Taking A Look Back

My financial well being is an on going experiment. while I do take time to review my progress monthly I find December a great time to take a holistic view of the project.

The scientific method is the perfect way for me to assess, with a side benefit of all those high school science projects coming in handy.

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The ongoing question for me is: How can I live the life I desire within my means

The hypothesis was that I can use frugal tools to increase my savings for multiple goals.

This year, I experimented with significantly tightening my proverbial belt. I began this year by undertaking a frugal challenge in January. In March, I decided to up my savings and reduce my spending allowances.  In addition to the 2017 BHAG I hosted 2 friends from out of country and tied a vacation into an international conference.  The last two points meant that I pulled money from savings to cover unanticipated costs so my savings lines didn’t go as far as they have in previous years.

The benefit of monthly tracking also means that I have a lot of data to use. I was able to see how much I went over/under a budget line on average, recognize pain points and areas in which I need to further assess, as well as compare my proposed budget to my actual spending.

So how did the experiment that was 2017 go?

  • I was over budget 7 out of the 11 months so far
  • My significant pain points in order are Misc, Groceries, with Fashion and Eating out tied for 3rd place.
    • Misc items have included the Costco membership and upgrade, wedding attire for ML, Parking costs and hotel when there’s no money in the vacation line, gifts when there’s no money in that savings line
    • This year I’ve decided to take care of my face and my feet, however, I hadn’t really given myself a realistic budget line for those items so fashion went crazy
    • Eating out is something I’m really going to have to get back under control. A great deal of it had to do with being housebound until April and craving human interaction.
  • While the above three are the major pain points on average I’m overspending in all but one area: Bunny. Missy Bunny is the most frugal creature in the household!

ML and I spent a great deal of time this week reviewing the 2017 spending and coming up with the 2018 budget. That post, however, is for another day!

Image from here.

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