April 2016 net worth update (+1.6%)

In April, I:

  1. contributed ~15% of the amount I can contribute to my 401(k) after-tax, for a total year-to-date contribution of ~40% of the maximum.
  2. sold the Q1 ESPP shares and transferred their value to my general savings account.
  3. paid half of my annual property taxes. They’re up about $1,000 for the year from what I paid four years ago.
  4. made my 2016 Backdoor Roth IRA contribution of $5,500.
  5. saw my tuition reimbursement for the academic period that started in January and some other work reimbursements.
  6. saved 79% of my net income for a total savings rate overall so far of 76%. Looking at my income spreadsheet, I saw about 40% of my expected gross income for the 2016 calendar year in the first four months of the year (first 33% of the year). I expect my savings rate to be about 60% per month going forward until I hit the Social Security maximum and that my overall savings rate for the year will be about 70% before grad school withdrawals.
  7. saw my net worth go up by $12,000 to $703,000, which if you’re following along closely is up $102,300 from my December 2015 reported net worth or about 17%. Four months is definitely the fastest I’ve seen a $100,000 increase in net worth yet!!! (note that I rounded this number differently than the ones in the table below) About half of that increase was updating the book value of my condo and the other half was savings / employer 401(k) matching / stock markets.

Since I have another $100,000 in the books, let’s take a look at the table I used in previous years:

31-Dec-2015 30-Apr-2016 YTD
cash $7,200 $8,500 +$1,300
savings $70,600 $73,900 +$3,300
investments $207,000 $251,000 +$44,000
+21.3%
mortgage $134,100 $131,100 +$3,000
+2.2%
net worth $600,700 $702,300 +$101,600
+16.9%
taxable assets – debts $41,600 $30,300 +$11,300
+27.2%
$ until FI* $783,300 $642,600 -$140,700
-18.0%

*$ to FI=(average monthly spending over the last 12 months – mortgage payment)*12*25 + condo value – net worth

Cash is probably up because I’ve been underspending my budget so far this year. Savings is only up a small bit because I have been spending more from my HSA than I put into it so far this year, I spent from my savings account while frontloading my retirement accounts, and I used some money from my general savings account to fund my Roth IRA for 2016. Investments are the real story here since that was what I was concentrating on in the first third of 2016.

I am still investigating it, but if I plan to retire in my thirties or early forties, I’m not sure the Mega Backdoor Roth IRA is that useful considering that assuming 8% returns and a rate of inflation of 3.22%, I already have enough in my Roth IRA and 401(k) to support me at my current lifestyle after age 60. Not all employers offer it, so I’ve also debated using it while I can. I still have some time to decide as it would take me 3-4ish paychecks (about 2 months) to finish it. I’ll make the decision by October.

My savings goal for the remainder of the year is to build up my liquid funds (general savings account, ESPP funds, Series I Savings Bonds, NetSpend accounts, and taxable index funds) to two years of expenses which with the amount the mortgage would be reamortized to in early 2018 equates to about $90,000. As of April, those accounts add up to $65,400, which is a $3,900 improvement over December 2015. I estimate that it will take me most of this year to save up that amount, at which point my current plan is to go back to pre-paying the mortgage.

Expenses: I spent $6,149 in April including the mortgage or $5,122 without it, with no charitable donations this month. That breaks down to:

  • $3,609 in fixed/unavoidable expenses: HOA dues, mortgage payment, property taxes, medical bills, and transportation
  • $2,778 in discretionary expenses: clothing, entertainment, food, eyebrows, toiletries, vision, fitness, shopping, and travel

Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $1,310 Clothing [$1,875 total so far this year; $1,760 at this point last year] – cute belt ($31), hiking pants ($93), one summer dress ($50), spring jacket ($201), wind breaker ($109 – I’m kind of torn on this one, so if I don’t wear it at all in May, I’ll return it), sandals ($88), sleep top ($49), one t-shirt ($16), two long-sleeved tops ($129), and clothes mailed for return ($545)
  • $31 Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $48, average last year: $116] – LastPass, using some cash from last month for something else, and a little bit of eating out with friends
  • $105 Food [average so far this year: $87, average last year: $51] – this covers all discretionary food. I have still been lazy with taking my lunch to work.
  • $0 Cell phone – got a rebate that should cover my Cricket cell phone bill for March and April and all but $5 in May
  • Half of my annual property taxes
  • $239 Health – yay for high-deductible plans…
  • $360 Vision – a second pair of glasses feels like such a luxury!
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $112 Make-up – time to stock up
  • $8 Toiletries [average so far this year: $39, average last year: $48] – allergy medicine
  • $338 Recreation: my running shoes that I love were discontinued in favor of a new version that doesn’t fit me, so I bought three pairs discounted on Amazon. I also bought a running armband, a few barre classes, and sticky socks.
  • $24 Shopping: bought a sun hat and used a $25 gift card
  • $169 Transportation: tolls replenishment (x4) and two tanks of gas
  • $471 Travel: booked a long weekend trip!

In total, I’ve spent $14,219 after education and charitable expenses and my budget was for $48,000, so I’m on track to underspend my budget by about $5,000 at this point. We haven’t booked our fall trip yet but since I hit the deductible on my health insurance plan this month, that spending will reduce significantly. April is always one of my more expensive months because of the property tax payment.

Readers, how was your money in April?

,

14 Comments

Confession: I’m an account hoarder

You readers probably already know this, but I’m an account hoarder. Well, I have a bit of hoarding tendencies in general. So I thought it would make for a fun Friday post to list them all!

  1. The savings account I opened up at age six at a credit union (required to keep because it’s a credit union)
  2. The checking account attached to said credit union savings account (I keep it because it’s easy to transfer money to/from my parents there)
  3. The retirement account I started at 19
  4. The savings account at the credit union I joined at 22
  5. The checking account attached to the savings account in #4 that I still keep open because of #7 and #8 and my HOA dues auto payment is set up here
  6. One more savings account at the credit union in #4 for a bonus
  7. An empty joint checking account shared with my boyfriend at the credit union in #4 that we use occasionally
  8. An HSA with reasonable interest at the credit union in #4 where I transfer money when my employer HSA gets larger than necessary
  9. My current employer’s HSA
  10. My Roth IRA at Vanguard
  11. The empty Traditional IRA at Vangurd now used to fund said Roth IRA annually
  12. My Vanguard taxable investment account
  13. My old 401(k) that I count as closed but the provider’s website lists as having a $0 balance
  14. My mortgage loan
  15. A checking account at Schwab that refunds ATM fees anywhere in the world with no foreign transaction fees
  16. A brokerage account that Schwab requires to be open for #15
  17. A Fidelity Cash Management Account because I have their Amex
  18. The brokerage account for my ESPP purchases and employer stock
  19. My current employer’s 401(k) account
  20. General savings account at Ally (now empty, but will leave open for a bit in case the Alliant savings account rate goes down)
  21. Tuition savings account at Ally (now empty, but will leave open for a bit)
  22. Direct deposit savings account at Ally (now empty, but will leave open for a bit)
  23. Charitable donations account at Ally (now empty, but will leave open for a bit)
  24. Checking account at Alliant Credit Union
  25. General savings account at Alliant
  26. Tuition savings account at Alliant
  27. Charitable savings account at Alliant
  28. NetSpend prepaid card #1
  29. NetSpend savings #1 (5% interest!)
  30. NetSpend prepaid card #2
  31. NetSpend savings #2 (5% interest!)
  32. TreasuryDirect Series I Savings Bond #1
  33. TreasuryDirect Series I Savings Bond #2
  34. TreasuryDirect Series I Savings Bond #3

Most of them have logical reasons to keep open. Most. This doesn’t count my credit cards  of which I currently have ten.

Some people suggest keeping your savings far away from your checking account but I love having most of my cash all in one bank. It’s so convenient to see it all in one screen!

Readers, what’s your damage? How many accounts do you have?

28 Comments

March 2016 net worth update (+3.9%)

In March, I:

  1. contributed the remainder of the pre-tax 401(k) limit for the year! All done.
  2. saw my 401(k) balance surpass one year’s salary!
  3. contributed ~25% of the amount I can contribute to my 401(k) after-tax.
  4. finished my taxes in the TurboTax Deluxe download program my boyfriend and I had bought (much cheaper than filing two single returns with TurboTax online) and got my < $100 refund. I had great tax planning skills in 2015!
  5. saw the first quarterly interest on my 5% prepaid card savings accounts that I mentioned back in January.
  6. saved 82% of my net income this month for a total savings rate overall so far of 75%.
  7. saw my investments hit a new all-time high of one-month return, enough to recover from the losses in February and March, but 2015’s losses yet. My savings rate hides that though!
  8. saw my net worth go up by $26,000 or 3.9% to $691,000.

Expenses: I spent $2,591 in March including the mortgage or $1,564 without it, with no charitable donations this month. That breaks down to:

  • $2,212 in fixed/unavoidable expenses: HOA dues, mortgage payment, health, and transportation
  • $379 in discretionary expenses: clothing, entertainment, food, eyebrows, toiletries

Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • ($27) Clothing [$504 total so far this year; $1,878 at this point last year] – return of a long-sleeved running shirt bought in January (-$44), returned the pair of jeans bought in February (-$71) and bought a pair that does fit ($145), returned the pair of spring khakis bought in February (-$60) and bought a pair that does fit ($65), and returning one of the dresses bought in February (-$63)
  • $131 Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $54, average last year: $116] – a little bit of cash, but mostly hanging out with friends
  • $143 Food [average so far this year: $81, average last year: $51] – this covers all discretionary food. I was a bit lazy with taking my lunch to work this month…
  • $0 Cell phone – got a rebate that should cover my Cricket cell phone bill for 2.5-2.9 months
  • $693 Health – yay for high-deductible plans…
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $112 Toiletries [average so far this year: $49, average last year: $48] – stocked up on deodorant, dry shampoo, and lipbalms
  • $137 Transportation: tolls replenishment (x3) and two tanks of gas

I budgeted $4,000 per month for spending this year and so far, I’ve only spent $8,069 of that. I also accidentally included medical costs in that figure even though I pay for those out of my HSA, which means I’ll likely have some money left over in my checking account at the end of the year because I spent ~$1,000 on health costs in 2015. After accounting for April’s mortgage payment and HOA dues and the property taxes for the year, I have about $4,419 in available funds for discretionary spending, which will likely end up going towards travel and/or a new couch.

Readers, how was your money in March?

,

24 Comments

February 2016 update (+10.1%)

In February, I:

  1. contributed ~45% of the pre-tax 401(k) limit.
  2. updated the value of my condo to reflect current comparable sales, which contributed to the vast majority of my net worth increase this month. It’s now up about 40% from my purchase price.
  3. sold some more stuff on Craiglist!
  4. transferred some funds from my work HSA to my credit union HSA and only afterwards figured out a way to possibly do it without any transfer fees.
  5. enjoyed the auto transfer from savings to checking.
  6. finally saw enough earned income to contribute to my Roth IRA for the year, but I’m still going to wait a bit longer to make sure I have enough cash on hand.
  7. saved 71% of my net income for a savings rate so far this year of 69%. March and April should also be in the 70% range and then I’ll drop down to the 60% range for the remainder of the year except when I pay tuition.
  8. saw my net worth go up by $61,000 or about 10.1% to $665,000.

Expenses: I spent $2,946 in February including the mortgage or $1,919 without it, with no charitable donations this month. That breaks down to:

  • $1,676 in fixed/unavoidable expenses: cell phone, condo misc costs, HOA dues, mortgage payment, health, and transportation
  • $1,270 in discretionary expenses: clothing, entertainment, financial fees, food, eyebrows, shopping

Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $850 Clothing [$531 total so far this year; $829 at this point last year] – rightsized one of my jackets ($186 on sale), a long-sleeved running shirt ($75), a running vest ($150), a hoodie instead of stealing my boyfriends ($64), rightsizing my one pair of jeans that currently fits ($71), rightsizing my spring khakis from 2014 ($60) and shorts ($52), rightsizing my summer pyjama shorts from 2015 ($31) and my summer pyjama pants from 2013 ($36), and two summer dresses because I have zero that fit ($63)
  • ($5) Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $16, average last year: $116] – Refund of some cash I had withdrawn previously.
  • $15 Financials: oops fee for transferring my HSA the non-free way (sigh)
  • $63 Food [average so far this year: $50, average last year: $51] – this covers eating out by myself, work lunches, and schoolwork-related food. I’m rolling these all into one category since it’s under $100.
  • $3 Housing miscellaneous – battery for the garage door opener
  • $35 Cell phone – monthly Cricket bill
  • $200 Health
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $0 Toiletries [average so far this year: $17, average last year: $48]
  • $328 Shopping – noise-canceling headphones (an amazing purchase I should have made years ago!)
  • $88 Transportation: tolls replenishment (x2) and one tank of gas

I did another clothing inventory and bought some of the missing items this month. The remaining items on my clothing wants list are: a pair of sandals (I have none that fit) and a second pair of shorts and spring khakis if the ones I bought in February fit for more than a few months.

After accounting for March’s mortgage payment and HOA dues and the property taxes for the year, I have about $3,541 in available funds for discretionary spending. That also leaves about $2,646 in discretionary spending per month, which is pretty exciting! I’m curious to see whether I end up with money leftover at the end of the year or what the result is. This exercise also shows me how much of my spending is really discretionary and it’s kind of fun figuring out to how to allocate some of it.

Readers, how was your money in February?

,

11 Comments

How I Use Mint

I don’t use Mint to keep a budget. Or to track my spending.

I don’t like their budgeting software. I prefer budgeting software that requires you to enter transactions manually because then it’s easier to know what you spent something on and what categories it should be assigned to.

I like Mint for not needing to log in to every single one of my accounts to verify what transactions posted. One of my credit cards (the Fidelity American Express) doesn’t show transactions on a mobile app, so this is where Mint comes in.

I don’t use Mint to track my net worth. It knows about my checking, savings, credit card, condo value, car value and mortgage accounts. It does’t know about my 401(k), Roth IRA, taxable investment accounts, or ESPP. This has the side effect of my ESPP looking like income when I sell it and transfer it into my savings account rather than when I contribute to it, which is perfectly fine with me.

I don’t want to see my investment values every day, which is why Mint doesn’t know about them.

I don’t want to check in on my asset allocation either day let alone every month either, which is why I only update my Outside Investments at Vanguard a few times a year. (My 401(k) is no longer at Vanguard, so I enter it manually to check up on my allocations.) Why don’t I want to check up on my asset allocation that often? My plan specifically calls for putting all of my fixed income for the year in with my pre-tax 401(k) contributions, as well as most of my international and then my US stocks will go in with my Roth IRA and after-tax 401(k) contributions, which happen later. So my asset allocation will look off for the next couple of months and then it’ll be fine again. So I simply shouldn’t check on it.

I have a bit of an obsessive personality with checking on things and tracking everything. In order to be okay with the stock market’s fluctuations, I shouldn’t check on things every day. It’s simply unnecessary. Besides, my contributions at this point are worth so much more than my investment returns that it’s silly to watch them like a hawk.

I use Mint on my phone mostly. It uses touch ID for login, which not all of my banking apps do (cough credit unions). Since I use LastPass as a password manager, it’s far more annoying to login with a password than with touch ID.

I don’t like Mint’s “Cash Flow” feature as when I’m frontloading my 401(k), it looks like I am spending way beyond my income.

I don’t like their Advice section aka advertising. Most of it is terrible. It suggests you should open a Traditional IRA without even considering your income. It suggests 0% balance transfers when I have no credit card debt. It suggests robo-advisors to invest my cash savings that I specifically want to be risk free. It also suggests peer-to-peer lending for low, fixed rate personal loans when again, I have no credit card debt. And these things constantly appear.

I like how it reminds me of bills like credit card and mortgage payments and other things I manually added (HOA dues and property taxes), but it has no way of knowing if you’ve already made the payment or if you’re in the grace period and haven’t made the payment yet (e.g. the mortgage) and it clutters up the view by showing a $0 payment is required for every credit card you have no payment required for or even showing a payment is required when you had a credit on the account at the statement date!

Their budgeting drives me crazy with how annoying it is to get things to not be red and how non-monthly bills are always green and then often red when they come due if they were more expensive than you had thought.

I don’t like that it doesn’t show the transactions on my mortgage account (it just shows the current balance), nor does it have charts for the mortgage balance (or any other balance over time) in the mobile app.

It seems to suggest that it automatically updates my car’s value from KBB, but it doesn’t! Oh I went in and changed the mileage and now it seems to have auto-updated it. It looks like my car is now worth under $10,000. It’s about 5.5 years old now and my plan is to hold on to it for another 5 years, minimum. Once the mortgage is paid off, then I’ll consider a plan for when I’ll replace the car.

I don’t like that I can’t track my Series I Savings Bonds in Mint. I understand not being able to do it automatically, but if you enter the purchase date, type of i-bond, and amount, it’s pretty easy to figure it out.

Readers, what do you love/hate about Mint? How do you use it?

26 Comments

January 2016 update (+0.5%)

I’m experimenting with a new format this year in which I only fill in the net worth table here quarterly. I want to focus more on my spending and my money actions each month.

In January, I:

  1. contributed ~45% of the pre-tax 401(k) limit
  2. paid the remainder of my costs for this period of school
  3. sold my 2015 Q4 ESPP shares and transferred their value to my general savings account
  4. kicked off my first month using Alliant Credit Union for my primary checking and savings accounts. I’m really stoked about this because they pay a reasonable-ish rate on checking without having to count debit card transactions (0.65%) AND they pay the same interest rate on savings as Ally Bank (1.00%). It also made the monthly auto-transfers from savings to checking much smoother being at the same place. Some people are tempted to spend their savings if it is in the same place as their checking account, but I’m not.
  5. opened up two NetSpend prepaid cards for the sweet 5% interest on the first $5,000. I’m all about finding ways to earn a better return on my cash since I decided to keep more cash around. My plan is that later, higher interest chunks will form part of the fixed income portion of my investment portfolio and the lower interest chunks will be my savings buffer.
  6. got really stressed out when the auto-payment on one of my credit cards didn’t go through in the switching of checking accounts. I assumed it would go through on one of them and nope, neither. I got hit with a late fee AND interest, all on a really low (for me) statement balance of ~$300. That was super stressful, but the credit card company was great and reversed all of the fees, even before I made the corrected payment!
  7. made my annual January donation that is ~6 months of budgeted charitable donations
  8. sold my first item on Craigslist! I was super stoked about that – it sold in under 24 hours. Eventually, we’ll get things looking like we don’t have a mash up of two apartments in here… We’re actively trying to sell a set of other items on Craigslist too and that one is taking longer. It took a bit to figure out what price I should list at.
  9. got hit with a maintenance fee on a credit card I hadn’t used all year, oops! Looks like I need to remember to use that one at least once a year.
  10. did not contribute to my Roth IRA. My current plan is to do this in April / after I have sufficient earned income.
  11. lost about $9,000 on paper in my investment portfolio. Despite that and selling my ESPP shares, I managed to have my investments “only” be down ~$300 thanks to my large contributions this month.
  12. saw my net worth go up by $3,000 or about 0.5% to $604,000. (Note that now that it’s larger, I’m going to be rounding to the nearest $1,000 here.)

Expenses: I spent $2,301 in January including the mortgage or $1,273 without it, excluding charitable donations. That breaks down to:

  • $2,081 in fixed/unavoidable expenses: financials, cell phone, HOA dues, mortgage payment, NEXUS card, medical, and car insurance
  • $222 in discretionary expenses: clothing, entertainment, food, eyebrows, toiletries, recreation, shopping, parking and tolls

Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • ($319) Clothing: returned two of the four dresses I bought at the end of December ($363) and bought a long-sleeved running top ($44)
  • $37 Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $37, average last year: $116] – A book (<$1 somehow), dinner with a friend ($24), and another photo album for picture printing ($13) – I’ll get my boyfriend’s half of that back later. This will be low for this period of school, in fact I’m surprised it was this “high” this month.
  • <$1 Financials: inactivity fee on that credit card I mentioned above. It should have been more like $10, so this was actually pretty pleasant.
  • $37 Food
    • $0 Eating out by myself [average so far this year: $0, average last year: $6]
    • $6 Schoolwork-related food [average so far this year: $6] – met up with a classmate in a coffee shop
    • $31 Work lunches [average so far this year: $31, average last year: $39] – this was 7 days of lunches
  • $26 Cell phone – monthly Cricket bill. It’s lower this month because I had raised my plan just before the plan renewal date last month and lowered it again shortly after.
  • $50 Nexus card – renewal time!
  • $160 Medical – a December appointment
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $29 Toiletries [average so far this year: $33, average last year: $48] – cleanser and wipes for my menstrual cup and toner
  • $172 Recreation – Bah, so I did a ton of research and decided to get a Jawbone Up2 ($68) instead of a Fitbit Charge, but then it being on my wrist and not having the time on it drove me crazy, plus it was annoying to get on/off, so I bought a Fitbit One ($95). I like it much better! I should have just done that in the first place. My plan was to try to re-sell the Up2 for ~$50 or so.
  • $204 Shopping – the last of the parts for my new desktop computer ($200) and the Stylebook app ($4)
  • $530 Transportation: tolls replenishment (x1), parking at school one day, and six months of car insurance (up about 8% from the six month premium)

I didn’t even look into how my spending was going until about 2/3 of the way through the month, so I’m pretty happy with how things went! I also didn’t pay attention to how often I was buying lunch at work versus bringing it.

This month was pretty frugal. I’m curious to see how the year turns out! I’m guessing February will be similarly frugal since there are no big expenses due in February, nor are we planning any trips for the year yet. We’re debating re-painting a bunch of the condo finally, so that may happen, depending on cost. If the quotes are higher than we want to pay, we may end up doing it in the spring ourselves.

HOA dues did not go up this year and there is no special assessment, which is cool. I don’t know what the property taxes look like, but my tax value went up about 5%, so I assume they will go up about 5%.

In an attempt to rein in my clothing spending this year, I bought the Stylebook app to show me the cost-per-wear metrics of my clothing and how often I’m wearing items I have. My first goal is to get the CPW for each item in my closet down to $5. I’ll make a new goal once I get there. So far, it’s fun organizing my clothing in the app and is totally transferring the time I spent shopping to organizing my closet in the app. Only three items meet that $5 CPW goal at the moment: a $46 pair of jeans is at $3/wear, a $217 purse is at $4.25/use and a $20 summer top is at $4.95/wear. I’ve added in any clothes/purses I bought in 2015 to the app and tried to add past data where I could, but some of the stuff is going to take a while to get down to a reasonable cost per wear.

Note to newer readers: my boyfriend and I live together in the condo that I own and as part of him not paying rent, he pays for things like groceries, internet, electricity, eating out together, Ubers, and miscellaneous costs on trips, while I pay for everything related to the condo and to the car that I own. For now, he is also paying for the cleaning person that we hired to ease that burden a bit, but we’ll check in on that later this year. I may end up chipping in towards that later. My mom has commented that we shouldn’t “split” groceries 50/50 because he eats more than I do, but I take lunches to work out of the grocery budget and eat more breakfasts and snack food, while he eats more when we do share meals, so it actually evens out. In 2015, we averaged $538/month on shared groceries and restaurants, so the $509 we spent in January on groceries was a bit higher than usual, but still under last year’s shared food spending considering that there are no restaurants in there.

Readers, how was your money in January?

,

25 Comments

2015 In Review: Spending

A sidenote before we get into things: I decided to no longer report specific numbers on my charitable donations on this site. I removed those amounts from the Financial Stats page, they’re not in this pie chart below, and I won’t talk about them on my monthly reports going forward either.

According to this spreadsheet, I spent $48,288.04 in 2015. (I say according to this spreadsheet because each spreadsheet’s total seems to vary slightly…)

2015 Spending

In my 2014 year in review, I talked about what I thought my 2015 spending/savings might look like. Let’s check in with that:

1) I will spend $3,035 less on housing with my boyfriend moving in. I don’t know what the property tax bill will look like yet, but I’ve estimated for a 20% increase. There’s also a small special assessment due. I justify not caring about this by how much cheaper owning is than renting (~$14k to own my two bedroom condo last year versus ~$39k to rent a similar place).

We ended up rearranging how we split costs pretty quickly after he moved in and I did not spend $3,035 less on housing – in fact, I spent about $3,300 more thanks to some projects.

2) I am planning to spend less on clothing, but who knows how that’ll actually end up going.

We all know this failed miserably! But that’s perfectly all right. My clothing spending in 2015 was about half of the sum of my clothing spending in 2010-2014.

3) I think I’ll spend about the same on entertainment, dining out, and personal care.

I actually spent about half as much on entertainment ($1,400 versus $2,500), a third of the amount on dining out ($67.92 versus $211.58), and 25% more on personal care ($1,060.82 versus $829.54).

4) We’ve each set up automatic transfers for $200/month to the joint account to cover groceries. I’m reasonably sure this will be sufficient, but it may be more than we need.

Well that was about what we spent on groceries per month for the year, but we switched up our system later on.

5) I’ve estimated to spend about the same in 2015 on work lunches, but I’m going to see how the new job goes, how much the cafeteria costs, and then see if I can reduce this at all.

I seriously reduced this! Woo! I spent $1,817.05 in 2014 and $462.27 in 2015, just under $40/month in 2015. I did pretty well with bringing my lunch many days and occasionally buying it. Food is reasonably cheap here.

6) I estimated in my budget that I’ll spend less on recreation. My new employer will cover a certain amount of fitness related expenses. I haven’t decided whether I’ll count the funds as income or a reduction in spending. If it’s taxable income, I’ll probably count it is a income. That’ll affect what this category looks like this year.

I ended up categorizing the spending as spending and the reimbursements as income since they were taxed and all. I spent a tiny bit more on recreation.

7) I’ve estimated only $500 for shopping compared to 2014’s $3,400.

Hahahaha. I spent $5,266.16 on shopping. This covered: a new laptop, a new desktop computer, a new fancy office chair, a fancy new computer desk, a new iPhone and case, a new Kindle, a speaker for the kitchen, three new purses, a sunglasses case, some kitchen tools, and a new pillow. So lots of things!

8) I estimate spending about $400 more on transportation. Hopefully that’s not the case and car insurance will go down!

I actually spent a lot less! Car insurance went down AND I only paid for six months, not twelve. I also surprisingly spent less on fuel and the commuting costs weren’t too bad.

9) I’ll spend about $500 less on travel.

I actually spent about 2/3 of my 2014 travel spending. A decent chunk of New Zealand was paid for in 2014 and my boyfriend bought our Christmas flights per our expense sharing agreement.

10) Overall, I plan to spend about $9,200 less in 2015 than in 2014: 33% of that is housing, 10% clothing, 13% health, and 31% shopping.

Hah.

Some interesting spending items in 2015 to note:

  • $15.20 unaccounted for cash withdrawals
  • $15.25 books
  • $146.05 cell phone (two SIM cards, one activation fee, and ~3 months of service)
  • $44.22 spent per month on average on food (this includes work lunches and lazy eating out by myself)

How do I think my 2016 spending will be different than in 2015?

  1. I will spend less money on clothing. Other than 2015, I’ve averaged about $2,200/year post-college. I bought the Stylebook app early this month and now I have the game of driving down my cost per wear on items and buying new items is counterproductive to that.
  2. I’ll spend less on shopping – I don’t need to replace all of those things I replaced in 2015 yet.
  3. I’ll probably spend less on travel too.

Those three categories added up to about $16,000 in 2015 or about one third of my expenses, which is a good chunk considering that housing was half. We are planning on possibly getting a new couch in the next few years though and possibly some other living room furniture, though we don’t have a timeline on those yet. The rest of the categories I expect will be pretty similar year over year, so I may end up underspending my estimate for 2016 for the first time in a while…

Readers, how was your 2015 spending?

,

2 Comments

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 219 other followers