Dividend and Expense Updates

My savings rate and expenses – April update – Nashville trip

April was a fun month and included my Nashville Trip. That ended up being an absolute blast even if the weather didn’t cooperate every day. There’s a lot of cool stuff to see there and a lot of good food to eat. I highly recommend a visit for a few days.

The March expense update had the first part of the costs for that trip. It included the tickets, lodging and car rental. April has the second part which includes some of the entertainment costs, additional travel expenses and the food.

I’m a guy that likes some fine dining so whenever I get out to someplace that has some of that, I make sure to visit all the great restaurants in that area which can be costly.

It certainly hit my savings rate this month but the memories I made during the trip were totally worth it. I’ll remember the experiences and meals for a long time to come.

I haven’t done a lot of traveling in the past few years one of my goals this year was to change that. I’ve also got another trip to Denver planned towards the end of the year that includes a little day trip north to see the total solar eclipse!

I’m super excited about that trip and am glad I took the trip to Nashville even if it hits my savings rate for these last two months.

Let’s take a look at the gross income breakdown for April.

savings rate

I saved 21.6% of my gross income this month which is the lowest month of the year so far. It’s far below my bronze goal of 30% for the year. This isn’t unexpected as vacation costs ballooned my expenses for the month. On top of that, I had some health related expenses that I’ve mentioned before that finally got billed.

Adding my employer contributions bumps this number to 26.6%.

It’s below my target but the fact that I can still save money during a month where I take a vacation is pretty great to see. I’m definitely grateful for that. I may have spent more than I generally spend due to the vacation and healthcare expenses. However, being able to save money despite that is something I don’t take for granted. I know many people who go into debt to take vacations and the fact that I can do so without really being overly frugal and still save money is awesome.

Let’s take a look at my savings rate.

savings rate %

It’s a similar story here with the savings rate being the lowest it’s been this year. It’s far below my bronze goal of 40%.

The savings rate for April clocks in at 29.6% and jumps to 36.4% when I add in employer contributions.

I know that my savings rate will fluctuate depending on months where expenses jump up and that was definitely the case here. The overall goal is to hit a savings rate for the year so these low months should be offset by other months as long as I’m not taking vacations every month!

Let’s take a look at where my money went.

nashville trip

I spent a lot on food! Restaurants make up the 2nd largest portion of my expenses after rent and that’s due to all the hip, fancy joints I went to in Nasvhille.

I do indulge in that area when I vacation but it’s something I enjoy greatly and find a lot of value in. Even now, almost a month after the trip, I still remember a lot of those meals vividly. Food isn’t a big deal for everyone but I happen to find a lot of joy in it. I won’t begrudge myself those expenses when they come around.

I did however find that there is a limit to how much I can enjoy food. After five straight nights of high end lunches and dinners, I was a bit tired of all the eating. It made me yearn for a simple home cooked meal again.

I do like the fact that while my tastes trend towards the higher end, I have a limit of how much I can take. I like my meals out to be special and generally only go out at most once a week. That means five straight days of something I normally get less often was a bit much. In fact, I’ve noticed being less enthused about going out to eat to anything super high-end for the next couple of weeks after our return.

I don’t see that lasting forever though as I’m starting to get a craving for some of my favorite local restaurants. I don’t expect to ramp it up quick and it’ll still be a once a week treat at most. It’s still nice to now that restaurants are likely to be a treat for me instead of something I want to indulge in every single day.

Car expenses are next. That’s followed by some medical bills for tests I had done a few months ago. The bills have just now started flowing in and will likely continue for the next few weeks.

The rest of the stuff is rather normal. Groceries were lower this month. I had a full week where groceries weren’t needed due to my vacation. Entertainment was a bit higher due to some expenses in Nashville.

One of my favorite stops in Nashville were two escape rooms my girlfriend and I did. They were two of the best of the rooms we’ve done.

That’s it for the month. It’s not a great one on the savings rate side but was a great one in my personal life. If anyone out there needs any recommendations on Nashville, let me know.

How was your month? Anyone have any fun trips or was it a good savings rate month instead?

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