It really is hard to believe that over a month has passed without a posting. I did not realize it until a week or so ago when a reader asked if everything was alright since the blog had been dormant for a while. Things are going fine on the home front and I have made progress in my goal of reducing expenses in fuel, food, and electric.
Over a month ago I discussed my intent of reducing my expenses and how that would allow me to save/invest more money at the end of the year. I’m happy to say I’ve done well towards that end. Thanks to some of the comments from you guys and my own ability to go without heat most of the time I was able to cut my electric bill in half. Here is how the first three months turned out:
- January: 84.07
- February: 40.68
- March: 38.33
Reducing my dependency on heating the entire apartment has been the biggest factor in reducing my electric usage. I use an electric blanket when I’m sleeping and unless the temp drops below the mid 20’s at night, I usually just keep the heat off. I was surprised to find that the temperature inside the apartment would stay between 60-63 degrees most of the time. When it dropped to 59 degrees I would run the heat once a day until it came back up to 65 then shut it off. I adjusted to the lower temperature with the help of wearing layers of clothing. This wasn’t really a big sacrifice to me as personal comfort is not a huge need of mine. I’ve adjusted to warmer climates and I’ve found that I can adjust to cooler ones as well.
Other contributing factors to the reduction of electric use was lowering the hot water heater temperature and hanging my clothes to dry instead of running a dryer that is not very efficient
Fuel (auto) consumption has been reduced as well, but not as much as I would have liked. I was hoping to have a monthly fuel bill of no more than 200.00 a month. I’ve lowered it, but not to that level; yet.
- January: 385.52
- February: 243.18
- March: 263.59
I’ve cut out some of the useless driving around I was doing back in January and planned my trips much better. With these changes my fuel consumption lowered to a level that has been close to the same for the past two months.
The next quarter should see a drastic reduction in fuel usage as I will be riding the motorcycle much more. I’ve been riding it for the past two weeks and the coming week looks good as well. The only other thing that will make a difference in my fuel consumption will be selling the truck and moving closer to work. One other accomplishment in the transportation category is the elimination of storage for the motorcycle. I invested in a high quality cover and canceled the storage unit saving 90.00 a month.
Food expenses were reduced to a more reasonable level as well. I was shooting for 100.00 food bill a month, but I didn’t hit that goal either.
- January: 411.82
- February: 205.74
- March: 214.52
As you can see, there was another big drop from January when I first decided to reduce these expenses. I’ve totaled the amounts for both eating out and groceries here, but I track them separately. For both February and March the amounts in both categories were within a couple of dollars of each other. This leads me to believe that to get the amounts down lower I would really have to change my way of doing things. Reducing my tendency to eat out is probably where it would come from. This would save me around 75.00 each month. I would be happy with that. My grocery bill comes in at 135-138 for the past couple of months. On that amount I eat really well. I’ve cooked a nice salmon dinner with couscous and butternut squash for friends and recently a linguine with white clam sauce. I buy very few processed foods and do a lot of cooking which I enjoy and the two go a long way to keeping my grocery bill low.
Total spending for this quarter came in at 7055.30. I think this can be much improved upon. Several hundred dollars of this total were related to moving into a new place and getting the items I needed. I was basically starting over from scratch as I had sold or given away everything that I had when I went overseas. I was lucky that at the time I was moving into my apartment my dad sold his place and gave me several items I would need. This saved me quite a bit of money. My goal for the next quarter is to reduce the above amount by 20%.
The last thing I want to look at in terms of Q1 results is my savings rate of net. This is something I tracked consistently when I was overseas and I was able to reach some very high numbers. They are much lower these days, but I still have a desire to improve. Below is how the first three months progressed:
- January: -21.7%
- February: 17.6%
- March: 29.2%
Although not very high savings rates, they are at least showing a positive trend. I still have room to improve, but the really big gain would come from finding a cheaper apartment closer to work. That is a project for next year.
How was your Q1 2013?