First Quarter Budget: 2016

First quarter budget: 2016? Come for the titles stay for the numbers, amiright? We at Fi Big Sky decided that a monthly budget update was excessive and not doing budget updates doesn’t help anyone gain insight into how we spend and save. Before you is the compromise in all it’s glorious-ness.

I stated in my end of year budget write-up that we looked forward to 2016 because our spending wouldn’t be as outrageous. So far, that has held true. No kitchen remodel or roof repairs this year. About the only interesting thing from the quarter was our taxes. <–That sentence–Ha. Anyway, we actually ended up owing on our federal taxes. We moved from the 15% to 25% tax bracket for 2015.


Shield your income from taxes, kids. I mean, in a legitimate way. No Mossack Fonseca stuff. Anyway, we did have a positive state tax return which offset our Federal. I went ahead and defined our taxes in the “other” column for expenses. This is instead of one being an expense and one being income. As far as savings rate goes, it makes no difference. And savings rate is key to figuring out when you can retire early. With that said, let’s just dive into the budget. The left side shows my budget projections, the right is our spending so far. New to my exciting budget table is a percentage of “spend to date.” For instance, I budgeted $480 for gasoline, but have only spent $86 to date; so 18% of $480. Ideally we’d be at 25% or lower for each category. Some exceptions include car insurance and recycling, where I prepaid half a year’s worth.

2016 Budget
Expense2016 Proj.First Quarter
Mortgage$13,680$3,800 (28%)
Home Improvement$300$84 (28%)
Lawn & Garden$420$15 (3.5%)
Home Supplies$240$56 (23%)
Recycling$168$84 (50%)
Water/Garbage$600$126 (21%)
Heat (MDU)$480$218 (45%)
Electric (NW)$480$113 (23.5%)
Internet/Cable$480$120 (25%)
Cell Phone$840$120 (14%)
Auto Payment$0$0
Car Insurance$480$0
Gas$480$86 (18%)
Auto Maintenance + Services/Parts$600$25 (4%)
Car Registration/Parking$115$0
Bus Pass$264$66 (25%)
Food$3,768$994 (26%)
Health Insurance$1,575$377 (24%)
Health & Fitness$600$310 (52%)
Personal Care$360$131 (36%)
Pets$840$236 (28%)
Gifts & Donations$2,400$595 (25%)
Shopping$600$298 (50%)
Education$300$75 (25%)
Entertainment$300$53 (18%)
Total$31,620$7,683 (24%)
  • Paychecks: $15,015 (after tax)
  • 401ks (Contributions + Match): $3,235
  • Savings Interest Income: $6.50
  • Car: $1,600
  • Misc.: $225

Total: ~$20,082

  • Investments: $61,531 (IRAs, 401ks, Prosper, Fundrise)
  • Cash Accounts: $6,404

Total: ~$67,935

1st Quarter Savings Rate: ~62% 

2016 Target Savings Rate: 60%

We are doing well so far! As you can see, we are exceeding our savings rate goal of 60% and boosted our assets by almost $15,000 since the end of 2015. You’ll also notice that a new category cropped up in our investments with Fundrise. I wrote quite awhile back about the exciting idea of crowdfunded real estate, profiling Fundrise before it was available to non-accredited investors. They introduced their eREIT a few months back and I decided to invest a nominal amount to see what it was like. After the first quarter, they produced a return of 9.7%, which I am pretty excited about. Real estate investing is tricky, so it’s cool to have exposure to properties all over the USA while not having to deal with renters, maintenance, etc.

I will do a write-up of that soon with my impressions of Fundrise to this point and my expectations for it going forward.

Is your 2016 budget off to a good start? Share yours with us!

About the Author

Mr. FI


Mr. FI

Thanks! The majority of our savings goes into traditional IRAs and our 401k’s. Some goes into Prosper, some in a taxable account and the rest split into emergency savings and/or Fundrise. It changes depending on goals, diversifying, etc. but the majority will stay in a tax-protected account 🙂

Mr. FI

Thanks! I thought it was a nice, quick way to see where we’re at vs our budget estimates.

our next life

Congrats on the awesome savings rate! High five! And does the lack of renovation expenses mean that the kitchen is done???

Mr. FI

Well, pretty much everything has been paid for–we’re just slacking on putting it in ;). We need to put up our backsplash tile, install some under cabinet lighting and touch up some paint and it’s done. We’ve been working to get our yard in shape right now. Sooo, we may come full circle and finish it in June. But we promise pictures when it’s complete.

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