Here it is, my fifth and final income and expense report for the year. I’m amazed at how quickly this year has gone – especially the last few months! December was a month spent doing a lot of final preparation for Christmas, followed by a lot of family time and a whirlwind trip to Florida and back. Our income was down and our expenses were up this month – not exactly a great combination if you’re aspiring to be financially independent…whoops!
Job 1 – -$47 – For this month at least, we’re back to a semi-normal number. No bonus, no cell phone rebate, etc – just plain old salary here. With the expiration of the payroll tax cut I expect my salary to take a hit beginning in January, so we’ll see what the new normal is next month.
Job 2 – +$202 – Mrs Aspiring Blogger got a bonus – woohoo!!! Go her!! In other good news – her job is exempt from the payroll tax increase and she got a 2% raise so while this month was higher than normal because of the bonus, it should be higher all of next year too!
Interest – +$5 – More money, more interest. The money keeps piling up, so the interest keeps coming in – no surprises here.
Extra Income - -$1,112 – After an awesome November generating some extra income, December looks pretty pathetic by comparison – but I’m still good with it. The $200 here was really Christmas money from relatives, so we did nothing to earn this other than being born I guess! I think this money will have to go towards paying for our Florida trip, as we took the trip to spend time with relatives.
Rent – (just the rent) +$0 – Still no changes here, and there shouldn’t be any until April 2013 at the earliest. We’ll have to figure out at some point where we’re going to live beginning in April (do we renew the lease, buy a house, find another rental, etc), but for now – consistency is nice.
Home - (Electric, Gas, Water, Internet, Netflix, Home Furnishings) +$90 – I finally got around to getting our jewelry insured (at least her engagement + both wedding rings) so that blew this category for the month. I wasn’t exactly sure where to put it, so I combined it with renters insurance to keep track of it. I’m glad I finally got it, as we have gone without jewelry insurance for way too long, and something could easily happen to us or our rings – and that’s an expense I wouldn’t want to have to cover.
Car – (Insurance, Maintenance, Tolls) +$37 – During December both cars got oil changes (mine had its first in over a year…wow) and some other minor expenses. Our semi-annual car insurance is due in January, so you’ll see this category jump next month
Gas - (just gas for our cars) -$136 – With the holidays and the end of the year, we didn’t do much driving during the first part of December. On our trip to Florida we ended up driving approximately 2700 miles, but the cost for that ($380 or so in gas and $50 in tolls) is reflected in the vacation budget.
Groceries - (Anything we spend at Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club/Kroger/other grocery stores that’s not otherwise marked in another category goes here) -$112 – With my brother no longer in town and being on vacation for a week at the end of the month we didn’t need as much in the way of groceries – not a shocker!
Eating Out - (pretty self explanatory) -$36 – On our trip to Florida we ate out a lot driving to/from, but we didn’t eat out much the rest of the month so it evened itself out. We’re still about $30 over our budget for this category, so we’re not doing awesome, but I’m pretty happy all things considered.
Personal – (Dry Cleaning, Haircuts, Clothing, Medical, Vet, Other Pet Expenses) +$174 – One of the dogs had her one year checkup at the vet (just an opportunity for the vet to print $$) and my wife had her hair/makeup done for my office holiday party, so we spent a little extra this month.
Vacation – (any Vacation spending) +$1,280 – YOWZA!!!!!!!! Let me start by saying that not all of this increase was for our trip to Florida. I’ll break that down first though:
- Gas – $382 – we averaged maybe 20mpg with my wife’s SUV…ugh
- Tolls – $50 – Florida has some very fast, but expensive toll roads!
- Hotel – $165 (2 rooms, one night on the way back – we paid for my wife’s family as well)
- Dog sitter – $300 – we had someone stay at our house to watch our dogs the entire time we were gone
- Total – $897 – A lot of money, but it was a fun trip. We ended up going to a nature park, Universal Studios, and to a lot of other fun places – but various family members picked up the tab, THANKS!!
The other $383 was for 2 tickets to Europe in the spring. My wife and I used airline points and just paid the taxes and fees for a 10 day trip in April. I’ll share more details at a later date, but it should be a fun time!
Misc – (Allowance, Gifts, Entertainment, Other) -$221 – We purchased the last few gifts and that was about it during December. It’s definitely nice to spread out the purchases so you don’t get overwhelmed with Christmas expenses during December. Oh, and remember that $95 credit I talked about earlier this year? The one I was promised for not canceling my credit card? Well, it showed up this month – sweet! It goes to show – persistence pays off!
December’s net income showed a huge decrease from November. A combination of increased spending due to vacations and decreased income created an unfortunate combination. Even though December represents the “worst” month I’ve publicly tracked, I’m still incredibly happy with it. Having over $4k that my wife and I can do whatever we want with is a very liberating feeling. Of course – having $6k or $7k is nicer, but I’m definitely still pleased with this amount.
Mrs Aspiring Blogger and I sat down this weekend to review our 2012 expenses and work on a budget for 2013. I’ll give you a hint – we increased our overall budget (especially for vacations)! A lot of what we did was just reallocate funds to where they’re really being spent, so hopefully we’ll be closer to budget on a lot of items in 2013. I’ll share the full budget soon along with a recap of 2012, but hopefully you’ve already put yours together or are at least working on it. It’s hard to become financially independent without knowing your income and expenses, so I would encourage you to get your budget together ASAP!
How was your December? Did you knock it out of the park during the last month of 2012 or did the year end with a financial whimper? Let me know in the comments – and remember, 2013 is a new year!