Money Date #5, 12/28/2018 (Twistmas Slump: total December expenses, January budget)

Since my last money date, I’ve taken a week or so off work for the holidays, which I’ve enjoyed immensely. I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with family, friends, and, most importantly, myself. I find the time alone rejuvenating and I so love the freedom to get along my day the way I want to, however I want to, whenever I want to. To be completely honest, I’ve been rubbish around my budget since taking time off. Time off means I do whatever I want, and whatever I want = coffee. And food. And books. Those are just the things that make me happy—and it’s okay. What I may need to do, then, is to adjust my budget for January to make sure I’ve given myself enough money to be happy while making sure I redistribute money from areas that aren’t bringing me joy. From there, making more intentional choices are other areas to reduce spending AND finding other ways to bring in additional income will help “even things out,” so to speak.

Money is supposed to be spent on what makes us happy. We all just need to be conscientious around what makes us happy in the moment AND what makes us happy in the long run (eg, being debt free).

You’re about to get some cold, hard, real numbers again, this time totaling aaaall of my December expenses. If you’re reading these numbers and you’re freaking out/making judgments on my behalf, this may be a great moment for you to pause and ask yourself: Why are these feelings coming up for me? What does these thoughts tell me about my own personal thoughts/philosophies around money?

Also, remember: I made conscious decision that got me here, and I’m making conscious decisions to get myself out. I know exactly where I’m at and your support rather than your judgment is much more helpful.

Also: Debt is not bad.

If you’re on your own personal finance journey and you’d like some support, reach out for judgment free listening and story sharing.

Overview

  • I have $2200 in my Savings account.

  • I have $9,881.26 in debt, and I hoping to pay off this debt by June 2019. That means putting about $1900 towards my debt each month without putting any further debt on any of my credit cards (note: this amount may fluctuate a little bit due to interest charges). Also, this is the first time in three months I’ve been under $10K in debt, so YAY.

  • My credit score is above 770. I am financially healthy, AND I am finding more ways to manage my money habits better because I want to be financially independent and own a house with a big ass backyard for my dog someday.

  • My business did not break even this year—which is to be expected in the first year. I’m still pretty proud of where I’ve gotten! Plenty of room to grow in 2019.

Upcoming Expenses

  • I need to pay my first tuition statement for my UCSD copyediting certification in January (about $495, plus books).

  • There is an upcoming car maintenance expense Thomas and I will need to pay for.

  • I am going to pay someone to do my taxes for me so I can write off my business-related expenses.

December Income

  • Full time job: $4000.00

  • Income from business: $450.00 (I am expecting an addition $400 or so in January, that I “made” in December, but haven’t yet been paid out by my employers.)

December Expenses

Some of these numbers are approximate because I haven’t been as good about tracking my expenses on a daily basis as I probably could be. Nonetheless, this is still a good picture of where I’m at. Also, December is an anomaly because of Christmas presents.

  • Mandatory “four walls” monthly expenses (mostly rent, utilities, internet, cell phone, and pet insurance)

    • Budgeted: $1445.50

    • Actual: $1570 (Projected; forgot to track utilities)

      • Note: This category fluctuates very little month to month. I overspent a tiny bit in groceries this month.

  • “Lifestyle expenses” (yoga, eating out at restaurants, coffee, Christmas spending, etc.—anything that’s optional)

    • Budgeted: $1234.00, including a Christmas budget

    • Actual: $2045.52

      • Netflix: $11

      • Spotify: $10

      • Coffee: $193.69

      • Yoga membership: $99

      • Business strategy coaching: $484

      • Eating out at restaurants/ordering take out: $464.38

      • Christmas spending: $423.01

      • Birthday: $54

      • Misc.: $306 (Renewed PSN membership, Lyft fees, wrapping paper, Redbox, clothes, UCSD enrollment fee)

  • Credit card debt and other loan payments: $1563.00

Reflections

So my month spending totaled to a little over $5000, yet I still managed to make progress on paying off my debt which means I am putting less on my credit cards (when I have to) than I paid off. Plus, I had some “rollover” money from last month AND I’m bringing in additional income from my business. What that means is, all in all in, this month was “good”—not great—but good enough, which I’ll take as a victory. :)

I’m seeing the patterns in my spending habits and there are certainly areas I need to adjust. I know which areas of my budget are bringing me joy and which areas I can cut back to make sure that every penny is spent more carefully on those things while I am still working on achieving my goal of being debt-free. Obviously, I freaking love coffee and I love eating food. I feel joy when I am able to indulge these habits and I could be better about being intentional about when I choose to indulge. I was actually pretty good on limiting spending on my clothing this month (stayed under $100!), which is a really positive step for me.

Knowing all of this now, here’s how I plan to adjust my budget for January:

January Budget

  • Expected income from full-time job: $4000

  • Goal for income from business: $1000

  • Monthly “four wall” living expenses: $1415.50 (This accounts for the cost of 3 therapy sessions.)

  • Lifestyle expenses:

    • Netflix: $11

    • Spotify: $10

    • Coffee: $180

    • Yoga: $99

    • Business strategy coaching: $484

    • Food/restaurants/yummy in my tummy: $250

    • UCSD tuition: $495

  • Payment towards debt: $1438.00

  • Additional expenses to consider: car maintenance and paying someone to do my taxes.

What areas of your financial health are you proud of this month? Which areas do you hope to improve in?