Phew! We’ve survived another year. The last 3 months of every year are always an expensive time in our household thanks to birthdays, our wedding anniversary, back to school, and of course Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Knowing that this time of year is expensive, it’s easy to plan ahead. So for the past few years we’ve been withholding a percentage of every paycheck to help pay for this time of the year. The money we hold out is automatically deposited onto a pay card; we call it our Christmas Card. We use the Christmas Card to pay for birthdays and the holidays and once the money is gone from the card, so is our spending money. It’s a good solution that works for us, and because I’ve already had one payday this year, it also means we’re already saving for Christmas 2017. It feels good to be financially ready to take on our most expensive months.
With all of that being said, December was, as expected, expensive. Here’s our December 2016 spending breakdown:
Where does all my money go?
This looks like a pretty typical month as far as the breakdown does.
Our Personal Budget Line Items
- Rent. This is the biggest line item (by quite a bit) in our budget, but we still feel like this is a great deal. We recently extended our rental contract, so we’re locked into this price for most of 2017
- Groceries. Again, no surprise that ‘food’ is the second biggest line item in our budget (especially with 4 kids!). Housing, food, and transportation are usually the Big 3 items in most budgets
- Miscellaneous. This is spending related to the holidays and a few other items that I had a hard time categorizing.
- Kids. Coming in at 5% of our biggest is ‘kids’ … this is a bit misleading. Our large family means we need a larger house, more seats in our car, etc. so in reality, kids account for a MUCH bigger percentage that this pie chart show. This particular line item is things like gymnastics, school lunch, etc. In future reports I’ll try to better categorize these items to avoid confusion.
- Restaurants. I’m very disappointed that eating out has such a high percentage (again). This is definitely a weakness of mine that I will focus on this year.
Most of the other categories are self-explanatory or just aren’t that interesting so I won’t spend any time on them here, but if you have a question I’ll be happy to answer it in the comment section below.
And that’s a wrap for our 2016 spending. I’ve only recently started doing these expense reports; you can see them right here. I’m very interested to watch how all of this play out for an entire year, rather than just a few months. I’ve always used Personal Capital to watch, track, and categorize my spending, but writing about that spending has made me much more mindful of where our money is going.
If you don’t have a Personal Capital account, you really should get one. It’s a free service that is extremely useful – Click Here to Join Personal Capital Now! for free. Also, please check out my How To Start A Blog page if you’re interested in creating your own site (it takes less than an hour). Like I said, writing about personal finances has made me much more mindful of money in general and it will definitely help me Get Rich Quick’ish!
So how do my expenses compare to yours? Better? Worse? I definitely have some room for improvement, and that’s a good feeling! Knowing that we’re currently in a good spot and can still make improvements is way better that being screwed and having no options. Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.
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