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Posts Tagged ‘budgets’

Driving my gas costs into the ground!

January 9, 2013 2 comments
Gas Costs
The IRS recently increased the business mileage reimbursement rate to 56.5 cents/mile.  A few months back, I showed that the marginal cost for driving my vehicle is more like 30.88 cents/mile.  Although this is cheaper than the IRS average, it’s still not great.
It got me thinking about my cost of driving, and how much I’m still spending on my car.  As you can see by my fuel costs over the past few years, I’ve made some progress but I’ve got a long way to go.
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Setting crazily-optimistic goals

December 17, 2012 12 comments

Running

I’m often reminded of the parallels between running and building wealth when I’m out on a cold morning jog.  They both come down to learning how to work hard, setting goals, and sticking to a plan.  A recent post by Mrs. PoP on this subject motivated me to write this piece about the importance of crazily-optimistic goals.

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Categories: The Master Plan Tags: , ,

Quick financial wins – you gotta start somewhere!

October 18, 2012 1 comment

Manufacturing Motivation

A while back, before my financial mindset shifted, I had a lot of trouble connecting small amounts of money to long term prosperity.  Saving a dollar at the grocery store didn’t seem to correlate with retiring early.  I had no incentive to begin seriously saving/investing money because the two concepts were orders of magnitude different.

In order to get motivated, I made a few small changes that yielded short term, tangible results.  I call this my list of quick wins.  None of them really “moved the needle” in terms of my net worth, but they were necessary steps.  They helped me link short term savings to long term savings; tiny to life changing.

As Bob Marley said “If you don’t start somewhere, you’re gonna go nowhere.”  Truer words were never spoken.

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Fanatically Fixated on Food

October 16, 2012 2 comments

The Plan

As I explained in a previous post, I set a goal for myself to cut my food spending budget by 40% (from $520/mo to $310/mo).  This was one crucial spending cut that helped me increase my after tax savings rate from 20% to 49%.  You may be thinking to yourself, “Cash Rebel, you’re bananas!”, but remember I only set this goal after a careful analysis of potential waste.

So here’s what I learned about what I was spending on food.  My major three spending categories were groceries for cooking, buying lunch every day at work, and eating out at restaurants with friends.  It was easy for me to waste money on all three of these categories mostly because they had all become a habit.

After my cash analysis, I decided to try some radical changes; some worked, and some didn’t.  So here’s how I cut $210 from my monthly food budget.

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My Cash Analysis

October 10, 2012 2 comments

Identify the problem

So once I realized that I didn’t know where all my money was actually going, I decided it was time for some detective work.  Even though I had thought my spending was pretty normal, I decided to pull up my Mint account and do an analysis.  I broke it down by the major categories, and started digging in to each one.


As you can see, the “shopping” pie piece is almost as large as “food”, and I wasn’t exactly sure which each one contained.  This brought up a good question.  Is this how everyone else spends their money?  Which parts of this budget are actually essential, and which are just nice-to-have? What do I want my spending to look like.  These were all important questions, that actually took a long time to answer.

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