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Old 06-30-2009, 09:06 PM   #21
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Compared ytd last year and this, and spending is down 11%.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:20 PM   #22
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No wonder the economy is in the dumper! You guys are showing some serious cutbacks in spending for 2009.
Yes - we have pretty strong anecdotal evidence here! I only intended to maintain last year's spending level or cut back slightly, so I was really surprised with how much we'd cut back.

Our spending is driven by our travel, however, it's fairly unpredictable. The costs are determined by how far/fast we travel and whether we spend time in expensive prime tourism areas or more off the beaten track areas. In a deep rural area or a state park in the middle of nowhere, the opportunities to shop (even grocery shop) and eat out can be few and far between. Totally different scenario when cruising the Oregon coast!

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Old 07-01-2009, 01:15 AM   #23
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Quicken says 28.9% less this year so far (comparing 1/1 - 6/30).

Decreases in every category except Charity. Most interesting change was going from spending $181.81 on TV and movies last year to $2.00 this year.

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Old 07-01-2009, 08:26 AM   #24
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My spending is down 30.2% (Jan 1 - June 30) with electricity being the only category with an increase -- rates went up 15% last year. One additional cost is my lab (Coal) which I adopted on June 30 last year but that expense is only about $75 a month (and well worth it). No real lifestyle changes for me but I did reduce some expenses (landline, cable, auto insurance, boat insurance) and last year I had to replace an appliance or two.
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:08 AM   #25
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My overall spending so far is down ~10% from last year. Of course, I wasn't spending much to begin with.
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Old 07-01-2009, 06:19 PM   #26
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My spending is down 28.5% compared to first half 2008.
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:02 PM   #27
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We don't keep a budget, but I do track expenses to the penny. I found this somewhat bizarre:

2008 YTD: $23,821.33
2009 YTD: $27,471.03 (15% spending increase)

But wait, where did that extra spending come from?

2008 Health Care YTD: $5048.00
2009 Health Care YTD: $8989.28

Those numbers include insurance premiums and money paid to health care providers. We have an HSA, and I filled up the $5700 deductible with shoulder surgery, then we had a couple of out-of-network charges as well.

Eliminate Health Care, and we have:
2008 YTD: $18,773.33
2009 YTD: $18,481.75 (1.5% spending decrease)

I found it bizarre that the numbers were so close, since we're basically just spending what we feel like spending, within reason.
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:38 PM   #28
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Just did this exercise today and my spending for first half this year is 1.44% higher than last year so essentially flat and I'm pleased with that.
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:33 PM   #29
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We just completed a 14 months on sabbatical (I've stopped thinking of it as soon-to-be-terminated-ER!).

May 2008 (start of sabbatical) to December 08, we were at 85% of budget.

For 2009, we reduced our budget by 13% to conserve money, but it is a bit more than what we spent on a pro-rated basis in 2008.

Our 2009 budget is more than 4% of portfolio. We plan to make up the difference (and then some) by returning to work. I am using Bob Clyatt's methodology, but don't feel comfortable going above 4% in the 2nd year of what could be a 50 year retirement.

So far, in 2009, we're at 77% of pro-rated budget. We haven't had any home repairs done so far this year, so I think we're tracking quite close to budget.
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Old 10-29-2009, 10:04 AM   #30
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I'll bet this is a common theme: in general the "necessities" are rising in price and the non-essentials are falling. That would certainly be consistent with my personal experience. Except that for us, electricity and all utilities are sharply higher this year than last.
I now pay rent instead of living mortgage free, and still have more money left over than before - likely because there's less dining out. Eating at home is a lot cheaper.
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Old 10-29-2009, 11:35 AM   #31
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Wow - a blast from the (recent) past.

I must confess - after about mid-year it looks like we reverted back to our "normal" spending habits - i.e. back to 2008 spending pretty much. In fact, right after I started this thread! The 3 months of Q3 2009 were just under 2008 average monthly expenses.

YTD, we're still 14% under 2008, but that is due to the cut back during Q1, Q2.

Hmmmm - looking at the economy and the GDP numbers, it looks like I'm not the only one no longer holding back!

Audrey
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Old 10-29-2009, 11:45 AM   #32
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My monthly expenditures (other than taxes) have gone down 34% so far this year in comparison with 2008
My expenditures have gone up since I wrote that.

By now, I can only say that my monthly expenditures (other than taxes) have gone down 18%. I spent some on the trip to Oregon for my daughter's wedding, and I had to pay my homeowners' and flood insurances. Oh well.

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Hmmmm - looking at the economy and the GDP numbers, it looks like I'm not the only one no longer holding back!
I'm doing my best to prop up the economy. It's my patriotic duty.

Edited to add: Biggest reductions were in home maintenance (giant tree removal last year after Hurricane Gustav knocked it down), and miscellaneous/electronics. Food has actually cost $57/month more this year and medical has gone up as well.
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:22 PM   #33
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YTD, our expenses are running just slightly below expenses for the first half of 2008 (-1.4%), with a big drop in recurring bills (-15.9%) and a big increase in discretionary spending (+21.4%) - lots of travel this year plus taking advantages of good deals on big ticket items. YTD, recurring bills represent about 52% of our budget and discretionary spending about 48%. We have seen a drop in spending for all utilities (electric, cable, internet, phone), groceries, gasoline, home insurance and car insurance.

We started cutting back on spending in late 2007/early 2008, so we already spent about 10% less in 2008 than the average of the 4 previous years.
We had done so well staying on budget during the first half of the year! Unfortunately we threw the budget out the window in the second half. With the improvement in the stock market, our networth at new highs and notably higher-than-expected income, we have felt more generous and decided to treat ourselves too after almost 2 years of belt tightening. So we gave a bunch of money to charities, helped my mom buy a new car, bought a new sofa, updated our wardrobe and treated ourselves to some travel luxuries. But I still expect our expenses for 2009 to be close to the average for 2004-2008, so it's no big deal.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:06 PM   #34
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We have spent 12% less than last year at this time. All things being relatively equal. Biggest reduction has been the cost of groceries.

We have actually spent 24% less but Im not counting one time things like putting a roof on our garage. That was a pricey thing :P
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:08 PM   #35
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But I still expect our expenses for 2009 to be close to the average for 2004-2008, so it's no big deal.
We're like you in that our annual spending levels have pretty much been the same during most of the 2000s. I guess we get smarter and/or more practical and that counteracts the effects of inflation - at least so far that's been true.

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Old 10-29-2009, 03:31 PM   #36
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Change in most of our budget categories is flat. Our spending is down about 6% from this date in 2008, and most of that is due to the fact that we took a nice vacation in 2008 to celebrate DW's milestone birthday.

DD started kindergarten last month, which is saving us a bundle on daycare. Next year should be better for spending (if we don't blow the savings going back to Maui!).
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:33 PM   #37
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We're like you in that our annual spending levels have pretty much been the same during most of the 2000s. I guess we get smarter and/or more practical and that counteracts the effects of inflation - at least so far that's been true.

Audrey

I think that we have been able to counteract the effects of inflation on our budget by keeping our fixed costs low. Fixed costs tend to be the most sensitive to inflationary pressures. We have also been able to lower some fixed costs by improving our energy efficiency and using new technologies like Skype.
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:35 PM   #38
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Our spending has been pretty much the same since 2007, the year I retired. I track our spending more so than budget. We could definatly cut back if needed. Our net worth is still OK, our stocks are still below the highs, but we knew that could happen.

Our sons are just scrapping by and we are going to help them some this year. We are paying ones car loan off and buying a car for the other one. Hopefully no car payments will help them get ahead a little. This is going to blow the targets for this year, but hopefully pay's off in the long run.
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:50 AM   #39
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Running at about 96% of last year's total YTD per Q. Biggest decrease was in the "Kids" category -- no more private preschool. Biggest increase is in taxes due to excessive withholding and new job with higher pay.

Overall I'll take it.

2Cor521
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:56 AM   #40
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As of now, I've spent 22% less than last year. Most of the difference is due to my daughter working instead of attending college. Also, no vacation this year - that won't be the case next year, I hope.

I did buy a couple small pieces of art this year, a new hot water heater, a Kindle and a root canal. I also paid for my daughter's health insurance for her first year to get her started before she began working. She now has health insurance thru her employer.

It will be interesting to see next year, after all of my daughter's expenses have been removed from my budget, how I fare. (and how she fares).

I appear to be on track for my end of year budget target.
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