What I spend in a month as a 29-year old millennial in Chicago, Illinois varies but, like many of us, December is always an expensive month. In December 2020, I tracked everything I spent money on and in this post, I share what I spent money on and how my budgeting plans went.
I think it’s pretty safe to say December is a pretty expensive month for most of us. We’ve got the holidays which means we’re buying presents and spending money on food and drinks that we might not usually purchase.
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December 2020 was definitely an expensive month for me, but it actually wasn’t as bad as November 2020’s spending, which is when I bought all my Christmas presents.
In December, I was actually able to save 53% of my income. 53%! I’m no genius when it comes to math, but that means I lived off of only 47% of my income, and that doesn’t even count the money I saved in my 401(k).
I’m pretty stoked about that, especially after having such an expensive November.
Anywho, even though I saved a big ole’ chunk, I DID spend a lot on special occasions and a few other things like entertainment– but let’s dive into that now, shall we?
What I Spend in a Month: December 2020 Categories and Budget
New Category: Home Fund
Now, before we talk about the fuck-ups, I need to introduce you to my new category: Home Fund!
If you’ve read my last couple of posts, you’ll know that I switched tactics from putting as much money on debt as possible to saving money for a down payment on an apartment building.
That’s what the Home Fund is for!
I list it as an expense so that I treat it like an expense–it’s a nonnegotiable line item that is gone as soon as I transfer it into my Home Fund savings account.
I want to save at least $20k this year for a down payment on a house hack property— meaning I’ll buy a multi-unit property, live in one of the units, and rent out the rest. I’m super excited/nervous about this even though it’s a little bit down the road, and in the meantime I have a lot of saving to do.
Now, onto the budgeting fuck-ups.
The Budgeting Fuck-Ups Explained
Groceries were high in December 2020 for a few reasons. For one, I bought a bunch of booze for Christmas holiday-drinking and counted it as groceries. Is it groceries? Probably not, but the end of 2020 was a blur so who really cares, right?
And for two– I NEED TO STOP USING INSTACART. It’s expensive AF and I can handle going into the grocery store.
I did not realize my hosting service was so expensive! For some reason I remember my hosting service being closer to $200 but this year it cost me $300. Wasn’t expecting that and I also forgot that I had it set up on an automatic payment cycle. Such a lovely December surprise.
This was high again too! I decided to treat myself to a kettlebell to up my at-home-workout game since it looks like we’ll still be quarantining for a few months. I also got some more supplements to try for sleep. These supplements seem to be working better, which is unfortunate because they’re expensive AF.
Another high expense month for special occasions. That’s mostly because of Christmas and my boyfriend’s birthday which is also in December. I got us a few massages from Astro Spa (highly recommend Valena if you’re in the area) and I treated us to some killer sushi and hibachi take out.
I spent more than double what I usually spend on personal expenses because I decided to splurge on some end of the year clothing to inspire myself to keep working out.
Not mad about it.
I am however mad that I decided to try out HelloFresh, which was a total waste of money. HelloFresh is probably a good deal for people who don’t know how to cook, but I cook a lot and I’m actually pretty good at it.
I wasn’t impressed with the meals at all, and was kind of annoyed with my impulse purchase. *sigh*.
Another expensive month for entertainment! Like I mentioned in previous posts, at the end of 2020, I really wanted to take a break from being so stringent on my budget. I wanted to enjoy the holidays and not worry so much about my bank account, especially since I’ve been doing really well these last two years. So even though this is a fuck up because I spent a lot, it doesn’t feel like a fuck-up because I planned it.
This entertainment budget includes a lot of things for Christmas too, like ingredients for baking 5 different types of Christmas cookies, food and appetizers for the family Christmas, a bit of eating out and treating my sister and boyfriend, and, of course, wine.
And another splurge month for dating. My boyfriend and I, to keep things exciting during quarantine, decided that we’d take turns each weekend planning a special quarantine friendly date to surprise the other. It’s been really fun, and one of the things I planned for us was a Blueprint workshop on January 1st with Mac n Cheese Productions.
It was awesome– we made blueprint boards to help us achieve our goals and we’re both planning on doing a few more action-oriented boards on our other goals. Yay for not blowing the whole dating budget on food!
What I Spend in a Month: December 2020 Spending Report
Wow. That was a lot of fuck-ups at first glance. Now that it’s January, I’m really focusing on tightening the reins on my budgeting again after spending a few months getting a little loose with it. Even though I spent more those last couple months of the year, I still saved 53% of my income, so I’m okay with my extra spending.
But anyway– shall we move on to the spending report?
December 2020 Spending Report
- $1,680, Emergency Fund– Emergency Fund
- $95, Sushi for T’s Birthday– Special Occasions
- $320, Two massages and tip– Special Occasions
- $40, Craft stuff– Dating
- $36, Breakfast– Entertainment
- $74, Instacart– Groceries
- $55, HelloFresh– Personal
- $45, Dog Food– Dog
- $89, Yoast Premium– Clo Bare
- $20, Moss Pole– Personal
- $10, ShortPixel– Clo Bare
- $19, Poop bags– Dog
- $12, Lint roller– Dog
- $78, Groceries– Groceries
- $80, Christmas Cookie Ingredients– Entertainment
- $28, Dinner– Dating
- $30, Black Lives Matter Donation– Donation
- $67, Sprint– Cell Phone
- $10, Leather Boot Care– Personal
- $74, Comcast– Utilities
- $8, Renter’s Insurance– Renter’s Insurance
- $80, Jewel and Blueprint Workshop Tickets– Dating
- $46, Christmas Stuff– Entertainment
- $1,700, Home Fund– Home Fund
- $75, Booze for Christmas– Groceries
- $125, Food for Christmas– split between Special Occasions and Entertainment
- $40, sushi– Entertainment
- $125, Kettlebell– Health/Medical
- $100, Sleep Supplements– Health/Medical
- $117, Clothing– Personal
- $35, One World– Entertainment
- $86, Instacart– Groceries
- $300, Siteground Renewal– Clo Bare
- $671, Student Loans– Clo Bare
- $30, Wine– Entertainment
Debt & Savings By the Numbers
- Total Spent in December 2020: $6,399
- Total Spent (minus emergency fund, home fund and debt payments): $2,348
- Total Saved (Emergency Fund and Home Fund): $3,380
- % After-Tax Income Saved: 53%
- % After-Tax Income Spent: 37%
- Emergency Fund: $11,399
- Home Fund: $3,000
- Real Estate: $52.7k
- 401(k): $70.3k
Total Savings: $137,399
Total Debt: $29,258
Net Worth: $108,141
FAM. I. Have. a. Six-figure. Net Worth.
I went from being NEGATIVE almost $70k to a positive six-figure net worth in just a little over two years!?
A few things helped this leap from November to December. First, my investment with the project I funded completed so I earned about $8k from that four month investment. I re-invested and should get back another $8k in April. Secondly, the stock market has been doing pretty decent so my 401(k) has seen some nice bumps.
It’s a big deal to me– seeing this kind of growth. If I had never started this journey, I’d still just be scraping by despite having a pretty decent salary. What a great reminder to start now if you’re thinking about getting your financial shit together because so much growth can happen in just two years.
*taking a moment to bask in this growth*
Anyway. On to goals.
Goals: January 2021 Spending and Saving
Now, by the time this posts we’ll be well into February because I like to write my content a few weeks ahead of time. It’s January 4, 2021 as I’m writing this, and here’s what I’ve got for goals this month:
- Save $2k for the Home Fund: I think I can do this– easy peasy.
- Pay $5.5k for quarterly taxes: UGH. That is all.
- Spend only $150 total on entertainment for January and only $100 on dating. Kind of wanting to spend even less to be honest, especially because I was a lush in November and December, but I’d be happy spending only $250 total between these two categories.
- Eat out only once every two weeks. That will really lower my entertainment expenses so I think I’ll be able to hit goal #3.
We’ll see how it goes! It’s nice getting back into the swing of things after being in the daze of a break, so I’m using January as an opportunity to get my finances right again.
Your Turn: What are your goals for 2021?
New year, new you, new finances? What are your goals for the month or for all of 2021? Share in the comments below!