Here's what my 2016 spending looked like:
Home and Condo Rental: This year I decided to split out the expenses of my condo rental from the home category. 2016 was a bad year for renting my condo. Between flooding in the unit that required me to replace the flooring in the kitchen to buying a new fridge to a range of other maintenance expenses, I lost money in 2016. I sincerely hope this is my last year having this rental as I would love to sell it in the fall and be done with it. On a positive note, I spent far less on housing expenses for myself as I moved in with Phil and he doesn't charge me rent! We have an agreement that I will buy groceries and pay for things like vacations and such. He felt it wasn't worth the effort to split the expenses evenly since we knew we would be getting married eventually and would combine finances at that time.
Wedding: Yes, we already have spent a considerable amount of money on our wedding, even though we just got engaged on December 9th! We booked the reception venue and photographer in December so have to make deposits on both of those items.
Auto & Transport: This is new category this year as last year my spending on this category was so small it got lumped into other. My car literally died on me in July so I had to buy a new car, hence the reason why that was my biggest expense category for the year. I didn't pay for the car in full as the financing fee was so low but my goal is to pay it off in 2 years.
Donations: My donations category increased this year as I identified a few new charities that I donate to on a regular basis. Since Phil and I live well below our means, I feel that giving back is a very important thing to do. I don't want to sound like I'm up on my high horse by saying that as I recognize that finances are tight for many people and they don't have extra to give, but since I do have extra to give, it's something I try to do.
Travel: This category grew a bit this year since I paid for our vacations in full instead of splitting the cost with Phil. This category doesn't include our Mexico trip as we paid for that in 2015, but I feel good about the amount spending considering that it includes trips to San Francisco, Bend, Spain, and several out-of-town weekends for friends' weddings. Travel will ALWAYS find a place in our budget as it's something we both value.
Target: Target is still a big spending area for me. It's hard to split up this category, though, as I get a lot of groceries (non-perishable goods) and household products from Target. I know I still make some additional purchases that I could limit but it would be so much work to get a handle on what I'm spending at Target. I do expect my Target spending to decline now that we have Amazon Prime as now I rarely buy household goods from Target and instead opt to have them shipped to our house.
Shopping: I actually feel good about the fact that my total for shopping (which includes clothes, books, Amazon, and miscellaneous other purchases). Last year, clothing was 5% of my spending so I feel good about the fact that my total spending in this category was equivalent to what I spent on clothes last year. I bought far fewer clothes this year and instead tried to rely on what I already have. I will need to add to my wardrobe this year as some of my clothes are starting to show their wear, though.
Other: This catch all category includes things like personal care (haircuts, Arbonne products, massages, and other random expenses).
What about savings?
I didn't include savings in the graph as I like to see how my spending breaks out. But I also focused on savings in 2016 and significantly increased the amount I have in savings. We know that we will be buying a different "forever" home in the next 1-2 years so I am saving in preparation for that.
This is always an important activity for me to do each year, and it's something I encourage others to do. I keep a close eye on my spending throughout the year, but it's always eye-opening to look at the totals at the end of the year. I feel like I am a pretty frugal person that spends money wisely, but when I review my spending it reminds me I have opportunities to spend less. I utilize mint.com to track my spending. It does a pretty good job of classifying my expenses, but I have to do a lot of reclassifying of expenses so that it's accurate.
Lastly, this will be my last year of sharing my spending in this manner. Phil and I will be fully merging our finances after we get married and I don't feel right about sharing our spending as a couple. But I will still talk about money and finances, especially about how we adjust to having joint finances, as that is going to be an interesting experience for us after managing our finances independently for so long!
Do you track your spending? If so, what do you use to track it?