personal finances

February 2017 Financial Report


Last month’s reports are a bit late but rather late than never, right? I was done and dusted with the reports but the past week or so I wasn’t as productive as I’d liked to be.

Income Statement

For February I didn’t have a budget, so I will just compare my February report with January’s report instead of a budget. I do have a budget for March which I hope I stick to.

Income

This month I didn’t get any money from my bursary. My income this month is 18% lower than the previous month. I did get some money from bets I made with friends. One bet in particular was the Chelsea vs Arsenal bet that earned me $200 NAD.

Expenses

Depreciation and Loss on asset disposal

Not sure if I will write a post on my fixed asset register (I probably won’t), but I decided to bring my electronics and gadgets into my balance sheet. As a result, I had to account for depreciation. Depreciation is up by 37% ($611.43) because I bought a new 2-in-1 laptop/tablet.

The loss on asset disposal ($147.38) comes from me selling my laptop, which was a Lenovo G50-30. I only had it for about 18 months. I had another laptop at the time of selling the Lenovo, but then my sister asked if she could borrow my laptop because she has nothing to do her schoolwork on. It’s still my laptop, but I’ve removed it from my fixed asset register. I’ll probably let her keep it. I have the 2-in-1 laptop/tablet as well as a desktop at home.

Drinks

Drinks are up (524%) this month because I bought a case of sauvignon blanc ($496.35). My wife pays for groceries from her salary and we used to buy at least 2 bottles of wine a week. I decided that it would be cheaper to buy a case. I also bought us (my wife, her parents and myself) coffee at the airport before my wife  and I left for Cape Town. Coffee is damn expensive at the airport ($100).

Food

I made a major saving in February on food (69%). I only spent $264 on food, which is very low. I usually help out with groceries, but only the odd thing here and there. This month I hardly had to take out my wallet at the grocery store. Seeing as it’s very much possible to keep my food expense low, I’d like to keep it that way, but I will feel bad if my wife has to suffer because of it.

Personal Expenses

Final category of the post is personal expenses. Donations might be down (62%) but I spent $750 on clothing I bought in Cape Town. I also bought some gifts for friends and family ($904) and I started going to school so I have to pay for cab ($110 more than January).

Conclusion

Well, I made a loss of $494.28 last month and this month I made a loss of $20,961.06. WTF happened?! I went on vacation with my wife see. Our vacation accounts for 91% of the loss for this month. An additional 9% can be attributed to the vacation being the reason for my losses if I add the gifts, the clothes and the damn airport. 91+9=100. So all my losses is down to our vacation. That makes me feel a little better. Here’s to March 2017 being in the black.

Balance Sheet

My bank accounts took the biggest hit because of the vacation. I had $30,128 in January but now I only have $16,960. That’s about $15,000 that went to our vacation. All of it came from my savings account. At least I still have some money left in my savings because all of the savings was actually for the Cape Town trip. So we saved as much as $600o of our vacation money.

My net assets are down, which I expected. From $55,036 to $34,075. That’s a 38% dip in my equity. I hope in a couple years time I’ll be able to go on vacation and not have to take such a huge loss on my equity. One thing I am happy about though is that I didn’t have to take out a loan to go on vacation. I have to end this post on a positive, if only for my sanity.

Until next time. Thanks for reading.

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What Do I Want?

The end of the week and things start winding down at the office. After lunch on a Friday I’m not really in the mood to do any work. Good thing the internet was invented.

I read an article on Lifehacker.com about how it’s easier to save when you don’t have an expensive lifestyle. It makes perfect sense. If you want to drive big flashy cars and live in mansions, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny compared to the guy who just wants a car that takes him from point A to point B and a roof over his head.

This got me thinking, what do I really want. Do I want the expensive lifestyle or not. I’d like to think that I don’t but year I stress when it comes time for our annual pay increases. I don’t earn a lot of money, just higher than the national average household income but I barely get by as it is. If I wasn’t married, my wife and I would have much lower standards of living.

I want more than I have. I have to make do with a budget phone, a budget laptop and a budget tablet. Yes, I am happy that I have those things in the first place but I want the top of the line gadgets. That’s really the only things that’s luxury about my wants.

Big fancy sports car’s don’t really do it for me, but I’ve looked at the new Mercedes A-Class cars with drool dripping from the side of my mouth. I’ll be happy with a decent car with low gas mileage and easy to maintain. I’ll be happy with a two bedroom house in a good school district.

I do however want to travel. I’ve only ever traveled outside of Africa once. I want to travel to all the continents. I want to visit all the popular destinations. I want to watch Manchester United at Old Trafford. This could be the most expensive part of the lifestyle that I do want.

When I do eventually complete my degree in Computer Science and when I finally get a job that pays enough for me to get these fancy things, I hope I stay grounded and stick to my guns. It’s so easy to get lost when new money comes in. I see it all the time. People who live from paycheck to paycheck when they were just middle management but after they get that big promotion and start earning the big bucks, they still live from paycheck to paycheck.

Maybe I will never earn enough money to buy a big fancy house and car. I’m fine with that. As long as I am still happy and my wife still loves me as much as I do her, I’ll be content with my average lifestyle.

Until next time. Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend.

January Blues

Money

Recording and keeping track of finances isn’t an easy job, even after a whole year of recording each and every transaction. It’s especially harder if you lost your phone where you kept track of all your expenses.

The thought of reconciling all the excel spreadsheets that I exported at different times and figure out what I didn’t record was a daunting. Each day I would tell myself that today is the day that I am going to do it. I only lost two weeks of transactions in January, it’s not that big of a train smash. And besides, most of the transactions are on my bank statements. So all isn’t lost, right?

This past weekend I managed to start with reconciliation and finally closed off 2016. There were some transactions in 2016 that belonged in 2017 so now it’s throwing my opening balances a bit. Not a bit, actually I have no idea what my opening balance for my check account is supposed to be.

This year I want to record my expenses on my computer instead of on my cellphone. The only transactions I want to record on my cellphone and then export to my computer later are the cash transactions. Everything else should come from my bank statements and statements from my creditors.

I looked for a free open source piece of software to serve all my personal finance needs and ended up with Money Manager Ex and GNUCash. Money Manager Ex just didn’t do it for me. It wasn’t very clear from the get go how I would record all my transactions. I didn’t know how to import CSV files. The software was just a bit iffy. That’s the best review I got for you.

GNUCash seems like the complete accounting package. It’s much more complicated than anything I’ve ever used before but I have hope for this one. I struggled for hours to figure out how I’m going to export my bank statement and just import it into GNUCash. I tried tweaking excel spreadsheets, tried new formulas and downloaded plug-ins before concluding that I will enter everything manually from the printed bank statements.

I haven’t recorded a single transaction yet for 2017 and I am already at the end of January because my paycheck for work done in January 2017 has already hit my bank account. So, during my lunch hour I am going to try my best to just start recording everything.

As for the cash, I have no idea what to do. There will be so many expenses that will go unrecorded. I’ll probably have to just create a transaction type called “Unrecorded expenses”. The longer I go without recording my finances, the bigger the unknown. It will come to a point where I will probably not record anything this year and just call it an off year. Ha-ha.

Just a little update on my cellphone that got water damage. The repair people don’t have a replacement screen for my phone. It’s a weird Chinese brand that only starting making phones very recently. The repair shop tried to clear all the water from the phone hoping that would work, but it still didn’t. They didn’t charge me a cent for cleaning out all the water. I was prepared to pay N$900 for it.

I googled searched for a place in my city that could maybe repair my phone and instead stumbled upon AliExpress that could ship a replacement screen to me for US$20. That was great news because the repair shop would’ve charged me US$180 for the replacement screen (including labor) if they had one available. Now I just need to pay them for the labor (which I hope shouldn’t be more US$40), which is a third of the price I was quoted at the start. Only problem is my package will only be arriving in 45-60 days from China. It’s going to be a long ass wait, but it will be totally worth it in the end.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.