Friday, March 17, 2017

Our February Basic Budget

February is behind us, and for me that feels great. I love to turn that calendar over to March--it feels so "springy!"

February is the month when I traditionally try to save all my receipts and take a look at our monthly budget. This year was a little "off" because we were gone the first 4 days of the month, and that goes into a separate "travel" category, but other than that, it was a very typical month. So here it is, with prices listed first in US $ and then in Hong Kong $.

Hong Kong Expenses:

Tithe/Charity: 15%
Savings: 30% (approximate---retirement and college fund/building fund/general savings)
Transportation: 58/450 (money for public transport, what we put on our metro card each month, which isn't all used in any given month)
Cell Phone: 34/267
Internet: 34/266
Gas: 17/133
Electric: 42/325
Groceries: 285/2207 (includes toiletries, paper goods)
Eating out: 260/2017 (this is embarrassingly high, but did include a special Valentine dinner, taking a friend out to eat, and several school lunches)

Our US expenses are much more difficult to calculate. We have purposely tried to set as many payments as possible to come due when we are home for the summer. This includes car insurance, life insurance, home owners insurance, college bills, significant mission giving, home maintenance on our home in Maine, vehicle costs on our old van and car (including maintenance, taxes, registration, inspections, gas when we are get the idea) It all adds up to a BIG thousands-of-dollars-chunk-o-change, so we put money aside for this each month.

We are also currently juggling 16 credit cards, all of which I pay on time and on line. 11 of these have annual fees ranging from $49 to $450.  I am planning on cancelling 4 of these within the next two months.

This has also been a very big year (school year, that is) of travel for us, and I purposely included this in our budget. By the time we go home this summer, we will have traveled on 12 international trips (2 of those will be job related). We will be visiting 11 different countries and will drive to or through 7 US states and possibly a couple of Canadian Provinces. That is quite a significant number of miles, but I am so happy that we will actually come in under what I budgeted, due in large part to the many free hotel nights I have been able to get and some fantastic deals on airfare, including $125 round trip tickets from HK to the US this summer!!  Next year, we will tone it down considerably, but it's been a swell empty nester ride!

I realize I am posting this well into March...Happy St. Patrick's Day!