My new monthly budget for 2014

Your budget is your most important guide on your personal finance journey. It tells you where you’re headed and how long it’ll take to get there. Like any tour guide, your budget must be honest and realistic to be useful.

I needed to re-calculate my monthly budget for the remainder of the year now that I’ve sold my second house. Here’s the result.

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June 2014 – Stock Purchase (1)

I’ll be making more stock purchases this month as I have more monthly cash available after my house sale. I’m still using Sharebuilder for my purchases at the moment and I’m on their automatic plan which charges $12 for 12 stock purchases in a month. The $12 is paid via credit card out of my monthly living budget so I don’t really think of it as a commission fee even though it is.

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Sold my house…

Mixed feelings here today – I’m on the road, sitting in a Starbuck’s in Alabama after travelling down here to sell my house. I’m listening to David Bowie’s Changes, as I did when I first decided to leave Alabama a year ago, so there’s a certain kind of symmetry. I spent 10 years living here and I already left once last year to move to Michigan and it feels like that all over again. It’s been great seeing some old friends again though.

I bought the house in 2004 for $143,000 and I’m selling it 10 years later for $135,000. So as an investment, it’s not been a great deal. Or was it?
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May 2014 – Stock Purchase (2)

It’s that time again. I came across an interesting article yesterday which compared two hypothetical investors who both started invested $1000 in the S&P index in 1983 and continued investing $1000 each year for the next 30 years. One bought stocks at the end of each year, the other bought stocks at the highest point of the S&P for that year. Guess who came out ahead?
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May 2014 – Stock Purchase (1)

I buy investments twice a month; around the first and third Tuesdays of each month. This is a way of dollar cost averaging and it also allows some minor tweaking on my individual stock weighting since I buy shares from the lowest performing sector in my portfolio at that point in time.

With that out of the way, read on to see my first purchase in May.

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Year End Summary – 2002

A look back into 2002 where I held no stocks and so was largely oblivious to the stock market turmoil that year. I spent a month working in my company’s Singapore office and briefly considered transferring there until I met Ms. DivLife and decided to stay put in the US.

Let’s turn the pages back and take a look…

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Year End Summary – 2001

I’m still catching up on old news; my net worth in 2001 in this case. This year has taken longer to calculate since I apparently made only a minimum attempt at budgeting at the beginning of the year and then entirely ignored it. The saving grace was that I at least used Microsoft Money [1] to reconcile my bank account so I didn’t have to crawl though dusty paper records.

Anyway, after 3 nostalgic evenings spent reconciling income & expenses, here’s my summary for 2001.

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My personal finance journey – a look back to 2000

No, that’s not a typo in the title. This really is a summary of my personal finance journey in the year 2000 since that was the starting point of my new life in the US. It will be interesting to see where my money went and what mistakes I made. I’m reading a book called Your Money or Your Life and it encourages working out how much money you’ve earned in your life – so this is part 1.

Luckily I kept pretty good financial records for that particular year – my financial situation in Germany wasn’t that great and I was used to tracking my income to the last pfennig [1]. This was my first year in the US and I arrived on these shores with only a carry-on bag containing clothes and my personal laptop. I was shuttling back and forth between Germany and the US with my job for the first part of the year and it was only later in the year that I started to rent an apartment and lease a car.

Without further ado, let’s take a look back into the past.

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