Money Matters – No Resolve

It’s been over a decade since the last time I made a new years resolution. I don’t much care for them but I get the general idea that a new year is a great time to make plans. There are lots of things I could have resolved to do this year:

  • Lose weight
  • Get to the gym regularly
  • Spend less
  • Cook more/eat at restaurants less
  • Build a side hustle
  • Finish restoring Margie
  • Be a better sister
  • Make more friends
  • Drink less
  • Blog more (hey, look – accomplished!)
  • Learn to sew
  • Walk more
  • Learn a language
  • Create more
  • Read a book a week
  • Write a book
  • Be more social

Ultimately, with my work and travel schedule, many of these become difficult, but I can make shorter-term plans to work on specifics in month-long stints. This month I’m focusing on spending less and cooking more at home. They kind of go together, after all.

I’m a big fan of putting work-related spending on my personal credit card so that I can get the miles/points, but by doing so I realized that my ability to clearly track my spending was compromised. As 2017 came to a close I started using the company credit card for all work-related expenses to make our personal spending tracking easier.

My wife has expressed confusion and concern about not knowing where things stand or how we’re doing financially. So after December ended I was able to easily pull together a “Monthly Statement” of sorts from my Mint.com account. While it took 20-30 additional minutes to break things out into the detail that would be most meaningful to us, it was well worth it. I shared the statement with my wife and she seemed to dig it so I’m going to do this monthly.

My wife is just getting started in her second career and any money she earns goes into her business account so isn’t reflected in our income. Here’s how our spending breaks down from my net income:

  • Mortgages: 30%
  • Regular Recurring Bills: 4%
  • Optional Recurring Bills: 2%
  • Groceries: 4%
  • Restaurants: 6.5%
  • Pet Care (vet, grooming, food): 2%
  • Gifts (Christmas, yo!): 6%
  • Random Spending: 24% (holy crap, that’s a lot!)
  • Leftover: 21.5%

My goal is to reduce some of these numbers (restaurants, gifts, random spending) to increase the leftover. The mortgage number is artificially higher than it needs to be as we pay extra toward the principal of each mortgage. The overage alone accounts for 4%

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