Mr. MaiFI here with the December budget.

Here, I’ll be breaking down all of my monthly expenses. Ms. MaiFI is still living at home (and saving a ton!), so her expenses are minimal in comparison to mine. In any case, let’s get started with income!

As you may already know, I’m a high school chemistry teacher. That makes up the majority of my income. But I also generate income ($1,654.82 this month) from some side hustles, with Amazon FBA and Merch By Amazon taking the largest slice of the side hustle income pie. You can see a description of each of these side hustles here

An income of over $7,000 this month — not bad for a second year teacher. *The teaching income is high because I invested the majority of my paycheck ($5,322) into a pre-tax 457(b) retirement account. That’s a lot of money not being taxed! Of course, it will be taxed later upon withdrawal in retirement. 

Expenses! I like to “pay myself first,” which is why savings will also be my first expenditure.

I contributed $5,322 to my 457(b) retirement account. You’ll notice I don’t save for an emergency fund and that I don’t even have a dedicated “emergency fund.” If you’re interested to know why, read our “Why We Don’t Have an Emergency Fund” post. 

Housing!

I spend $1,495 on a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. If I wanted to save even more money, cutting my rent would be the first thing I would look at. I could rent a cheaper place or even have a roomate. 

I’ve decided I like my setup now, and Ms. MaiFI will be moving in come June of next year.

I budget $50/month for household necessities, but didn’t end up buying anything for my apartment. Instead, I asked my friends and family to purchase those necessities for me as a Christmas present.

Those included socks, a pair of sandals, a cooking pan, a set of steak knives, a knife sharpener, olive oil, salt, parsely, thyme, and some windowsill herb plants. The best presents are the ones you’ll use everyday! Nothing flashy. Just practical. 

Transportation!

I planned to spend $150 on gas, but only spent $123.24. It’s always nice when you spend less than you planned for!

Food and Groceries!

I spent a lot less on groceries than I thought I would — only $148.17. How’d I keep costs so low? Meal prepping and getting a free meal whenever possible — I have a lot of family around me :). I budgeted $100 for eating out, but spent less – only $8.00.

Personal!

You can see a few personal expenses went over the intended projection. My charitable contributions were higher than budgeted again this month — maybe I need to increase the amount I budget for charitable contributions. I guess it’s not a bad thing to be more giving?

I had budgeted $500 for christmas presents but ended up overspending by $129. That’s not necessarily terrible though, as I received many practical gifts for Christmas, which will bring down my future costs for household necessities, groceries, eating out, and gas.

Insurance!

I’m very fortunate to have my entire health insurance paid by my employer! I pay $75 for auto insurance. I’m still on my parent’s plan and I haven’t looked into finding a better rate. Is $75/month reasonable for a 25 year old male with no accidents or tickets? Let me know in the comments. 

Debt!

I’m completely debt free! I wrote a post about how I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, debt free. I’m also working on an upcoming post detailing how I graduated with my Master’s degree, debt free. 

Conclusion:

I earned $7,230 and spent $2,855.

That means I saved $4,375, for a savings rate of 60%.

You’re thinking – how can a second year teacher, living by himself in California, paying $1,495/month for rent on a 65k/year teaching salary save 60% of his income in the Christmas consumer crazed month of December?

The first reason is that I invested the majority of my teaching paycheck ($5,322) into a 457(b), a pre-tax retirement account. That means the money I’ve contributed has not yet been taxed, which is why that income is so high. Don’t worry though, Uncle Sam will get his slice of the pie when I retire and start withdrawing from the account. 

The second reason, and most important in my opinion, are my side hustles! Having one significantly increases your income and potential savings rate. I earned an extra $1,654.82 this month. Let that sink in. For me, that covers my entire rent. For you, that could mean paying off debt faster, investing more money, or throwing more money at the mortgage. 

And I’m not special or particularly talented. I just did some research, took some action, and learned as I went. You can do the same. 

We live in a time period where the internet provides us with so many side hustle opportunities. You just gotta want it enough and go out and get it

Motivational speech over — back to the money. 

Of the $7,230 I had earned, I invested $5,322 into a 457(b) retirement account. That means I only had $1,908 left for all of my expenses. But, if you add up all of my living expenses, you’ll see I spent $2,855. Where did all of the extra money come from? 

The additional $947 came from my checking account. You see, I had quite a bit of money in my checking account (~$7,000). I decided it would be a better idea to contribute as much of my paycheck as possible to my 457(b) and use my side hustles and savings to pay for current expenses. I plan to do the same thing for January. 

So there it is. My savings rate was 60%. I paid myself first and invested $5,322 into a 457(b) — the main investment vehicle which will help Ms. MaiFI and I retire early. 

And my cost of living for the month of December, the HOLIDAY SPENDING SEASON, was $2,855.

How much did you save and spend?