The Stoic’s Spending Revealed! December Edition

Last month I reported my expenses for the first time on this blog and true to my word I’ve decided to report them again this month.  I think I see why I became a little lazy in tracking my personal expenses; there isn’t much change from month to month. Granted, this is only two months, but it’s also very similar to some of the months I did track my expenses last year.  I don’t use a budget, but my December numbers are very similar to November’s.  I’m going to track all of my expenses for 2015 so I can account for the random oddball spending that occurs over time, but here is a prediction, my expenses will average out to $1100.00 a month for 2015.  Hold me to it guys and gals.

Let’s look at some numbers and then I’ll add my thoughts:

Nov and Dec Expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total spending on food dropped, but still makes up a large amount of my total monthly spending as you will see in a moment.  For the month of Dec. my spending on food basically transitioned from eating out to eating at home.  I think in Jan. I will see a noticeable drop on food expenditures.  Since I had been eating out most of the time my pantry was pretty bare and there were several things I needed to buy over the course of the month to allow me to cook at home more often.  Things like sugar, spices, flour, oils etc. that aren’t on the shopping list every week.  Now I have a fully stocked pantry going in to Jan. as well as a freezer full of meals that would last me for 2-3 weeks if I didn’t cook at all.  I do a lot of cooking with the slow cooker this time of year and each time I made something I would freeze a portion of it. This means I have an assortment of chili, potato soup, vegetable soup, chicken noodle soup, and stews  on hand and ready for easy prep.  This has worked really well for me, as it’s super easy to thaw one of the meals, heat it up and enjoy a meal with very little effort.  Having a variety of things already prepared means I don’t get bored with what’s available.

The electric/gas bill went up last month which corresponds to the arrival of winter and firing up the gas furnace.  This will be elevated through February.

Gift expenditures were for the holidays.  Not much else to so say on this one.

Everything else was about the same.  In the shopping category I purchased some thermal underwear, books, and a travel mug.  Books made up just under half of the amount reported.  I could probably report my book purchases under entertainment as I typically buy 2-3 books a month and it really is my main mode of entertainment.  What can I say, I’ve always been a reader since childhood.  I blame on it on my aunt.  She would always read to me when I was a kid and I loved it.  The lesson here is don’t read to your kids or they may grow up to develop a nasty reading habit! 🙂

Piechart

As you can see food continues to dominate my total expenditures which I feel is a bit absurd.  We shall see how Jan. shapes up.  Total spending wasn’t much different from last month even with the additional money for electric/gas and gifts.  So here is a question for you, not only how it applies to my life, but yours as well; would increasing or decreasing spending improve my quality of life? And when I say improve I mean a lasting improvement.  Sure, I could increase my spending in the shopping department and perhaps buy some gadgets that might give me a temporary spike in enjoyment and then fade, necessitating yet another purchase to maintain that feeling.  I’ve been down that road and I can say from experience, it doesn’t lead to a “good life”.  You probably know where I stand on this topic, but I’m curious if there is perhaps areas that would substantially improve my enjoyment of life if I were to spend more money.  Looking forward to your thoughts.

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10 thoughts on “The Stoic’s Spending Revealed! December Edition

  1. I always believed in finding life’s pleasures through experiences and not things. I am a learning and photography junkie and tend to spend my entertainment dollars through museum memberships and photographic outings.

    I think the key factor is knowing what gives you real pleasure and then enjoying as much as you can of it within the confines of time, distance, and budget. Good luck finding your balance. I’m looking forward to reading about your progress.

    • Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts.

      The better part of the past year and a half has been finding a balance between needs, preference, and wants. For most of my life I let my desires run free and gave little thought to the damage my behavior was having own my freedom. It’s very much an area that I’m still exploring. What I enjoy doing and what I believe constitutes a good life costs very little. A good deal of my time now is spent on creating my own “economy” of sorts that supports my lifestyle with very little need for money as the medium of exchange. It’s been interesting to say the least. I suppose there are worse ways a man could deal with his midlife crisis eh? 🙂

  2. Your monthly cost of house insurance is about half of my annual cost of condo insurance! Have you checked if you could save money by paying the insurance less frequently than monthly? Other than that, it’s really hard to see much room for improvement in your spending!

    • Leigh,

      This ones a bit my fault and I’ve been a little lazy in looking following up on it. I usually pay it yearly, but when they increased the premium on me I decided I would look at other options. I can increase my deductible and have it lowered, but I also want to look at other quotes. A reminder that I need to look into this…
      Thanks!!

      • I think I set my deductible on the condo policy at $2,500. I also find that the premium goes up every year, which they claim is because they increase the $ amount that it covers every year since it costs more to replace stuff.

  3. Stoic,

    Great job with the expenses!

    I’m curious as to how you don’t have any health insurance expenses up there? For me, that’s a substantial portion of my expenses, even with a HDHP bronze plan. I could probably seek some subsidies down the line once I’m living off of dividend income, but that’s assuming I stop earning any type of self-employment income. Hosting for my blog is also a fairly large expense as well. Those two alone are more than $300/month!! I suspect you don’t have any expenses for your self-employment? Or do you count that against income?

    I think we’re always interested in changing, optimizing, and cutting, but it seems like you have a good thing going on here. Maybe you just don’t need to spend any more or less. This seems like a good target for you. Allows you to continue spending on things you like (eating good food, liquor, entertainment) and things you need (housing, transportation, etc.) while still saving. That’s a great balance already. 🙂

    Cheers!

    • Great questions DM. I’ve been without health insurance for over a year now. I’ve always had it through an employer, but now I realize I need get serious about purchasing a policy for myself, which is on this months to do list. My understanding is that I should be able deduct this as an expense against my self-employment earnings ( correct me if I’m wrong) and if that is the case you won’t see it reported in my personal spending that I list here.

      All of my business related expenses are reported separately from what is listed here under my personal expenses. The jobs I do are often material intensive and thus my direct costs are usually quite high. Indirect costs are overhead, things like fuel, advertising, tools, etc., and these have been coming down over the last couple of months. One of the things I will be doing this year is deducting expenses related to my home office which while not a pure reduction of an expense, will show up as reduced housing expenses under my personal expense reporting.

      This is an area I’m still learning about so if you or other readers have any thoughts on the subject I would love to hear about it.

      Where my spending is right now seems about right. I think there is room for improvement, but any improvements I make I want to be long term adjustments in the way I do things, not just a short-term mindset of needing to achieve a certain dollar amount in a certain category. I think food and shopping are areas that can be improved upon while not impacting my quality of life in the least.

      • I’m not knowledgable about your state laws, income, or life situation – but have you checked into your eligibility for Obamacare? With your spending so low, if you can show a similar reported earnings from your business then you might get a hefty subsidy.

        For my family of 4, we dropped from $750/month to $400/month with a high deductible. Once we move to KY, our kids will actually get free healthcare, so it will drop even more. And given that the majority of my taxes go towards things I’d prefer not to fund, I don’t mind taking the hand out.

      • BNL.. Thanks for stopping by!

        Honestly, the subsidies are something I haven’t looked at closely enough. I probably should add this to my list of financial to-dos.

        I certainly wouldn’t mind reducing the premium costs. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Pingback: Projected Spending For 2015 | The Stoic Investor

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