April 23, 2010

Our 2009 Household Spending Summary

Here is a summary of our 2009 spending for various categories:

Home mortgage $14,864
Home improvement $10,437
Grocery / drugstore $8,551
Eating out $7,742
Utilities $3,432
Car, gas + insurance $3,131
Entertainment $2,943
Travel $2,206
Phone/net $2,118
Misc $1,833
Gifts $1,503
Clothes $927
TOTAL $59,686

Mortgage: The home mortgage figure includes the principal and interest payment as well as escrow account for property tax and home insurance.  This does not include extra principal payments we make above our mortgage payment.
Home improvement : was fairly high since we had our front lawn redone.

Grocery / drugstore: This is kind of a catch all for household spending including groceries and household items.  I put anything from the major department stores in there like Target or similar.   That category undoubtedly includes stray spending on clothing and other items.
Eating out : Fairly self explanatory and includes any restaurant bills.
Utilities: This includes electricity, water, garbage and home security bills.  The electricity is the biggest expense in this category.
Automotive expenses: This is auto insurance about $1600, gasoline about $1200 and any other car bills like repair or maintenance.
Entertainment:  This includes cable TV and any shows or sporting events we go to.
Travel: Any cost for travel including airfare, hotel and entertainment specific to travel.
Phone / net: This is our home phone bill, internet bill and cell phone bill. 
Misc: This is generally individual spending of myself or my wife that isn't in a our other major categories. 
Gifts: Money given to charities or friends.
Clothing: Most of our clothing costs.

I do not include spending specific to our rental properties in our household budget.  Those expenses are our rental expenses and I keep that stuff separate.

Here is how the spending looks graphically :

Most of our spending is by choice and conscious.   We are spending much less than we earn so I do not feel there is any problem with our spending level.    We could cut back on spending in most areas if we choose to.   Our home mortgage, utilities and auto expenses are generally fixed and we wouldn't be able to cut those areas much at all.   Our eating out, entertainment and travel are all luxury spending that we choose to spend on.  The grocery, drugstore, and misc. are a mixture of some required spending and some extra spending. We could cut back on grocery spending if we needed too but currently choose to spend how we do.

While I don't think we have over spending problems we should continue to watch our spending and make sure we aren't wasting money.   We should also do a better job of accounting for our general 'grocery / drugstore' category of spending.   That category is the third largest but I don't track the specifics of that spending very well at all.

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