Everyone should track their spending at least once a month. If you don’t ever go through all of your transactions, you’ll forget all of the small expenses. As we all know, the little things add up and you’ll spend much more than you think. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me, my credit card companies finally prepared a year-end report for my 2016 spending. When I looked at the results, I was really taken back. If you read my post about the Little Things Add Up, you know that I’ve really underestimated my spending over the past few years. Now that I have actual data, its much worse than I could have ever imagined.
My spending in 2016 was $56,826.65. It’s… unbelievable. Once I saw it, I honestly didn’t believe it. I looked at the credit card summaries and they all added up. I still didn’t believe it. I looked through all of the transactions and I still didn’t believe it. I wrote a quick Python program to add up all of the numbers to make sure that it added correctly. Shit, my credit card companies were right. I sorted my spending by category below.
I collapsed all of my spending categories so simplify the chart. Most of the entries are self explanatory. Automotive covers car payments, car insurance, gasoline, and maintenance. Entertainment includes fun activities, uber, and eating out. Shopping covers any products that I purchased. Travel includes EZ-Pass fees (that totals over $800!) and airplane tickets.
My miscellaneous expenses are really high. It covers random stuff like buying tools. I don’t really have a better explanation because I don’t know what I spent $4,497.14 on which sucks.
My engagement expenses cover purchasing an engagement ring, clothing, and engagement photos. I consider this money very well spent.
This includes my rent and utilities. The number doesn’t seem that high, but my fiance pays the other half… its like we have a mortgage but don’t own a home.
My car payments are the majority of this expense. I’m almost halfway done paying it off. I consider the payment money well spent. In addition, I spent almost $1500 on gasoline and I had to replace my tires at 40,000 miles which was an additional $500.
I did not think that I spent so much money on groceries. Apparently I did. This works out to almost $600 a month which is a joke. It technically includes things like paper towels, soap, etc. However, $600 a month is absolutely unacceptable.
I don’t know what I spent this on. Looking through my expenses, it includes some random travel, but most of it is… I don’t really know. Bad.
This is probably the worst. I averaged about $800 a month. I’m not gonna lie, I have no problem spending money. My monthly spending for February is going to be higher than January (but I’ll visit that in another 2 weeks). I definitely spent way too much on Magic, The Gathering. This also includes my $1,500 computer that I built for my birthday. I honestly didn’t get over $9,000 worth of enjoyment from my shopping expenses.
The majority of my travel expenses are from E-ZPass. My family lives in NY and I live in Washington, DC. I visited them about once a month and its $50 in tolls (+ $50 in gas) for each round trip. I also included a $90 speeding tickets in here (oops).
Hindsight is 20/20
Looking back, I knew that I spent a ridiculous amount of money in 2016. I didn’t know how much I spent, though. Last year was a failure for me, savings wise. However, I can’t keep looking back. To quote my favorite movie (The Lord of the Rings), “home is behind, the world ahead.”
This catastrophic failure is the reason that I started Zero Day Finance. I will keep looking ahead and fix what I can, and not worry about my past mistakes. If you’ve had trouble keeping your spending under control, or you never hit your savings goals, please try out the Zero Day Challenge. Its helping me decrease my spending from $4,700 a month to less than $2,600 a month which is a tremendous improvement.
I hope that I can help some of you reach your goals, even if it’s only one of you.