Monthly Spending Report: December 2015

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.

Chica­go sky­line at night as seen through a reflec­tion on “the Bean”

 

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.

 
Dec_15_Budget

 

Auto & Trans­portLots 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 PhoneSuper 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.
Util­i­tiesStill real­ly low!
Food & Din­ingYeah 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.
RentNor­mal spend­ing here. (even though I was gone for almost 2 whole weeks!)
PetsI’ve set­tled down into a rou­tine of food/supplies, so I can more accu­rate­ly esti­mate costs.
Fees & ChargesI got hit with my annu­al cred­it card fee and the fee for my invest­ment account.
GiftsThis 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 Improve­mentShop­ping for my sis­ter, which she reim­bursed me for.
Shop­pingRan­dom 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?

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