Wednesday, January 11, 2012
If there was one word to describe 2011, it would be GROWTH.
We are expecting another child.
We are growing as a family. We're learning as a family.
I got a promotion.
I'm growing in responsibilities.
But you came here to hear about our budget... so here it is: We spent a lot last year.
Our biggest expense is HOUSING. With the refinance, we were paying almost $1100 a month, saving us nearly $300 each month on PMI and Interest payments.
Next up is our Giving. Giving dropped a few thousand from 2010. Not sure really, just got a little bit lazy. We did start supporting a staff worker with Campus Crusade, Church tithing, china missions and a 14 year-old boy through Compassion International.
Food Expense is always on our mind. This year we hosted a bible study every Thursday which included dinner, including a "Fatted Calf" Night - in which we had steaks all around. We also had various other gatherings that I think added to the higher grocery bill than 2010. Eating out at restaurants were higher than 2010, but fast foods were slightly lower, I think due to my health conscious attitude. Who knows.
Bills and Utilities - fairly consistent, a couple differences due to different cell phone service provider, and internet provider raising their prices after the 1 year introductory offer. Gas and Electric were nearly equal.
For another year, we did not have any major auto repairs or accidents. Praise the Lord for that. We did however drive a lot and as a result fuel bills were larger than 2010. That's also including the trip we took in the end of 2010, so that means we drove a lot this year... Kind of strange, since I worked from home. But that probably was one of the reasons. Every other category was lower in the auto group except fuel.
For Travel: we took one major trip in early 2011 to attend my wife's friends wedding. We took another vacation to visit my college buddy Solomon's Island MD during the summer and then another trip to OBX in October. These beach trips were easy on the budget. So overall, besides flying my mother-in-law into town to help out my wife, our travel expense was lower than 2010.
For Education, I took the Spring semester off and took a 2 credit class in the Fall. I wish I had taken more... would have kept me out of trouble. I'm realizing now that for school, it's probably best you try to finish as quickly as you can because you never know what's gonna happen to you. In my case, expecting child#3 may throw me for another loop.
And finally I'll include Misc Shopping. This year I actually went clothes shopping. I know, strange right? My wife's brother actually donated A LOT of clothes to me and I've been sharing them around. I've been guest speaking to a bunch a youth group at another church once a month, so in order to be "presentable" and look somewhat "hip" my wife decided I needed improve my wardrobe. No more tattered pants or wholly underwear... Major electronic purchases for 2011: Olympus Camera off craigslist ($300); Logos Bible Software ($440); Small flatscreen TV for living room ($200) Major electronic purchase for 2010: Macbook ($500) + PC upgrade ($100)
That does it for 2011.
I'm thinking of selling my 1999 Ford Ranger and contemplating getting another mini-van. Our 1999 Nissan Quest is being used a lot, almost every day, so we might need another van to off-set... especially with child#3 coming.
Goals for 2012:
- Fully fund emergency fund 6-months (Currently around $12k)
- Increase giving by $2-3k
- Up retirement savings to 15%
- Continue to invest in college funds
- Sell 1999 Ford Ranger ($2-3k) + Buy used mini-van (around $6-7k range)
- Take 2-3 week long vacations this year
- Prepare Child#1 for school
- Continue reading and playing with Child#2
- Read 2-3 books with wife including "Meaning of Marriage" and "Shepherding a Child's Heart"
- Take 3-4 classes this year
- Lose 5-10lbs. Need to stay in shape and eat better.
- Get my wife to workout with me (especially after the baby is born)
- Improve in preaching and teaching
- Continue to host bible study at our house
- Read bible in a year
- Maintain a vibrant prayer life
Career: 2011 I have attained the GS-13 level at my current work. It will take me some time to attain the next level due to much stricter requirements. I will press on.
- Maintain 115% Production
- Keep good relationship with supervisor and other co-workers especially while I telecommute.
- Increase efficiency and quality of work.