I realized I’ve actually never actually sat down and reviewed all my spending for a year, but with Mint it’s conveniently easy to do so. This year, I spent:
Rent: $7,035 My rent is $575/month. During the winter, I pay an extra $45/month for heat. I’m very okay with rent being by far my biggest expense.
Travel: $2,068 I’m pleasantly surprised that travel is my second biggest. I budgeted $2400 this year for travel and didn’t end up going anywhere in the fall. This number may be significantly larger next year since I’m considering a major trip.
Groceries: $1,878 For an average of about $160 a month! This is actually definitely higher since I sometimes paid for groceries with cash, I’d estimate it at closer to $200/month.
New laptop: $1,102 I bought a MacBook. The one I got for high school graduation in 2009 died, and I am a spoiled brat so I bought a new one instead of a more reasonably priced laptop. No regrets.
Utilities: $1,041 Internet, electricity, etc.
Car insurance: $970.58
Other: $945 This is a lot of random stuff – tickets to anything I had to buy a ticket for, bank fees, a few web subscriptions, pharmacy, stuff like plungers, my new glasses, etc. I’d like to have this sorted out better and will work on that for next year.
Cell phone: $936 It was about $120/month (ouch!) for the first half of the year and is now down to a much more reasonable $45, so this will be lower next year.
Gas: $870 I live very close to work and tend to fill up about once a month, although driving home to Seattle and back takes two tanks.
Car service: $686.10 Nothing major this year, just typical oil changes and having to fix my brakes and that sort of thing. Still, the fact that I spent $2500 on my car this year makes me even more eager to move somewhere where I can just use public transit.
Clothing: $682 Oof. I didn’t feel like I shopped that much, but the fact that I spent nearly $700 on clothes proves me wrong. Even though it doesn’t sound like that much at about $60/month, I’d like to cut that in half next year.
Shopping: $556 This is kind of a misnomer of a category since it mostly includes Target purchases of things like laundry soap and shampoo. Also yarn, a planner, and a few kitchen gadgets.
Restaurants: $335 This number is actually higher. As are a few of the others, since I often spend cash on them.
Gifts & Donations: $305 This is the one category I’d like to increase. Do I really value going to restaurants more than giving to people and causes I care about? I’d like to double my gifting/donating budget next year.
Bars: $182 Part of me feels bad about the amount of money I spend on going out, but then I realize that spending time with my friends is one of the things that makes me the happiest. So I don’t mind so much.
Coffee shops: $54 Really proud that I’ve majorly cut down my coffee spending. I now drink coffee at work on weekdays and make my own on weekends, only buying it out once every week or two.
Fast food: $32 So, so glad that this is so low. Fast food rarely tastes good, it’s so unhealthy, and I never enjoy it the way I do a meal with a friend. Basically I only buy it if I’m on a road trip.
Note: I get paid in cash for tutoring, which I estimate has been around $1200 this year, making my spending close to $21,000 for the year. I usually spend that cash on going out with friends, and on groceries.
According to Mint, I spent about $31,000 in 2014. The fact that I’ve cut my spending by nearly ten grand is insane, especially because I don’t remember being particularly spendy (although I did move twice and tended to spend more when I went out and bought more new clothes…ok, I guess it adds up fast).
I’m hoping to keep my spending relatively close to this year’s level in 2016, but with the spending weighted more towards donating and travel and less towards clothes and new laptops (which I thankfully don’t expect to replace again until at least 2020).
I watch my money pretty closely (hence this blog) but an annual review is a nice way to get a look at the big picture. There were even a few surprises for me – plus, looking back at some of my transactions was a reminder of trips that I took and fun times I had.
What categories of your spending would you like to change next year?