On Saturday I posted my final balance sheet for 2008 and wrote about my progress this past year. Each month, I take a look at my income and expenses as well to get a fuller picture of my finances. This post contains my income and expense report.
December continues to be one of the most expensive months of the year. Continue reading for the details. For the end of the year, I included some yearly totals going back several years. To zoom in, click on the thumbnail version of the table.
The “Salary and Benefits” category includes any compensation provided to me by my employer. The amount here consists almost entirely of my salary and 401(k) match. The “Other Earned Income” line is more interesting. This is the income earned by running Consumerism Commentary and a few other internet projects.
I had a successful year in terms of income. My goal for Other Earned Income was $100,000, with $125,000 as my “stretch goal.” I almost made my stretch goal. In the current economic environment, I expect 2009 will not be as successful, but I’ll write more about that when I get to setting my 2009 financial goals.
“Dividends and Interest” is down this year, despite higher balances, thanks to banks tightening their belts and lowering interest rates. This is the only truly passive income on the report. Increasing passive income should be anyone’s goal, particularly people who would prefer not to have to trade time and effort for money.
The “Taxes Paid” line includes every tax I’ve paid this year except sales tax. It includes the tax I’ve had withheld from my paycheck, my final state and federal tax bills after filing this past April, and the estimated quarterly payments made throughout the year. I’m going to have a significant tax bill come April, and I’m currently looking for a great tax accountant with experience with small businesses to help me file correctly and efficiently.
Lower gas prices have helped me keep my automobile expenses low in December. Entertainment expenses were high in December mainly due to some used musical equipment I purchased from my brother. He’s a guitarist who recently ended a tour with his band, and he’s looking to upgrade. I was happy to take some equipment off his hands.
My total expenses in 2008 were down from the previous year. In 2007, I moved into a new apartment and purchased some new furniture. While I did get some new furniture in 2008, I didn’t purchase as much as I did in 2007.
The reality is that I may not have another year that was as good as 2008. I’m hedging my bets as much as possible. At work, management is working hard to manage our expectations away from receiving a bonus and annual raise. In an economy such as this, we are often reminded to be thankful that we have a job. This may be true, but it should be motivation to focus on what makes me valuable to the organization, invaluable even, and perhaps there are other environments where my skills can be used further. At the same time, I need to work harder just to maintain my “extracurricular” income, also mainly due to the economy.
2009 is going to be an interesting year.
Published or updated January 4, 2009.