Monday, February 11, 2008

January Spending Review

I am pretty proud to say that my husband and I did a pretty decent job of tracking our expenses for the month of January! I have always been a fan of automated savings, and just spending everything that was left so I didn't really have a good idea of where our money was going. We decided to track all expenses except those expenses that are fully reimbursed by our employers. For example, for any business trips we took, we didn't count the cost of hotel, rental car, airfare, etc. I did count the cost of meals since both my husband and I get per diem when we travel. Per diem is a meal allowance that we got for each day, no matter what we spend. So if I spend $100 on food, some of that is coming out of my own pocket, whereas if I only spend $10 on food, I get to add some extra savings to our monthly inflows.

So here is the breakdown.
Total expenditures: $4,965.48*
Rent: $1,600.00
Tithe: $1050.00
Eating Out $707.92
Gifts $307.70
Groceries $285.45
Misc. $279.68
Monthly Bills $195.87
Travel $165.21
Entertainment $88.00

Since I didn't have any preconceived notions about where our money was going, I was happy that C and I were able to have at least a 1 month record showing the granularities of our expenses. I knew we spent a lot of money on eating out, but I didn't realize it's about 2.5 times as much as we spend on groceries! A lot of this is due to travel schedules. I found it interesting that C and I only had 4 meals out together and only 2 meals out together with just us. Included in those 2 meals we had with others also includes us treating others due to special occasions. I have tried to emphasize that I want our meals out with just us to be special affairs that we really enjoy, rather than an act of convenience. We eat out by ourselves as an act of convenience too much as it is!

Our monthly bills are also missing our monthly electricity bill. We got one at the end of December and another one at the beginning of February. I'm not sure why that happened, but I decided not to include it in our monthly review since we didn't have to pay it out in January.

I thought that our spending on gifts might be abnormally high, but I figure in other months there are other one off items that would offset a lower amount spent on gifts. The travel budget was spent on a weekend trip where some of the expenses were paid in December, so this cost here is less than the cost of the trip, but accurate of what we spent in January.

I know that we forgot a couple of expenses here and there, but this is a good snapshot of what our monthly expenses are. I'm pretty comfortable with this. The main thing I would want to change is to decrease the amount we spend on eating out and increase the amount we spend on groceries!

* Note this does not include automatic payroll deductions like taxes, 401K savings, health care, long term disability insurance, flexible spending accounts nor other savings


Nicola Francis said...

Great to see your breakdown of where your finances are being spent month on month. It's nice to know that being frugal doesn't mean going without!

ChampDog said...

It seems like you travel a lot.:) I used to track my monthly spending by breaking out to different categories (e.g. bills, loan, and etc) until recently I feel too lazy for it because every month is kind of some. I'm thinking to use different method which is to look at the spending as a whole and probably review it in 6 months rather than every month. Then, I will compare every 6 months to figure the major expenses that I reduce and focus on this. This is also free up my time to do other stuff. Anyway this is my thought only but has not been really implemented.

calgirlfinance said...

Nicola, My husband and I definitely don't go without! I feel like we basically get almost everything we want, we just don't have extensive wants.

Champdog, I do travel a lot. I think looking at a 6 month or even 1 year budget is a good idea!