Thursday, March 2, 2017

Budget Comparison of 2015 and 2016

I've usually been generally okay with money, but after going a little crazy with my graduate school stipend money in 2013 and 2014, I realized in 2015 that it was time to get a handle on my money. In large part thanks to a couple really good freelance gigs, I was able to build up a 6-month emergency fund. I also started being more careful with my spending.

2015's breakdown on spending looked like this. (Keep in mind that this is my personal money and does not count money that went to our joint account, where we pay for shared expenses like rent, utilities, food, and going out together. Every month, $1,100 of my paycheck is direct deposited into that account and we spend almost all of it. It also doesn't count what gets taken out of my paycheck for health insurance and my employer-sponsored retirement plan.)

In 2015, I made $29,411 and spent $14,187. My net worth increased 23.8% over the year.

Last year, I continued freelancing and tried to be better about expenses, though moving in the fall and buying a new car definitely foiled that a bit. Shopping is higher than usual (in the last few months of the year, I went pretty crazy on clothes, though after this snapshot was taken, I did return about $700 worth of wedding dresses that I'd bought online to try on), but I'm pretty happy with my proportions otherwise. Any money I spend on travel always feels 100% worth it, putting a pretty big down payment on our car was a necessity and I couldn't be happier with the car we purchased, and I'm glad to have brought down my food and dining a bit.

In 2016, I made $45,050 and spent $25,493, and my net worth increased 38% over the year.

In 2017, I think my income will be a fair amount lower than that (it was only so high because of a gift, a hiring bonus, and freelance work that has since dried up a bit), but I'm hoping to keep things up with saving. We're also hoping to purchase a house together, which, while it won't affect my "personal" savings here, will certainly be a better investment than the money we pay in rent each month!

Finally, we're going to fully combine our finances this year, which is a scary and exciting thing, considering that our current system has worked so well for the last 5 years. I'm a little more high-strung about sticking to a budget than R. is, and I worry that our often willy-nilly joint spending is going to wreck havoc on the beautiful account I've worked so hard to create. But, as we get married and eventually own more big ticket things together and start a family, it seems like now is a good time to bring everything together. I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes!

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