What’s fair game?
I’m chasing down all the numbers for a year in financial review, but I’m having to look at two different credits cards, plus our debit card transactions. Plus the question of what money should get counted.
I mean, since we’ve been ignoring and stashing Tim’s SSA money, do we count that in our savings ratio? It’s saved, sure, but if we were to lose his SSA case, it wouldn’t really be ours. Right?
On the other hand, given the steps involved/glacial movement of bureaucracy, even if we do have to give the money back… It’s probably around two years away.
Then again, I completely ignore the money when budgeting. We only deal with the money I bring in. So while it’s technically money being saved, it’s not saved by any version of keeping expenses lower or otherwise finding money to put into the regular savings account.
Ever get the feeling you’re overthinking things?
So how did we do?
Well, it depends on which number you’re counting.
If you want to include the cost of Tim’s dental implants, then our savings account decreased by $22,034. But that money was already in the account, earmarked for that expense. So I don’t think it should count (and not just because it’s a depressing number).
In the most simple terms — that is, counting all money we received this year — we saved 23.8% of our income.
If you think we should count only the income that can’t be taken away by the SSA — so my paychecks/bonus, rent from the guest house and blog-related income — we saved 14.79%
And just to make things extra confusing: If you want to compare apples-to-apples against previous years, then you have to count Tim’s monthly checks but not the $8,500 mistake the SSA made. In that case, our savings rate was 17.7% of our income.
Honestly, I have no idea which number is the most representative/accurate/honest.
Where the hell did the rest go?
Ah, glad you asked.
I’m pretty sure I’ve accounted for all of our deductible medical expenses. Even without the dental implants’ cost, we spent almost $12,900.*
And that’s not including Tim’s alternative (aka non-deductible) therapies, which were around $8,000.
Our taxes counted for another $20,800.**
Another $4,827 went to the disability lawyer’s cut of Tim’s SSA money.
That means we spent about $39,300 on “other.” Not great, but it could be worse, I suppose. It’s just that it could also be significantly better.
Some of that money that most of the population deals with: mortgage, utilities, $2,500 in home repairs/improvements, $1,300ish vet bills/pet plans,$53 per month life insurance, etc. Plus fun stuff like blog expenses, which came to an unprecedented $800 this year. Ouchie.
That takes us down to about $22,800.
A lot of that is day-to-day expenses: gas, groceries, yada yada. But a fair chunk is also indulgences:fun money, the pool table, convenience/junk food, etc.
That averages out to a painful $62 a day (or $57 if you ignore the pool table, but even as a health-related expense, it’s hard to count it as anything other than an indulgence).
Both numbers are a bit lower than last year’s average. So I guess that’s… something?
Still, it’d be good to lower expenses even more. Not just because it’s a good goal, but also because I didn’t get a raise this year*** and my health insurance premiums are going up by $490 a month.
So as always the watchword is slowly-but-steadily trying to decrease spending in the new year.
How did your spending/savings go this year? Which one of our savings percentages do you think is the most accurate?
*Not-so-fun fact: $4,541 of that was just for prescriptions.
** I’m pretty sure we’ll get at least $2,000 in a refund, but right now it’s money that isn’t in savings.
*** Totally understandable, just inconvenient.