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2018 Spending Summary and Analysis
Old 12-28-2018, 05:57 PM   #1
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2018 Spending Summary and Analysis

My guess is that many of us are adding up our spending for 2018 right now and want to tell someone about it. How was your spending compared with last year? Are you happy with the amount you spent? This is a thread for saying as much as you WANT to say and feel comfortable sharing. If you do not feel comfortable even reading this type of thread, please stop now! There are lots of other threads to read.

The purpose of this thread is.... fun.

We have a wide range of income and spending on the board, so I'd suggest you don't compare yourself to others on the forum; no matter how much or how little you spent, there are others just like you. It's more productive to compare your spending to that of your 2017 self, or to your goals. Do you want to report it as all inclusive, or in categories? Either way, here's your thread so have at it.

These are my totals for every category except estimated income tax payments. I am 70 years old, and live alone in a 1500 sf house in an inner/urban suburb of New Orleans.


Category Total for 2018 Comments
Groceries $2,433.76 Includes toiletries, detergent, etc.
Restaurants $2,986.25 lunch every day plus some dinners
Gasoline $357.26 Everything is close by.
Car $1,773.73 insurance, maintenance, registration
House $5,734.38 insurance (homeowners', wind-and-hail, and flood), prop. tax, mowing, maint.+upgrades
Utilities $2,817.58 internet, nat. gas, electricity, water, trash, sewage, cell
Fitness $504.00 gym fees
Clothes $560.76 casual "retiree wear", underwear, shoes
Miscellaneous $2,456.55 Gifts, laptop, printer, InstantPot, etc
Video Games, apps $707.34 Gamecube, Nintendo Switch, games, accessories
Medical $5,319.19 insurance, Medicare, prescriptions, dentist, HR monitor, etc
Total $25,650.80 plus income tax

(BTW, here's the forum explanation of how to set up a table like this one for those who might want to).

COMPARISON WITH 2017: My 2017 numbers are available here. This year I did not have all those dental implants and other dental work to pay for like I did last year, so I spent $9656 less on medical(dental) than last year. Overall, including everything but income tax for both years, I spent about $11,296 less this year than I spent in 2017.

AM I HAPPY WITH HOW IT ALL WORKED OUT? Yes, this year I was really lucky because I didn't have a lot of unexpected big expenses. I will put any excess aside for years when I am clobbered by the expense of a roof replacement, dental implants, new SUV, or whatever. I am happy with what I spent, especially since this year I started my age 70 SS so I have more to spend now.

AM I SOMEHOW TO BE REGARDED AS ADMIRABLE OR VIRTUOUS FOR SPENDING THIS MUCH OR THIS LITTLE? I don't think that I spent a lot more than, or a lot less than, the rest of our members. And if I did, I don't really give a hoot because that is not where I get my feelings of self worth (and I imagine the same is true for you, too).

OTHER COMMENTS: The above 2018 numbers are not the final numbers but hopefully very close (done on 12/28). I added in my average restaurant lunch cost for the three lunches I have yet to buy and eat this year. I don't foresee buying anything else before January 1st.
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:02 PM   #2
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52. About the same as last year. Needs improvement.

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Old 12-28-2018, 06:33 PM   #3
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52. About the same as last year. Needs improvement.

If you are looking for improvement, do you keep a sub category for the "Miscellaneous" expenses? Perhaps that is an area to cut down.
I keep a sub category for this expense.
Cell phone expenses seem on the high side.
Interesting you have a few more categories than myself. I am not the only detailed budget person here.
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:34 PM   #4
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:36 PM   #5
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Same as last year, and the past few years. $72K, after tax.

We do not break it down. We simply take a tape each month from our bank current account. One number does it for us. The components are what they are. We prove our monthly cell, internet bills etc on a regular basis and test our home and auto insurance policies prior to renewal. Numbers include a fair amount of international travel.

We do not have medical or life insurance premiums, loans, mortgages, post secondary education expenses, pets, or plants.
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:39 PM   #6
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We dropped ~$9k on a roof for a rental, $5.5k on tree removal on another rental, $2.5k on a transmission rebuild, and another ~$4k for hardwood flooring. We spent $20k more than last year. Also, DW bought a wonderful tabletop bronze for my BD.
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:44 PM   #7
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Do you guys not worry about putting this much personal financial info out there?
Not being critical...........just, Wow.
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:53 PM   #8
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Do you guys not worry about putting this much personal financial info out there?
Have you not been reading the Early Retirement Forum since you joined? What we spent and what we spent it on, is one of the most common topics on this forum (along with when to take SS, should we pay off our mortgages, and so on). We have had long, interesting threads detailing our spending just about every single year since I joined over a decade ago. Here are some of the many such threads from previous years:

My annual expenditure (2012)
2013 expenses
2016 Spending
2017 Spending Summary and Analysis

Even just in the past few weeks, we have had threads about what we spend on individual categories, such as these threads on grocery spending and utilities:

How much do you spend on Groceries?
Poll on "utilities"

Have fun reading!
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:06 PM   #9
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Cell phone expenses seem on the high side.
Interesting you have a few more categories than myself. I am not the only detailed budget person here.
And I was thinking that those were very broad categories! I have 20 categories...but everything is in sub-categories. I use YNAB. I have, let me go look: 91 regular subcategories.

I have another 25 subcategories that are non-recurring. These mostly deal with my mother's estate (she died this year) and related to the sale of our prior house and our move. Many of those categories will not be used in 2019 or will be briefly used and then hidden for the rest of the year.

Why do I have so many subcategories? It helps me in budgeting and forecasting for the future so that I don't forget expenses.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by W2R View Post

These are my totals for every category except estimated income tax payments. I am 70 years old, and live alone in a 1500 sf house in an inner/urban suburb of New Orleans.


Category Total for 2018 Comments
Groceries $2,433.76 Includes toiletries, detergent, etc.
Restaurants $2,986.25 lunch every day plus some dinners
Gasoline $357.26 Everything is close by.
Car $1,773.73 insurance, maintenance, registration
House $5,734.38 insurance (homeowners', wind-and-hail, and flood), prop. tax, mowing, maint.+upgrades
Utilities $2,817.58 internet, nat. gas, electricity, water, trash, sewage, cell
Fitness $504.00 gym fees
Clothes $560.76 casual "retiree wear", underwear, shoes
Miscellaneous $2,456.55 Gifts, laptop, printer, InstantPot, etc
Video Games, apps $707.34 Gamecube, Nintendo Switch, games, accessories
Medical $5,319.19 insurance, Medicare, prescriptions, dentist, HR monitor, etc
Total $25,650.80 plus income tax

(BTW, here's the forum explanation of how to set up a table like this one for those who might want to).

.
Damn, I spent more than that above on DD's wedding in April.

We had a "bad" spending year with a bunch of medically related bills that were outside of Medicare too. Let's just say I am not adding up our 2018 total but looking forward at 2019 in a spending restrictive mode.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:19 PM   #11
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Damn, I spent more than that above on DD's wedding in April.

We had a "bad" spending year with a bunch f medically related bills that were outside of Medicare too. Let's just say I am not adding up our 2018 total but looking forward at 2019 in a spending restrictive mode.
We all have years like that! And believe me, I'm REALLY looking forward to putting 2018 away and moving into 2019. In my case it's for other reasons but still 2018 deserves to be gone and forgotten. What a lousy, awful year for many.

Also don't forget there is only one in my household and I didn't have any dental implants or other unexpected big expenses this year. Probably this is why 2018 has been the third lowest spending year for me out of nine years since my 2009 retirement.

I had forgotten about your DD's wedding in April! Now THAT's something worth spending money on. Bet it was beautiful.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:37 PM   #12
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52. About the same as last year. Needs improvement.

How do you spend on life insurance and I won't even ask about the clothing budget.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:47 PM   #13
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How do you spend on life insurance and I won't even ask about the clothing budget.
Laddered term out to age 78 for $1.8M.

Talk to my wife about the clothes. We spent $18k last year. If we could get the clothes down to $6k and the food/dining down to $35/day, we could retire now.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:53 PM   #14
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Laddered term out to age 78 for $1.8M.

Talk to my wife about the clothes. We spent $18k last year. If we could get the clothes down to $6k and the food/dining down to $35/day, we could retire now.
Is this a wanting to leave an estate type insurance? It's costing you plenty.


You can talk to your own wife..
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:56 PM   #15
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Laddered term out to age 78 for $1.8M.

Talk to my wife about the clothes. We spent $18k last year. If we could get the clothes down to $6k and the food/dining down to $35/day, we could retire now.
Our food and dining is $40 per day with eating out or ordering in 3x week.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:58 PM   #16
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Is this a wanting to leave an estate type insurance? It's costing you plenty.


You can talk to your own wife..
Negative. We started saving very late because we were idiots. Got the laddered term 5 years ago to cover the gap while we save. I need it to cover the survivor side of the house. My pension is 55% and my SS would be 50%. 2 years after I got it all in place at great rates (great health) I had 2 heart attacks, so it can stay for a while.

While we spend a lot, we save a lot as well. Saving $250k / year, which is about 50% of gross pay.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:59 PM   #17
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And I was thinking that those were very broad categories! I have 20 categories...but everything is in sub-categories. I use YNAB. I have, let me go look: 91 regular subcategories.

I have another 25 subcategories that are non-recurring. These mostly deal with my mother's estate (she died this year) and related to the sale of our prior house and our move. Many of those categories will not be used in 2019 or will be briefly used and then hidden for the rest of the year.

Why do I have so many subcategories? It helps me in budgeting and forecasting for the future so that I don't forget expenses.
Now that's a lot of categories. Quite varied opinions about tracking expenses vs. budget in this forum.
I happen to also actually like tracking the expenses vs. budget, being in only our 2nd year of retirement, plus can more easily decide where to cut down in a bear market.
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Old 12-28-2018, 08:04 PM   #18
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After several years of keeping track, I stopped this year. I am consistantly under $20K/yr in total spending. I decided there is really no reason to continue keeping track. I know I spend very little so there is no danger of spending too much. I just need to make more money so I can save more. I still have never hit $50K in gross income in a year.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:20 PM   #19
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And I was thinking that those were very broad categories! I have 20 categories...but everything is in sub-categories. I use YNAB. I have, let me go look: 91 regular subcategories.

Why do I have so many subcategories? It helps me in budgeting and forecasting for the future so that I don't forget expenses.
Lemmee guess - you have a sub category for dryer sheets.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:33 PM   #20
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This is for us as a couple with no kids.
I've just provided main categories even though I do track to a subcategory level.

Main Categories2017 Total CDN$2018 Total CDN$2018 Total ~USD$Comments
Food & Drink$11.9$11.7k$8.6kGroceries, Eating Out, Alcohol
Housing$10.1$10.7k$7.8kUtilities, Property Tax, Insurance, Repairs, Household items, Furniture&Appliances
Transportation$4.1$4.2k$3.1kCar, fuel, maintenance, parking, transit, car sharing
Personal$8.8$6.5k$4.8kHealth&Meds, Clothing, Gifts&Charity, Grooming, Pets
Entertainment$1.8$1.4k$1.0kActivities, league fees, sports, shows, entrance fees
Travel$9.2$11.1k$8.1kAirfare, Hotel, Major Spends (eg railpass, etc), food, misc (laundry, simcard, visas)
Side Business$0$0.6k$0.4kVarious
Total$45.9$46.2k$33.9k.


We're likely going to buy a few times in the next few days during Boxing week sales which will bring our final total closer to $47k CDN. Generally happy to keep it under $50k CDN. Obvious the USD estimate is only rough due to currency fluctuations through the year.
Groceries, Restaurant, Alcohol split stayed roughly the same at ~ 40:50:10
Housing and Transportation costs edged up due to utilities, taxes, and insurance going up a bit. We only have a single car since I work at home 80% of the time.
Personal spend edged down as we paid for a trip for the inlaws in 2017.
Entertainment edged down as I purchased some new gear in 2017 for a league I play in.
Travel varies depending on where we go and what kind of deals we find.
Started a new side business in 2018.

I expect us to be closer to $50k CDN in 2019 due to potential car repairs, appliance repairs, and a big trip in June.
We spend on what we want to spend on within reason. If there's something we really want buy, we'll buy it. But since we're still working towards our magic numbers we still give thought on whether the purchase is going to give us value in terms of enjoyment, productivity, usage, etc.
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