I spent a lot in December. This started off with Christmas gifts and some home purchases and went south from there.
- December spending
- Total - $7788
- Total without student loan prepayment - $5788
- Mortgage - $2805
- Home purchases - $532
- Student loans - $2270
- Groceries - $391
- Restaurants - $240
- Alcohol - $73
- Bills / utilities - $407
- Car - $313
- Shopping - $424
- Gym membership - $229
- World of Warcraft subscription - $80
- Movies - $24
Student loans included my usual payment of $270, but I also made a $2000 prepayment on my Sallie Mae loan. This was basically the size of my year-end bonus, so I still have some cash to make another sizable prepayment in the new year.
Groceries are were a little high but otherwise in line with my expectations. I think we can do a lot better on groceries going forward. We had a lot of leftovers this month and built up our pantries substantially. I'm looking to reduce trips to the store in January. That should positively impact our bottom line.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I consider a restaurant budget of ~$200 to be in my best interest in the near term. This month it was mostly because of a fancy New Years Eve date that was very enjoyable. I included alcohol as a separate item this month. The $73 was spent on wine to bring to holiday parties, restocking my wine cabinet, and getting different flavored schnapps for mixing drinks at home.
Utilities were $119 for water, $95 for FiOS, $108 for electric, and $85 for gas. Water is a quarterly bill. We lowered our FiOS bill after the statement was issued, so our next bill will include a pro-rated credit. I'd like to see the Nest reduce our gas bill below $80 for the next few months, but that's just guesswork and wishful thinking for now.
I had to fill up my gas tank like four times this month on account of making multiple trips to NJ for the holidays. This is much more than I like spending on gas. Fortunately the holidays are over and I'm going to keep out-of-state car trips to a minimum in Q1 2012.
Oh shopping. This is a combination of Christmas gifts, discounted gift cards, and trips to the store for other holiday shopping. I'm not proud of this line item. It's what got me serious about coming up with a frugality muscle exercise routine for January — the topic of tomorrow's post.
Gym membership was a huge mistake, and the topic of a future post. In December we made our final monthly payment, so this is off our budget going forward.
Last is entertainment. I used to play World of Warcraft all the time, and I decided it's a good medium-term habit in terms of cost efficiency, so I signed up for 6 months. I'll reevaluate later to see if it's an expense I want to cut. Movies were three redbox rentals, Netflix streaming subscription, and a trip to the movie theater — only $11 since I had a coupon for a free ticket.
This was not a good month for Mustachianism. I feel like I took my eye off the ball. I mean, the numbers speak for themselves. I spent entirely too much this month. There's reason to believe a lot of the spending was transient, but that's not an excuse. Here is a small consolation: I still spent below my May-October average.
All I can do is try to improve next month. I'm glad to take the time to reflect, and to get myself back on course.
Happy new year everyone.