Well, here we are only a few hours to midnight and the start of 2014! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been spending my New Year’s Eve tallying December’s spending and making graphs, the perfect way to ring in the New Year, with a little bad champagne, of course.
I’m pleased to report that for maybe the second time ever, my tabulation works out, and I can safely say that I have accurately recorded every penny that came into and out of my life in December. I am also pleased to report that I am ending December in the black. That means that for half of 2013, my income outpaced my spending (and of course for half of the year it did not—New Year’s resolutions!).
To be honest, I am most proud of my chart, seen below. It is concrete evidence, not so much of my spending and earning, but that I was able to stick to the YMOYL philosophy for a full year. Sure, my spending bounced around like crazy, and in September I earned nothing at all, but I prefer to look at November and December. Look at that upswing! Look at the promise of the new year! This chart is a year’s worth of effort, and I am proud of it.
And of course, there are next year’s goals. In 2013, I outspent my income, mostly because of student loan debt, but also because of careless spending on my part. I would like to see that change in 2014. In 2014, I would like more months in the black than in the red (a.k.a. Goal #6: Spend less than I earn). I’ve also started tracking my savings for H.’s wedding. So far, I have $610 saved. I would like to have at least $2,000 saved by October 2014.
I’ve also looked at my spending in certain high categories and I know exactly where I want to target my savings next year. My car disgusts me, but cutting costs in that area is going to take a thorough attack. For one thing, I need to stop needing my car for work, so that I can cut gas costs. That means I need to focus on my work performance and fight for a promotion. I also need to look carefully at my maintenance and repair costs. I pay to have my oil changed, but that is something that I ought to be able to do myself. Goal for 2014: oil changes.
I don’t often take the time to reflect on my accomplishments. Crossing off a goal often launches me into the next one, and this exercise has been no different. I finished my 2013 graph, and launched into goals for next year. But I would like to take a moment and raise a glass to me (which is easy to do because I am by myself right now). Here’s to starting this financial process. And more than that, here’s to continuing this financial process. I didn’t start 2013 in great financial shape (though it wasn’t terrible), and I didn’t really know what I was doing with this blog. I didn’t realize it would become a daily endeavor. But it has, and it continues to be rewarding. So cheers to that. I’ll see you back here tomorrow.