My income and expenses for the month were… interesting. It’s so hard to plan when I don’t know what to expect. I have a feeling I’ll spend most of the year fumbling around until I figure out a good pattern. And I will tell you now – this month pretty much SUCKED. But since several of you guys asked me to do spending roundups again, here we go.
JANUARY GOAL: $1200
Private advertising: $1340
AdSense: $49.24 (This could change slightly by the end of today, but I doubt it will)
Rollover from December
On December 31st, my checking account balance was $365.04. Added to my January income, that gave me $2394.28.
Taxes: $405 ($1989.28 remaining)
I actually overpaid my taxes. The amount I sent to my tax account is 20% of what I made, which is what I’m supposed to (per the accountant I consulted). However, because I’m paying for a private health insurance plan (health, dental, and a small life policy through Anthem for $140 a month!), I know I’ll be able to deduct that expense. So technically the first $140 I make each month is tax free. I’ll probably continue overpaying just to be on the safe side.
Fixed expenses (car payment, insurance, utilities, phone, Jay’s allowance, etc.): $950 ($1039.28 remaining)
For some reason when I estimated this before, I said I spent $650 a month. I’m really trying to figure out where that number came from. I think I left out car insurance, and of course I added health insurance as well. So my January goal of $1200 was totally ridiculous – good thing I exceeded it!
Groceries/Household: $297.82 ($741.46 remaining)
HOLY groceries! I’m kind of shocked that I went through that much money – that’s more than I’ve spent in ages! This is definitely an area I need to get under control in February. In my defense, though, I let the cupboards get extremely bare toward the end of December when I didn’t want to fight the pre- and post-Christmas crowds. And I bought a lot more stuff now than almost all my meals are eaten at home.
Restaurants: $49.27 ($692.19 remaining)
Oh yes, the restaurant points win again! Now that I’m home in my pajamas all the time, it just doesn’t seem fun to get dressed to go buy fast food. I feel slightly better about the ridiculous grocery spending now.
Gas: $72 ($620.19 remaining)
Two tanks of gas in a month. I used to go through 5-6. I am amazed.
Cigarettes: $87.96 ($532.23 remaining)
This was actually pretty good for me! Not fabulous since I’m still smoking, but I’ll take it.
Miscellaneous: $634.08 (-$101.85 remaining)
As always, this category was another major area of failure. I really don’t even like admitting this stuff! But here it is:
- Birthday gift for my niece – $31.80
- Frame for my Reader’s Digest article – $28.49
- Dog grooming (4x/year – it snuck up on me) – $140
- Random book from Amazon – $16.84
- Fork bracelet – $32.99
- Misc. blog expenses – $383.96
I will be the first to admit, that’s ridiculous. It wouldn’t have been too bad if I hadn’t spent so much on blog-related stuff. Those expenses won’t happen all the time, thank goodness! I bought a few domains for as-yet-unrevealed new blogs, as well as logo design, software, and my ticket to FINCON12 (ALL tax-deductible, so it’s not as bad as it sounds). So while I had to borrow $200 from savings to make it until my next “payday” and cover the extra spending, it’s not as horrible as it looks.
Overall Outlook for Month
I wasn’t sure what my first month of self-employment would bring, and I’m actually kind of okay with the way it turned out. There is PLENTY of room for improvement, but I’m just glad I made (almost) enough money to cover my normal expenses. To handle the unpredictable income, I divide my monthly income goal in half and pay myself from savings each “payday,” then put any money I earn back into savings. So far that part seems to be working out.
Here’s what I’m budgeting for February:
- Taxes: 20% of whatever I make, transferred to a separate bank account
- Fixed Expenses: $950
- Groceries/Household: $225 (shooting for a gradual decline here)
- Restaurants: $50
- Gas: $75
- Cigarettes: $100
- Miscellaneous: $150 (that almost makes me laugh when I see what I spent this month)
That means I need $1550 after taxes, or $1860 total. And a SERIOUS handle on miscellaneous spending. So we’ll see how it goes!