Friday, August 10, 2012


Here is my new budget I'll be following until I leave Korea in June 2013.  All the items are allowances, it's the most I expect to spend in any given month.  In reality I usually have money left over which I can use to purchase more stock or to have fun.  Probably 99.99% of the military does not receive a TSP match (federal employee 401k).  They put me in the TSP matching pilot program when I enlisted in 2008 as an incentive to pick my particular job.  It's very rare and is set to expire in less than a year as far as I know.  When the matching is gone, I'll stop contributing to the TSP.  It's a horrible program with only 5 investment choices.  100% of mine is in the G fund.

$2,500 - Take Home Pay
$125 - TSP Contribution
$100 - TSP Match
$2,725 - Total Income

Fixed Expenses:
$0 - Rent
$0 - Utilities
$45 - Car Insurance
$60 - Cell Phone/Internet
$225 - Car Savings Acct
$250 - Travel Savings Acct
$580 - Total Fixed Expenses

Variable Expenses:
$200 - Groceries
$0 - Gas
$40 - Haircuts
$500 - Fun Money
$145 - Misc. (clothes, uniforms, etc.)
$885 - Total Variable Expenses

$1,035 - Dividend Stock
$125 - TSP Contribution
$100 - TSP Match
$1,260 - Total Investments

Savings Rate - 46.2%

Since I lasted posted a budget in February I find myself in a different set of circumstances.  Being stationed in South Korea means I have reduced expenses and increased pay.  I also received a small raise a couple months ago of like $100/month.  My car is in storage yet I still set aside money every month to buy a newer vehicle in the future.  I still have insurance on my car, even though I don't drive it.  I found out I have to keep some liability unless I turn in my registration and plates (which I can't do now that I'm here).  I also increased my fun money by 2/3 and save money every month for a trip to Thailand.  I'm going to live like a king while there :)

I ended up getting a Samsung Galaxy M-style smart phone, which is nice to have.  It has unlimited data so I tether it to my computer.  $58/month gets me unlimited data, I doubt it would be so cheap in the states.  It's 3G though so my internet is not blazing fast like before.  Overall I do not need a smart phone, but it's nice to have portable entertainment.

I'm very pleased with my savings rate, it doesn't feel like I'm sacrificing anything.  I could easily achieve a 80%+ savings rate if I wanted to.  I know I'll be working for another 15 years, I want to live in the present a bit.  No reason for me to get excessive with retirement saving, think I found a good balance.


  1. Very cool stuff!

    Sounds like you struck an excellent balance between quality of life and saving for the future.

    That trip to Thailand sounds like it's going to be awesome. You'll definitely have to post a trip review after it's completed. I'd love to read about it.

    Best wishes!

    1. I'll probably take the trip around January. I can post a trip review, sure no problem. It will be my fourth visit to Thailand so I really do like it there a lot. I've been thinking about heading over to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat too.

      Unfortunately when I leave Korea my savings rate will go back down, but no biggie. I decided I'm only going to do one year here. I'm no longer putting in to stay longer.

  2. That's a great savings rate, especially given that you don't feel like you have to make sacrifices to achieve it. It does indeed sound like you've found a good balance.

    I will also be interested to hear about your trip to Thailand. Keep us updated on when it will happen!

    1. Right now the hard part is figuring out how many dollars and won to withdraw. I use dollars for groceries, haircuts, and stuff around base. Obviously I can't spend dollars when I'm out on the town. Exchange rates vary quite a bit I've learned. I might start making larger withdrawals when rates are favorable.

  3. I thought I had a monstrous savings rate, but you have me beat. Keep it up!

    1. haha thanks. I'm not sure it's monstrous when you consider I don't pay rent or utilities and have my car in storage for a year. Some people can save 70% even with rent and food. Not sure that is for me though!