Money Update – December 2017

Every month I’ll post an update on my finances from the last month, with a focus on increasing income, spending less, and maintaining a high savings rate.  You can see previous updates here.

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Results – December 2017

2017 Savings Rate:  55%

That’s right!  Up a whole 1%.

The further we get into the year, the less impact monthly savings rate has on the yearly total.  I’ve consistently been at around 60%+ for the last 5 months but just now saw a 1% increase for the year.

I’m sure this is a combination of spending habits continuing AND progress in the early months setting the table for the rest of the year.  I’m working on a review of what it’s been like to track my savings rate for a year, and I’d be interesting to explore the effort needed for big changes as the year goes on.

Goal Progress – $25k Net Worth

Starting in September I decided to set a stretch goal of having a $25k Net Worth by the end of this year.  In order to meet that goal, I’d have to work mostly on increasing my income.

With one month left to go, my progress is at 56%, a 22% increase from last month.  

November was definitely my best month in terms of progress – I got a bonus (albeit smaller than expected), had a bank account bonus post, and am still working a decent amount of overtime.

About that overtime.  The last couple of months have been particularly stressful – it’s a hard 55 hours a week.  I’m walking 6 miles a day just at work, getting around 6 hours of sleep a day, and going full tilt from the moment I walk in to the moment I leave.  5 minutes to eat and a bathroom break, if I’m lucky.  Safe to say it’s taken it’s toll, and the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed it more.  I’m less productive, less motivated, and generally tired most of the time.

For the most part I like my job – I know I could do a lot worse.  But in hindsight, the last 2 months probably weren’t the best time to ramp up my hours :/

On the side income front, I finally received a bonus for opening a new checking account back in August and cashed out some credit card rewards.  I still have a couple hundred dollars worth of miscellaneous rewards on various apps and cards that I’m working on cashing out.

Second Blog Project

Over the summer I started working on another blog project, with plans to get it up and running by the end of the year.   Last month, stopeatingout.com went live!  While the main idea is to reduce restaurant spending, I’m also talking about health, nutrition, and of course money.  (btw, if you’re interested in contributing or have something you’d like featured I’d love to hear from you!  I know a lot of PF bloggers have written about things like meal planning, cooking, and grocery spending, and I’m still working out a way to help navigate to that content).

For now, the focus is on creating content – mainly articles that lay the groundwork for what the blog is about.  Over time, I plan to include posts with stories, recipes, tips, and reviews.  So I haven’t seen a lot of traffic yet.  And it’s still a work in progress.  But I could have easily waited until I thought it was “finished” and it would probably never exist.  So I’m working as I go.

The site isn’t anywhere near profitable or an income stream (yet).  I have high hopes for it and feel like it could be a great resource.  But it’s long-term.  It certainly wont factor into my finances any time soon, but it’s an additional source of income I’m building for the future.

The Plan For December

My spending focus for December will be on two areas:  Christmas and Restaurants (um, don’t you have a blog about not eating out?!).  We’ve gotten pretty far away from our healthy eating habits from this summer, so our grocery bill has gone down a little bit as we’re sticking with easier to prepare foods, but we also opted for take out way too much.  I’m sure some of this is due to my work life balance but really it comes down to motivation and discipline.  It’s a lot easier to cook at home if you actually, you know, have groceries in the house, and we simply haven’t made the time to write out a list or go to the store.  Earlier this week we sat down and made a meal plan (hello old friend!) and have been doing better the last few days.

Christmas shopping isn’t that extreme for me, but I’m trying to offset as much of it as possible this year with credit card rewards and gift cards.

I should see some higher paychecks due to overtime and later in the month will get another round of dividends.

I also have a list of things to sell that I didn’t get around to yet that I’m going to sit down this weekend and finally list.

All that being said, if I don’t do anything else I’ll probably hit at least 75% of my goal.   It’s the beginning of the month though – a month where work slows down, which will give me more time and energy to really dive into some side hustles instead of half-assing it.  And lots more blogging.

Ah, the blogging.  Finance Yo Self recently hit the one year milestone, and finished the month with a spot on Rockstar Finance!  Yes, I’ll share some stats 😉

75 posts (including this one), 162 comments, 12 blog followers, 671 twitter followers, and 18,400 views.  And I made like $10!

More importantly though, I’ve gotten to be a part of an awesome community of super smart, friendly, talented, and motivated people.  I’ve gotten a few emails from people telling me how much something I wrote meant to them, which is really really cool.  On a more selfish note, I’ve been more accountable, more critical, and more motivated when it comes to my own finances.  I’ve made more progress this year than any other year, and next year looks even better.  Yeah, I probably would have done okay on my own, but sharing is a lot more fun.

Even for an introvert like me – who’s surrounded by people all day (who ALL need something from you all the time, which is…exhausting).


Thanks for reading!

If you’re interested, I use You Need A Budget for monthly budgeting.  For tracking Net Worth, I recommend Personal Capital (automatic) or NetWorthShare.com (manual).

I calculate my savings rate as follows:  401k contributions + employer match + debt payments + other savings  / Take home pay + 401k contributions

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