2013 Half-Year Review: Spending

I post monthly on my net worth, where I talk about my savings rate. I also posted recently on my thoughts on homeownership 12 months in. So I thought I’d concentrate on how my spending has been going so far in 2013 :)

For a comparison point, I’m using last year’s data from January-June. I left the housing expenses off this chart since it was making it harder to see the bars on the other parts.

H1 Expenses Year-over-year

Some overall notes:

  • Net income is up 31% from this point last year.
  • My savings rate is up 18 percentage points in H1 YoY (76% versus 58%).
  • My spending rate is down 20 percentage points in H1 YoY (29% versus 49%).
  • I’ve spent almost $6,000 less this year in H1. Woo! If you project that difference forward, that should be about $12,000 less in spending!
  • I’ve left all donations off of these charts as I feel those numbers are personal.

Housing made for half the difference in spending. I saved about $3,000 here, about $2,300 of which in 2012 H1 was related to moving. Still good news! I saved about $150 on my cell phone and about $200 with Comcast. The other numbers are hard to quantify since I was renting versus owning. Next year, I’ll have a better year-over-year comparison here.

Spending hardly any money on clothing (~$300) has definitely been a huge win on here. Looking back at last year’s numbers, I just have no idea what I was buying with all that outgoing money on clothes.

Entertainment was a wash, which is fine – last year wasn’t that bad. It is down about $100 from 2012 though.

Financials – I filed my own income tax return this year, saving myself about $500 from 2012.

I made some small improvements with food. I halved my work lunches spending. I’m still struggling with it somewhat, but I’m bringing my lunch often enough that it’s still a noticeable change. Eating out has also gone down. Those two going down has caused groceries to go up, but I’ve still saved myself about $400 on food from 2012.

Presents is a wash. I spend more closer to Christmas.

Health is down, about $150. I’m no longer paying the expensive co-pays on my birth control. That will continue to save me even more money going forward. Personal care is down $100. Recreation is mostly down because I pay most of the costs annually in H2.

Shopping is up significantly. That’s from buying the patio furniture and ceiling fan in 2013 H1. That spending won’t be continued going forward, so things should go down in 2013 H2.

Transportation is down $400. I spent a bit less on car insurance and fuel in 2013, but the real difference is that in 2012, I was counting the rent for my parking spot in my apartment building in the ‘Transportation’ category and that’s now rolled into my housing expenses (which are down $3,000 from 2012 H1).

Travel is down $1,200. That’s most likely just due to timing of trip planning since at this point last year, I had taken four trips and I’ve only taken two in 2013.


  • Net income = base pay + bonuses + prior year income tax refund – all taxes + credit card dividends + employer HSA contribution + interest + dividends in taxable accounts + selling stuff + employer 401(k) contribution.
  • Savings = my 401(k) contributions + my HSA contributions + cash savings + Roth IRA contributions + mortgage payment principal + mortgage pre-payment + taxable index funds + Series I Savings Bonds.
  • Expenses = everything outgoing including full mortgage payment

Readers, how are you doing with your spending in 2013 versus 2012? Are things improving or getting worse?


10 thoughts on “2013 Half-Year Review: Spending

  1. Good stuff! 76% savings rate is basically unheard of — I struggle just getting over 70% most of the time. Glad to see you still set aside a bit for travel. I know you have some awesome trips coming up ;)

    I always find travel so therapeutic. I can’t wait till I can do it full time!

    • Thanks! I’m not quite at 70% of just my regular paychecks, but saving all the bonuses really pushes the number higher. Travel is so important, but honestly staying put occasionally is important too. I definitely take vacation days sometimes to just stay at home. I can’t wait for my September trip though!

  2. Your savings rate is unbelievable! Nice work.

    We just spend some money on window treatments (so expensive!) and I bought some new work clothes. But we’ve also been eating out less and cooking at home more which is great.

    • Thanks!

      Eating out less and cooking at home is awesome. Someone asked me if there were lots of good restaurants in my neighborhood and my instant reaction was “That seems like a terrible metric for a neighborhood. I want to know how far/convenient the grocery store(s) and drugstore(s) are.” There are 3 grocery stores within a 20 minute walk, two within a 10 minute walk :)

  3. That’s huge progress, YoY, especially on your savings rate. Great job, especially since saving bonuses is psychologically harder than “regular” income.

    • Thanks!

      Really? I find saving “regular” income psychologically harder. I’ve never seen bonuses as money to be spent, but as money to be saved. Ever since I started working, I’ve always saved 100% of my bonuses, without ever considering spending them.

      • That’s a great way to view them! I’ve found that people are generally less frugal with “found” money like bonuses, tax returns, gifts of money, etc….but if it’s easier for you to save them, that’s rad!

        • Well, I do tend to spend money from family, but I’ll usually put it in an account and slowly spend it. That’s only because my parents have this need to know what I bought with the money they gave me. And then since I’m using their money to do spending I would have done anyways, I can save more. Work bonuses, income tax returns, etc. though all go directly to savings.

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