2017 Annual Expenses – $13,697.14

penniesMy expenses in 2017 were almost $3000 less than in 2016. My expenses for 2017 were $13,697.14 compared to $16,431.20 in 2016.  My total expenses in 2015 were $16,999.41 and in 2014 they were $15,775.65. That makes 2017 my lowest spending year of the last few years even though 2017 was my highest earning year. My income the previous years was roughly 33% to 50% less than it was in 2017.

My total expenses for 2017 only includes $505 that I paid towards my student loan although I paid about $15,000 total towards my student loan during the year. Paying so much towards my student loan helped reduce my spending since it left me with less money to spend elsewhere.  Since I wasn’t required to make any of these extra student loan payments I’ve decided to leave out the extra payments since they distort what my spending looks like.

My biggest expense for the year was $5490 for rent. This amount will be even less this year as I’m only paying $435 a month for rent now. That is about as good of a deal as you can get in Kansas City.

My second biggest expense for the year was $1957.56 for food.  $1322 of that was for dining out, which I consider to be way too high. The dining out total was slightly inflated due to eating on vacation, but even considering that I think the food spending was way too high. I plan to significantly reduce food spending this year.

Two other big expenses were medical expenses of $1527.06 and household expenses of $1090.57. The medical expenses will be way up this year as I have an over $2000 medical bill due. Plus my health insurance premiums are higher. That will be slightly offset by lower household expenses this year. The 2017 total included $300 for lifetime internet and larger than normal expenses due to buying some furniture and other stuff when I moved into my new apartment. I don’t anticipate any big household expenses this year so this expense should be a few hundred dollars less this year.

My car expense was $1254.40 which is probably about what it will be again this year. The total included $570.45 for gas with the rest of the expense being for repairs, insurance, license, registration, and tax.

The rest of my expenses were $314.13 for my cell phone, $500.65 for movies and entertainment, and $1057.22 for travel. The cell phone expense should be about the same this year.  The movies and entertainment might be slightly lower now that I have Moviepass to save money on movie tickets.

The 2017 travel total included round trip airfare for two from Kansas City to Paris. It also included over two weeks of hotel, hostel, or Airbnb nights in Europe. That included the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris which would have been about $800 a night if we had been paying cash. I also had a short four night trip to Vegas. The use of credit card points, discounted gift cards, coupons, and travel deals allowed me to get an excellent amount of value for the amount of money I spent on travel. I’m not sure how much I’ll spend on travel this year. It will depend on where I decide to go and what kind of deals I can find.

My guess is that my expenses will go up this year. Last year was a pretty lucky year that mostly didn’t have any expensive surprises. I’m sure there will be some surprises this year, but hopefully they won’t be too expensive and I can keep my spending in the same range it has been the last few years.

December Expenses Plus Year End Net Worth

Here is a breakdown of my expenses for December.

Household $22.16
Rent $435
Entertainment $116.10
Transportation $77.51
Food $151.25
Travel $0
Phone $24.96
Health $246.82
Total $1073.80

 

December was a another good month for expenses. I would have made my monthly goal of $1000 if it were not for medical expenses. That is getting to be a recurring theme.  I have a very large medical bill that I need to pay over the next couple of months so the theme of medical bills making me miss my target expense level will continue for a while. There is nothing I can do about the medical bills I’ve already incurred, but I’m going to be much smarter about medical expenses this year.  I need to stop incurring these medical expenses which never seem to improve my health.

My monthly food expense was too high again. The total was a little lower at least.  This month I’m setting a budget of $50 for eating out. I have a fair amount of food in my apartment so it will be easy to keep my food expense low if I don’t spend more than my allotted amount going out to eat.

The entertainment expense was a little high due to buying a discounted Hulu gift card to prepay for a few months of Hulu. There was also a dinner expense that I put in the entertainment category.  Other than that my expenses this month should be about the same as last month.

2017 Year End Net Worth

Assets

  • Cash – $3139
  • IRA  – $35441
  • Roth – $1743
  • Solo 401k – $3306
  • Stuff – $2000
  • HSA – $1100

Liabilities

Student loan – $117,743

My total assets of $46,729 minus my liabilities of $117,742 results in a net worth of $-71,013.  I managed to increase my net worth by about $15,000 this year.  With the stock market contributing 20% returns the result should have been better, but the roughly $7200 a year interest on my student loan makes it difficult to make progress.  A $15,000 increase on about $40k income isn’t too bad I guess.  I plan to do better this year.

December Income – $3081.25

Here is a breakdown of my income for December.

Interest $2
Amazon FBA $391.12
Cash Back $21.22
Online $208.34
Credit Card Bonus $108.91
Credit Card Other $150
Job $2199.66
Total $3081.25

 

December’s income was pretty good. I managed to make over $800 from my non-job sources of income. My job income was down a little due to taking advantage of the ability to have extra unpaid time off at Thanksgiving.

This month is the start of the tax season which means that I will have overtime hours available the second half of the month. That paycheck won’t be received until February so the increased job income won’t show up until then. I doubt I’ll be able to make as much from my non-job sources of income this month.  This year I intend to increase the money I make from credit card and bank bonuses, and to increase my FBA income as well. This month will likely be a decrease from December, but it should still be a decent month.

 

2017 Review and 2018 Plans

With the New Year it is time to look back at the old year and make plans for the current year. To prepare for this post I looked back to see what my plans for 2017 were at the end of 2016. I didn’t make any goals for 2017, but rather listed a few different plans that I might follow. I ended up not following any of them.

There was a somewhat positive reason for not following my possible plans. I ended up getting hired full-time at my tax job.  That put the kibosh on my traveling plans and my plans to look for a different job.

One of my plans for 2017 was to finish my hike of the Appalachian Trail. My tax job limited the time I had to do that. My job does have an annual eight week unpaid vacation which I could have used to hike. Instead my GF and I traveled to Europe. We spent several days in Paris with a short two day side trip to London. My GF was only able to stay for nine days. After she left, I traveled on to Brussels, Bruges, Amsterdam, and a couple of Amsterdam suburbs. We neither one had been to Europe before and were happy to finally visit.  My three weeks in Europe were the highlight of 2017 for me. The trip made me wish I could travel more.

The full-time job didn’t really help my finances as much as would have hoped. One reason for that is that I paid a lot towards my student loan during the first half of the year. My failed house purchase also wasted some money.  I did manage to make a maximum contribution of $6500 to my IRA. And I also put a couple thousand in my solo 401k and a thousand in an HSA.  So I guess I didn’t do too bad financially. It just seems like I should have made more progress after sacrificing a year of my life for a job.

Overall 2017 was just an okay year. I would like 2018 to be better. Here are some of my plans to make 2018 better. These are just preliminary plans for now, they will be fleshed out to actual goals later.

Save/Make More Money

I made the most money I ever made in a year in 2017.  Still, it shouldn’t be difficult for me to  make more money this year.  All I need to do is work more hours, especially the more lucrative overtime hours that are available during tax season. I’d also like to increase the money I make from my non-job sources.

I should be eligible to contribute to a 401k at work this year, although I haven’t received any sign up information for it yet.  Assuming I am able to contribute to the 401k, I should easily be able to increase the amount of money I save this year. I’ll be eligible to contribute $24k to the 401k.  That won’t be easy to do, but if I’m able to do it that would be a big increase in savings for the year.

Finish Hiking the Appalachian Trail

I have about 800 miles left to have hiked the entire AT.  During my eight weeks off of work, I should be able to finish this hike. This plan could get derailed as I’m often being tempted by cheap airfare to places I’d like to travel. I don’t know when my eight weeks off this year will be yet. If they end up being in July or August I’ll probably scrap the plan to finish the hike since I hate hiking in the heat. Hopefully, I’ll have time in late Spring or early Fall and will finally be able to finish this hike.

Lose Weight

This seems like it is a goal every year.  I did manage to lose 30 pounds back in 2014. I quickly gained most of that weight back though. Last year I ended up gaining even more weight and now weigh more than I did in 2014. I’m at my heaviest weight ever. There also some other health issues I have along with the weight.  I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and prediabetes.  Those health issues should improve or possibly go away if I get back to a healthy weight.  This year I need to get serious about losing weight. It is the most important goal I’ll have this year. I’ll write a separate post about this later.

If I’m able to complete all three of these goals 2018 will be a great year.

November Income – $2481

Here is a breakdown of my income for November.

Interest $1.95
Amazon FBA $-198.14
Cash Back $24.04
Online $169.43
Job $2483.72
Total $2481.00

 

November’s income was okay. This is roughly what my income will be in a two paycheck month where I don’t make any money from my side hustles. Although I did make a little money from my blog and cashback that was negated by a loss from Amazon FBA. I had a return of an over $300 item. I usually avoid buying these more expensive items due to the risk of a costly return, but I took a chance on this one since I got such a great deal. I should still be able to sell the item as used this month and make up the loss.

It should be a good month for FBA with all of the holiday shopping. I just need to get some inventory sent in. Other than that I don’t expect much change in my income this month.

 

November Expenses – $1055.78

Here is a breakdown of my expenses for November.

Household $17.16
Rent $435
Entertainment $51.16
Transportation $65.46
Food $193.41
Travel $52.53
Phone $27.06
Health $214
Total $1055.78

 

November was a another good month for expenses. I would have made my monthly goal of $1000 if it were not for the $111 doctor bill I paid during the month. When I switched to employer insurance in September my deductible reset which was bad for me since I had already met the deductible on my marketplace plan. If I still had my marketplace insurance the doctor visit wouldn’t have cost me anything. Even before meeting the deductible on my marketplace plan doctor’s visits were a set $35 a visit.  On the plus side, my employer insurance is an HDHP which will allow me to open an HSA and put some money in there before the end of the year giving me a tiny bit of tax savings.

My monthly food expense was way too high again. If I had kept that expense to a reasonable $100, I would have made my $1000 goal. I ate out nearly every day and sometimes twice in a day. My plan was to cut back on my food expense in November. Obviously, I didn’t follow through on that. I’ll make that my plan again for this month and I intend to actually follow through on it this month. I don’t have any travel planned this month and I have a fair amount of food in my apartment so it would be easy to keep my food expense low if I just don’t go out to eat too often.

I had a little bit of travel expense this month due to my four night trip to Las Vegas. I had already paid for one night hotel.  This month I paid for another hotel night and had two nights comped. I also had a Lyft ride to the airport, a bus pass from the airport, and paid to select my seat on my Spirit flight to Las Vegas.  Added to the expenses I previously paid I still paid well under $100 for four nights in Vegas, including round trip airfare from Kansas City.  I won about $40 gambling so the trip ended up costing me about what I would have spent if I had just stayed in KC during that time.

How was your month?