December 2016 Tracking

December 2016 Tracking Report

I wanted to put together a Net Worth Tracking report but did not really know the best process or layout. Then I remembered that there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path, so I was excited to start with the most basic layout possible. It will be great to see how these reports evolve along with (hopefully) my financial knowledge.

 

December was an interesting month in a lot of ways. I have only been tracking my financials for a few short months as I got pushed into fiscal overdrive mode by credit card debt in attached to a company education reimbursement. I just do not do well with any debt, and it all just seemed to spiral and caused me to feel very hectic. Even though it was good debt for education that was getting reimbursed tax free, I just did not have a solid enough picture of my finances that it just caused undue stress. In December there was the personal victory of finally getting the reimbursement and clearing the debt on the final day of the year, but also the failure of one of the most abysmal months at work commission wise. I was not sure I wanted this to be my first month, but I thought that it would be a fun view into a spendy New York City month to compare to No Spend January 17 next!

 

Transactions

 

Bills – $5,007

Starting off with the painful stuff first. Finally was able to pay off the course I had on my credit card for the past three months as my reimbursement came through. This gets my debt back down to a level that I can understand and more easily track without getting stuck in the weeds.

 

Birthday – $395

I celebrated my 28th birthday this past month and it was a blast. It was pretty lavish as my girlfriend got us a helicopter tour of NYC that had some hidden fees and eating at the best vegan place in town with my family is always a good way to celebrate. I generally never celebrate my birthday so this is an acceptable splurge. If you get the chance – Helicopter NYC – you won’t regret it.

 

Eating Out: $285

Any food not cooked at home goes here. My company actually covers a few breakfast staples and lunches twice a week. I do spend and eat out the rest of the time because I feel ahead. This is one budget that needs to be slashed in the coming year. I love NYC food, but this is of the same boring meals each day. Not bringing me optimal happiness so it must go.

 

Groceries – $158

I never fault myself a large grocery bill because it’s the cheapest route you can go. I had a lot left over from the previous month and we ate with our families for most of the holiday week, so this will likely go up next year. I would rather overspend on groceries any day as the alternative is ordering overpriced delivery. This is a category I hope to increase in the coming year as it would make other categories like snacks and eating out shrink!

 

Gifts – $1,100

The bane of my year. I had 5 weddings this year and had to travel to most of them. Between accommodations, gifts, clothes, peripheral events- I likely spent $6-7,000 on weddings this past year. I have five more weddings this year and I expect to gal my way through them as cheaply as possible. Christmas was somewhat light this year as I manage to convince more and more of my family to do no gifts. No gifts still was roughly ten gifts and it caused me no end of stress. I am going to aim to get my presents online by the final week of November this upcoming year to spare myself.

 

Health – $470

Another oversized category for this month- I had a long delayed doctors appointment to get my foot fixed. I have some of the flattest feet you have ever seen, and this was only recently fixed with a pair of $350 Orthotic custom insoles. The difference is so night and day I would have paid triple to have been smart enough to do it even a few months earlier. Prior to these insoles I was hobbling around like an old man at age 27. Other costs included protein and pre-workout for the gym. Buying bulk orders of Pre-workout allows this to not be that regular of a purchase and still gives me the juice I need to pump some iron after working 12 hour days.

 

Business – $72

Small monthly costs associated with running test advertising campaigns and websites. I fully expect this to ramp up to be a large monthly expense as I become more comfortable and spend more time with my system.

 

Entertainment – $30

In a month of spending on others, I did buy myself one. Overwatch is one of the more popular first person shooters out these days, and it was recommended to me by a friend who recently got back into gaming. As a way to reconnect, I bought this during its Christmas sale even though I have plenty of games already. Worth it purely for the camaraderie of playing with old friends, the game itself is pretty meh.

 

Home – $87

This will need to be organized better in the future but this category currently covers an extravagant dry cleaners session in which I cleaned every suit I own to look fresh in the new year. More importantly this is where we budget the feed for the two starving Philadelphia street cats that keep me awake at all hours of the night.

 

Invest – $831

I have two auto transfers set direct into my money market account along with 4 auto transfers into cash savings. I have been doing the cash transfers for years, I swear by Capital One 360. For vanguard drafts though, this is a relatively new system and I can’t accurately gauge how much I like it. The way I do mass manual transfers conflicts with this at times. It may be a method that just doesn’t jive well with variable pay. I set this up for months with minimal earning as it mandates saving and figuring life out after paying myself.

 

Snacks – $88

This is a category I absolutely detest. My girlfriend and I have a large appetite for non-meal goodies. I can cook till we look like hippos – we will still be craving plantain chips and candy at 11 pm. The saving grace is that most times I’m buying snacks is times where the alternate possibility would be us going out and spending ten times the amount at a bar. I have supported way too many deli’s with this category over the past few years, 2017 is the end of it.

 

Transit – $198

I did the math poorly on my transit card for the year as generally my commutes are covered out of my paycheck on a pre-tax basis for some minor savings. Instead I had to Credit Card them for the month and technically get it all for free with the Chase Sapphire Reserve ravel credit. I cover most commuting costs for myself and my girlfriend happily; at my previous job I used to drive 90 miles each way in a gas guzzling Ford Explorer. Anything less costly is a win in my book. I used Uber this month generally only to get to and from my car parked in a nearby town with better street parking. I used the Charger sparingly and did not need to fill up. It has been stored at my fathers for the foreseeable future.

 

Vice – $735

December and the holidays in general is a difficult time for partying. Living in NYC and paying for drinks for two tends to put a decent dent in this category each month. I do feel very fortunate to be in the position I currently am, so instead of giving to charity I will often take care of friends and pay when we go out for a night. The kind deed is often reciprocated but this may be something that can be pared back. Partying New Years Eve away at 100$ a ticket doesn’t help either!

 

Total Spend – $3,544

 

Payday – $10,081

Between commission, hourly, and tuition reimbursement I made roughly 10k. Reasonable end of the year as it pushed me to a career high and allowed me to clear out my Credit Card debt with  a few hours left on the clock.

 

401k

I had previously maxed this out in November and as such said goodbye to my 401k till the new year. Unfortunately my provider has since switched to two step verification. Good for security – bad for Mint and Personal Capital. I guess we are going back to the days of manual tracking once a month.

 

ESPP

15% Net Pay – $600

I have a very generous employee stock purchase program in which I can put up to 15% of my net pay. Every six months they purchase company shares at a 15% discount and I immediately sell off. While I was lucky to see an IPO on my first startup, the stock has taken a beating since and I already am over exposed by having most of my income solely from this one company. So while others have mistakenly held each time, I have sold and reaped the benefits, while relying on strong yearly performance to earn bonuses gifted in slowly vesting RSU’s and shares.

 

Assets and Liabilities Breakdown

 

A

Cash – $1,740+$2,485 Emergency Fund

401k = $57,500

IRAs= $20,700

Vanguard $195,000

Company Stock and RSU – $20,100

Rental Property – $36,400

Car – $7,000

 

Total – $341,000

 

L

Mortgage – None

Student Loans – $4,500

Car Loan – Done

Chase –  $511

Amex – $126

 

Total – $5,137

 

NW – $336,000

 

$11,000 + from previous tracked month

 

All in all a pretty good month thanks in no small part to the Trump Bull run going on in the market. Spending was pretty lavish across the board and this gives me a good comparison report to hopefully look back and grin at!

Much of my savings is thanks in large part to auto transfers prior to even receiving my paycheck. At work people cannot fathom how I manage to put so much money away and when I explain the simplicity they deem it impossible for them, even though I am proof. In 2016 I put 12% of gross into 401k and 15% of the net after that towards my ESPP. Once I received my payday I lived off as little as possible and threw every spare dime into the brokerage that I could. So while it was possibly painful to live below my means, I didn’t notice it too much.

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