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?

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2 thoughts on “2015 In Review: Spending

  1. Great post, Leigh!

    It’s really good to review your goals and see what went right or wrong like this.
    I can definitely vouch for some of these choices as being good ways to save money like not buying work lunches and spending less on entertainment/going out. I actually think that doing this makes the times that you do go out so much more special and memorable, like special occasions rather than money sinks.

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