May 2018 Spending

I’ve been tracking our spending for a bit now. Recently, I totaled up everything for 2017 and was surprised at the results. And if you tallied up your spending, you would be similarly surprised – which is why you should do it.

But, enough talk! Let’s see how we did in May of 2018.

May 2018 Spending

Before we begin, let’s set the ground here that these are more or less discretionary expenses for the month. What’s not included here are many expenses:

  • Insurance (life disability, homeowners, auto, umbrella, earthquake, etc.)
  • mortgage payments
  • property taxes
  • and all sorts of other stuff.

These expenses are just those that showed up in the bank account and credit card for the month of May. I’ve sorted the categories from largest to smallest.

Category $
Medical  $             (739.21)
Fun!  $             (667.78)
Groceries & Household Goods  $             (559.31)
Utilities  $             (220.47)
Unknown & Misc.  $             (197.87)
Transportation  $             (189.60)
Exercise  $             (165.00)
Work  $               (74.41)
Clothing  $               (14.00)
Grand Total  $         (2,827.65)

Medical Expenses

In May, there was a combination of routine and not-so-routine dental visits. It seems as both the wife and I are in a back log of proper dental treatment. And May was no exception.

We’ve purchased dental insurance from Costco. Neither my wife’s employer nor my employer currently offer dental insurance. I wonder if this purchase of dental insurance at Costco made sense. At $95, it was a relatively inexpensive choice. But was it the best decision? Perhaps next year, we can re-evaluate what the cash price would be for services to determine if it makes sense to forgo insurance – and pay cash.

The bright side is that these expenses don’t show up every month.

Fun!

Welcome to the budget killer. Welcome to the destroyer of wealth. Welcome the line item that destroys dreams and ruins futures. For the month of May, we spent over $600 on this category.

Category  $ 
 Vacation  $     (523.73)
 Bars  $     (104.78)
 Date Night  $       (23.00)
 Eating Out  $       (16.27)
 Total Fun!   $     (667.78)

At this rate, we’ll be on pace to spend over $7,000 in 2018. Now, that’s still a lot less than 2017 – but it’s still way too much money. If you’re spending $7,000 a year to go on vacation – I’d argue – you’re doing something wrong.

Groceries & Household Goods

Jesus! I thought we were doing better in the category. I guess not. I thought we were doing better because we were targetting loss-leaders at the local markets. But, maybe that doesn’t work.

With the fact in mind that I am now sucking at the groceries category, I wonder if this will change for July. On top of that, we’re currently doing the Frugalwoods Uber Frugal challenge, which encourages us to eat everything in our pantry instead of buying more food.

At $550/month, we’re on track to hit the same amount of spending in this category as we did in 2017. And I think this is one category where we can lower our spending. But obviously, I’ll need to put more thought into this.

Unknown & Misc.

Most of this was for an ATM withdrawal – which I’m pretty sure was more vacation stuff. There were some donations and bank fees in here too.

Transportation, Work & Clothing

All these expenses are below last year’s average – so that’s awesome.  For transportation, that’s likely a function of increased emphasis on carpooling and hypermiling – hooray!

Thoughts on Vacation Spending

This is very hard for me – because I’m honestly not sure what do to here. The wife is putting the majority of these expenses down here. I’m not spending most of this money. And I don’t know how to get her to spend less. I’ve brought up this point to her more times than is productive at this point. I honestly don’t know what to do.

How do you get your spouse to stop spending so much money?

$7,000 a year on this completely 100% discretional category is not workable. I’d argue you could have just as much – if not more – fun spending $1,000/year.

May 2018 vs 2017

Comparing May 2017 expenses to similar categories for 2017 averages shows where we are winning.

Category $, May 2018 $, 2017 Monthly Avg.
Medical  $             (739.21)  $     (728.04)
Fun!  $             (667.78)  $ (1,273.41)
Groceries & Household Goods  $             (559.31)  $     (614.16)
Utilities  $             (220.47)
Unknown & Misc.  $             (197.87)  $     (453.13)
Transportation  $             (189.60)  $     (350.44)
Exercise  $             (165.00)
Work  $                (74.41)  $     (800.69)
Clothing  $                (14.00)  $       (57.00)
Grand Total  $          (2,827.65)

The biggest takeaway here is that by looking at expenses monthly, we are better able to categorize expenses.