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2009 spending versus 2008 and projected budgets
Old 06-30-2009, 12:12 PM   #1
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2009 spending versus 2008 and projected budgets

I just took a look at our actual spending rate YTD, and we are running over 20% below last year's actual spending! I knew we had cut back a little here and there, but I'm still surprised. It doesn't really feel like we've cut back that much.

I also reviewed spending over the past 4 years to re-evaluate what I have been using as our expected annual expenses for planning purposes. From this I also refined what would be a reasonable conservative budget (based on our lowest actual expenses in the past, not really bare bones), and it is about 70% of what I have been using for our projected expenditures. Bare bones would go below that even - maybe 55% of the planned budget.

This projected budget I have always considered our "flush" budget with plenty of padding for special expenses, gifts to family, etc. This number is still almost 9% above the max we have spent in any given year over the past 9 years.

As our investment portfolio has shrunk over the past year, I decided that for planning purposes I needed a more reasonable "moderate" budget based on the averages of the past 4 years plus a wee bit extra. This "moderate" budget is 84% of the "flush" budget and would, at current levels, be about a 3% draw from the portfolio once taxes are included.

There have been discussions over the past 6 months of "bare bones" expenses versus other budget projections. I thought maybe some of my numbers might be useful.

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Old 06-30-2009, 12:20 PM   #2
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I guess a semi-annual snapshot is a good time to look at the YTD picture...

Looks like our spending in the "discretionary" categories is down nearly 30% from the first six months of 2008. Much of that reflected my paranoia perceived need to supercharge our emergency fund since we have been a single-paycheck household.

Assuming nothing unexpected causes my wife's upcoming employment to be rescinded, we expect to make up for a considerable portion of that after August once she's actually "in" and earning a paycheck. Most of that will just be the partial unwinding of the "overfunded" emergency fund back to a 9-12 month level (from 18+ months) to undergo some deferred home improvement projects for which we've mentally allocated cash but not spent over the last year or so.
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:31 PM   #3
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Compared to last summer ($4+ per gal gas)...

I've noticed the "our" joint bill paying account has a bit of excess funds at month end. We still put the same amount in each month as if gas was still overpriced. It was $2.76/gal at last fillup.
I know exactly where the savings are coming from besides gas - food. I've been utilizing a low cost food bank since January. We rarely eat dinner out. We still do our little "drop off the captured chipmunk" ice cream runs and have lunch together maybe once a week.
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:35 PM   #4
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Made me look. I don't have all my numbers in for June yet, so I looked at Jan-May of last year and this year. I took out the cost of buying the car and motorcycle last year and my figure shows we've spent 33% less this year. We haven't suffered a drop.

Now...next year's numbers will be about the same as this year I imagine. In 2008, DH was still bringing in the big bucks...and we frittered money away....much less frittering going on now.
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Old 06-30-2009, 12:43 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 06-30-2009, 01:01 PM   #6
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Cool thread Audrey. Year-over-year I'm down a whopping 27%!

No vacation so far this year; that was a huge savings. Auto expenses down 48% (cheaper gas and less required repairs) and leisure expenses down 51%.

Household expenses up 42% (more major projects so far this year), dining out is up 41% (has to be price, I don't think our eating out pattern has changed much and I have noticed the checks have been pricey).

Spent more on electricity so far this year, but that will change as I recently changed over to a cheaper utility plan.
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Old 06-30-2009, 01:05 PM   #7
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Iím not much of a record keeper but I reserved two months of 2009 PF withdrawals for emergency savings because of a tax refund and book sales. Also there is a good chunk of money leftover in my checking account this month as it has been for a few months. If that keeps up, I may forego another monthís withdrawal before the end of the year, or better yet, splurge. Since this is my first full year of RE, Iím not comparing it to last year. Iím planning no increase in withdrawal amount for next year.
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Old 06-30-2009, 01:06 PM   #8
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My monthly expenditures (other than taxes) have gone down 34% so far this year in comparison with 2008, even though I had some unusual big expenses so far in 2009.

I spent more than usual in 2008. Essentially I am back to within $7 of my monthly average expenses for the previous five years.

Groceries, medical, water, car maintenance, and car insurance are up.

Gasoline, electricity, clothes, electronics, home maintenance, and miscellaneous expenses are down.
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Old 06-30-2009, 01:34 PM   #9
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My spending is about the same as last year but it's way below my budgeted amount . The only utility that dropped was my electric which went down $50.00 a month after I installed a new air system.
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Old 06-30-2009, 01:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
Groceries, medical, water, car maintenance, and car insurance are up.

Gasoline, electricity, clothes, electronics, home maintenance, and miscellaneous expenses are down.
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.
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Old 06-30-2009, 02:27 PM   #11
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I'm down probably 20-25% relative to 2008. My usual approach is to track expenditures in fairly broad categories (including a large "misc"), but this year I'm seeing where each penny is spent. This causes me to be more frugal.

In particular, I spent about $2K on food in 2008. My goal for this year is to spend under $1K ($2.74/day), which is a little less than half the food stamps budget. I'm currently under this rate, spending $455 from January through June. And yes, I pretty much buy all my own food. I'm curious how little I can spend by being extra careful with my purchases.
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Old 06-30-2009, 02:40 PM   #12
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I used to live on $12,000 a year, went on 3 vacations a year, plus Vegas a couple times a year, always had about $300 in my pocket, etc.

Then I got married.........
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Old 06-30-2009, 02:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Except that for us, electricity and all utilities are sharply higher this year than last.
I haven't received my electric bill yet for this month......don't wanna...
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Old 06-30-2009, 03:10 PM   #14
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At the moment I project I will come in 5% below budget for 2009. Deflation??
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Old 06-30-2009, 03:13 PM   #15
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At the moment I project I will come in 5% below budget for 2009. Deflation??
Deflation? Depends. Are you buying less stuff or is the stuff you're buying getting cheaper?
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 06-30-2009, 06:05 PM   #16
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Groceries way down for us.
Utilities slightly higher around 50.00

We will come way under our so called budget. Maybe we should take a trip to Hawaii or something.
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:10 PM   #17
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Then I got married.........
I'm still amazed at the things I am supposed to have that I didn't know existed until after I got married. Still not sure what a dust ruffle is or what it's supposed to do. And why do we have all those pillows on the bed if we only use a couple of them to sleep with?
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:31 PM   #18
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When I compare the first 6 months of 2009 to the first 6 months of 2008, I find that we have spent 13% less.

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Old 06-30-2009, 07:26 PM   #19
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No wonder the economy is in the dumper! You guys are showing some serious cutbacks in spending for 2009.
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:27 PM   #20
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No wonder the economy is in the dumper! You guys are showing some serious cutbacks in spending for 2009.
I know! Slackers start spending more
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