Friday, December 9, 2016

Our house budget - how do we spend it?

Inspired by a post on Frugality, Financial Independence & the Middle Class, I took a look at our spending that we'd tagged as "House" in 2016.

So, we spent a total of $3084, and our budget was $1,500. Our spending was more than double our budget! Never a good position to be in. As a result, I decided to look for outliers. This budget category is meant to capture household goods (soap, toilet paper, laundry detergent, light bulbs, etc). It's clear from reviewing the budget line items that we are actually using it for a catch all for expenses that don't fall neatly into other categories.

Here are the biggest expenses for the year in the "house" category:

  • We paid $880 to have our vacation house appraised (so we could refinance). This was a one time expense. In case that sounds extremely expensive to you - it is! But, it's a tiny market, and our mortgage company had a very select list of appraisers they would approve.
  • We spent $300 to have gravel delivered to our vacation house. My dad volunteered to do a bunch of yard work and landscaping, and we covered the cost of the gravel.
  • We spent $280 on a suitcase. It has a lifetime warranty, so hopefully it will be worth it. M talked me into this one. He's more of a believer in buying the best you can afford, and using it forever. I tend to think there's a happy medium. But, there it is. 
  • We spent $168 on two chaise lounge chairs for our patio, and two pillows to go with them
  • And, $107 on our Prime membership (includes tax, I suppose)? We use Prime as our source of cable/tv, and don't have any other provider, so I'm wondering if I should count this in the utility budget instead?
  • $100 was for yard service for our vacation house. That we didn't ask for. Our handy man service previously was arranging this for us a while back when we had our house on the market, and it had to look polished. There was a miscommunication & they went ahead & had service done & then billed us for it. We've straightened that out moving forward. 
Those expenses alone make up $1836 of our spending. Wow! So, that's where the overage came from. Soil & yard supplies added another $100, Christmas lights were around $60 (oops for my driving over one set in the yard) and the rest was truly "house" stuff. 

In the furnishings/accessories category, we bought an assortment of other random things: a rug, steak knives, a scale, a soap dispenser, jam jars, we refilled our propane, and toothbrush heads. I think that category is likely pretty normal for a household of four.

We also use this category for things like: batteries, ziplock bags, laundry soap, etc. I think we can do better here by watching prices. 

All said, I'm going to leave our household budget at $1,500 for next year & hope for minimal unexpected big expenses. I love being able to review all of our spending to understand where the big outliers are. It's so helpful!

What about you? Do you have a household budget? What kind of expenses do you track there? 


  1. I think I am going to track all of our household expenses for 2017, meaning things just for the house, not groceries. It will be interesting to see what our final total is. Will be high because TheHub is a paper towel junkie, and I love zip lock bags.

  2. It is amazing what goes into this "catch all" category. One of the things I am wrestling with is how to be more deliberate with what categories things get put into in 2017.I am still thinking.