Category Archives: Month In Review

December Month In Review

Budget

December was a crazy month for spending. With the holidays and a special trip, I spent more than last month, but I planned for my purchases and subsidized them. Still, I was $500 over my budget, which is over 25% above my projected $1,757 in expenses. Here’s how it broke down:

Overall I was $448 over my budget. The three categories that are fixed (rent, investing, and TV) were all hit on the nose. $62 may seem like a lot for TV, but keep in mind that I pay once out of every four months, so my budgets for the three previous months were 15 and I never really spent that money. The other category that should be fixed, student loans, was over by $26. The reason for that is that they misapplied an extra payment, so the actual amount due and the amount due on the bill were different. I was in the process of signing up for automatic debits from my account, so this shouldn’t happen in the future.

I was $12 over in the Shopping category and $36 over for groceries. I’m not very concerned about their one. I bought new shoes, which happens once a year, and some earmuffs, which I’ve never had before but suddenly love. Only spend $12 on presents for the girlfriend this month! For groceries, if I remember correctly, I did shopping at the very beginning and the very end of the month. So now I’m left with a bunch of food left over. I could roll over the purchases to January, but I won’t.

The categories where I was far off from my predictions were fun and miscellaneous. Maybe I was too fine in categorizing my purchases, but I could easily throw in some of my shopping purchases into the miscellaneous category and make everything look a bit prettier. For the fun category, there were several times this month where I spent money to go out with friends. I justified this by working hard to get some additional referrals from work. I was able to get 5 this month, which gave me the extra $50 for going out and having a good time. The budget was actually higher for fun this month, but I was able to increase my earning for a net loss of the same amount as usual.

The fun category is where everything goes crazy. I made a decision last month to spend more of my money on experiences and after hitting all of my savings targets, not to worry about making larger purchases if I’ll enjoy them. Well, I booked a ticket to California to visit Lauren for her birthday weekend/New Years (it was supposed to be a surprise, but I guess I ruined that by putting my mother on speakerphone without telling her: “So when are you going to LA??” Doh). The tickets were $424 roundtrip, but it was money well spent.

In total, I spent $448 too much, but $36 of that was in a larger debt payment and $424 was for a special trip. So I was really $16 under my budget if you exclude the expenses.

Blog Update

December was a great month for the blog and I’ve been getting more hits. I am going to be guest posting a few times this month for a few terrific blogs, but I should be posting here just as regularly as normal. Also, I am planning on bringing back the “Best of the Rest” posts, possibly on Sunday so I can get quality content posted during the week.

As always, please sign up via RSS and share posts you like with your friends through Facebook, Twitter, Email, or anything else! It really makes a huge difference and hopefully they’ll learn something!

November Month In Review

November Budget
November Budget

November was a difficult month for me in terms of keeping to my budget. I had two unexpected expenses totaling $265, but adjustments to other categories kept me at only $115 over my projected budget.

I expect December to be a good month for me. The only expenses I expect are new sneakers ($41) and getting my suit jacket tailored (~$30), and miscellaneous expenses, which includes snacks, laundry and dry cleaning, and pharmacy items, should be well under my projected budget. I adjusted my miscellaneous expenses down to $160 for the month. That still sounds high, but while I expect the best but plan for the worst. However, I am paying the cable bill 2 months early as a favor to my roommate. That will even out later. Also, Lauren, my fantastic girlfriend, has a birthday at the end of the month. Any suggestions about what to get her?

In terms of the blog, it’s been an exciting month for Sweating The Big Stuff and I’m excited to say that readership has been increasing. I’ve committed to posting more regularly and think I have found a groove that allows me to present new information while giving my insight as well. Of course, any help you provide by promoting the blog (to facebook, twitter, word of mouth) is much appreciated. At the bottom of each post are links to various social networking sites. I encourage you to post the ones you find interesting. Also, don’t forget to subscribe or get articles emailed to you.

Let’s take a look back at my favorite posts from November

These should help you with you get started with your budgeting as well as some ideas about planning:

How To Create A Budget

Budgets Can Work Both Ways

Planning for Unforeseen Expenses

Winning The World Series…Now What?

These two articles show how you can save a lot of money in both the short run and the long run:

Why Phone Insurance Is A Scam

Adjusting Your Withholding

These articles explain a financial idea and tool and gives you a little of my perspective on the current market:

Calculating Interest On Loans

Retirement Accounts Explained

Why I’m Rooting Against The Stock Market