Happy December Everyone!
How’s your month going so far? Mine is still crazy busy, as I continued to do both jobs for the first 2 weeks of the month. Things are finally getting better and I’m now officially down to just one job! The new job is going great and I’ll even be able to take the last week of December off. Well deserved, if I say so myself.
December also brings with it many social events and I love seeing everyone. I’ll write more about this next month but will say that so far December has not disappointed. Every weekend is booked, despite the cold and snow that suddenly hit us in Minnesota. There’s no doubt that winter has finally arrived, after an especially mild fall.
Tomorrow marks 2 months since my cat, Rocky, passed away. My other cat, Moe, has taken to being an only cat very well. Rocky demanded a lot of my attention over his 11 years so Moe is enjoying all that attention being directed at him instead. We’ll go to the vet in early January for his annual exam so hopefully all is well and 2017 is a much easier year for both of us.
On to the numbers…
Financial independence is really important to me and it’s currently my main financial goal. Like I mentioned in my August post, I’ve decided to increase my budget to allow for monthly spending of $1,667. This is still very reasonable, coming in at $20,000/year.
I’m sharing my monthly expenses to illustrate that it’s not difficult to have a great life while spending far less than the household average. I’m fully aware that I’m able to do this because my mortgage is paid off and I don’t have a car loan or credit card debt. It was a long journey to get here and now I’m reaping the benefits.
Although I use Mint and Personal Capital to keep an eye on all my accounts, I use Excel to track my expenses. I’ve found that this works best for me, since I can easily compare months and see a running total for the year for each category.
In early 2017 I’ll post my total spending in specific categories. In the meantime, if you have questions regarding how much I spend on groceries, my cell phone, etc., feel free to drop a note in the comments and I’ll happily provide those details.
Here are my November expenses:
I spent $450 on fixed costs (e.g. association fee, utilities, insurance, etc.). No surprises here. It was exactly what I was expecting, as fixed costs tend to be. My big annual expenses are all in the first 5 months of the year so the back half is relatively quiet. I’m currently reviewing my accounts and budget to ensure these will be easily covered for 2017.
I spent $786 on variable costs (e.g. food, gas, house supplies, gifts/donations, etc.). Finally – a return to normal. I had to get insulin for my cat and bring him in for a glucose check, which was less than $100 total. I also bought an SSD for my laptop during Black Friday. Other expenses included a few gifts for loved ones and a donation to Minnesota Public Radio. The Current is my favorite radio station and I’m happy to support them.
Total spending for the month was $1,236. So far this year I’ve spent $18,881, with an average of $1,716/month, which has slightly exceeded my goal of monthly spending of $1,667 or less. I’m counting this month as a win – close enough!
Coming up in next month’s post: Just how much do those social events and outings cost? I’m planning a big purchase for later this month, so I’ll talk about what that is and why. I’ll also share my 2016 total spending by category. Any guesses as to which was the highest?
How did your November go? Any challenges?