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Personal Income Statement, October 2008 (Net Income: $9,074)

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Despite the 6% decrease in my net worth in October, my income and expenses were healthy. My income was at my expected level for both my salary and “extracurricular” income. October’s expenses were a little higher than expected, but still within an acceptable range.

Each month, to accompany my balance sheet, I publish my income and expense report to keep myself motivated to make decent decisions about the management of my money. I’ve done a good job of using Consumerism Commentary to hold myself accountable. As my income increased, however, I’ve allowed myself more leeway while continuing to spend less than I earn.

To see my progress, continue reading this post. Click on the thumbnail for a larger version of the income statement.

Income and Expense Report, October 2008

The above report is made with Intuit Quicken and Microsoft Excel. Here’s an income and expense report Excel template.

Income

My salary and benefits consist of the paycheck I receive from my day job as well as my 401(k) matching contributions. 25% of my paycheck is invested in my 401(k) and starting in November, the percentage will increase to 50%. I will not max out my contribution this year, but I will next year after adjusting my percentage again. Also, 10% of my paycheck is diverted to my company stock purchase plan, which lately has not seemed like the benefit it once was due to the lackluster performance of my company’s stock.

The “Other Earned Income” category lists the income I receive from other activities such as writing online. At this point, I’m able to determine that changing my policy earlier this year to not accept text link advertising on this website has set my income back about one year. I mentioned last month that I am still considering leaving my day job to pursue my other interests full-time. The latest analysis claims that next year will be tough for those who earn money through advertising, so I’m going to continue taking a cautious approach.

Nondiscretionary expenses

Although I was able to save money on food and groceries last month, my expenses this month seem to have made up at least part of the difference. The recent decrease in gas prices is also helping to ease my expenses. My utilities expense was higher in October because my September electricity bill ($125) was paid in October as well as my October electricity bill ($90).

Discretionary expenses

This month, I initiated a sustainable membership with WNYC, a public radio station affiliated with National Public Radio. I listen to the station during my commute in the morning and the afternoon. Each month, $10 will be deducted from my credit card (paid off every month, of course), and included in the “Charitable Contibutions” category. WNYC is a large organization with an operating budget amounting to millions of dollars. Usually, I like my charitable contributions to make more of a difference for the organization, but I’m continuing to re-think my strategy for giving.

Every year, I travel to visit family on the west coast over Thanksgiving. I purchased tickets for my cross-country round-trip flight last week, finding a decent deal on JetBlue. I decided to pay an extra $60 to reserve seats with extra space on both ends of the vacation.

Expectations for November

I expect a decrease in my outside income in November and going forward, but I might make up for the coming month’s difference thanks to freelance writing for a major magazine. I should manage to also decrease my expenses in November. Stock market performance, with the largest effect on my net worth, is a primary concern, but I need to spend more time focusing on decreasing my expenses and increasing my income.

In November I plan to experiment with a cash-only payment option. Where possible, I plan to use only cash rather than credit cards to see if the change has an effect on my level of spending. This is will be somewhat difficult when I purchase gas for my car; I’ll need to make sure I withdraw enough from the ATM. This will also limit my ability to purchase items online, which is unfortunate due to Amazon.com‘s low prices when compared to local stores at which I usually browse. It will be an interesting experiment.

Updated September 16, 2009 and originally published November 3, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar William

Flexo, thanks for posting this. I think it is incredibly instructive to have someone lay out their finances so clearly – it shows everyone what is possible, as well creating a degree of accountability for you. Did you read the article in the NYTimes this past weekend about money clubs? (“Forming A Club To Share Financial Wisdom”) It talks at length about why being open with your finances can be a great thing.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

William: I have not read that article but it sounds like it’s right up my alley. I’ll check it out. Thanks!

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avatar NoOn8

What is with these ads for PROP 8? One of them features a photo Joe Biden who is NOT in support of prop 8 at all.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

I don’t see any Prop 8 ads. They’re being served by Google directly to you, possibly based on the web pages you’ve visited. If you don’t like an ad, tell me the URL and I’ll determine whether it should be blocked. Unfortunately, with Google AdSense, I can’t determine which ads are displayed to which visitors, and I’ve never seen a Prop 8 ad here.

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avatar NoOn8

Guess google is trying to sway me over to the other side. The ads go to this site [deleted]. I see two on either side of the column every time I log on here.

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avatar PerDiem

Hi Flexo: I’m new to your blog. Could you tell me how old you are? Thanks!

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