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.
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.
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