Hello dear readers, I’ve finally returned after being buried in some books for most of January studying for one of my professional development courses. Good news is that I passed, and I have my evenings and weekends back (for now).
I’ve never really thought of my blog as a job for me, and I’ve never made any money off my blog(s). But I think that I really need to carve out some dedicated time to spend on this blog. More so as an obligation to myself, more than anything else. I’ve really slipped up these passed few months, and haven’t been managing my money as well as I should be. There are a number of
excuses reasons, and I will go into further detail in upcoming posts, if you’re interested.
I spent this Friday night and this evening working on my 2012 expense spreadsheet, tallying up my spending and comparing it to my spending the year prior. Maybe it’s the engineer/analytical side of me, but I LOVE seeing my own numbers and comparing all my data, to see how I can better utilize my money. Even though, it takes dedication, I highly recommend everyone track their expenses – even if it’s just for a few months. Don’t worry about falling off the bandwagon, the important thing is to get back on it and plow forward.
Last year, I compared my 2011 spending with what I spent in 2010, and adjusted my 2012 forecasted budget accordingly. There were a lot of changes for me in 2012. I switched jobs. I went on an unexpected 3-week trip to Italy with my sisters. BF moved to Boston for his MBA. I moved downtown with my sister. My acne got crazy bad.
Without further adieu, I present to you my 2012 expenses against my 2011 expenses.
2012 vs 2012 Expenses
More $$$ in 2012
Overall, I spent a lot more money in 2012 than 2011. I believe this is called lifestyle inflation. Eeks!!
The top categories where I spent more money was housing (both in rent and moving/decor), groceries, toiletries and clothes.
I went from living in a basement apartment in the outskirts of the City to a downtown apartment. I love my apartment and love sharing the space with my sister. We are so close to everything.
My sister and I are both avid cooks. We have both been cooking a lot, and also buying better quality food. I’ve also adopted a new “diet” of sorts which stemmed from my detox. Eating better food is definitely worth it.
I spent a tonne of money on toiletries this year. My skin completely broke out in October and it was truly scary. I will dedicate a separate post to exactly what happened, what I did, and how much I spent.
When BF moved to the USA, a completely new avenue of shopping opened up for me! It was good for my closet (which was severely lacking in professional clothing) but terrible for my wallet. I’ll dedicate a separate post of how I built up my professional wardrobe, what I bought and how much I spent.
Less $$$ in 2012
Even though it may appear that I have spent less in a lot of categories, these categories were smaller expenses. My two proudest achievements are the decrease in transportation costs and eating out. Since I walk almost everywhere, I spend about $30 a month on public transit, and $30 for car sharing . Next year, I won’t have to pay any car insurance, which is another $1,500 – $2,000 in my pocket.
I’ve also decreased my general savings and RRSP contributions. I have a fair amount of cash saved that I should probably move more of it into investments. Before I switched jobs, I was contributing almost $900 monthly towards my RRSPs. After the switch, I left my ING automatic contributions, but wanted to re-evaluate my situation after I signed up for my new company’s pension. Then, I kinda kept procrastinating… and here we are. PF blogger fail, right?
Conclusion and moving forward to 2013
It was a lot easier saving when my rent was less than $400 a month!
Now, that I am paying “real world” rent, it is even more important that I track my expenses more carefully. If I want to have a high savings rate – I want to aim for 40 – 50% saving rate, it will take a lot more effort. Right now, I am saving about 25% monthly.
In addition to my month expenses, I want to compile a new spreadsheet which will show my anticipated cash flow on an annual basis. Since I anticipate more sporadic expenses this year (destination wedding, travel to USA, holiday?, etc), this will give me a quick overview of the year’s cash flow.
Now to do my 2012 goals recap…. oh boy…
Readers, do you enjoy analyzing where you money goes and comparing it to previous years? What do you learn when you look back on your spending?