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My 2016 Expenses: A Review

December 28th, 2016 at 01:45 pm

I decided to do this a few days early....

Total 2016 expenses: $42,970, a 4% increase over last year. Here they are, ranked in order of amount.

New driveway: $12,655, or 29% of total budget. I love the driveway, but this one expense dwarfed everything else. I could have saved money by paving with asphalt, but I do love the pavers. It's nice to know that not counting the cost of the new driveway, I was able to live on just $30,315 for the year.

Property taxes: $5,856, about the same as last year.

Food: $4,083, about the same as last year, surprisingly. But its' a lot for one person isn't it?

Health insurance: $3,711, or a 51% increase over last year, mainly because when I lost the job in July, my monthly premiums via COBRA shot up. I'm paying $520 a month starting with the January payment, which was only about $7 more than the 2016 rate. Still, it's a big chunk of change each month when you're not working f/t.

Cats: $2,955. This is about 5% more than last year and I really hope I can rein these costs in a bit next year. I did change vets; the prior vet said he had to pull one tooth and once he got the cat in, he pulled many more; he did that with both cats this year and I wonder if he milked the opportunity.

Household: $2,157. This is my only "catch all" category where I put expenses that don't seem to fit anywhere else. This was about the same amount as last year.

Lawn & garden: $997. This was 18% less than last year, mainly because, once I was laid off, I asked my mower to mow every other week instead of weekly, and it saved me a bit. I plan to continue alternate week mowing in 2017 for as long as I remain underemployed.

Out-of-pocket medical: $961, or 30% more than last year. This was due to physical therapy related to my pulled hamstring/numb toes, which it proved to be a waste of time, and also meds and supplements when I thought I had Lyme disease.

Phone/Internet: $915, or 23% more than last year. This included the minimum amount of cell phone minutes I had to buy ($100) and I plan to not buy any minutes in 2017.

Entertainment: $897, or 50% more than last year, mainly due to my Amazon Prime subscription, my Ancestry.com subscription and DNA test.

Car insurance: $887, 17% more than last year but that's before counting whatever credit I will get from Safeco once I finish Right Track at the end of January, and right now I'm at 16% savings. I did increase coverage as well.

Electric: $863, about 5% more than last year.

Dining out: $755. Hard to believe I spent this since dad always pays, but during the first 7 months of the year when I was working, I would eat at the cafe a few times a week.

Homeowners insurance: $639, or 7% less than last year.

Heating oil & Cleaning: $610, or 48% less than last year, but that doesn't include an oil delivery I'm getting tomorrow.

Clothing: $583, a 47% increase over last year. Purchases made when I was working; I plan to cut this to nothing until I work full time again.

Gas: $558, or 28% less, due to less driving since I'm not commuting.

Car upkeep: $427, or 75% more than last year. This bothers me, since the car is just 3 years old. Mostly due to more expensive oil changes; since it's a newer model, it requires more expensive synthetic oil, or lat least that's what they tell me.

IRS: $364, paid at tax time.

Charitable donations: $360, while I was working.

Home maintenance: $346

Car tax/registration/license: $338.

Vacations: $231

Water: $204

Gifts: $189

Borough taxes: $151

Sewers: $100

Dump sticker $85

Haircuts: $45

So this gives me a pretty good idea of where my money went this year, but when I put the top 10 expenses in a pie chart form, it really reinforces things:



Namely, that the new driveway was a BIG expense!

How do my expenses compare to yours? Are there any that stand out for being very low or very high?

6 Responses to “My 2016 Expenses: A Review”

  1. Househopeful Says:

    I know you talked about the cats a lot this year. How much of that was the extra vet expenses, versus a yearly physical and the normal things like food and litter? That amount seems very high and I just wondered if its just the teeth pulling that inflated it or not?

  2. Bluebird Says:

    Is cat food included in food or household or cats? You've spent so little on entertainment, clothes and other things, I really wouldn't focus on the food too much (unless you absolutely need to cut expenses). You like buying organic and you should enjoy eating food you like, and I'm sure you're not wasting it.

  3. fern Says:

    Good question, househopeful. The cats don't get annual physicals unless there's a problem. They are indoor-only, and I don't like to give vaccines for no reason.

    This category includes food, litter and vet visits.
    I can tell you that 3 vet visits (2 for Waldo and 1 for Luther) came to $1470 and Waldo's meds came to $380.

    The rest was food, treats, toys and litter.

    Thanks, Bluebird. That makes me feel good when you say that! You're right, buying organic is important to me. I would rather be frugal when it comes to clothes and other stuff so I can keep making healthy food choices in the grocery store.

  4. Carol Says:

    I don't think your food is high when you consider that it's only $ 78.51 a week; then it doesn't seem like enough. ( only $1128 more than you spent on the cats)
    The driveway was a killer; at least it is a lasting thing unlike say a cruise or something...I know it gave/ gives you pleasure to look at it-- that makes it worthwhile, in my opinion.

  5. Turtle Lover Says:

    the pie chart looks interesting with the driveway in there. Thanks for always sharing. I don't comment much but I always appreciate what you have to say

  6. livingalmostlarge Says:

    Sounds like you can make it on your nest egg.

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