It’s time for the last savings update of this year as the December expense data will be covered in January. The year has flown by in a breeze and ushered in the cold dark depths of hell(winter)!
I’ve gotten past the ugliness of last month and while there was one bill for my medical expenses that fell into this month; most of that is behind me and I can get back to savings rates that are in the double digits. Anything above last month’s 8% will be a welcome sight and I think I actually controlled my spending pretty well this month.
There was that one medical bill but also some discretionary spending in the form of a new warm jacket and hoodie that cost a pretty penny. I’ve always been the type to buy cheap clothing but felt like winter is one of the areas in your wardrobe one should really splurge on and I did just that this year. The new jacket is a huge change from the cheap ones that barely kept me warm and has actually made me enjoy winter(I usually hate it) a bit more since I can walk around in comfort and not be miserable and cold.
Beyond that, winter months are slow at work which gives me time to recharge. The good thing about the end of 2016 in particular is that I have four work days left and then I get to enjoy a nice eleven day break! I’m certainly looking forward to that as it’ll give me a preview of life after early retirement.
I’ll be glad to have that time to reflect on the year and look forward to the year ahead.
I already have some ideas of what I want to do differently for 2017 and where to best devote my time and it involves a potential way to increase my income. I’ll make a post about that soon as it deals with a way to turn a hobby of mine(writing) into a potential income generator that can help increase my savings rate and shorten my time to retirement! It’s something I did in the past and earned money with but I never stuck with it and since it’s something I want to do in retirement; I figure it’d be good to get back into it and get more practice while doing it.
However, that’s a story for another post however so let’s take a look at where my money went this month.
First up is the gross income breakdown.
I’m back to a respectable 28.19% after last months disaster! When you add in employer contributions that number increases to 33.2%. I’d like to see this number at 33% or above before employer contributions on a regular basis so I’m not quite there yet.
Now let’s look at the savings rate.
I’m going from 8% last month to a respectable savings rate of 39.0%! That number jumps to 45.8% when you add in employer contributions.
This is actually my biggest month since July which was a 3 paycheck month and the biggest two paycheck month since I started tracking this data. October might have been bad but it’s right in the middle of two solid ~39% savings rate months which is nice to see.
My expenses this month were actually pretty low despite spending a pretty penny on a nice jacket. I didn’t necessarily go out of my way to save extra but these colder winter months do lend themselves to less spending as I often choose to stay in over going out due to the weather.
Let’s take a look at my expense breakdown.
Rent is the biggest expense as usual and it’s actually higher this month as a % of overall expenses due to the lower expenses as a whole. The car expenses are second as usual and higher for the same reason.
The two other expenses here that were above average were due to the final medical bills listed under medical health as a well as a spike in the clothes expenses due to some winter purchases. I may buy some additional clothing items in the near term that may keep those expenses higher above zero in the next couple of months.
It’s an interesting change in strategy for me to buy one good expensive piece of clothing that I expect to last a while versus buying a new mediocre one every two years so we’ll see how it works out. I do think the new North Face jacket I got is much much better(so much warmer!) than the one that it replaced but also hope it can last a while to make the cost worth it.
There’s nothing super exciting here past that – just the regular wrap categories in similar percentages as normal.
I’ll make sure to do a full year wrap up once the December data is analyzed in January but I’m already seeing some trends here like the fact that pets are expensive. Live in girlfriends are also a boon to savings rates as cost-sharing and realizing efficiency between two people is a big deal. Whole Foods is expensive and removing them entirely from my grocery shopping trips saved me a lot(Trader Joe’s is my go to now). I’m sure there’s more but those are the ones that immediately stand out to me as I look back at the year so far.
I’m really liking what this blog is making me do in regards to my finances. It’s been a big boost for not only my savings but also my portfolio and I hope that continues into 2017 as I gather more data and can compare and contrast between years.
That’s it for today. I’ll see you soon for another post about trying to monetize my writing hobby via self-publishing on the various eBook websites in 2017. Here’s to an enjoyable rest of 2016 and a happy and healthy 2017 to all.