Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Spend Less than 75% of My Income

Lately, I've been thinking about how fortunate I am to be able to spend less than 75% of my income on necessities (housing, transportation, food, debt repayment, etc.) In fact, I am currently spending just over 71% of my income (or $1,999.46/month). The $785 left over goes towards the car payment that I obsess over (hooray for principal-only payments!). Later, it will go towards my savings goals. 

I'm happy about these circumstances for a few reasons. First, I've made some updates to my income, and throughout each update, I am able to stay on track with my "financial success plan." Specifically, when I started this blog, my net income was $1,389.01/pay period; later, because of recent and temporary changes to the payroll tax, that amount increased to $1,417.23/pay period; finally, I increased my contributions to my 403(b) thereby reducing my net pay to $1,392.23 each pay period.

Secondly, I am happy about this fraction of spending because it confirms that I can live well within my means. For example, I think a lot about increasing my income and how I would spend it (one of my other 'obsessions' is writing budgets of how I would spend $5,000 and $7,500 of monthly net income). Even with increases in housing expenses (assuming that I'd be a homeowner with thousands more at my disposal) and modest increases in my food, travel and miscellaneous expenses, I'd still be able to pay extra toward my student loan debt, max out the Roth AND max out the 403(b).

Finally, I think about the high percentage of Americans who live "paycheck-to-paycheck." These are folks who spend every cent they earn, leaving very little- if anything at all, for savings or additional debt payments.

Ultimately, my goal is to spend 50% or less of my income. And considering that I aspire to live a comfortable lifestyle (i.e. consistently save at least $10K a year in non-retirement/non-investment accounts, max out individual and employer-sponsored retirement accounts, and travel domestically and internationally every year), I MUST increase my income. I better get started thinking about how to do that....

What percentage of your monthly income do you want to spend? What percentage of your monthly income do you currently spend? What's your plan for achieving your goal?

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