that back down to normal over the next month or two and keep it there. I'm still coming down from a bit of a love affair with food. It's possible to still eat well and healthy on much less, and I'll be getting back to that soon. 

I managed to save 70% of my net income this month. This was much higher than the last couple months and I'm really happy to post that! Thanks for the mutual inspiration, readers.

My goal is to average a 65% savings rate of my net income, monthly. So far, I've hit rates of:

30% - January
74.7% - February 
39.6% - March
72.6% - April
55.2% - May
22.3% - June
29.9% - July
70% - August

I'm now at an average of 49.3% for the year. Not nearly as high as I had hoped to be this late in the year and it is highly unlikely I'll come anywhere near my goal at this point. I'm now just hoping to match the 60% savings rate I achieved during 2011.

How are your budgets doing?

Thanks for reading.

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