Each month, I review my modified net worth in addition to my income and expenses. A monthly review helps me stay focused on improving my financial condition, and doing so in public is a way to hold myself accountable. If I have to report to the public my progress each month, I’m theoretically less likely to make any stupid decisions.
In this post, I present an accounting of my income and expenses during the month of November 2007. For the most part, it was an ordinary month. I spent a week in California, so my vacation expenses were higher, while the relaxing time spent with my family allowed me to get by on almost no living expenses for that week.
If you’re interested in seeing the details, continue reading. A larger, readable version of the report will appear if you click on the thumbnail version.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
* The report is made with Intuit Quicken and Microsoft Excel. Here’s an income and expense report Excel template.
Explanation and Details.
My side business income, while generally healthy, has slipped in the past few months. Next year will be the year this is put to the test. I’d like to quit my day-job and focus full time of various web-related projects. Perhaps with full-time dedication I will be able to make a living for myself. I am not confident about the outlook, however. Of course, the health benefits, while expensive, are valuable in the sense that I would have to pay much more on my own.
In the mean time, there aren’t many advancement opportunities in my current daytime workplace, so I think it’s about time for me to move on, one way or another. I’d like to see how my annual review goes, but even that is small potatoes.
The realized gain comes from my employee stock purchase plan. I defer 10% of my salary — the maximum allowed — for purchasing company stock at a discount and sell usually as soon as possible.
While the “parking and tolls” category records no expense in November, that’s mainly because E-Zpass bills my credit card whenever my balance is low. Rather than recording every instance I go through a tollbooth, a very annoying endeavor, I only record the expense when E-Zpass refills my account. That didn’t happen in November, most likely due to my week of vacation.
I have some catch-up tax payments to make in December in January which should keep me from owing any penalties to the IRS. Also in December, I expect I’ll be spending more this year then ever before on holiday gifts. This leads me to my spending in total. While I’m still spending less than my income, I’m not quite happy with how my spending has grown over the past few years. Look at the year-to-date total expenses. I’ll be looking for ways to cut back a bit.
During December, I’ll also be evaluating my progress on my personal financial goals for 2007. I’d like to fulfill all my goals and approach my “stretch” goals as well.