December Monthly Spending in NYC 2013

December Monthly Spending in NYC 2013


December Monthly Spending
December expenses in NYC – Blue is fixed expenses; purple is variable

As 2013 comes to a close, these are the last you’ll see of these numbers. My take-home pay is decreasing as I finally set-up a FSA for the new year. I’d like to increase my 401K contribution. And, of course, my rent is increasing. Hopefully things other than my net pay will be decreasing. Like spending.

I’d like to spend less on eating out but I don’t see that happening any time soon. In the past, I would skip meals to avoid spending money on take-out. And to avoid making the anxiety inducing trip to the grocery store. Clearly this isn’t healthy and is something I really want to improve this year. Instead of letting money control my life, unnecessarily, in this way. Spending $10 on take-out for dinner isn’t going to push me over the edge. Ideally, once in the habit of eating normal meals, I will get back into the habit of cooking my own meals.

Most of my other spending is fine for my budget and not something I’ll worry about.

December spending as percentage of monthly income
December spending as percentage of monthly income

Fixed Expenses

My plan for student-loan-pay-off has gone into affect. This will continue to be a payment I make each month – it’s already scheduled.

This is in conjunction with a new savings plan I’m trying out as well. I have a base emergency fund in my easy-to-access savings account. But am starting to build a savings in a higher-interest account (that isn’t as easy for me to access). This way, if I truly need emergency money I have access to it. I already have these savings deposits scheduled as well. I’m excited to see this plan in action.

Next month my rent will be increasing! Not by much, relatively to NYC standards, but it’s already high enough as it is. If one more person tells me my rent is higher than their mortgage… However, I still love my apartment and have renewed the lease for another year.

Therapy costs were light this month because of the holidays overlapping with appointments. I’m hoping this percentage will remain though. Starting this month (1/14), my FSA will go into affect to help cover these expenses. I have considered reducing appointments or stopping altogether, but it is still very helpful to me. Although I’d rather not spend the money, I can afford to and it is an investment in my overall health.

Sometimes I waver on my Spotify subscription. I use it a lot but not necessarily everyday. With that said, I probably use it more than Netflix. But at 0% of my income, the savings of cancelling either just isn’t worth it to me right now.

Variable Expenses

By far my largest spending category this month was gifts, which is to be expected. I participated in two online Secret Santa’s, gave gifts to a few friends, and had a January baby shower to to purchase gifts for. Taking advantage of Discover’s 5% rewards for online purchases, I put all of this on my credit card. This cash-back game still makes me nervous! But I have already scheduled a payment to pay off the balance, so it seems to be working so far. I am sticking to using my CC for online purchases rather than in-person transactions like restaurants or groceries. My fear of getting back into CC debt is very real so for now I’m keeping the balance below $500 which is mentally manageable for me.

Clothing is something I rarely purchase. This month’s clothing spending was planned ahead of time. I had budgeted $400 for a pair of good quality Frye’s boots as they have been recommended to me by the entire Internet. Unfortunately, Frye’s boots didn’t fit my runner’s calves. With the help of friends, I purchased a $200 pair of Land’s End leather boots. These fit great, look nice, and have held up NYC walking quite well so far. As long as I get 2+ seasons out of them, I’ll be happy. Overall, I am happy with this purchase and consider it money well spent.

I want to point out that booze is on the bottom of the list this month! Considering my spending habits in previous months, I’m proud of this.

Budgeting Without Excel

Sometimes it seems there’s a learning curve to get into budgeting. You need to master some complicated excel spreadsheet, then track all your spending, mess with excel formulas, make ugly pie charts. All this just to see if you’re spending more than you’re making. That’s silly. All you need is a pencil and paper. Or markers, crayons, a white board, anything. Don’t limit yourself to a computer and excel.

At the end of the month, go through your bank statement and add up all your spending. Then add up your income. Which number is higher? If your income is higher, you’re doing good. If your spending is higher, then you’re doing not-so-good. And you’ll want to take a look at individual spending by category.

I know this may sound tedious doing it all by hand. But don’t excel formulas get pretty tedious after a while? And formatting? Budgeting is only as complicated as you make it. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all.

I’ll continue using hand-made charts for these spending recaps. They are really fun to make. And livens things up from boring spreadsheet templates.


5 Replies to “December Monthly Spending in NYC 2013”

  1. I’ve literally never used Excel for budgeting. That thing scares me. I’ve used a couple other free budgeting programmes – simple but colourful – and they did the trick.

    I really dig your graphics!

  2. One of my resolutions this year has been to stop being so afraid of budgeting. I just vaguely spend money and vaguely know what I need to have at which times of the month, but writing it down makes me panic. Your joke about crayons/paper kind of helps me on my journey to realize it’s really not that serious… but it is important.

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