Home > My 2014 Expenses, the BIG picture

My 2014 Expenses, the BIG picture

December 27th, 2014 at 11:54 pm

I spent a total of $28,918 in 2014; this was actually $8,889 less than in 2013, namely because in 2013 I got a $5,800 roof and paid off my sewer loan.

Probably the most notable thing about the list below is the absence of the 2 largest expenses most people have: a mortgage and car payments. Once you get these two expenses out of the way, you can live quite comfortably on a surprisingly small amount of money. I'm now very confident that I can live on $30,000 or less in retirement without feeling deprived in any way.

Here's a review of my expenses, ranked from highest to lowest:

Property taxes:$5,856

Food: $3,748, a 12% increase from 2013. I've been freely spending on quality food (many organics) and don't really plan to stop.

Household: $2,371, a 48% increase from 2013. This is the only catch-all category I maintain. Household purchases could mean anything from a new dishtowel to a new sofa. Basically, it means somewhat durable goods of $500 or less that are not "used up" like cat litter or food. $500+ is a separate category so that big expenses aren't buried in the Household category. It's not surprising that my expenses here are way up as I'm aware I've been buying lots of "stuff" for the house since my job went perm.

Health insurance: $2,333, a 58% decrease from 2013. I'm happy to finally see this big drop in healthcare costs, now that I'm getting health insurance from my employer and not the open market. Huge difference in premiums.

Fuel oil: $1,529, a 35% increase from 2013. Unfortunately, I ordered a tankful of oil last summer, when prices usually are at their lowest; this year was different as that was near its high. When I fill up in January I will see a big price drop so the savings will be reflected in my 2015 expense report.

Ailanthus tree take-down: $1,500. I separately report any big ticket, one-time expenses over $500, and this was one of them.

Gas for car: $1,254, a 33% increase from 2013. I suppose this isn't too surprising since I worked all year at the new job, which I didn't start doing in 2013 until October.

Maintenance: $1,159, about the same as 2013. This includes work spent on various repairs around the house.

Out of pocket medical: $1,155, a 33% drop from 2013. Like my health insurance premiums, this drop reflects just all around better co-pays and such on my employer's plan. Also, i spent over $400 on 2 pairs of glasses in 2014 while I was still a contract worker and did not benefit from any kind of insurance-covered contribution toward the cost as I didn't have vision coverage then.

Cats: $909, a 26% increase from 2013. I guess I've been spending a bit more here and there on premium-type catfoods, as an occasional treat for the boys. I only do it since I can afford it.

Dining out: $882, an 81% increase from 2013. I am most unhappy about this; the big increase in spending was largely due to usually a day or two each week, sometimes more, when I didn't have time to make my own lunch and so I went down to the cafe and paid for it. It's just so darn convenient! It really adds up, and it's just lunch, so I'm sorry to see how much I spent. Another big chunk was paying for my mother and a friend and myself at Thanksgiving, to the tune of about $140. Eating out is SOOO expensive.

Car insurance: $701, a decrease of 12% from 2013. As I'm sure you've experienced, my car and homeowners insurance inexorably increase each year, whether or not you've made any claims. (I haven't.) The only reason why this cost decreased is because I hiked the deductible again.

Electric: $660, about a 5% increase from 2013.

Phone/Internet: $626, about the same as 2013.

Clothing: $624, a 15% decrease from 2013. Wow, I'm surprised.

New dishwasher: $592. It made more sense to get a more energy-efficient dishwasher rather than replace the old one when it broke. I got another Whirlpool.

Homeowner's insurance: $565, about the same as last year.

Septic pipe replacement: $525. Pretty much an unavoidable expense. I did lower the price by collecting several bids on it and using Angie's List.

Car tax: $451. For those of you who live pretty much anywhere outside of Connecticut, feel lucky you don't have to pay a car tax! It's highest when you buy a new car and then the cost gradually comes down. I was paying about $121 on my 13-year-old Honda before I bought this new one, to give you an idea.

Gifts: $320, about the same as last year.

Gardening: $213

Water: $190, 19% more than 2013 but it's such a small overall expense it doesn't really matter.

Entertainment:$156, or 58% more than 2013.

Borough taxes:$153, about the same as last year.

Car upkeep: $119. It's low because I bought it new in 2013.

Dump sticker:$85



Birds: $7 (This is largely suet as I had birdseed left over from the prior year.)

So, just looking at my top 10 expenses, my expenses rose in 6 categories (property taxes, food, household, heating oil, gas for the car and my cats) and dropped in just 2 categories (health insurance and out of pocket medical expenses).

6 Responses to “My 2014 Expenses, the BIG picture”

  1. LittleMissSplendid Says:

    What a great review and comparison with the year before! I thought I understand what doing this sort of thing would look like if I tracked my expenses, but I don't think I fully got it until looking at your breakdown. The percentages make it so much easier to see where you may want to make cuts. I'm amazed at how far your income went.

  2. LuckyRobin Says:

    Try packing your lunch the night before. That way if you are running short of time in the morning, you just have to grab the bag, throw in an ice pack, and go.

    Nice breakdown of expenses.

  3. PatientSaver Says:

    Ha! I always pack my lunch the night before. The problem is making the time to think of what I can have, and then making it, for 5 days every week.

  4. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Could you make your lunches for the week on Sunday? If you do sandwiches, you can freeze them and have them thawed by lunch.

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    Yes, it's only by doing my cooking for the week on Sundays that I manage to get at least 3 days taken care of, but to be honest, I often get tired of eating the same thing after the 3rd day in a row, and let's face it, it's not quite as fresh toward the end of the week. I'm not a big sandwich person because I don't eat processed meats (cancer link) or cheese. I do love egg salad.

    so usually my lunches are either a cold salad with some kind of grain or pasta, or else a soup of some sort, both of which are supplemented by fresh fruit, nuts, the occasional fruit or granola bar and so on.

  6. LittleMissSplendid Says:

    Regarding making lunches on Sunday, brown bagging it, and not eating the same thing every day....

    When I'm in the cooking groove I find I like to mix it up. I don't know what it is but while I can eat the same breakfast over and over this drives me crazy with lunch and dinner. So when making my meal plan I usually incorporate 3-4 different dinners and 3-4 different lunches. Everything is either cooking in the oven at once or on the stove at once to save time. I always keep quick no cook meals on hand (yogurt, veggies, cereal, etc) so I can mix those in at any point of the week or I may have leftovers.

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