Tuesday, January 13

2014 Expenses vs. 2013 Expenses

This is the fourth year (see last year's post) I've looked at how my spending by category compares from one year to another.  This is a critical exercise that helps me spot lifestyle creep and identify areas where more attention is needed.

In 2014 my total spending was $53,563.  This was 35.3% more than my 2013 spending.  It's never a good thing to increase spending by so much, but most of this is non-recurring spending on remodeling the foreclosure we moved into last year.  Here's an overview of how my spending changed year over year:

  • I sold the 2002 S-10 and replaced it with a 2011 Chevrolet Aveo.  In 2013 I used the S-10 for a cross-country mystery shopping trip.  I did significantly less shopping in 2014, and used a more efficient vehicle.  The latter part of 2014 saw a decline in gas prices.  My 2014 vehicle expenses were half what they were in 2013, dropping from $10,954 to $5,579, a reduction of $5,375.
  • Entertainment Expenses decreased by 33%.  I gambled less in 2014.
  • I invested in the foreclosure we bought last summer.  I purposely say "invested" because we paid cash for the house.  Once we finish the repairs, my housing costs should drop significantly with the absence of a mortgage.
  • The cost of utilities increased noticeably.  We bought two new smartphones ($649) and paid utility deposits for the new house.  I expect to pay less for utilities in 2015.
  • Spending on Medical & Dental increased.  Insurance premiums went up, I replaced two root canals, and an emergency room visit in Las Vegas are all to blame.

My Frugal Miser's Spending By Category

Category201220132014YoY Difference
Auto$3,099$10,954$5,579-$5,375
Bank Charge$33$462$849$387
Clothing$71$361$317-$44
Computer$0$354$437$83
Entertainment$2,543$3,262$2,188-$1,074
Food$2,598$2,844$3,719$875
Gifts Given$295$430$407-$23
Home Expenses$4,070$6,898$21,628$14,730
Insurance$2,269$1,907$3,740$1,833
Investment Expense$0$295$0-$295
Medical$154$663$2,280$1,617
Misc$52-$80$462$543
Personal Care$19$110$1,057$947
Recreation$0$84$4-$80
Subscriptions$0$62$7-$55
Taxes$198$2,277$790-$1,486
Utilities$2,760$1,071$2,435$1,364
Vacation$2,050$2,563$7,476$4,914
OVERALL TOTAL$20,291$34,636$53,563$18,927

In 2015 my goal is to spend $1,250/month net of Vacations and Home Repairs.  Last year I averaged $2,038/month.  Here's how I will reduce spending:


  • I changed health insurance plans effective 2/1/15.  Insurance costs and out of pocket expenses for treatment should drop considerably.
  • Lower gas prices, coupled with less overall driving, will reduce auto expenses even further.
  • I spent $10.19/day to feed the two of us in 2014.  I will reduce our food costs by eating at home more.

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