Monthly Update – December 2018

Now that I have all documentation necessary to review December’s finances, it is time to report on how I did.  Going into this post, I am somewhat nervous since December includes various holidays and those seem to always include additional spending, whether on gifts, supplies for parties, or any other holiday related things.  Additionally, as I noted in a previous post, my discipline surrounding my spending has been wavering as the calendar turned toward the end of the year.  I have committed to get back on track in 2019, but this review will show just how bad I may have set myself back in December.

As mentioned last month, as I post my monthly numbers, I will look backward and display a total of a 3-month window so I can keep focused on the trend as well as the overall numbers.  Last month, I listed entries for September, October and November.  Now that I am adding December numbers, September’s numbers will drop off.  If you want to see a long timeline of these numbers, you can look back at previous posts.

On to the numbers:

Category:Oct. 2018Nov. 2018Dec. 2018
Total Monthly Gross Pay:100%100%100%
Taxes Withheld:17.25%20.69%15.96%
Other Withholdings:5.00%5.53%3.82%
401K Withholdings:11.99%1.06%0%
Diverted to Investment Account:6.75%4.92%27.14%
Diverted to Savings Account:22.52%0%24.34%

In analyzing the numbers, there are a few things of note.  First and foremost is that my spending was not as out of control as I feared.  As a percentage of overall income, it actually dropped.  The drop was quite significant when compared to November.  Perhaps the feared over-spending on holidays was realized in November instead of my fear of it hitting in December.  

Another item of note was the very high percentage I was able to divert to savings and investment account.  Part of this was attributable to some additional income I was able to realize in the month of December.  This came in the form of a distribution from rental real estate.  I was able to move that distribution directly to savings.  Additionally, since I budget based on two paydays per month and the fact that November contained three paydays, I had additional unbudgeted monies sitting in my checking account going into December and was able to divert a nice amount of this to my investment account. 

 The challenge will be to keep a sufficiently high savings rate in the coming months when I cannot rely on unbudgeted paychecks or additional side income.  However, with the calendar turning to 2019, I will now begin contributing to my company-sponsored 401K account again so that will help me in my quest.

How were your numbers for the month?  Did the holidays get the best of you?  How are you challenging yourself in the new year?