Post Series: My Spending

chart of spending from 2009 to 2014 goal

I’ve never been a big spender, which is why my 2013 spending is so alarming. In this series I’ll analyze my own spending amounts and set some goals for 2014. Throughout the year I’ll post updates of how I’m doing.

A brief back story

Like most people I’m not completely frugal nor am I a spendthrift. To which side do I most lean toward? It’s debatable.

Am I a frugalista?

  • I live well below my means.
  • I have never had credit card debt. (Except for a couple weird exceptions which I’ll discuss later.)
  • I don’t like shopping.

Or am I a rampant consumer? 

  • I don’t deprive myself. (At least currently; I had to be more careful when I was younger and made less money.)
  • If I have a need or strong desire I will satisfy it by spending money, sometimes even carelessly.
Tracking my spending

I have been tracking my spending to the penny for many years. In late 2008 I got married and my average spending amounts stabilized at that time. Therefore, although I have recorded spending amounts going back to 2004, I’m only comparing my current spending to 2009 and after.

2013 was a bad year. I spent a lot of money compared to the prior four years. Admittedly some of that was because my husband and I purchased a condo and moved out of our rented apartment. But that isn’t the whole story. I feel that the seesaw of frugality versus consumerism is tipping too far to the consumer side. I want to rein in my spending and bring my 2014 numbers back to a reasonable level.

Spending summary

Chart of my spending from 2009 to 2013

Above is my average monthly spending for the last five years. Bear in mind that this is only my spending. My husband’s average spending is only slightly higher than mine, so you can estimate our household spending if you wish.

In the next section I’ll break down my spending line-by-line, with explanations and goals for 2014.

Housing and Utilities
Transportation
Other Joint Expenses
Personal Expenses and Summary

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