PoP 2014 Spending Summary

Best purchase of the year?  Or worst?

Best purchase of the year? Or worst?

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?

27 comments to PoP 2014 Spending Summary

  • I’m excited to watch the kitchen renovation! Hitting your budget within 1% this year either means you are really lucky… or really organized. I think I know which one 😉

    Our plan for this year is to keep truckin’ along with asset accumulation. If the right homestead property appears, we’ll pounce. But we’re also not in a hurry to tie up money in something that’s still ~2 years away.

    We’re also planning to do more regional travel. It’s funny, we’ve traveled a bunch internationally and in the major cities of the US. But we’ve never been to many neat places half a days drive from our house. So we’re going to make a concerted effort to broaden our regional horizons this year. Should be fun!

    Cheers to 2015!
    Mr. Frugalwoods recently posted..What A Year Without Clothes Did For MeMy Profile

    • haha, I’m taking that as a compliment on my organization! =)

      I think watching and waiting are the right moves to take on acquiring your homestead property. You guys have a while yet to make sure you find the right one, so don’t feel pressured. But you also have the means to jump on it if the right one comes along unexpectedly. That’s a great place to be when it comes to making a big purchase like property.

      It’s amazing how little local travel we’ve accomplished in FL, despite living here for (coming up on) a decade. But the SCUBA cert is the perfect excuse to start correcting that since there are so many different places around here for Mr PoP to SCUBA (both fresh and saltwater!).

  • You call Gym/Fitness “Entertainment”? Ha ha ha. Good one! I don’t know of any other form of entertainment that makes me sweaty and sore. I lump that under “Personal Care” or, at best, “Recreation.” Calling exercise entertainment is an insult to things that are actually entertaining.

    It looks like you did really well this year and almost hit that $50k number exactly. Congratulations! We made good progress this year and laid the groundwork for living even more cheaply in 2015. We are on track with our All Debts Must Die program to be completed in 2017.
    Norm recently posted..2014 Expenses, Part 3My Profile

    • Well, considering we belong to a fancy gym (plus a fancy yoga studio for me), and I do severak road races every year (that can cost big bucks), there’s a definite entertainment element to fitness for us that goes well beyond doing a DIY fitness program at near zero cost. Plus, we both actually really like it and do find it entertaining. =)

      Good luck with the “All Debts Must Die” program! Which debt is first on the agenda there?

  • I think you did well with your spending! Being less than 1% over is still good to me :) For 2015, we want to drastically lower our spending. 2014 was a crazy year full of spending, and we need to bring everything down a few notches and get back to reality.
    Michelle recently posted..$13,673 December Income – My Monthly Online Income ReportMy Profile

    • Thanks, Michelle. With your wedding in 2014, it’s kindof understandable that it was a high spend year for you guys. Best of luck dropping those expenses in 2015!

  • Sounds like a great year! It seems like you guys have hit the happy medium between getting good value for all of your money while enjoying life.
    Jenna recently posted..Checking In With What Really Matters When Setting Goals for the New YearMy Profile

  • Sounds like you did an excellent job tracking your spending. Within 1% is really good! Looking forward to reading more about your reno project.
    Tawcan recently posted..Recent buysMy Profile

    • Thanks, Tawcan! I’ve got a kitchen update that will hopefully be ready to go live this week!

      • Awesome! It’s amazing that your kitchen reno costs are that low with moving plumbing, electricity, building a wall, etc.

        We’re still in the planning phase. Our reno will probably start late June or early July. We’re also having our roof repaired and our fuse box replaced. We have a Federal Pacific, which are apparently dangerous and FP committed fraud in their testing compliance and consequently no longer exist as a company. Woo!
        Mr. FI recently posted..End of Year FinancesMy Profile

        • The plumbing was about half the cost so far, the rest has been dribbling out, and we’re trying to reuse a lot of materials where we can, too!

          I’ll be excited to follow your reno when you get started! But what is a federal pacific? Now I’m slightly paranoid…

  • If you’re going to put an asterisk on the kitchen for 2014, you have to be under by the same amount in 2015 to take it back away….

    I’m a big fat pain in the ass, aren’t I? Happy new year.
    Joe Saul-Sehy recently posted..We Peer Into the Magic 8 Ball–Our 2015 PredictionsMy Profile

    • Touche! Actually the goal is to come in under $20K total on the kitchen, and the 2014 spending was $2,912. So we’ve got ~$17K left in 2015 to stay under budget there! =)

  • Is it really corny to call you guys the 1%?
    Even Steven recently posted..What Sacrifices Are You Making?My Profile

  • Only 1% over – you guys are great at predicting your spending :) I feel like I’m often too optmistic and think I’ll spend much less than I actually end up spending.

    The scary part to me about your guys’s spending is that I spend a comparable amount…for just one person (about $2k less than you guys). The interesting part is that our categories are very different. Housing was about 43% of my spending, but everything else was widely different from yours. Transportation, for example, was only 4% of my spending and 16% of my spending was on travel.

    For the flights I regularly take, credit card churning is useless. I’d rather pay to get a direct flight overseas than end up with a bunch of connections and free flights. We also never seem to stay at high-end name brand hotels and I don’t see the value in paying the same price to stay in a fancier hotel. I’d rather get cashback. I’ve been really happy with the Barclaycard since the points are so easy to redeem that I decided to renew it for another year, but I may not keep it for a third year.
    Leigh recently posted..December 2014 net worth update (+0.5%)My Profile

    • I don’t think it’s that scary that you spend a similar amount to us. 1 – you can totally afford it, so yay! 2 – like you noted with the housing there’s a huge chunk that we get to economize on since paying for it once means the second person in the house is a small marginal cost.

      I’m in a similar boat with credit card churning… we’ll try and do a couple more with the kitchen renovation since there are two I know we can use directly, but I found it way too hard to play the rewards miles calculus and feel like I was winning over cash back often.

  • We also Bought All The Things this year when we moved to Colorado–boots, bike snow tire, new coats, hiking poles, etc. And that was after I bought a new laptop. Hoping for much less in 2015! Except that we do want to buy a house, which would be one biiiig thing to buy :-).
    Frugal Paragon recently posted..Uber-Frugal January: Who’s with Me?My Profile

    • But to be fair, when you move to the frigid tundra you need supplies to help you deal with the snow! Watch out for the abominable snowman out there!

  • What an awesome job at planning your expenses!! I’d love to be able to go back and report how closely we tuck to our plan for 2014. But, alas, I failed to track spending for February through July :( Epic fail in the realm of trying to cut back on spending. I have plenty of excuses, but they are all ugly, so I will spare all of us. Moving forward, I’m already anxious to see how we do in 2015 since I’m completely committed to tracking every red cent!
    Mrs. Maroon recently posted..Look Back at 2014 and Ahead to 2015My Profile

  • You guys did great! And I don’t blame you for spending enough to get your forever kitchen. If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Holiday Money Lessons for KidsMy Profile

    • Thanks, Holly! We don’t want to go crazy buying EVERY luxury kitchen item (there are a LOT of them!), but we do want it to be a place that we like to spend time for many many years to come. =)

  • Congratulations on a successful financial year Pops! We started doing renos too…. let the fun begin.
    canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..Why Having A Stockpile Budget Will Save You Money: The Grocery Game Challenge 2015 #1 Jan 5- 11My Profile