Happy new year, savers and debt-slayers! December 2015 turned out to be kind of a spendy month. Even though I bought many of my Christmas presents in November, I bought a few more in December; spent money on travel over the holidays; and dropped several hundred $$ on gremlins, including two years of hosting and domain registration. Even so, the month turned out OK, with a big chunk of change added to my down payment fund. But enough summary: to the numbers!
1) Travel. I offset the expected expenses here by only taking out $200 in cash (since I knew I’d be mostly eating at my parents’ for nearly two weeks.) I spent money on gas and tolls for the 10-hour-each-way round-trip drive home, as well as a few meals out with friends. Notice there’s nothing in the normal “gas” category…that’s because all the gas money I spent this month was for this trip.
2) Gifts. This included some items for close friends, as well as postage for Christmas boxes and the big ticket item, $78 spent on food and supplies for a holiday dinner I cooked at the community where I volunteer.
3) Personal/medical. This is the portion of my annual eye exam that my insurance didn’t cover, along with my co-payment for two boxes of contact lenses. I’ll have to buy more contacts in 2016 but I’ll have FSA dollars to help pay for them so that’ll be good. Unlike last year, I didn’t have to get new glasses, so the overall cost is perfectly fine!
4) Gremlins. After saying earlier this month that there weren’t as many of these this year as I expected, here are several just in December! I renewed the registration for my car, prepaid for two years of hosting and domain for the blog (guess I’ll be doing this for a while), and paid an $85 fee to the TSA for five years of Pre-Check. I finally got fed up with standing in long lines and taking my shoes off at the airport. I rushed to get that done before the holidays because I knew I’d be flying during the first week of January for a conference.
Kind of neat that my spending is almost exactly matched by my savings! I wanted to scrape a little extra into my down payment fund, despite the spendy month, so that I could get it up over $6000 — and I did…
…as you can see. Last month I somehow forgot that I had $100 of the down payment fund stashed elsewhere (long story, will be resolved in January). This month I contributed $1075. Everything else is pretty typical. The markets were depressing, but I can’t argue too much with my own spending, so I’m calling it a win overall, despite missing my hoped-for target of $35,000 by quite a bit. I ended December with a net worth of $34280, an increase of $1328.
Year-End Final Wrapup
I began 2015 with a net worth of $14020. That means that in 2015 I’ve increased my net worth by $20260, despite getting very little help from my investment accounts. Over the two-year stretch encompassing 2014 and 2015 I’ve increased my net worth about $45000. 2014 represented a greater increase (by about $4500), but since my salary was about 15% higher that year and the stock market did much better, I think I am prouder of my 2015 growth. I saved 51% of my after-tax income this year, and I can’t argue with that. Since I paid off the last of my credit card debt in December 2014, I am also celebrating a full year of debt freedom. I think I’ve met the vision I laid out for myself a year ago, and I hope that I can do well also in 2016.