Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Year of Money Tracking and Budgeting

Today is September 1st, which means it's the first day of our "fiscal year." That's right, the Mr. and I, as a "family", have a fiscal year. Yup, we're crazy like that.

This all started on our first wedding anniversary where we decided that every year we'd set goals for the following year. One of our goals for last year was to start tracking our money spent and start managing to a budget.

So for the last year I've been tracking all of the money that come in, goes out, and is saved in a giant excel spreadsheet with formulas. Every. Single. Dollar. Yes, it was tough, but so worth it!

Now today marks one year of finance tracking and budget management! To celebrate I ran some "analytics" of our year of spending to share with the Mr.



I always think it's interesting and helpful to understand how people spend their money, so I wanted to share some "fun facts" from my personal financial analysis with you all:

  • We spent 45% of our take home income* on our mortgage, HOA dues, insurance, property tax, utilities such as lights, internet, etc. (Yup, home ownership in California is expensive!)
  • We spent 12% of our take home income on food and drinks (including eating out and groceries/wine)
  • We spent 10% of take home income on traveling (much of that was the Europe Trip)
  • We only saved 5% of our take home income this year (one of this year's goals is to improve that next year!)
  • The biggest single purchases of the year were plane tickets to Europe, the kitchen backsplash, the new Stearns and Foster mattress, the Mr's snowboard, USC Football Season Tickets, the iPad, and the new kitchen lighting.
  • In a year we made 13 trips to Costco, averaging $217.52 per trip.
  • In a year we made 35 trips to Fresh & Easy, averaging $20.63 per trip.
  • The restaurant that I most frequented this year was Speciality's. I went 20 times this year! That's because it's right by my client's office in Northern California.
  • Other restaurants that we frequent are Subway, Starbucks, Pinkberry, and Buonos (a little pizza place near our home).
  • The clothing stores I shop at the most at are DSW (all of my work shoes!) and Nordstrom.

The best part about tracking spending for a whole year is that now I have great data to plan this year's budget. I'll drink to that. Cheers!


Another item is crossed off the Baby Bucket List!

*Take home income = money after taxes, 401Ks, medical insurance, and tithing

27 comments:

Mrs. Smith said...

I love it!! We track every single expense too, but I've never done the %-ttl like that. That should be so helpful though, so I think I'll use that strategy from here on out! I've been tracking a little over a year now and it is seriously the best thing ever for balancing how you spend your money!!

Jen said...

You have some fantastic patience. :D
I agree with Mrs. Smith--hub and I also track our expenses, but not like you!

It's a very helpful habit to get in to. It really makes you step back and focus on things you can stop "throwing away" money on. ;)

Fabiola said...

It is the only way to stop wasting money!!! Nicely Done!!!

the BLAH BLAH BLAHger said...

What program did you use for this? What fabulous information!

Erin said...

Wow, well done! I would love to know your formulas!

Joanna B. @ Newlywed Tales said...

You look adorable in that picture! And when you wrote Nordstrom it was music to my ears! I love nordyland!!! I love the system you have in place for your finances and admire your use for excel formulas!!!

Lindsay said...

Good for you! Thats great that you track all this :)

Jenelle "rella ella ella" said...

that is such a great idea! do you have a spreadsheet you'd be able/willing to share ;)

California Wife said...

Wow, good for you!!!!

L A C E Y said...

thanks for sharing! i love me some excel!! :)

Crazy Shenanigans said...

You are completely organized! I love it!

Jennifer said...

This was very interesting! I wish I was better at tracking our expenses!

Shannon said...

I do the same thing - I started it right before hubs and I got married about 3 years ago! I gotta say that it comes in handy to know exactly what you spend and what can be cut, when house shopping!

Maggie said...

This was really interesting to read! We lived in CA until last year, but we rented. I would have been interested to know how much of our takehome income was on rent/home stuff though. Now we are in NYC so budgeting is definitely important :)

Just went back to the original post - thanks for the explanation. We have ING too so I think I will do this!

Mrs. Lopez said...

That's a great idea! I totally think my husband and I need to do that!

Lindsay said...

How did you end up liking your mattress? I'd forgotten!

I promise I don't work for them, but I love mint.com for those who are asking for your spreadsheets/formulas. It's free and enables me to really easily keep track of every dollar we spend as well as see things like spending trends and budgeting.

Great work on completing your fiscal year with budgeting!

newlywedonabudget said...

This is great! Our whole blog is dedicated to being on a budget (whether it's a financial budget or food budget) and trying to be organic and eco-friendly. It's tough but so worth it! I like seeing how other people manage their finances too! We even did a graph for ours...haha.

BudgetBabe said...

So proud of you! :) What a HUGE undertaking!

Do you use Mint.com? It doesn't track EVERYTHING (ahem, any cash purchases) so it's not as inclusive as your system, but it's automatic and you can add every single account you have - looking at everything in one place is so nice.

Pollyanna said...

Good for you guys! I always say I'm going to track everything and do so for about a week, then forget. If I made a committment like this I could certainly have more blog material. We are not the most fiscally responsible people and perhaps telling everyone and getting chastised for our silliness is what we need. Hmmm. . .

The Rohman Family said...

Wow, that is really great info and very inspiring! I really need to find the motivation for that.

Rebecca (Craving Simplicity) said...

This is so great. We've really gotten a LOT better about our finances too. Tracking everything is the hardest part, but as you said, SO worth it!

Lil' Woman said...

That's awesome and very impressive!!

Ker said...

Wow!! This is inspiring, maybe I will make something like this after I have a clean start next month when I am a Mrs! (well, likely after the honeymoon is over - not sure I want to monitor what I spend for food and enjoyment for those two weeks!)

Mrs. Buck said...

I track our spending and income in an excel sheet too - it's so nice to feel in control of what you're spending and knowing that you're not spending more than you're bringing home! Keep up the good work!

Miss Chelsea said...

Excel does nothing but confuse me hah otherwise I would totally try this!

I mastered it back in high school but have long forgotten and I just get frustrated everytime I try to use it

Mrs.LifeAccounts said...

I mean to comment on this post but most have missed it somehow. We have a fiscal year as well, though it is Jan 1-Dec 31 to follow the tax year and deduction purposes. We are both accountants so spreadsheets and formulas geek us both out, though I'm more of the daily nerd than he is. My role is to track the daily spending, keep it recorded in our spreadsheets and make sure we are staying within budget. Hubs job is managing the investments, insurance, etc... It works out quite nicely! It was fun to see your personal finance extra!

Mrs.LifeAccounts said...

I mean to comment on this post but most have missed it somehow. We have a fiscal year as well, though it is Jan 1-Dec 31 to follow the tax year and deduction purposes. We are both accountants so spreadsheets and formulas geek us both out, though I'm more of the daily nerd than he is. My role is to track the daily spending, keep it recorded in our spreadsheets and make sure we are staying within budget. Hubs job is managing the investments, insurance, etc... It works out quite nicely! It was fun to see your personal finance extra!

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