Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Financial Resolutions!

Happy New Year! A new year is upon us, and like most people I like to reflect on times past and present and use those experiences to plan for the future. However here at Prorate we're not interested in the lose weight or take up knitting resolutions, not the case. Rather we would like to examine previous spending and look ahead to 2011 and how we would either like to change or continue certain trends. Now the obvious financial resolution might be to save money! Granted that is likely the most popular of the fiscal category, it was not however one of my financial resolutions for 2010. Instead I told myself to 'stop and smell the roses'- which was code for stop being entirely cheap. Of course this does not mean to sign-up for the extended cable package or say 'screw it!' and leave the A/C at 78 degrees 24 hours day during the heat of summer. My goal here was to allow myself to take some time off from work and not be afraid to spend some money vacationing and enjoying the finer things. So how did I do?

Summary 2009
Summary 2010

OK, let's digest. First obvious conclusions, anyone?
  • Savings increased dramatically from 2009 to 2010 and home expense decreased?
    • This is slightly misleading as in 2009 I incurred the brunt of my home purchase expense including the down payment as well as some minor remodeling I chose to complete
    • I also received the first-time home-buyer tax credit in 2010 after purchasing the home in 2009; thus the 90% of it I saved is reflected in 2010
  • Groceries expense decreased about 2%
    • This is a result of the misses staying over frequently
  • Car expense decreased over 2%
    • Again this is somewhat misleading as we cannot forget my potentially financially ignorant car purchase in 2010
    • My previous car was paid off in the middle of 2009 but also required a new set of tires and some other slightly more expensive maintenance before the year was over, thus inflating my 2009 expense
    • However in 2010 the previous car required no noteworthy maintenance and car payments for the new ride did not begin until June; combined with the lack of needed maintenance for the new car this deflated my car expense- this will surely change in 2011
  • Credit card expense went up!
    • Yes, I broke one of the cardinal rules of the Prorate principles and carried over a balance on a credit card. I honestly don't remember what event occurred to prompt this but I can assume it had something to do with the house
  • Cell phone expense decreased
    • As also previously discussed, I cut some of my monthly expenditures when I was gearing up for the home purchase in 2009, which thus took effect in November 2009 and saved me money throughout 2010
  • Was my financial resolution successful?
    • It appears yes! My social expenditures increased almost 3% from 2009 to 2010
    • All it required was my first cruise, 2 Vegas escapes and 4 Rocky Point, Mexico getaways
  • Misc. expense went up
    • I think I just had more people to buy gifts for
  • Health-care expense was previously non-existent
    • Yes, up until the beginning of 2010 I was spoiled and able to remain on my parents' insurance as I had been a student throughout 2009. Once that I ended I began paying insurance and some medical expenses, which fortunately are minimal, out of pocket
  • Pet expense
    • Got the pooch in August 2010 and thus an increase began
So after review, I feel pretty content with my 2010 financial performance. I achieved my resolution by loosening up the wallet and living a little; of course this prompts the question what resolutions will be in affect for 2011?

  1. I find it immoral that I spend more on vehicular expense than food (of course some food intake falls under the social category) and half as much on the car as I do for the social category. Thus my goal is to pay off the vehicle as fast as possible, possibly making double payments, etc.
  2. No credit card balances!
  3. Maintain a 20% savings rate while still vacationing- there won't be a big tax refund this year, but there will be another cruise...
  4. And probably the most obvious fiscal resolution second only to saving more money, make more money!


  1. so you were still on your parents health insurance as of 2009? The only way that's permitted is if you're a full-time college student. So I'm assuming that must make you about 23 or 24 years old. And you've already purchased your first home? Wow!! Very impressive!

  2. While I appreciate your accolades I have to be a little modest... I was a full-time graduate student through 2009, which requires half the course-load of undergraduate work and makes me a couple years older than your estimate. Furthermore my first home is a townhouse and the low mortgage rates and ridiculous price drops in my hometown of Phoenix made my purchase a no-brainer. What's really scary is I was still about a year ahead of the true bottom- if we have even hit that yet.