Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
January is always the perfect time of the year to analyze your money for the year. After issues with my ex, I had to set new goals.
- 2015 – bring in more income and eliminate debt (which will improve credit score)
- 2016 – save money, move, continue to work on credit score
- 2017 – increase credit score, continue to save and start investing
So now with that said, I put in a lot of work in 2015 to eliminate my debt. Since I did eliminate it, there was nothing left to do but save that same amount rather than spend like crazy! It was easy for me to eliminate my debts simply because I got a job outside of my house and my rent was extremely inexpensive.
In Sept 2016, I relocated to a much nicer neighborhood, which increased my rent and utilities, and we’re talking by over 65% alone there. So yeah, saving for 2017 has gotten extremely difficult, but I’m still on a mission to ensure I do it. So that means I must cut back on other expenses such as shopping, hair, and nails.
The Road to Achieve My 2017 Goals
I have so much food in my freezer, including leftovers. I’m so used to cooking large meals and doing excess shopping it’s really hurting me. So I cleared everything from the freezer to not only organize it but also write down what I had. I took pictures of my cabinets instead of standing there and writing my lists out. Then I turned it into meal plans. For example:
- I had leftover lasagna in 3 separate But I have some frozen garlic bread and can pair with a quick salad in the fridge.
- Another meal involves a bit of cooking: I had leftover BBQ hot dogs and rib tips in the freezer. I also have a box of Mac and Cheese with Sun-dried tomatoes.
Now, grocery shopping is a huge decrease in expenses for me. Now with my no excess spending for January habit, I want to see how well I did.
It’s time to crunch the numbers!
How to Crunch the Numbers
Many people think that in order to crunch numbers you have to like math. This is so not true! Do you really think accountants write all day?! That’s why programs such as Excel and Google Spreadsheets exist. True, for an accountant, there is much more behind that, but for your household expenses, you can easily do it yourself.
There is no way I was going to try to explain in a blog post how to do this crunching, so I made a video.
Today is lazy Saturday! That’s right… I did not go into the office! I’m working on my blog and have a couple of articles to edit later, but that’s it. It’s all going to be right from my bed.
What You’ll Learn in the Video
So in the video, I have 15 minutes to show you four important things:
- How to create and set up a pivot table
- How to create and edit a chart
- How to format a table to easily show your increase/decrease expenses in dollars
- How to format a table to easily show your increase/decrease expenses in percentage
What to Do with the Figures
Now taking this information and doing something with it is key. I don’t care if you keep a mental representation of it or need to print it out. Go through your expenses for an entire year or six months. What this is going to do is show you where you spend the bulk of your expenses.
You’ll see my gas expense is extremely high in December, but my entertainment expense is higher in December than January or November. Also, my toll expenses are higher in December. These three correlate. So this helps you see what effect one spending habit you have has on another.
If you have a savings goal, but no clue how to start achieving it, trust me, start with this. For instance, my toll expense… for January, I decided to cut that by not taking the tolls going home. I don’t care if it does take me an hour to get home! What’s an extra 20 minutes listening to my favorite songs anyway?