aka, Why I should be working in an accounting office
aka, My inner OCD revealed!
aka, If you think this is bad, wait 'till I have a family!
aka, This is what being happy drives me to do.
Haha. I had a tough time trying to decide on a title for this post. Can you tell?
Don't we all wish we could go without having to worry about money? Can I afford this? Well, unfortunately, that's not how the world turns. We all have one. Even if we don't know it. In some way you keep track of how much you make and how much you spend. Some of our budgets just tend to be much looser than others. And some of us are a bit more OCD about where we spend our hard earned money.
I've always been a frugal person, but now I have quite the excel spreadsheet to prove it! haha Ever since March 2011, I've kept a detailed list of my expenses. Some of the results are as expected. Others were a bit surprising. Some friends of mine have remarked on certain aspects of my budgeting and I thought I'd share.(There's no real secret, just me being me)
Goal: Only allow the monthly budget to dip into the red 4 times.
Result: Nine months were in the black, leaving only 3 months in the red. Success!
Goal: Double my savings.
Result: My savings has increased, but has not doubled. I'm ok with this given that I had a few unexpected major expenses (buying a new car for one!) and still stayed positive on the year!
Here are some other interesting tid bits from my expense spreadsheet...
I keep my expenses categorized as Bills, Gas, Car Maintenance, Food, Tritahlon, Career, Miscellaneous, and Income. Here is how my income was divided up throughout the year.
I spent more on triathlon than I did food.
Now THAT I find intriguing! 6.1% was spent on gas which should decrease next year with the better fuel economy on the new car. I put nearly 4% into my job to get two major certifications, 2.7% into "miscellaneous" items, and finally a mere 2.9% went to my savings. I admit that sure isn't a lot, but I'm happy to see that I still ended up in the black! Phew!
Now what I also find interesting is what comprised the Miscellaneous category. If we discount Xmas gifts (mom, dad, step dad, sister, and cards sent to the gym members) and what you might say are essentials (dish soap, body wash, paper towels, toilet paper, floss, laundry detergent, vitamins, trash bags and laundry), here is a list of what I spent my extra money on outside of work and triathlon.
4 times going out to eat
(Once in January, October, and 2x in December)
Parking at the airport for a family trip
Mother's Day cards
Curtain Rod (for hanging medals)
2 Frames for race medal and certification
A new GPS
BJ's Membership (discounted for being a "family member")
Sending the license plates back for the car I bought
3 Used books ($1 each)
2 Bottles of wine for Thanksgiving
Crackers and dip for a 2nd Thanksgiving
4 Votive Candles
2 bottles of hair gel
That's it. You might be thinking "But Kurt, look at all that on the list." Right! Look at it. That was my entire non-essential, non-triathlon/work expense list for the whole year. It totals to 25 items; roughly 2 items per month. You might disagree with me, but I think that's incredible! I think I've proven my own self-control.
The other thing you might notice is that there are no clothes listed above. Aside from the outrageously overpriced race shirts (My B2B shirt cost me over $400 in registration alone and it didn't even come with shipping!!), I have not purchased a piece of clothing since December 2011; and that was for work! As i mentioned before, my budget goes back to March 2011 and there is no casual attire clothing purchase recorded anywhere.
I have not purchased a single piece of clothing
outside of work & triathlon attire
in 1 year and 9 months.
As a side note, I remember Tonia @ Racing With Babes having a goal of not purchasing any new clothing one year (I think it was in 2011). I remember thinking that would be an awesome achievement, but that it'd be out of my own ability. Haha. Apparently it's well within it. Any other goals I should know about Tonia?
And I've only been out to eat on my own dime four times this year. One of those times was Subway and another was a pizza I bought back home over Xmas. I know some people who eat out multiple times in a week! I simply find no need for it.
Finally, with the end of the year comes that question of "Do I have enough left for this or that purchase?" Well, after what I'm not ashamed to admit was multiple hours of compiling all of the 2012 data and attempting to project what 2013's budget will be, I came to the drawn out conclusion that one last purchase was within reason.
The Rudy Wingspan!
Here's a more financially fruitful 2013!
1. Do you keep a budget? If so, is it on a super cool excel spreadsheet with graphs and charts?
What do you mean graphs and charts for your budget aren't cool?! Your mom thinks they're cool.
2. Is there an area of your budget that you know you need to work on? Is there an area that you are awesome at?
I've found that compiling all of my purchases has made me more consciously aware of where my money is going and in turn has caused me to realize the value I put on certain things and the lack thereof with others.
3. It's the end of the year and you have some extra money. What is the one final purchase of the year you would make?
Obviously I chose the Wingspan helmet. But if I had to go with a 2nd choice, I'd make it one of my 2013 race entry fees. It's nice to have those out of the way.
Dream. Believe. Achieve.