January Spending Review

While I didn’t consider 2012 my most successful year, there was one life area in which I dominated.

My finances.

It took a pay-cut, a rock on my finger, and mortgage discussions to finally convince me that I needed to (drastically) change my shopping habits. I kept track of my spending, cut back on a lot of splurges, and totally changed my lifestyle and habits.

This year I want to keep track of my spending to keep me on that path to financial freedom.

My income fluctuates each month based on my commission checks. I’m guaranteed to earn $1,500/month in base pay (that’s after taxes), and my commissions vary.  In January, I only earned $570 in commission (a light month, typically I expect to earn about $1,000 in commission).  My total income for January was $2,070 (ouch).

I allocate 3% of my earnings to my 401K, and my employer matches this contribution 100%. I know it’s not a ton, but at least I’m saving a little bit and I’m not missing out on free money (employer match).  Also, I plan on saving up some money temporarily in my savings account and making a contribution to my Roth IRA at the end of the year.

Where My Take-Home Money Went: January

Rent, Utilities, and Phone – $110 (5%)… I am fortune that my rent and utilities are bundled and that I am able to bundle my phone bill into that payment since it’s in K’s name. My portion of this is pretty miniscule!

Gym – $20 (1%) – my monthly membership to the BAC. I love this payment because I got a steal on membership. Normally it’s $32/month but because I let my membership lapse for 2 years, they wanted me back so badly, and I was willing to sign a 2 year contact, they reduced it to $19.95/month. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to just ask!

Groceries – $125 (6%) – This was lighter than usual, I must have forced K to do more of the grocery shopping this month.

Dining Out – $69 (3%) – This is mostly brunches or lunches with girlfriends. Luckily K covers our date night dinners (for now, since I’m squeaking by and he is an angel).

Gas – $249 (11%) – WOW. This seems huge to me. I just got a new car for Christmas, and compared to my old Rav4, the Murano is a gas guzzler. In the past, I would spend maybe $160-180 on gas, so this has gone up significantly and I’m definitely feeling the pain!

Shopping – clothes & accessories – $129 (6%) – This includes a necklace for New Years Eve celebrations (we went to a 1920’s party) and a random trip to Target for a few new tops for work. Considering I used to drop $1,000 per month on new clothes, I’m proud of this number.

Household items – $139 (6%) – This includes drugstore purchases, my monthly birth control RX ($50 – yikes, but I can’t switch because my hormones are super sensitive and I am forever indebted to Yaz), one $4 Kindle purchase, and a new bedding set (I used a gift card on most of it but had to pay some of the balance).

Beauty – $102 (5%) – What can I say? Look good, feel good people. But really. I don’t mind spending a little bit of money on grooming. I only get my hair done every other month so this wasn’t a hair month but the total includes two manicures (bi-weekly) and some skincare products. I have only recently quit my nail biting habit, so I don’t mind splurging a little bit on manicures while I’m trying to grow my nails out.

Miscellaneous – $35 (2%) – There was a groupon deal for this spinning studio I love, so I bought it. It was $35 for 10 classes, and that usually costs $55 so I’m calling this a win!

Student Loan – $650 (30%) – So I’m trying to get rid of this thing that is hanging over my head. My balance is $18,600, and my goal is to have it paid down to a balance of $10,000 by the end of 2013. We will just see.

Savings – $550 (25%) – Saving for a few things right now: a down payment on our future home, a pre-wedding trip with my girlfriends, and honeymoon in Costa Rica.

I would call this month a success. I am extremely proud of saving 25% of my monthly earnings, and paying a big chunk of my earnings to my student loan. These loans are still in deferment (because I’m still in school) so technically I don’t have to pay them at all but I’m laser-focused on becoming debt free so I’m throwing as much as I can at them. The biggest pain this month was seeing how much more money I have to spend on gas. I probably could have done without that Target trip for a couple new work tops, but they make me smile so I have no regrets.