Welcome to the first installment of my income and expense (net income) report for 2013! As you’ll go through you may notice some slightly revised categories. Mrs Aspiring Blogger and I sat down at the beginning of the year and did a major purge of superfluous budget categories. We went from 28 down to 12, which is a huge decrease in the amount of tracking required. The major categories that you see are a rolled up version of what I keep track of – I thought it would be a little too intense to show you all the categories! Now that we’ve reduced it to 12, you’re seeing our budget basically at the level we’re tracking it at. There may be a few minor changes (maybe change “home” to “utilities”) but that should be it.
One item we tackled during January was to sit down and come up with a 2013 spending plan / budget. We decided that we want our total spending for the year to be $39,600 – or $3,300/month, which is an increase of $300/month from our 2012 budget. For the 9 months that we tracked our budget in detail in 2012 we spent $30,021.70 – which annualizes to $40,028.93 – so I think spending right around the same in 2013 is definitely a reasonable goal. Stick around and see how our first month went!
Job 1 – -$176 – Thanks to the expiration of the payroll tax cut my normal income has decreased. While annoying, this was expected and I think it may go down further in February once my company’s payroll department finishes figuring the full impact out.
Job 2 – -$188 – Last month’s numbers included a bonus so we were expecting this to drop down. As I mentioned last month, Mrs Aspiring Blogger got a 2% raise for 2013, so her regular income will be higher than it was in 2012. In addition, due to a “compensation study” her employer did she is getting a $3k raise which works out to an overall 8% increase (when you look at both raises) starting February 15th!!!
Interest – +$3 – Little by little, this keeps growing!
Extra Income - -$150 – All we have to show in January is a Christmas gift from a relative. We didn’t earn anything extra, so we can’t take any credit for the $50 here!
Rent – (just the rent) +$0 – Same “no story” here. We should find out soon if we’re going to be moving or not, but until then this category remains unchanged.
Home – (Electric, Gas, Water, Internet,
Netflix, Home Furnishings, Insurance) -$147 – There are a few updates to this category – mainly that it no longer includes Netflix (that’s in misc), and I just updated the description to include insurance. Basically this is the utilities category – everything it costs to run our household. As we didn’t have to pay jewelry insurance again this month, our expenses were down – sweet!
Car – (Insurance, Maintenance,
Tolls) +$502 – A minor change to this category – tolls are no longer in here, they’re now going into the “Gas” category. My thought is that as we drive more, we’ll probably spend more on tolls. In addition, my wife and I are reimbursed for mileage/tolls as a lump sum, so it’s easier to just credit that against one category instead of splitting it up. We paid our semi-annual car insurance bill in January, so this category looks pretty bad – but now we’ll hopefully have a cheap 6 months until the next bill is due.
Gas - (gas & tolls) -$121 – As I mentioned above, we’re getting reimbursed for any driving we do for work and I decided to start crediting it against the appropriate categories in 2013. This month is a little misleading as both my wife and I received reimbursements for 2012 expenses (about $275 worth), but hey – we’ll take it! We also received another $125 for January expenses, so this category looks a lot lower than normal. With the current project I’m on I should average approximately $260/month in gas/toll reimbursement!
Groceries - (Anything we spend at Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club/Kroger/etc) +$32 – Pretty close to last month here, nothing unusual.
Eating Out - (pretty self explanatory) -$42 – For the first month in a long time we’re down below our $100/month budget! Of course, it helps that we went to pick up food to take over to have dinner with some friends and as we were about to order realized we’d left our wallets at home – 40 miles away! Our friend graciously came and paid for everything, so that saved us a good $30. We’ll make that one up in the next few weeks, but for January it sure looks nice!
Personal – (Dry Cleaning, Haircuts, Clothing, Medical, Vet, Other Pet Expenses) +$2 – What you can’t see in here is that we spent almost $200 in clothes… in just one month! Mrs AB needed some new clothes, so hopefully the next few months will be cheaper…but I wouldn’t count on it.
Vacation – (any Vacation spending) -$1,289 – If you look back to last month you’ll see that we spent almost this much on vacations. The only activity here was a credit back from the hotel we stayed at on our way back from Florida that overcharged us for one of the rooms. We have our vacation coming up in April, so I expect some expenses for that (hotel, rental car) will start creeping in, along with a late summer vacation as well.
Misc – (Allowance, Gifts, Entertainment, Other) -$73 – Without Christmas to spend money on, this category has gone way down, which is a nice change of pace. If we decide to move, I already have my eye on several fun new gadgets (speakers, TV, etc) that will significantly impact this category – so stay tuned!
January was definitely a nice start to the year on both the income and expense side. We came within $20 of our budget, which is close enough for me to call this a victory. One thing I learned in my previous life as a financial analyst is that you may have some huge swings during the month (spending lots on car insurance, nothing on vacation, getting reimbursed $400 for gas and tolls, etc) but if you have a solid plan and are watching where your money is going, things will generally work out.
January’s net income is lower than we averaged during 2012, but considering we had almost no money coming in I feel it was a pretty solid month. February will probably show a decrease as my wife and I will both have our take-home pay cut due to the federal tax mess I created! We both changed our W-4s to withhold at a single rate with 0 allowances, and our Feb 15 paychecks should be the first to reflect these changes. Let’s hope that it doesn’t hurt too much!
How did you do in the first month of 2013? Did your new budget stand up to your expectations, or did you find some holes in it you had to spend your way out of?? Let me know in the comments!