Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 Spending Wrap Up

Well, hello there, 2016! You just snuck right up on me. 2015 was gone in a flash. We spent plenty of money, though. Here are the highlights (and, lowlights!) In case you want to compare to our 2014 spending, you can find that here. I combined a bunch of categories in 2015 to make tracking easier, so in some cases, there's not a perfect 1:1 match between categories.

First up, here's a picture of how we spent our money, by category:

Highlights - If you subtract out the taxes, we actually spent less in 2015 than we did in 2014. In fact, we cut down our expenses by $14,500, which is pretty great, especially given that our rent went up, as did the cost of childcare.
  • The biggest difference was that we spent $13,780 less on our Seattle house mortgage, because we had renters for the entire year & we started charging them slightly more. 
  • We spent significantly less on our Car category in 2015 - $3400 less, as we didn't need anything major done to any of our vehicles.
  • We spent $3,200 less on Travel, in part because my trip to Las Vegas for my girls trip was paid for by a slot jackpot! ;-) 
  • We spent $1200 less on Dining Out! Woohoo! An active goal for 2015.
  • We spent just under $1000 less on Utilities in 2015.
  • Due to dropping gas prices, we spent $900 less on Gas this year. 
  • We spent $600 less on the Boys category. I've decided to add a notes column to my budget tracker, because it would take some research to suss out where we actually cut back this year. Generally, this category is for school expenses, sports equipment, etc.
  • We spent $500 less on Insurance, as I was able to negotiate a lower price for our auto insurance.
  • We spent $450 less on Entertainment this year.
  • I cut back on stocking up on Toiletries, and spent $400 less than 2014. 
  • We spent $300 less on Christmas - part of our ongoing efforts to keep the costs low & donate the remainder to a food bank.
  • We spent $300 less on our Gifts category, generally cutting back unnecessary expenses, picking up kid birthday gifts when we find them at a reasonable price, etc. I've also started having the boys fund anything over $15 for a kids birthday gift out of their own spending money, which has cut things back quite a bit, & helped them with their money management. 
  • We spent $300 less on Liquor in 2015. ;-) 

Lowlights: - We spent 3% more in 2015 than we did in 2014. Why? Taxes. We were actually under our budget on both yearly & monthly categories (when summed, not each individual category was under, but they balanced out). Other than, taxes.
  • Speaking of Taxes (this is, repayment of owed 2014 taxes, not how much we paid this year in taxes before we got our paychecks), 16% of our 2015 spending was for additionally owed 2014 taxes. So, that put quite a dent in the old budget. ;-) 
  • Our Rent went up by $200/month, bringing us to a yearly spend of $61,000. Wow. WOW. Absolutely insane amount of money. 
  • 2014 Childcare - up from $12,730 to $17,421. A result of summer, spring break, winter break, camps, the high cost of having a nanny, etc. When I switched jobs & moved to my current employer, I went from having 6 weeks off to 2.5 weeks off. I sometimes take comp time, but that's 3.5 weeks where I need to pay for camps, when I previously wasn't. Camps are . . .  not cheap here. 
  • We spent $3,200 more on our Vacation House Mortgage
  • Even though we cut back on one activity (basketball), we added art class after school, as our nanny couldn't get there in time on Mondays. Increase in Kids Activities by just under $300.
  • We intentionally saved $1,300 more for the Boys College this year. 
  • We increased our ad hoc (not fixed as part of our paychecks) Charitable Giving by $1,500, intentionally.
  • We spent $1,200 more on Clothing. The boys soccer uniforms were over $500. What a scam!
  • We spent $200 more on Health (eye exam for me, plus a race I didn't run because I was traveling.)
  • We spent $1,500 more on the House category, as we had to do some repairs to our Seattle house.
  • We spent $1,400 more on Cleaning, as we started having our house cleaned every week, rather than biweekly. 
  • We spent $200 more on Groceries, so pretty close to our spending last year. 

Additionally, our net work is up just shy of $330K. It would have been substantially higher, but M likes his 401K in riskier stocks than I prefer. He says my conservative investments counter balance his. This year, mine were definitely the strong performers & his 401k took a bit of a dive.

More coming soon on my 2016 budget & how we plan to continue to look for ways to cut back & save! What about you? How did you do with your 2015 spending, saving, & net worth? 


  1. I am amazed that you can keep track of all of this, I would be lost....

    1. I used to keep a rough budget, & could never figure out where the money was going each month. It takes me a few minutes each day, but saves a lot of headaches in the long run. Plus, I like data. :-)

  2. HP I just love your tracking and the summaries. I am getting better at it every year but this is just amazing! ~ Pru

    1. Thanks! I love the end of the year, the fresh starts, the number crunching. I'm a geek about all of the reporting. :-)

  3. I kept track but some categories we don't. I am thinking of separating hubby and I's personal spending/clothing budgets/hair as he is always more than I (I am a cheapskate after all). Those soccer uniforms are definitely a scam! So many categories will be effected when you leave your current job...I wonder what the end of 2016 will look like! Cheers and happy new year and thumbs up for keeping track as that is half the battle!

    1. Thanks! I'm super nervous/excited to see how things are changing at the end of the year as well. I used to have individual clothing accounts for everyone, but it was a pain. This year, it's all grouped, but I'm paying close attention to my own clothing spending. For personal, I'm the big spender, as my hair is much more than the $15 the boys spend. I go a lot less frequently, though. ;-)

  4. You're so detailed about this. Impressive.i couldn't do % even if I wanted to. ( ha ha)
    But you're rent is so amazing. I know you're in the Bay Area but still shocking!!

    1. Oh, the rent. The rent. The rent. I know! It's insane. We looked for a cheaper rental in our neighborhood, and we're getting a "good deal", based on the rates in other houses. It's really shocking.

  5. Congratulations on your basically free Las Vegas trip! My husband and I also have rentals which have been such a nice investment and part of our budget. It is a great feeling knowing that others are paying the mortgages off on these properties. These properties are a large part of our retirement planning. Keeping options open for better insurance rates is also a great tip from this article. Thanks.

    Joshua Duncan @ Focus Insurance Atlanta