Tag Archives: money

My 2018 Spending

12 Jan

I’ve been meaning to get around to this post for a while now, but since it’s still January I think it’s relevant.  I’m going to go over the percentages of my income that I spent, saved, and invested in 2018 and which categories I spent my money on.

In case you haven’t read my recent post titled Shopping Ban 2019 I’ve decided to only purchase essentials in 2019.  One of my major impulse buy categories has been yarn, knitting patterns, and other crafty items because they bring me so much joy.  My goal in 2019 is not to have impulse buys on anything, but especially on craft supplies…but more on that in a later post.  Go back and read about my 2019 shopping ban for more.

I have a post called How I Track My Spending which is how I’m easily about to compile these numbers and data.  I love the app and the insights it gives me.

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Ok, now for the nitty gritty! Here’s where I spent my money in 2018 (in percentages):

  • Mortgage 23.52%
  • Savings 13.57%
  • Extra House Payments (all to the principle) 7.36%
  • Independent Investments 7.36%
  • Vacation 6.79%
  • Eating Out 5.14%
  • Groceries 4.4%
  • Yarn 2.87%
  • Gifts 2.42%
  • Phone 2.2%
  • Water Bill 2.18%
  • Dogs 2.14%
  • Beachbody/Fitness 2.14%
  • Spinning 1.64%
  • Fuel 1.58%
  • Home 1.45%
  • Internet 1.2%
  • Miscellaneous Shopping 1.18%
  • Car Insurance 1.17%
  • Car Maintenance 1.1%
  • Cash Withdrawals 1.08%
  • Medications 0.96%
  • Knitting Patterns & Supplies (not yarn) 0.86%
  • Work 0.79%
  • Natural Gas 0.77%
  • Craft Supplies (other than knitting) 0.75%
  • Clothes 0.72%
  • Electricity 0.69%
  • Beauty 0.55%
  • Tax Preparations 0.51%
  • Entertainment 0.5%
  • Books 0.13%
  • Contacts 0.07%
  • Coffee 0.07%
  • Chiropractor 0.05%
  • Netflix 0.04%
  • Life Insurance 0.02
  • PrepDish (meal planning service) 0.02%
  • Fitbit 0.01%

Looking at my percentages overall I am pretty happy with mosts things, but I know I can do better going forward.

When I look at the yarn, spinning fiber, spinning wheel, knitting patterns, and all the other crafty things I bought in 2018 it adds up to 6.12% of my income for the year.  That is slightly less money than our 10 day vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico cost.  I’m not saying I won’t buy knitting and crafting supplies in the future, but I know I definitely want to use up a lot of what I already have and plan my purchases to be much more intentional.  I keep reminding myself that there will always be pretty yarn, and I do not NEED all the pretty yarn.

With my clothing being less than 1% of my income you can believe me when I say I do not like shopping for clothes AT ALL!  Never-the-less, I actually do have to wear clothes.

One of the biggest areas I hope to see a drastic change in for 2019 is my eating out budget going WAY down.  We have already been using PrepDish (a meal planning service) since September 2018.  I was able to pay for a full year upfront and will probably continue to reuse this years meal plans into the future, meaning it will be a one-time expense.  Eating more vegetables and healthy foods cooked at home, knowing exactly what goes into everything, has really made me feel so much better about what I’m eating.  I do still love a good meal out though.

Most importantly I want my savings, investments, and extra house payment percentages to all go up this year!  This girls got goals!

What are you guys doing to reach your goals?  Did you track your spending in 2018?  If you haven’t started tracking your spending yet, I highly encourage you do so.  If you haven’t started tracking yet we’re still early enough in the new year to start now (it’s really never too late to start).  You might just be amazed when you realize where the majority of your money is going each month.

Shopping Ban 2019

13 Dec

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I finally took the plunge and made the official announcement on my social media pages, specifically Instagram and Facebook…and now here of course.  My belongings have really been weighing on me lately.  It seems like my four bedroom house with a two car garage isn’t big enough for the two people and three dogs living here and I can’t figure out why that is.  I have way too much stuff!

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I’ve been thinking about reducing my spending, reducing belongings and clutter, and doing a shopping ban ever since I read Cait Flanders book The Year of Less.  I feel like this lifestyle fits into the fact that I really want to be able to start saving and investing a lot more money than I have been.  I really got a late start on planning for retirement and I feel so far behind.  I know I do not want to work for the rest of my life.

I feel like my thoughts on exactly what the shopping ban means for me are scattered and not as exact as they probably should be, but this is where I’m at right now.

This doesn’t mean I won’t still buy things. Food and other essentials are ok. Anything that breaks and is a necessity is ok.  Anything I find myself needing day after day that I can’t find a different solution for can be purchased.

Along with this I want to get rid of stuff too. My life feels overwhelmed with stuff at the moment.  I want to get rid of clothes.  I wish I could get rid of my work clothes because I don’t really like them, but I don’t like dressing up in anything so just changing the clothing wouldn’t make a difference.  I just don’t feel like me in anything other than jeans, t-shirts, and sweatshirts.  I’m a simple girl.  I think I’m going to try an experiment of putting away a lot of clothes I currently have in my wardrobe (closet and dressers) and if I don’t go for any of those other items in a year then I will get rid of them.  I gained 40 pounds in four years and in 2018 I’ve lost about 20 of those pounds so I have clothing in lots of different sizes.  This alone makes me nervous to get rid of too much right off the bat.  This is also why I have accumulated a lot of crap…because most of it doesn’t fit anymore.

I have been blessed to have been given a body and mind capable of working hard. It is so easy to change up your lifestyle with every pay raise, resulting in really no raise at all.  A raise should mean I have more money leftover at the end of the month, not less.

I’m going to keep splitting my leftover cash each month three ways: 1/3rd to savings, 1/3rd to investments, and 1/3rd towards the principal of my mortgage.  I’ve been doing this for at least a year now and I really like how it works out.  I keep thinking that one my savings account gets to a certain number (I’m not sure what that number should be) that I will again take a lump sum of $10,000 and invest it straight away in one shot.  I did this the first time I opened my Vanguard account and I really like seeing that huge jump in numbers.  It’s super scary, especially because the last time it was my first time every doing something like that.  But almost three years later I still have money (more than I put in) in the account so I must be doing something right.

As far as my crafting, that is still going to be huge in my life. I’m going to finish projects I know I have yarn for. I’m going to use up what I have before I buy more. If I’m out of sweater quantities of yarn and I’m ready to cast on I will purchase only what I need for the intended sweater/garment. I will not mindlessly buy patterns, I will wait until I’m ready to make that item. I’ve bought so many I thought I needed but now know I’ll probably never make.

I have already drafted up what the crafting world calls my Make Nine for 2019.  I have all the yarn I need to make all nine of these projects and they are going to be the main focus of my knitting in 2019.  As you can see, I should come out at the end of the year with a lot more sweaters I can wear!  I’m always cold so this is a big win for me.

The sweaters, in order from left to right and top to bottom are Pavement, Breathing Space, The Weekender, Parisian Dreams, Radiate, Antler Sweater, Exploration Station, Humulus, and The Doodler.

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I want to hike and enjoy the outdoors more. I want to be present in my relationship more.

I know there are more goals I have currently, and I’m sure as I go through this process I will discover new ones too.

I’m excited, nervous, scared, confident, and calm.  I have no idea how one idea can make you feel all these things but I can assure you it can.

How I Track My Spending

16 Apr

Hello readers!  I’ve been wanting to type this up ever since I did my review on The Year of Less but I just haven’t taken the time to do it.

I personally started tracking every penny I spent in January of 2017.  Actually I started before that but I was entering everything into my home computer in Excel and I was lucky to get to it once a week, it was a pain in the butt and definitely didn’t show me a real-time picture of my finances.

Knowing that tracking my spending only once a week or so was not going to cut it for me I set out to find a good spending tracker app.  I read a lot of reviews and people were recommending the App Mint, because it does a lot of the work for you.  I’ve tried Mint years ago and didn’t have much luck.  My accounts were difficult to sync, and I don’t honestly love an app that will connect to all of my bank/credit accounts.  It’s too invasive.

I ended up downloading an app called Spending Tracker for iOS (yes I do use an iPhone) but it appears to also be available on Android devices as well.  The icon looks like a little brown wallet.

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There is both a free and a paid for version of this app.  I was happy to use the free version for the whole first year I used it and then finally upgraded in January to the paid version because I knew I was going to continue to use this app nearly every day (sometimes more than once day) for a long time to come.  The free version worked great for me, I just had to deal with an ad every so often.

What I love about this app is that it goes with me wherever I am because I always have my phone.  When I’m in the checkout line I enter my expense immediately and I get a real-time insight to my current monthly balance.  I do have auto-pays set up on some bills which means I do have to check my bank balances and enter those when I see them come in but this has been by far the easiest way I have ever kept track of my money.

Here’s an example of what you would see when you open the app with data entered in (no this is not my data).  You can click on the February link and change your options to “Weekly”, “Monthly”, and “Yearly” which is a great option.  Personally I have mine set up for monthly because I get paid monthly.

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If you want to see the details of every transaction you’ve entered you click the “Transactions” button and it takes you to everything you’ve entered.  You can edit these entries if you need to.

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And this is what it looks like to actually enter a transaction.  It literally takes seconds to do which is why it’s so easy to do it right when you’re in the check-out line at the store.  I especially like that you can enter your own personal notes which has been helpful when buying gifts so I can know which gift it was and who it was for.

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At the end of every month I take my leftover balance and divide it three ways (because this works for me).  I take 1/3rd and place it into my savings, 1/3rd into investments, and 1/3rd towards an extra house payment.  The nice thing is that I made these as actual entries into the Spending app so I can see my percentages (turn your device sideways and it shows you percentages in either a pie graph or a bar graph) for the month.

This tool has been so valuable to me.  It has made me stop in my tracks when I’ve been ready to buy something because it is much more impactful to see the balance go down right before your eyes and to stop and think if this is really a purchase you want to make or not.

I suppose I should say that I am in no way endorsed by the company who has made this app, I just know I like using it and it works!  I hope this tool will help you to reach your financial goals too!

The Year of Less

1 Apr

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You guys….I’m back and I actually have a book to review!  It’s been so long since I’ve blogged or even read a book.  There have been a few but not many that have wanted me to change my life.

The book is actually called The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store and it’s written by Cait Flanders.

I don’t know if I have ever had a book make such an impact on me personally.  This isn’t the first time in my life that I’ve gotten rid of things I didn’t need or even attempted to spend less money, but it definitely is a different way of looking at this same topic.  When Marie Kondo came out with her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up I read it and dove right in to changing things.  I got rid of a lot of clothes and other things in my home too.  The problem with this is that you are supposed to keep things that bring you “joy”.  What does that even mean?  I ended up keeping things I shouldn’t have and getting rid of, just a few, things I shouldn’t have.  All-in-all it was a good thing though.

For my life right now I, unfortunately, have to keep some things in my life that don’t bring me joy because they are necessary for work.  My work wardrobe isn’t joyful, but at this point in time it’s not supposed to be.  Things are oversized and baggy but that’s what I need them to be.  The Year of Less has a much more practical approach: have you used the item in the last six months to a year? Do you plan on using it soon?  If the answer is no then you probably don’t need it.

I also really like Cait’s approach to current “needs”.  If you feel you need something today think about if you also needed it yesterday.  If you need it today but didn’t need it yesterday wait for a month and see if you still need it, then think about buying it.

She also has a practical approach to “stockpiling” which is huge for me.  I’ve been much better in the past few years but I used to purchase lots of lotions or other body care products because they were on sale if you purchased several.  I still have lotion from god knows when that I haven’t even touched.  I guess I’ve had it in the back of my mind that if I didn’t have these things available and I NEEDED them then I wouldn’t be able to get them.  News Flash: everything is available all of the time.  In this day and age where Amazon Prime gets here in two days and I have a store less than five minutes away there is no such thing as an emergency I can’t fix at the touch of a button or a quick drive.  There is no reason to have a bunch of back-ups on hand.  From here forward I will be using what I have and replacing it only when and if I am about to run out and have no other alternatives.

Cait makes it a point to track all of her spending and has goals on the percentage she wants to save each month.  I already track all of my spending, which I’ve been doing for the past year using an app for my iPhone called Spending.  It’s an awesome app that shows you percentages and categorizes your spending into as many categories as you could possibly want.  It also allows you to make notes about each purchase if you want to.  I’ve been doing this for over a year and managed to pay my car off a couple years early by applying every penny I had leftover each month to my car payment.  Now I split my monthly leftovers into thirds and apply one third each to savings, my house payment, and investments.  That being said I know I could be doing better.

I’m ready for some simple, mindful living!