For this post, I will share my plans for this year and some goals I’d like to achieve this year. These won’t be SMART goals now. There will be later posts where I list specific actions I’ll take to reach these goals.
My big plan for the year is to return to Thailand at later this year and marry my girlfriend. After that, I will apply for a visa so that she can live with me in the US. The visa process takes quite some time so it will most likely be next year before the visa is approved.
I have three simple goals for this year. The first is to weigh 170 pounds and maintain that weight. That is a healthy weight for my height. The last time I weighed that was probably sometime in the early 90’s. It will be difficult to get to this weight, but I do believe it is a reasonable goal.
My second goal is to finish hiking the Vermont section of the Appalachian Trail. Since my free time might be limited as an alternative I might hike or bike the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is actually longer than the Vermont section of the A.T., but it would require less travel and I could do bigger mileage days.
My final goal is to make at least $30,000. Although that might not seem like much it is more than I’ve made the last couple of years. If this goal ends up being too easy, I’ll adjust the amount upwards. I’m going to have a lot of expenses this year so I need to make more money.
Each month I will share specific actions I am taking to achieve these goals. What goals do you have for 2022?
My annual expenses for 2021 were about $2000 more than the $13,526.69 I spent in 2020. That was an abnormally low expense level. My annual expenses for the past few years were $16,826.37 in 2019, $17,433 in 2018, $13,697 in 2017, $16,431 in 2016, $16,999 in 2015 and $15,775 in 2014. My annual spending seems to stay in the area of $15k a year. I expect my spending in 2022 will be a little higher than in 2021 due to a possible car purchase and one other thing I’ll discuss at a later time.
My expenses won’t be broken down to the same level of detail as in previous years since I don’t see an easy way to get annual figures from Everydollar which is what I currently use to track my expenses. If you know a way to get the annual figures from Everydollar or know a free budget program I can use to get annual figures please let me know.
The above table provides my annual expenses broken down into 11 different categories. Further explanation for each category is included below.
Mortgage is my monthly mortgage payment. This will stay the same every month. Any extra mortgage payments I make I count as savings and won’t be included in my annual expenses since I don’t consider saving to be an expense. Rent is what I paid for one month in an apartment in Thailand. I’ll have more rent expense this year.
The household category is basically any expense that doesn’t fit in one of the other categories. The biggest expense in this category was a new mattress.
Transportation expense includes all of the cost associated with my car and any public transportation costs that aren’t travel related. This will probably stay about the same unless I buy a new car.
Food includes both grocery and restaurant spending with restaurant spending being about 2/3 of the total. This expense will probably be about the same this year. Perhaps, a little higher since food is getting more expensive and when I’m in Thailand I’ll be buying food for my girlfriend as well.
My phone is with Google Fi and it should cost me about the same this year. I might switch to a different carrier to save some money.
Travel was my second highest expense. I went on two multi-week hiking trips, a trip to Vegas, spent a month in Spain and a month in Thailand. Considering all I did this level of expense was quite reasonable. Covid testing and other requirements related to Covid raised this expense total about $500. I’ve also got travel vouchers with three different airlines due to changed travel plans due to Covid. If this pandemic ever ends my travel expense should go down. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use my travel vouchers this year and reduce my travel expenses a little.
Entertainment included paying for streaming services, a digital newspaper subscription, going to the movies, and miscellaneous other entertainment. I’m guessing I’ll spend about the same this year.
Health was a little bit higher than normal since I paid for a gym membership all year and had ear surgery. I don’t expect to have either of these expenses this year so this expense amount should go down.
I wasn’t required to make any student loan payments last year. I’m not sure why I made the random $5,84 payment.
Some months I included gifts in the household expense category rather than tracking them separately so this total was actually a little higher. This expense will go up this year since I’m going to help support my girlfriend while I’m back in the US.
That is how I spent $15,486.61 to live in 2021. I think I had a pretty good quality of life for the year and received great value for the money spent. If you have any questions about any of my spending, let me know. How was your year?
Looking back to my January 2021 post I didn’t make any goals for 2021 at that time. I did list three things I’d like to do. They were to hike the Camino de Santiago in Spain, complete my section hike of the AT, and spend three months in Thailand.
In September 2021 I went to Spain and hiked about 300 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago. I skipped around some since I didn’t have time to complete the entire hike. I hiked the last approximately 164 kilometers from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela as a continuous journey which qualified me to receive an official Compostela certifying the journey I’d completed on the Camino. I count this plan as done, although I might go back someday and hike more of the Camino.
I did hike more on the Appalachian Trail, but didn’t come close to finishing the trail. I did finally complete Massachusetts which wasn’t too hard since I only had about 4 miles to hike to finish the state. I also completed about half of Vermont. I’d like to go back and at least finish the Vermont portion of the AT sometime this year.
Lastly, I want to spend three months in Thailand. Due to the immigration rules, I did not fulfill that plan. I did make it to Thailand at the beginning of September and will be here until January 28th. I will come back to Thailand at least one more time this year. As of this writing, the one night quarantine Test and Go program I entered under isn’t available. I’m hoping it will return. If not, I will enter under one of the quarantine of Sandbox programs. I didn’t want the expense and inconvenience of entering under one of those programs last year, but now I don’t want to be apart from my Thai girlfriend for too long so I’ll do one of those programs if it is my only option.
I did make one goal in 2021. I made a goal to lose 29 pounds and motivated myself to meet that goal by making a wager with Healthy Wage. I did manage to lose the 29 pounds and I’m working on losing more. I’ll set some goals related to my weight and health in a future post.
For now the only plans I have for 2022 are to do a section hike of the AT sometime during the year and to return to Thailand at least once. Overall, I’m happy with what I did in 2021 and hope to improve in 2022. In a future post I will set some financial and physical goals for 2022.
December was a poor income month. This wasn’t unexpected since I spent the month in Thailand.
I made $9 from a mystery shop.
My Amazon FBA side hustle made $0. I didn’t have any income or expenses during the month.
Dividend income came in at $63.09. I believe this was my first month with over $60 in dividends. If you sign up using my Robinhood referral link we will both get one share of free stock. Thanks to anyone who signs up using my link. Every little bit helps.
I lost $473.12 selling stuff on eBay and elsewhere. I had some returns, paid some fees, and unloaded some dud items before the end of the year.
I received $65.64 in cash back income. If you sign up for Rakuten using my referral link you can start earning cash back too and I’ll get a small bonus for referring you. These little bits of referral income help me keep the blog going.
I received $2.94 in interest.
I received $479.95 from my last doc review job paycheck.
I’m now in Thailand and will be staying here until January 28th. That will keep me from earning much money, but I should at least be able to avoid the losses this month. How was your month?
My December Expenses were a bit higher than normal which was expected since I’m now in Thailand and paying many daily expenses for my girlfriend.
Entertainment expense was for a New York Times digital subscription, one month of Hulu at 99 cents, one month of Thailand Netflix, a couple’s Thai massage, admission for 2 to the Chiang Mai zoo, and admission to a couple of other local attractions.
The mortgage payment was my regular mortgage payment.
Transportation was for public transportation in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. If it were just me this would be much lower since I’m content to just visit places within walking distance while my girlfriend likes to visit places that are a bit farther away. This expense is still very cheap so I’m not complaining.
My food expense was way more than normal. This was due to eating out nearly every meal and also paying for my girlfriend for nearly every meal. I might get this total down a little this month.
My phone bill was $27.79. That is about the normal amount when I’m not traveling.
The household expense was for a haircut, a mattress topper, and various other things that were needed either for the apartment or for my girlfriend. This should be a bit lower this month since we have most of the stuff we need for the room now.
I also spent $200.61 on gifts and charity. I usually lump this in with the household expense. Since it was a lot larger than normal I listed it separately this month. This expense was for a phone for my girlfriend and a couple of charitable contributions.
Health expense was for monthly gym dues and various medicines and supplements.
Travel expense was down quite a bit since most of the travel expenses for this trip had already been paid. I paid $5.60 in taxes for an award trip from Chicago to an airport near my home for my return to the USA later this month. I paid $21.70 for a flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok to catch my return flight home. I paid $34.09 for a hotel my first night in Chiang Mai and for a night in Bangkok for my return trip. Lastly, I paid $95 for the annual fee for my Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
This month’s expenses will probably be about the same amount. If we decide to take a trip to the beach the expense will likely be a bit higher. I’m happy with this level of expenses since I feel like I’m getting a lot of value from my expenditures.