My 2014 Spending Summary and 2015 Goals

It’s that most wonderful time of the year for compulsive money trackers. Finally we get to add up all our spending for the year, compare it to previous years, and get ready for next year.

I tend to think of my spending in monthly averages so that’s what I’ve presented here. I’ve broken our costs down into housing/utilities, transportation, other joint expenses, and my personal non-shared expenses. The first three charts represent only my portion of household spending. My husband and I share most expenses 50/50. So double these numbers to compare them with your own monthly household spending.

1Condo fees include water/sewer.
2Internet currently paid by employer.

Other Notes on Housing/Utilities:
In late 2013 we moved from a 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment to a 3 bedroom 1.5 bath townhouse-style condo; our expenses are only slightly higher, and we have much more space so buying was a good choice for us.

Utility expenses are a  common item to compare on financial forums, so I thought I’d highlight this part. For our Winnipeg condo, with units on either side, we spent an average of $135 per month for natural gas and hydro electricity combined. We are both fairly cold sensitive, so don’t skimp too much on heat, but we do try to heat one room at a time with space heaters instead of increasing the whole house temperature, when appropriate. Last year was a very cold winter, and we had a poorly insulated section of wall from a home repair accident, so hopefully this year with a warmer winter (so far) and our wall repaired, this cost might be even lower.

3We’ll probably have to buy new tires this year.
4We have a car loan at 0.9% that will be paid off in 2016. I haven’t bothered amortizing the car purchase price, but am assuming it will cost about $200 a month over its lifetime, though hopefully less.

5“Groceries” is only food. I split out non-food groceries as “household disposable”. I do this in case I’m ever able to garden in a substantial way; I want to track food alone.
6Mostly our extended health insurance.
7Travel is artificially high in 2014 because we ended up paying for both our 2014 and 2015 vacation flights during 2014.

As the above numbers are only my spending these are my actual monthly totals. Some explanations on the categories I use:

  • Work Food – Food and drink items I wouldn’t purchase if I didn’t have a job.
  • Eating Out/Coffee – When I go out alone it goes in this category. (When it’s with my husband I put it as a joint expense in the other chart.) I need to try to feel less guilty about spending in this category as occasional eating out is a priority for me.
  • Hobbies – Books, puzzles, games, and other things I do at home.
  • Entertainment – Typically things I do out of the house – plays/movies, though I think I include alcohol here as well, since I don’t drink enough to bother with a separate category.

You may notice that my “Other” and “Business” categories are much higher than my initial goals. I had some rare and unanticipated expenses in 2014. The Other category includes: a gift, my passport renewal (good for ten years now), and a personal retreat.

The business category really got out of control. It’s pretty embarrassing. If you’re familiar with the term “gazingus pin” from the book, Your Money or Your Life, projects/business ideas would be mine. I tend to get hyper-interested in an idea and spend money on it prematurely. My main goal this year is to do as much as I can for free before I spend money on an idea. I plan for a couple memberships and seminars, but I’ll try to keep this lower in 2015.

For next year the biggest difference in my personal spending is I plan to travel more in 2015 as I want to keep in better touch with my family in Edmonton.