I just spent the past few hours making a new expense tracking spreadsheet. Since I'm a computer geek more than a numbers person, the spreadsheet itself is more fun than looking at the numbers. I put a sheet at the back to keep track of the balances in my accounts, both savings accounts and debit accounts like my mortgage and credit cards. The upshot is that I am a bit over $85K in debt. Yes, that includes my house. I looked at my fixed bills. I could, if I have to, make it on unemployment. That is, I could if I stop spending money like I have been the past couple of weeks. I am sobered by what I see. The past year really, really knocked me backwards financially. Knocked me backwards but didn't knock me down.
I will have to be firm in my resolution to do what it takes to get on my feet financially if I am to have any hope of hiking the AT in 3 years. Or if I have any hope of doing much of anything on my list of things to do with the rest of my life. I am on a very shaky cusp on all fronts, financially, physically, emotionally. I have chosen to stay home tonight, New Year's Eve, to think about all this. I really want this next year to be much better than the past one was.
I will start tracking where every penny goes from now on. This is what the spreadsheet is for. It is a work of art for me, this spreadsheet. I have it broken down into the categories that make sense to me. It is easy to use because I designed it, it works the way I think. So, there is no reason I can't do this. If I am spending more in a day than I can track, I'm spending too much on too many things. I have done this before and it isn't that difficult.
As I watch where my money is going I will make decisions on what is worth the money to me and what isn't. Food is still an issue for me now. I just can't figure out what I want to eat. Even giving myself permission to go out to eat doesn't help since I can't figure out where I want to go. So, that will be a challenge especially as I start working out more and need those calories. The give and take of money vs. health vs. convenience.
I am grateful that the house sold. If it hadn't sold by now my decisions would be between much more difficult options, so I am very grateful for what I do have. I am just sobered, as I said, by where I am vs. where I thought I'd be by now.
And so, on with the new year. I am ready to say good-by to this one. I have no idea where I will be this time next year. I have stopped making very concrete plans more than a few days in advance. But now I have a better idea of where I am starting out with the new year.