Reviewing My Income and Expenses

Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme is having a 30 Day Early Retirement Extreme Makeover.   One of the goals of this makeover is cut your expense level to $10,000 or less a year.  I thought I was close to this goal already since I try to keep my monthly expenses at $1000 a month or less and I knew I was below that level a few months this year.  After reviewing my expenses for the year I realize I’m farther away from the $10,000 goal than I thought.  Although I did have some months below the $1000 level I had more months above the $1000 level.  I’m estimating that my total expenses will be about $15,000 for this year and  my total income at about $12,000.  This is not as good as I thought but that is part of the reason why I track my income and expenses; so I can review them and tell how I’m doing.

Looking at my expenses my budget busters are transportation and entertainment.  The transportation category is somewhat misleading because I drove my car delivering pizza most of the year.  Some of that expense should really be a deduction from income.  Still there is plenty of room for improvement in the transportation category and I will be making some major changes there.  Some of the increase in my entertainment expenditure is from having a GF but most of it was just the result of stupid decisions on my part.  This expenditure can easily be reduced just by choosing more free or low-cost options for entertainment.

Since the new year is almost here I’ll go ahead and set a couple goals now.  The first is to have my expenses under $10,000 next year.  The next is to have my income higher than my expenses.  These are reasonable goals and I will be planning specific measures to achieve them.

Goals Review and December Goals

At the beginning of this year I made three goals for this year. They were to incur no new debt(other than student loans), improve my blogs, and to lose twenty pounds. The year isn’t over but I’m going to wrap up these goals now. The first goal was easily met and I don’t plan on incurring any new debt ever again. The second goal was also met. This goal is somewhat subjective but I have increased my readership on this blog from under 100 readers to occasionally over 300 readers. I’ve also increased my online income overall by an even bigger percentage. I feel it is fair to say that I’ve improved my blogs. The third goal will not be met. In fact I will most likely end up with negative progress on this one. With the holidays coming up I will likely gain weight rather than lose it. This goal will be revisited next year with a specific plan for losing weight.

I’ll be out of school for most of December so that is a great time to get stuff done. I’ll be setting a couple of goals for myself and hope to get more done than that. My first goal is to write an article a day for either Associated Content or eHow. That should give me a good idea of how much time I should spend writing for these sites in the future. My other goal is to build two static websites. I’ve had the ideas and the domain names for these websites for several months now but haven’t gotten around to building them. I don’t have time to start another blog but I’m hoping that once these sites are up they will produce a little income and rarely need to be updated. I’ll probably add to these goals before the month is over but I need to do these at the very least.

August Goals Update

Made some progress on my goals last month.  Listed below are the goals I set at the beginning of the year and the progress I’ve made on them.

  1. Don’t acquire any debt other than student loan debt.  I’ve met this goal but I have accumulated more student loan debt.
  2. Lose 20 pounds.  I haven’t done well on this one.  Earlier in the year I gained eight pounds and didn’t get back to my starting weight until July.  I only lost one pound in August.  I’ll have to lose nineteen pounds in the last four months of the year to meet this goal.
  3. Improve my blog.  This is somewhat subjective but I feel I’ve met this goal.  My readership has greatly increased since the beginning of the year.  Last month I installed a new theme and readership went up.  There will always be room to improve more though.

Overall, I’m doing okay on my goals but I need to keep working on them to avoid any setbacks.