Whew! December is a whirlwind of weather, family and lots of driving. The month started out pretty calmly and ramped up the closer I got to Christmas. Fortunately, I was able to take most of the latter half of the month off from work, which helped me deal with everything. I had several whoops this month that ended up costing me a bit more, like forgetting the awesome easel for my niece’s Christmas present at my house 4 hours away from her, and failing to realize I needed a present for a few people. That led to me running out to the stores to get them something. Sigh.
Other than that, it was great to see all my family (both blood and friend families), random people about town, and old friends. I did get to travel to Chicago and have some fun there, but Winter Storm Goliath came through and kind of threw a wrench in all my plans to visit friends up there. There’s always next time!
December is also the month my company hands out our yearly bonus. Despite falling sales, we still met our goals and got an almost max bonus! It was a hefty chunk of change that helped offset the relatively “high” spending I had this month.
Why do I do a monthly spending report?
I find it best to do a monthly spending report for a few reasons. One, it helps me evaluate how I did the previous month. Did I hit a target reduction in spending or did I go way over budget for a particular category? Two, it helps keep me accountable. How can I make an extra purchase knowing I’ll have to explain myself to all of you? Talk about awkward when the blogger can’t walk the walk and talk the talk. Three, I want to prove this crazy thing called financial independence works! Fourth, it provides an example of real world budgeting and expenses. Some of the people I talk to haven’t ever seen a proper budget or seen one put into action, and part of the purpose of this blog is to lead by example!
I use Mint to help me track my spending and keep an eye on my accounts. Some people use Personal Capital and others use You Need a Budget (YNAB). Whatever tool works best for you and your needs is the best one for you, since everyone and their budgets are different.
So, without further ado, I present my spending (for better or for worse) for December 2015.
|Auto & Transport||Lots of driving, but gas prices were low, so I was still within budget. However, I did have to pay for a new title, the next 6 months of car insurance and parking in Chicago (NOT CHEAP!).|
|Mobile Phone||Super high this month as Verizon, despite their promises, charged me a full month of service, has yet to refund me, and I had to pay the new service phone bill. Hopefully I’ll get my refund in January. I’m not holding my breath though.|
|Utilities||Still really low!|
|Food & Dining||Yeah I spent a ton. I had many events where I was asked to bring/make food, or opportunities to meet people for dinner/coffee/drinks. Absolutely worth it.|
|Rent||Normal spending here. (even though I was gone for almost 2 whole weeks!)|
|Pets||I’ve settled down into a routine of food/supplies, so I can more accurately estimate costs.|
|Fees & Charges||I got hit with my annual credit card fee and the fee for my investment account.|
|Gifts||This was higher than I’d like, but it also includes donations and support for my sister, which will be a separate category going forward.|
|Home Improvement||Shopping for my sister, which she reimbursed me for.|
|Shopping||Random things needed for the apartment and some new clothes. 5 shirts for $20! Normally, I would’ve said no, but they’re difficult to find these days so I stock up when I can.|
Looking forward to January, I anticipate a fairly calm month. It’s finally winter outside, so I’ll be huddled up inside watching movies and playing video games. I have a fun weekend scheduled for the end of the month which gives me something to look forward to. I’ll also be ramping up participation for a political candidate before voting in the primaries. Some free entertainment! Woo!
Coming up on the blog, I’ll have a recap of 2015 spending, goals for 2016, and a review of Google’s Project FI phone plan along with a few other articles I’ve got percolating in my brain. Have a great January!
What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?