While December’s income statement post officially closed the books on 2014, it’s also really useful for us to look at the year in totality and see where we had success and failures to help us plan our spending for the following year. Here we go!
2014 Spending Goal: $50,000
This covers every expense for 2 relatively healthy adults and one cat. Some consider that budget hugely extravagant, others consider it a number requiring a monastic existence. For us, we feel it’s a number that requires us to be conscious of our spending, but that doesn’t feel too limiting in the grand scheme of things.
2014 Actual Spending: $50,495
As I mentioned in our December income statement, we went over by 1%. Well, 0.99%, but who’s counting. =)
But there’s actually kindof an asterisk on that overage. Included in that total is $2,912 in 2014 spending on our kitchen renovation, which we weren’t planning on starting until (and have a separate budget for) 2015. So in a way, we were kindof 5% under our spending goal.
Where Did The Money Go?
- Mortgage: $14,510 (of which $6,343 is principal reduction)
- Home Maintenance and Repairs: $2,389 – just under our $200/month goal!
- Kitchen Renovation: $2,912 (so far we’ve relocated plumbing, electricity, duct work, built a wall, and prepared to start tearing down a wall and ripping the ceiling apart)
- Bills for Primary Residence: $2,834 (electric, water/sewer, 2 iPhones through Ting, and DSL internet)
- Total Home: $22,645 (45% of total!)
- Groceries: $4,166
- Eating Out: $2,735
- Total Food: $6,901 (14% of total) – which is under the $600 per month we were aiming for, so I guess our divide and conquer approach is working!
- Gas: $2,951 – dropping down to 1 car decreased our gas spending, but it’s still a sizable line item due to Mr PoP’s commute
- Auto Repairs: $642 – pretty good luck with the car this year, but we doubt it’ll hold now that we just hit 100K miles
- Auto Insurance: $628 – this one car gig rocks!
- Car/Drivers License Fees: $106
- Sunny Purchase: $2,364 (impulse buying a 40+ year old Mercedes Benz isn’t cheap…)
- Total Transportation: $6,691 (13% of total)
- General Shopping: $6,882 – we bought SO MUCH this year…
- Pet Care: $323 – a little expensive since I bought Kitty PoP a very expensive toy at the end of the year, but overall he’s such a great entertainment value
- Total Shopping: $7,205 (14% of total)
- Deductible Medical Expenses: $874 (2% of total)
- Gym/Fitness: $1,281 – a little higher than last year mostly due to the triathlon I did, which wasn’t a cheap entry fee!
- Media Subscription: $96 (Hulu)
- Media Non-Subscription: $105 (a couple of theater movies and random iTunes purchases)
- Total Entertainment: $1,482 (3% of total)
- Travel: $3,852 (a little high, but we spent a decent chunk on Australia, getting to our first ever BRK meeting, and attending a wedding during peak travel times in an expensive city)
- Charity: $345
- Tax Prep: $500
- Total Miscellaneous: $4,697 (9% of total)
- Total Personal Spending: $50,495
Overall we’re pretty pleased with how the spending ended up this year. The only budgets that we ended the year significantly over were Travel and Shopping, both of which were over by around $850. The travel doesn’t even bother me that much since we did the best we could with some trips to fairly pricey destinations (Sydney, New Orleans, and Omaha on BRK weekend – which is not a cheap weekend to go to Omaha!), but didn’t find traveling at peak times to be conducive to maximizing credit card rewards. There wasn’t a single trip this year that we had control over the dates. =/ Next year I hope that we spend more of our travel budget on shorter trips closer to home where we have control over the dates and we get to make some use out of Mr PoP’s SCUBA certification! I think that’ll be a win for the budget and a win for having more fun.
Shopping was a thorn in my side from the beginning of the year since there wasn’t a single month when we were under the yearly budget. I could try and come up with an excuse, but there is none. Mostly we just bought a LOT of stuff. A bicycle for Mr PoP (a necessity to drop to 1 car), 2 used iPhones to switch to Ting (the cost of which was partially offset by selling the old ones), an Instant Pot, $350 in equipment for Mr PoP’s cube at work, lots of bike supplies (including fenders, yay!), ANOTHER used iPhone (due to Mr PoP losing mine), a new iPad (due to me losing my 4 year old iPad!), watch repairs, domain names, work clothes, running shoes, paying Mr PoP’s parents back for the Paypal fiasco, finally getting our wedding bands engraved, SCUBA certification for Mr PoP, more bike supplies including kevlar tires to prevent flats, plus a number of household items, gifts, and expenses associated with doing nice-ish things for other people. Honestly, the spending here was pretty ridiculous. (4 iDevices in 1 year!?! Who does that?!?) The shopping budget for next year is going to be lower, and I imagine we’ll have no trouble hitting it since we already bought everything we possibly could, right? =)
Looking Forward To 2015
We know that our kitchen renovation project is going to be expensive – the goal is to keep it under $20K but get our “forever kitchen”, so we are going to challenge ourselves to lower our personal spending to $45K (excluding the kitchen renovations) for 2015. That’ll be a 10% reduction, but we think it will be doable as long as we reign in the shopping a bit to counteract the car expenses that we know will be higher in the next year. And it’ll help if we don’t impulse buy another 40+ year old Mercedes Benz.
How was your 2014 spending? What changes are you looking to make going forward into 2015?