Each month I will post my income/expenses for the previous month. I track every dollar in and out, so what you see is exactly what I earned and spent (rounded to the nearest dollar).
Total Income: $4,674
Expenses from December 2013:
$536–Rent & Utilities
Total Expenses: $2,377
*The Everything Else category includes expenses I don’t have a regular budget for. For this month, it was mostly gifts. I spent $549 on Christmas gifts, after netting out any cash I received. I also spent $2.50 on toll fees to cross a bridge to the Tampa Airport (to fly home to Michigan) and $72 on parking fees at the discounted parking garage at the airport.
Income was great. My regular paycheck was rather average, but I more than made up for that in the other income categories. Dividend income for December was my second highest total ever, and something I’m very grateful for. And the online income was wonderful! I earned a total of $868 from this blog, so thank you readers for continuing to stop by and support what I’m doing here. The rest of the bonus income was related to redeeming cash back rewards from my two credit cards for a total of $56.
Expenses were high mostly due to Christmas spending. I already admitted that I was going to embrace my inner consumer for the holiday season, so I wasn’t surprised to see the gift expenses start to pile up a bit. In addition, I now have spending in a new Auto category, and this is my way of amortizing out the purchase of my 2006 Toyota Corolla. Although I paid cash for the car, I’m going to spread out the purchase cost over the next thirteen months so that I can smooth out any major hits to my budget. Lifestyle inflation is a bitch. I miss the days of riding my scooter for pennies on the dollar, but it is nice to be insulated from the weather and crazy drivers. You’ll also notice I had a high month for fuel. This is because I filled up the tank in the Frugalmobile right before I knew I was purchasing the Corolla. I sold the Escort just a few days after putting gas in it, so that was an unfortunate loss. Going forward, I’m hoping to limit my fuel costs. I don’t live far from work and so far I’m averaging about 31 mpg in the city with the Toyota.
Internet is up a bit this month after Comcast raised my bill after a six-month reprieve. It looks like a call to customer service is in my near future. I also switched car insurance this month to Progressive, and going forward my insurance will be about $10/mont lower. Not only was it cheaper than Geico, but I also upped my coverage significantly. That was a win-win.
Food spending was down this month. As I mentioned in last month’s budget, I wanted to spend less than $250 in food for December. I accomplished that by spending only $219 on all food. I consider that a pretty solid month for food spending, especially considering that this isn’t only for me. I take my girlfriend out to dinner once or twice per month and always pay. In addition, I tend to get takeout or pizza every once couple weekends.
I manged to save 49.1% of my net income this month. Not one of my best months, but considering that I now have an “auto payment” and I spent rather heavily on Christmas gifts I consider this a pretty satisfactory outcome.
My goal is to average a 60% savings rate of my net income, monthly. So far, I’ve hit rates of:
75.7% – January
48.3% – February
57% – March
71.4% – April
64.2% – May
64.6% – June
71.4% – July
73.1% – August
61.3% – September
50% – October
51.9% – November
49.1% – December
All twelve months are tallied up, and I managed to save 61.5% of my net income for the year! This is my best year yet for savings. I had a fantastic 2013 in regards to savings, but you can see that I started to lose steam at the end of the year. This was mainly due to the introduction of health insurance and a car into my budget. Looking forward, I don’t know if saving 60% of my net income will be realistic but I’m glad I eclipsed that mark this year. It was tough, but incredibly rewarding.
How was your December? Where did your budget end up for 2013?
Thanks for reading.
Photo Credit: RambergMediaImages