December Budget Recap

December Budget Recap 2014With the holidays, my budget was a little bit funny. I had to account for the Christmas shopping and of course the extra parties and holiday lunches/dinners. But overall I think I did pretty good.

Groceries:

Budgeted: $250

Actual: $337

Difference: $87 

My grocery shopping has become challenging none the less. This month I went WAY over budget. Its much more difficult when I’m trying to create recipes for the blog and need to buy additional or extra ingredients for a recipe. It adds up. From here on out, I’m going to really challenge myself to get this down to $200 a month!

Gas & Transportation:

Budget: $50

Actual: $160

Difference: $110

Another one I never spend money on but had to this month. I needed a new battery for my car, plus the drive to Michigan for the holidays tacked on another $30-40

Shopping

My shopping budget this month is all screwy. I managed to keep my “normal” shopping budget and only went over by $8.

But for December I added a $200 budget for christmas shopping. And I went and got myself a new Macbook Pro which cost me about $1450 (I got it financed with 0% interest for 18 months, but plan on paying that sucker off in 6)

Regular Shopping Budget: 

Budget: $300

Actual: $308

Difference: $8

Christmas Shopping

Budget: $200

Actual: $151

Difference: $49

Additional Expense:

New Laptop with Financing: $1450

Food/Entertainment

Budget: $100 but flexible

Actual: $132

Difference: $32

I just can’t seem to keep this budget down. But now that I bought this pricy computer I’ve GOT to cut back on eating out and my shopping. At the same time find additional ways to bring in cash.

Beauty

Budget: $50

**I rarely get my hair and nails done so this budget will be as needed.

Actual: $50

Difference: $0

My 12 week hair cut! I finally graduated to the “long hair haircut”

Blog Expenses

Budget: $150

Actual: $0

Difference: $0

I didn’t spend anything on the blog for December, but I did decide that I really love making jewelry and I’m going to start doing that as well. I spent about $50 at a bead shop on Sunday and will probably invest a little more in January to get that up and running. If anyone has some great suggestions for where they buy beads for great prices please let me know!

December Budget

Total Budget: $1,100

Actual: $1,138 (minus the laptop, since I don’t start paying on it until January)

Difference: $38

Additional Income: $94

Overall I did pretty good! I’m actually pretty proud of myself. I’ve worked really hard to get my spending cut way back. I mean before I was spending around $700 a month on clothes! Thats crazy to me looking back on it. I’ve definitely improved but I’ve got a long way to go. I’m still over-spending on groceries and eating out. I haven’t really cut back on those at all.

Despite those little fall backs, I’ve accomplished some amazing goals in 2014!

I SAVED like crazy! I’ve never had a savings. Like ever. Not only this year was I able to take a trip to Argentina, but I was still able to save even more money. Obviously I have reasons for really saving like crazy in 2015, but I’m confident in my ability to do so. I also was able to start my 401k plan as well, which by next summer I should have a nice little chunk of change. Its forcing me to re-evaluate my budget as it takes around $50 a paycheck but its nice to know I’m double-saving for the future!

I treat my savings account like a bill now. Regardless it gets incorporated into my monthly expenses.

I paid off my credit card in FULL! So this was one thing I debated on for awhile. Paying it off in full would require me to dip into my hard earned savings account. But I’m really happy I did so. My plan is to pay my savings account back over the next two months, while making the minimum payments on my laptop. Then I’ll go back to my split of savings and credit card (well now laptop). It puts a little kink in my savings plan, but I’ve got some alternatives to saving a ton and making a ton in 2015.

I paid off my car in FULL! Another thing I dipped into my savings for (I also used a refund check from school loans). It was also worth it. Not having a car payment has literally allowed me to do all the things I wanted to do. I paid off my car and paid back a big chunk to my savings.

Because I’ve not only paid off my credit card and my car in 2014, my credit is slowly improving. I have a lot of messes to fix on there still, which I hope to work on in the near future. I’ve become less of a risky credit candidate and they’ve boosted my limits and I’ve gotten approved for things I never thought I would! (woot woot laptop!) Even though I kind of have to start over with credit in England, I want to have the option in the future to come back to the States with no issues. And of course…be debt free.

I’ve realized what is really important. I used to want to have lots of designer clothes and would spend lots of time shopping and buying new things. Which obviously if I had unlimited funds I would totally still do so. But I’ve realized how irresponsible it made me. Buying that $20 top and those $40 jeans or those $60 shoes is equivalent to a portion of a plane ticket, or my cell phone bill. Or what could be paying down one medical bill on my credit. It takes a lot to restrain myself, but I’ve established a needs list and I try really hard to stick to it. When I have the opportunity to, I sell clothing I don’t wear.  I don’t want to complain about being broke (because if I’m spending $x amount each month on clothes…I really can’t complain about being broke), and I don’t like listening to others complain either. I realized that its more important to me to be financially responsible and prepare for my future than to spend my free time shopping and spending money.

I still have a long way to go. Ideally? I’d love to get my monthly “food and entertainment” budget down to around $75 and my “Grocery” budget to $200 and my “shopping” budget to around $150-200. I also want to start generating additional income. In December I sold about $94 in clothing through a resale shop and on Poshmark. In January I hope to sell my old laptops and some other random bits around my apartment, plus get my jewelry up on Etsy. As well as generating some income from this blog. If I can ultimately make an additional $200-300 a month that really is a great deposit into my savings or towards my laptop!

My next goal, other than of course getting my savings together for my move, is to pay down the medical debt that is lingering on my credit. I’ve got about $4000 worth of old medical bills. A lot of them should actually be disappearing since they’re so old, but I’d still like to take a crack at some of the others that are sticking around.

By 2016 I want to be actively paying on my student loans and paying massive chunks into a retirement fund/savings account! Getting those student loans to go away will be a beautiful thing, just beautiful.

 

What money goals do you have for 2015?

 

 

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