Well, my tips and strategies are still the same, but now that we're living in North Carolina, I thought it would be interesting to compare our expenses and savings percentages now, against what it was when we were living in California!
I've updated the spreadsheet I included in my previous post, for a side by side comparison of our total expenses breakdown back in January compared to now.
First off, you can see that of our total expenses, we're down about 10% on rent alone. That's because we're spending over $1,000 less a month on that one budget item alone now (although it's still a bit high for our area, but we need a big four bedroom house, since two of the rooms are dedicated to our home offices).
Secondly, we are spending more on groceries, but that is because A) I'm cooking more, and lots of ingredients cost more than frozen dinners, and B) my husband used to get 2 free lunches each week when he worked out of his office, and I would frequently get free catered lunches at work as well, so we're spending more on lunches now.
Our other expenses like cell phones, electricity and natural gas, water and sewer, cable and internet are pretty close to the same amounts as they were in California, but because we're only looking at percentages, that's why you're seeing small differences in the chart above. But car insurance is down because we're finally on the same policy and getting a married discount, as well as a discount for having our renter's insurance through the same company.
Car gas is a huge savings. We go through about a half of a tank each every month, since I'm no longer commuting 38 miles each way to work. And since I bought myself an espresso machine, the $4.85 I was spending everyday at Starbucks is now off the list of expenses (rolled into groceries for coffee beans and syrups).
The biggest budget update though, and part that makes us the happiest, is the state of our savings contribution!
Back in January, we were spending 65% of our take home pay on the expenses I listed above, therefore contributing the remaining 35% to our savings. Which I must say, took a hit after paying for our move (all said and done, with packing supplies, movers, shipping my car, the drive and hotels to get here, and buying cleaning supplies and condiments and everything we couldn't move, we spent about $12,000 on the move.)
But now that we're here, we've been able to shift it to spending only 45.6% of our take home on the expenses in the above chart, sending 54.4% straight into our savings account! And that's pretty huge, to decrease our expenses by almost 20% (19.4% to be exact), just by moving here.
Even better, we finally got around to opening a joint savings account together, through ING Direct. Their 1% interest rate is a whole lot better than the 0.044% or so we were getting through our banks. And now we just schedule automatic transfers into our joint savings at the end of each month, and we're quickly building up our down payment to buy a house next spring. Hopefully it will be our forever home, or at least our 10-year home, because I DON'T want to go through another move anytime soon after next year (I think it will be our 7th or 8th move in 10 years).
Do you and your husband or significant other make detailed budgets together? How often do you revisit the budget to make sure you're still on track (we usually do it every 6 months or so)? Does anyone else get weirdly excited about putting money into savings, like I've started to?