Mint.Com does an incredible job keeping record of all our income and expenses. We've been using it since September 2007 which means we have a good idea how much money we are bringing in and how much money is going out.
It generally helps us to see what areas need cut or cut back on and what areas we are strong in.
In any case, here's our Net Income report. It even tells us our good months and bad months. Overall, God has been very gracious to us, we have a steady income with some bonuses here and there.
Our Best month came in April 2009 (i.e. taxes in which we got the First Time Homeowners Tax Credit). Of course we'll have to pay it back ($500 over 15 years) but I included it there for a reminder that you never know when a bonus will hit you. For the past 4 years around the Aug/Sept times you'll see another spike. That is from the "Retention Bonus" I got for being an electrical engineer at my current work. I got in at just the right time after being let go as a Middle School (public school) Math Teacher in 2006. That was probably one of the best decisions I made financially speaking, though I still wonder what kind of teacher I would be if I stuck with it as a career.
Our so-called "Worst Month" happened in December 2007. I bet most people have their worst month at the end of the year. Mostly year end donations and gifts, so I feel better about it. If it was all personal electronics or gadgets or eating out or food expense, I'd be a little bit more worried about our habits. But for the past three years, our average has been a surplus of $1,892/month. Over the span of 32 months that equates to a savings of $60,569.
That extra money has been put into our:
- Retirement accounts: IRA, TSP
- Extra Principal Mortgage payments
- House Renovations
- College Savings
We have been very fortunate in having a relatively low mortgage payment in our area as well as regular promotions and cost of living adjustments (COLA). My wife has been very good in keeping expenses to a minimum, we are okay driving clunker cars (for now) and living in a less then ideal townhouse community (weird neighbors, little extra parking, random towings, squirrels).
But we are content, with two growing girls, family nearby, as well as getting to know our neighbors better, good friends nearby, a church community, a good job, growing savings/investments, a solid plan... we are content. God has provided more than we could ever want or imagine.
So for now, we'll continue on this Family Financial Path we have laid down.
What can a budget do for you?