While September wasn’t as bountiful as August, I’m still adding to my bottom line. Even though my balance sheet showed a decline, it was mainly due to unrealized losses in investments, not a lack of income.
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.
Over the last few years, a larger percentage of my income has come due to the blog itself, a situation that was not originally part of the plan. To see my progress, continue reading this post. Click on the thumbnail for a larger version of the income statement.
If you’ve been following Consumerism Commentary, you may notice that I’ve revised the report a little. This new version of the income statement consolidates business expenses and separates “nondiscretionary” from “discretionary” personal expenses.
My salary plus my employer’s matching contribution to my 401(k) adds up to exactly $4,000 each month ($6,000 in two-paycheck months) since my promotion and second raise earlier this year. I guess the question now is how long to continue working at this job while I’m earning more than twice as much outside of it.
There are two main reasons to stay at my current corporate job for the short-term, the subsidized medical and dental benefits and the relatively stable source of income compared to an unsteady and untested self-employment income. I continue to evaluate this every month to determine whether the free time granted by quitting this job would allow me to earn as much as my day job salary, benefits, and subsidies.
With a concerted effort, I was able to save money on groceries this month. I’ve already made up for that savings with a large supermarket visit this past weekend to stock up on food for a few weeks as well as by spending more money on dining out.
September’s healthcare expense resulted from a trip to the dentist this past month which involved some work not covered by insurance. The expense made up for the savings in my electricity bill, which was lower due to more favorable temperatures.
A friend of mine is involved with the search for a cure to Polycisctic Kidney Disease. I helped her run a fundraising event in September and helped with a small contribution. Before the year is over, I have more decisions to make about charitable contributions.
At the end of last year, I created a charitable gift fund to help organize my charity, but I invested in the stock market, which has faced a significant decline this year. I think I learned from this mistake and will in the future put any money destined for charity within a year into a money market fund; the money invested in the stock market will be for future charitable contributions.
This still leaves the question of where to invest, the subject of another post.
My “Dining Out” category probably doesn’t my actual expense. I have been less diligent about tracking my cash spending. In order to fix this problem, I am trying out a new piece of software for my BlackBerry. My first obstacle is remembering to use it.
Expectations for October
This month I should see nothing out of the ordinary in terms of my salary. I am working harder to increase my business income this month, however. Most of my time is spent writing, which doesn’t come as easily to me as it does to others. However, through speaking to colleagues, I believe I have a lot of room to increase my income, so this month my plan is to determine how I can bring that income up to the level of comparable individuals.
In October, I plan to purchase airline tickets to visit my family on the west coast, and travel expenses seem to increase all the time. It’s getting more difficult to find deals on flights.
Published or updated October 5, 2008.