HOW I TRACK ALL OF THIS SPENDING
As you all know, I use my beloved The Budgeting Tool to track all of this, I have been using it since 2006 & all the net proceeds go to charity.
You can read more about it here.
WHY THE HELL I TRACK ALL MY SPENDING
I have been doing this since about 2006 (when I was $60,000 of debt from student loans), and it has helped me clear that debt in 18 months.
Now, it’s my wealth builder.
HOW I INVEST ALL OF THIS MONEY
I created The Investing Tool to track all of this.
I have laid out my entire (general) investing plan for myself and Little Bun here with exact funds to buy and in what amounts for both Canadians and Americans (YES I WROTE TWO VERSIONS. I AM INSANE) —– Like a Boss Investing: How I spend only 4 hours a year on my investments.
2012 INCOME = $130,210.69 for 10 actual weeks worked
I made more as a gross income, but as I’ve prepaid my income taxes, that’s pretty much my net income not counting any taxes that might arise from my investments (dividends for instance).
I’m rather surprised at this number, because I always had it fixed in my head that I didn’t work much…then I realized it was because I was thinking of actual HOURS I worked (you know, 40 a week?)
See, I only worked 10 actual weeks this year, which is why I felt unusually (usually?) lazy this year, because it was only 400 hours of brain power spent, versus the 2000 in a typical full-time job for a year.
If we average that, I made about $13,000 a week for actual weeks worked although $45,000 of that was not related to actual hours of work in 2012, so if we take that out of the equation, I made about $8500 a week in 2012 for actual weeks worked.
2012 EXPENSES = $52,043 or about 39.97%
I spent $52,043 which does not include savings or charitable donations. I took those out as “expenses” because they’re not actual lifestyle expenses.
I had a pretty eventful year if I say so myself.
I went for about 4 weeks to Hong Kong and Macau for ~$3000.
I moved to New York City about a block from Times Square, and a few blocks from Central Park for most of this year.
I am not too upset about this being over my projected “ideal household budget” which is in the $30,000 – $40,000 range because I spent a lot of money moving from one country to another, about $15,000 at a minimum by my estimates.
Note: Around $15,000 were all put into categories like “Rent“, “Transportation“, “Travel“, “Fees“, etc, because I didn’t make a separate Moving category..
Also, I let myself be a little too liberal with the Wardrobe spending this year especially near the end, with spending in December 2012 because of all the deals, the sales and discovering Ebates Canada, but I’ve mentally re-adjusted myself.
I am going to clamp down on this in another way for 2013, rather than trying my stale old methods of banning or restricting myself which never work.
(Funny how a fresh fiscal year will make you say all these wonderful things and feel like you mean it!)
2012 SAVINGS = $62,167.69 savings or 47.74%
I saved a solid amount this year, considering I didn’t work much and felt like the whole year was a vacation….. which it kind of was, if I’m being honest.
I don’t think that’s too shabby for net savings, even though my net worth begs to differ (glad the market jumped a little, however!).
I have also recently completed the rest of my donations to various charities this year which will help offset any investment taxes. So that has lowered my net worth as well, but in a good fuzzy way.
2012 END OF YEAR NET WORTH = $200,145.63
I prefer looking at net worth to see how I did, over actual dollar amount savings, because even though I save money, I am more interested if that savings stuck and my net worth increased or not.
Otherwise, I can say that I saved a ton of money, but if my net worth didn’t go up, it isn’t good enough for me. It means that I am not putting my money to grow in the right places if I am always saving a lot, but not getting ahead.
My net worth stands at: $200,145.63 for the end of 2012.
Here are the past 12 months of only looking at 2012 from January to December.
COMPARING FROM 2011 TO 2012
To know whether or not I’ve done well this year by my standards (versus last year), I always ask myself 3 major things as a personal benchmark:
Did I save at least 25% of my income?
Did I save at least $36,000 this year?
Has my net worth gone up this year? By how much?
As long as I am going in the right direction (up!) by at least $36,000 net a year (the minimum reasonable amount calculated at $3000 saved per month), I have at least met my goals.
Then it’s a question of meeting my other secret goals, like saving 50% of my net income and trying to stay within $30,000 – $40,000 for life spending.
I should try much harder for 2013 and I have a plan to do just that.
What’s that you say?
I could have actually made my $40,000 net expenses goal, and I could been more in the black if I had just not bought any clothes or wardrobe-related things this year to the tune of about $9000?
Yeah you’re right… but be quiet you. 😛
I’m not a miser.
There’s nothing wrong with a little shopping, especially having met my goals. I’m mildly disappointed but not angry at it, and I wouldn’t return anything I bought that I haven’t already.
No point in not wanting to live for the sake of reaching some mythical $1M savings goal before I even want to retire.
2011-2012 YEAR FOR MY NET WORTH CHANGE
Increase +$44,928.58 or a +29% increase
I started at $155,217.05 at the end of December 2011, and I finished at $200,145.63.
I saved $62,167.69, but my net worth only went up $45,000 or so due to the following:
- charitable donations
- investments going south then going north, then going south
- investments held in USD, waiting for a rise, which is making me very frustrated
These are all numbers that look just about right to me.
Almost all of my funds are currently a BIT below market value, and on top of that, the bulk of my assets are held in USD, so it doesn’t look so hot at the moment.
As for the currency exchange: I don’t want to convert my balance of USD to CAD and lose money, quite yet.
I’m holding out and hoping for 2013 and I will make a call either in June on what to do. I mean, c’mon! The rate is currently 0.97 CAD to 1.00 USD? I can’t stomach that loss.
If the stock market does better in 2013, it’d be great, but I’ll just focus on net savings and staying in one country. 😛
2011-2012 MONTHLY BUDGETING EXPENSES AVERAGED OUT
That looks about right, all things considered.
Everything went up except for:
- Groceries — went down by $472.51 (surprisingly!)
- Grooming/Spa — went down by $72.66
- Electronics — went down by $1686.96 (didn’t buy a new laptop this year)
- Books & Gifts — went down by $2363.49 (didn’t buy my parents expensive gifts)
- Entertainment — went down by $294.40 (was absorbed into other areas like Eating Out)
- Website — went down by $108.50
Rent really went up because I stayed in hotels when I moved, and paid 100% of it, rather than sharing the cost (50%) with BF.
Groceries — I’m kind of surprised Groceries went DOWN this year, by about $472, we’re buying smarter I think, and it helps rather than just eating mindlessly.
Cellphone went up because I got a smartphone (iPhone 4) and then I got rid of my smartphone because I saw no value in it. My cellphone bill will be about $13 a month going forward (my half of the bill).
Car/Gas went up because when I moved, I had to rent cars to get around (no one can really walk in the U.S., as everything is so far apart) and that was not cheap.
Household was nasty this year, moving to another country and back. We re-bought all the stuff for the kitchen, but then the Boxing Day sales hit in December for Boxing Day… yadda yadda. Laundry also got lumped into this category.
Toiletries/Makeup will not be this high next year. I have most of my stock for 2013 bought during sale days, and I don’t need anything else. I have all of my favourite beauty items for 2012 which I will continue to use for 2013. No more experimenting!!!!
Eating Out still looks reasonable to me, but I should probably scale back.
Wardrobe/Jewellery is still not reasonable, but I have a new way to stay in line rather than overspending.
Electronics is an area I’m quite proud of. I didn’t buy much this year because I have everything I need! I’m eying the Kobo Glo, but I don’t want to pay too much for it. I’m willing to wait, to get it at a good price.
Books/Gifts stayed nice and low because I’ve been using Swagbucks to get them for free, and I didn’t buy my parents any fancy $1000-gifts this year.
Entertainment is now a defunct category that I am removing for 2013. My entertainment is eating, traveling or buying cute things. I don’t go to the movies, or do “entertainment” (vague) things.
Travel & Accessories stands to reason to be lower than last year. I took off most of last year to travel around Europe, Asia and the U.S., and I only went to NYC and Hong Kong and Macau this year for a month. Next year, I want to go back to France, and visit other regions of France.
Website — it costs money to maintain a blog, which I am hoping will be covered by Google Adsense for 2013. Still, it is a very low amount for a time-consuming hobby, which is exactly what blogging is to me.
Work/Office — Buying office supplies, mailing things, or anything related to WORK as an expense got thrown in here.
Miscellaneous — Stuff that crops up. Legal bills are here, as are bank fees (currency exchange or wire fees for instance). I’m creating a new category for this.
2011 VERSUS 2012 CHART
NET WORTH TO DATE
MY NET WORTH SINCE NOVEMBER 2006
Hey, as long as the trajectory goes up, I’m happy.
So pretty, even with all the bumps.
I am hoping to have a nice big spike in 2013 from working (more).
MY 2012 MONEY GOAL = Stay @ $200K net worth
It was originally to save $250,000, and then a lot of changes happened, and at the end of the year, I just wanted to stay above $200,000 for my net worth.. WHICH I ACCOMPLISHED!
I ACCOMPLISHED IT!
(Yes, I had to dig through my purses for each country and count money like Euros and my emergency $20 bills, but I MADE IT!!!!)
REVIEW OF BLOG FOR 2012
I started this blog literally in the first days of January 2012 after I decided that I missed it too much, but I needed to be more realistic by scaling back on my expectations and to just relax about it.
It’ll now be permanent, I promise.
As I am sure you certainly find this as boring as I do, I will spare you the pain and just do a blog update once a year for the sake of my records.
BLOG INCOME FOR 2012
I started Google Adsense literally on November 1st 2012, and it’s my only real steady blog income which I keep and use to cover the cost of the blog (web hosting, domain name registration), and gives me a little back for the time I put into it (even though it’s really a hobby…!)
November 2012 Blog Earnings: $317.10
- Google Adsense Earnings: $17.10 with 17,095 page views
- Sponsored Link: $300 (one-time)
December 2012 Blog Earnings: $70.07
- Google Adsense Earnings: $70.07 with 21,848 page views (WOO HOO!)
It almost covered this year’s website costs.
I hope next year will be more fruitful.
RSS FEED SUBSCRIBERS = Went from 0 to 244
Started the blog around the early days of January with 0 RSS Feed subscribers.
Ended 2012 with 244 RSS Feed subscribers.
TWITTER FOLLOWERS = Went from 0 to 253
Started the blog with 0 Twitter followers.
Ended 2012 with 253 followers.
Thank you again!
MY 5 BEST POSTS OF 2012
- What should my net worth be?
- How much money should you have saved for retirement so far?
- Almost Rich: Earning $160,000 – $200,000 a year and barely making it
- How do fashion bloggers afford all their spending?
- Are single women too successful to find love?
MY 5 TOP REFERRERS OF 2012
- The Star (because of David Graham’s: Meet Generation M – Minimalists Article)
- Fabulously Fru-Girl
- Financial Uproar
- Shopping Detox
- The Asian Pear
MY 5 TOP SEARCH TERMS OF 2012
- household budget spending ideal = 828
- monet water lilies = 697
- mochi and macarons = 438
- the budgeting tool = 319
- shopping = 244
Budget + Shop + Eat.
Yep, that sounds like it describes my blog perfectly.
NOTABLE 2012 BLOG FEATURE:
- Meet Generation M — minimalists trying to live better by cutting clutter, consumption (David Graham, The Star, December 4th 2012)
MY NEW 2013 TRICK TO SPEND LESS ON CLOTHES
I’d like to do the same things as 2011 and 2012, and I always re-iterate that I should change:
- Stop spending so much money on clothes, toiletries and makeup
- Work more than 2 months of a year..
- Save more money to reach a higher net worth
- Bla bla bla….
In reality, I do want to do those things (the working and saving is a given)…. but as I don’t spend in other big-ticket areas (like having a car, furniture or a home), I feel like clothing is something I should allow myself, and to set a more REALISTIC-for-me budget in that area and/or change those stale limitations.
I don’t want to keep setting the same old stale goals that I keep breaking every year.
It just isn’t working for me.
I have gotten rid of so much stuff that didn’t add value or look great in my wardrobe, that it started to look a little bare so I’ve been carefully replacing items with higher-quality things that are cut better and flatter more…. but also cost more (as evidenced by last month’s December 2012 Shopping Spree).
I’ve noticed that I have been thrifting a lot more, and enjoying the hunt, so my changes for 2012 will be:
- Do more thrifting/consignment shopping than new retail shopping – at least 50% of my purchases?
- 100% avoid being tempted by cheap stores like Zara, H&M, Mango, Forever 21 and so on (easy..)
- Being pickier — I’m getting so much better at this!
- Total, and utter ban on new makeup purchases — I really have every beauty/toiletry thing I need
- Only allowed to buy refills
The above will make more of a difference in my budget than putting a ban or a vague “stop spending..” limitations on myself.
Have to get creative if I want to embrace and internalize the change!
OVERALL SUMMARY OF 2012
Overall, I think I did better-than-I-had-expected this year.
- Made $130,210.69 net (taxes prepaid already) for 2012, working 10 weeks this year
- Saved $62,167.69 net or 47.74% of my income
- Spent $52,043 (lifestyle only; net of prepaid taxes and savings), or 39.97% of my income
- Net worth went up $44,928.58 or 29% from 2011
- Met my 2012 goal of staying above $200,000 net worth
- Met my general money goal of saving a minimum of $36,000 a year
- Met my general money goal of saving at least 25% of my income
Could I have done better?
Well, I didn’t do as well as I had hoped but I know exactly why and where I didn’t push myself to save more, and 2013 will not be a repeat of this (it’ll be better).
Luckily the financial start to my year was great and it cushioned all the things I had to pay for.
I did all right for myself.
Not fantastic, but all right.
LOOKING TOWARDS 2013
MUST-READ BLOG TO START THE NEW YEAR: GREY CAVALIER
I have sort of a soft spot for seniors, especially really kind, subsitute-for-Grandpa-or-Grandma types. You just can’t refuse them anything, they’re so adorable and full of interesting tidbits!
I love that they remind me to take life less seriously (it isn’t a race to the end), to enjoy it, and have lots of rich, full experiences.
So I was especially pleased to find this blog: Grey Cavalier (quite aptly named), written by George White, a 92-year old man who just lost his wife Mima of 67 years. (Okay, so I teared up…)
He started the blog to feel better at the end of it by sharing how the world looks through his eyes.
“I intend to make the best of things, try to forget my pains (at least for a while), and visit some of the lovely scenery and mountains in that country [Switzerland]. I’ve seen many photographs, now that I received my first ever passport a few weeks ago I can now experience it for myself.
I would like to share my adventures with you, and at the end of it I hope to feel a lot better. I hope you enjoy what follows.”
I don’t know if I ever recounted this, but I met a lovely French couple (seniors) from Burgundy, and they were so full of stories and life, after 15 minutes, I almost invited them to visit us in Canada.
I’ve considered volunteering for those retirement homes where you go and chat with them on a regular basis, and I may do that in 2013 if I can find a place to settle down and stay for more than a few months.
2013 PERSONAL GOALS
- Avoid buying so much plastic — or at least, if I buy it, be able to recycle it in the Blue Bin
- Avoid buying things Made in China — the plastic fumes make me nauseous & the quality is low
- Read more books, or rather, read ALL the books I’ve been getting for free with Swagbucks money
2013 MONEY GOALS
- Reach at least $250,000 in my net worth by the end of 2013
- Spend no more than $30,000 net on living expenses this year (including travel) — budget coming up!
- Do freelancing for some side income of at least $300 a month on average (separate from my career)
2013 CAREER GOALS
- Work more than 10 weeks in 2013 — har har…
- Continue learning French — the worst for me are all the le and la ‘s in front of words… GAH!
- Think about getting a very expensive certification that may be helpful (have to do the ROI on this)
I hate doing too many goals I’ll never reach, but these are things I’d like to get done this year or at least think more about as I go about 2013.
Only a few are concrete and measurable like the money ones.
That does it for my 2012 year in review! I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you had a fruitful 2012 as well.
THANKS FOR ALL THE SUPPORT!