Real Life | Spending Summary 2018 – Q2

Here were are, at the end of the second quarter of this year and it’s time to look at our spending again.

If I compare to the first quarter, the spending has shifted a little bit. As I said in my earlier budget  post, these quarterly updates will show easily how spending varies throughout the year and why it’s so important to budget for your true expenses (e.g. save ahead for less frequent, but regular payments like insurance premiums that are due bi-annually or annually and also build up funds for unexpected expenses like a car repair).

I pulled this handy pie-chart out of YNAB*, the budgeting software I’ve been using for over 3 years now and which I have reviewed here

As a reminder: these are percentages based on money spent, not based on my (take-home) income.


If you recall, 29% of our spending went to car maintenance in Q1. Luckily, we had the funds for it. We didn’t have any car maintenance costs this quarter (hooray) but spent some more money on health & fitness related expenses. We also spent some money on travel, which is a much better use of my money, if you ask me.

Here is how it all broke down:

Home (31% – was 30% in Q1) – home expenses include mortgage/taxes, utilities, and maintenance cost and stayed around the same this quarter. 

Groceries (19% – was 13% in Q1) and Dining Out (8% – was 8% in Q1) – Our grocery spending went up just a little bit for the last three month if I look at the dollar amount, but it appears to be a larger percentage of our overall budget because of how other spending worked out. Our actual spending for dining out was lower, but the percentage stayed the same this quarter. I know that is a little bit confusing (at least to me) if you don’t look at the actual dollars spent.

Once again, groceries and dining out are still a larger chunk of our budget (26% of our overall spending this quarter) and I am still working on bringing this down, but man, it’s hard. We don’t have an Aldi in NorCal (I want to weep when I see what other people pay for their grocery hauls at Aldi) and I feel like we’re already shopping pretty smart and don’t waste any food. I also don’t want to eat rice and beans every night. Tips welcome.

Travel (13% – was 0% in Q1) – hooray! I happily spend some of our hard-earned money on travel and this quarter I was lucky to be able to attend my lovely friend‘s wedding in D.C., explore the city and meet up with another dear friend while I was there. Win-win and money well-spent! 

Health & Fitness (11% – was 4% in Q1) – we had a few health-related expenses, but this category also includes my gym membership and my running-related expenses (two race registrations this quarter).

Cable & Internet (6% – was 4% in Q1) – that expense pretty much stayed the same, just appears larger because of the way overall spending worked out.

Shopping & Misc. (3% – was 1%) – All the spending that doesn’t really fit into other categories, e.g. our identity guard monthly fee and other purchases.

Transportation (2% – was 2% in Q1) – spending stayed the same, mainly gas and parking fees. Thank God I don’t have a long commute.

Cellphone (2% – was 2% in Q1) – spending stayed the same.

Gifts (2% – was 2% in Q1) – birthdays, notecards, just because.

Household (2% – was 1% in Q1) – spending doubled due to replacing some household items we ran out off. (This is a category that varies throughout the year for sure.)

Personal Care (1% – was 2% in Q1) – This category includes all toiletry items, makeup, and haircuts. (I didn’t go to the Sephora this quarter, which helped. Ha.)

Clothing (1% – was <1% in Q1) –  yeah, still not spending much on clothing, but I did buy some new sandals and jeans.

Donations (<1% – was 0% in Q1) – I want to give more. End of story.

Overall, I am pretty happy with how this quarter went. Our spending is (mostly) in line with our priorities and we didn’t have any big unexpected expenses in the last three months. (We do have a minor repair pending on the house, but this will fall into next quarter because it hasn’t been completed yet.)

How did you feel about your spending in Q2? Did you meet your goals or did you have to deal with any unexpected expenses?

* This is not a sponsored post. I have not been compensated by YNAB for mentioning their product. I just share it for transparency’s sake. However, the post does contain an affiliate link. If you feel like you need a budget software in your life, download the fully functioning trial version and give it a shot! If you like it, you can use this link to activate the software and we’ll both get a month free!

  1. I hear you on trying to bring the grocery/eating out budget down. That is where we struggle each month too. We have reduced it a bit from the beginning of the year but it could still be better. It’s hard, we have to eat! I’m not a great couponer and I feel like if I were, we’d save more, but goodness that is a lot of work!

    1. It is a lot of work, but I also feel that this is the area where it’s the “easiest” (I say that with air quotation marks) to bring the cost down. I don’t know, other areas seem even harder to cut.

  2. I love to see it all laid out like this, and I know I say it all the time, but I really want to start tracking with this app when we move so I can see exactly where my money goes. I’m curious mainly to see how much of our overall budget we spend on food and superfluous stuff we probably don’t need (looking at you, teeth brightening charcoal toothpaste, lol). And I agree. Money spend on travel is never spent in vain :) Also I’ve started saving a little bit at Whole Foods since they partnered with Amazon, but the nearest Aldi is kind of a schlep (as is Trader Joe’s). Good news is that we’ll have an Aldi really close to our new digs :)

    Hope you had a great weekend, and all the best for the week ahead! XOXO

    1. I can’t say enough good things about the app. I never overspent, but this app has truly opened my eyes to where every penny of our hard-earned money goes.

  3. I understand what you mean about money actually spent and the percentage. It looks like you did really well this past quarter though! That’s awesome. I’m glad you were able to spend some time traveling this time around though – always a nice way to spend money. :)


    1. Definitely happy to have spent some money on travel. I never regret that.

  4. This is such a cool software. It really does take the stress out of budgeting and tracking money.

    1. Are you using YNAB also?

  5. I am horrible at budgeting! I really like your categories. Just might try to break down our monthly expenses and see what our percentages are.

    1. I am a numbers nerd, so budgeting is “fun” for me but I can see why other people don’t like it ;)

  6. I feel like you’re taking all of the right steps to reduce your grocery budget! At a certain point, you just have to say, “Okay, this is going to be one of the higher categories in my budget because I believe in spending money on good food.” And you live in California, so the cost is going to be higher anyway. I try not to worry about my grocery budget too much. As long as I’m getting good food and eating it, that’s all that matters. Of course, I try to stay under a certain number and it’s very rare for me to go over that, but I’m also not stressing about trying to be more budget-conscious there.

    1. Oh thanks friend, of course you’re totally right and part of me knows that food is where one of our priorities is. I just always think that it’s also the ‘easiest’ category where we could save some, but I am not going to loose sleep over it.

  7. I think of you every time I got to Lidl because it is SO GOOD and also SO CHEAP. I’m newly obsessed and sad I didn’t go sooner. They just opened a new one over by my gym and now it’s just extra easy to swing by and pick up a few thing.

    My social budget was out of control this month – just a lot of eating out, etc. Need to reign it in next month!

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