EOM = End Of Month. Most organizations have their accounting department perform an EOM balancing process, and I have acquired the same habit. Although on average I update my personal spreadsheet about weekly with data on individual transactions, every 1st of the month I enjoy tying everything up and adding another data point to my favorite graphs (which are mostly plotted monthly). These graphs help tell the story of my life as it unfolds: the journey of the green pilgrim.
I am also able to add two other important data sets (for the month to come) at this time: my paycheck, and my rent. This works out nicely for me. Because I add my monthly income on the 1st (before I have opportunities to spend any of it) my savings rate starts at 100% and then decreases with each expenditure. The added pain of knowing that an action (usually a purchase) will decrease this number for the current month gives me pause and makes it easier for me to save.
My savings rate this month was 78%! This is higher than my savings rate for 2012 (67%) but lower than my goal for 2013 of 85%.
One major reason I failed to meet my goal this month is that I bought a brand-new $300 cell phone! I allowed myself this expense because I know it will save me money in the long run. By buying a new, unlocked smartphone I can continue taking advantage of all that fun functionality at a fraction of the price of my previous monthly bill. Even accounting for the capital cost, this will save just over $600 more in 2013 than if I had continued my service with Verizon.
Another reason I fell short was that I spent more than my average in the entertainment category this month. I attribute this entirely to splurging on tickets to see a live show (of course I paid for my date; just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you have to be cheap). Dan Harmon (creator of the TV show Community) was in town recording his podcast, and the small intimate theater led to some very funny and personal interactions with the audience. You can listen to it here, for free! My favorite part was watching this Milwaukee native reunite with his old high school buddies for a live session of D&D.
In other spending categories I outdid myself. Most notably, I managed to limit myself to spending under $20 on alcohol for the entire month! Here is a better picture of my expense profile for select categories:
Those are the numbers. I can’t stress enough how much logging and graphing this information helps me make better informed decisions that are in line with my long-term goals. Happy February, and good luck on your own green pilgrimage!