Hello, hello. It’s time to talk finances again. The first quarterly update for 2019.
Things have changed a bit since we last talked. We’re no longer homeowners and are now renting again, which might – or might not – make a difference in our budget in 2019 (we’ll see).
Right now, I feel like we’re slightly more “cash-strapped”, but that could just be because our rent is a little more than our mortgage payment and we started paying into a FSA this year, which makes my take-home pay “look” smaller, although it should save us some money in the long run. At the same time, we got rid off a a few ongoing house-related expenses and we have way more in savings now.
As you might remember, I’ve been using YNAB*, the budgeting software which I have reviewed here, for over 4 years now and one of the YNAB principles is that it doesn’t really care where your money is located (in a bank account, savings account, investment, cash, etc.)
That makes sense to me and in the software, you assign the dollars to categories rather than accounts. However, during this transition period, I realized that for me personally, it makes a huge difference where my money is located. I am much less inclined to spend money that I have earmarked as ‘savings’ (and that I might have already transferred to a savings account) than money that is still in my bank account. On the other hand though, sometimes it’s necessary to use those savings/sinking funds to pay off stuff that we have ‘saved’ up for.
Without further ado, our quarterly spending pie.
I pulled this handy pie-chart out of YNAB* (well, actually the pie-chart was done in Excel, but the report came out of YNAB.)
I have more subcategories that I track separately in my budgeting software, but I consolidated them a bit for the purpose of easier visualization. As a reminder: these are percentages based on money spent, not based on my (take-home) income (and we did have to pull a bit out of savings recently because a few of our “annual bills” are due in the first quarter of the year).
Home (35%) – The spending for our (rental) home now includes rent, utilities, household items, and rental insurance. Hopefully this percentage will go down a bit with more “regular” spending from our sinking funds.
Groceries (14%) and Dining Out (10%) – This will always be a larger chunk of our expenses, I guess. If you have followed along, you know that I am constantly talking about that I want to cut our grocery and dining out budget, but man, it’s one of my biggest challenges.
Car Maintenance (9%) – Car registration and insurance were due in Q1. Hopefully not many more expenses this year.
Gifts (6%) – Birthdays, mainly. Including my own.
Health & Fitness (6%) – This category includes my gym membership, and our medical and dental co-payments. I am actually expecting a refund for a dental cleaning that I believe I was overcharged for, so that percentage might come down.
Travel (6%) – This category really is only the flight that I booked to see my friend Tanja and my flight home to Germany. The actual travel will happen in Q2.
Cable/Internet (3%) – We cut down our cable package a bit, which saves us a few bucks.
Shopping and Miscellaneous (3%) – All the spending that doesn’t really fit into other categories, e.g. tax software charge, driver’s license renewal, random shopping.
Subscriptions (3%) – This includes Netflix and a few annual subscriptions that are due at the beginning of the year, like Grove Co., Runner’s Magazine, Identity Guard, and MLB TV.
Cellphone (2%) – Self-explanatory.
Personal Care (1%) – This category includes all toiletry items, makeup, J’s beard trims, and haircuts.
Transportation (1%) – Gas and parking fees. We’re already spending very little on transportation, but with the acquisition of my bike and a bus pass, I am hoping it’s going to be even less.
Clothing (1%) – Did not spend much on clothing at all. It barely made this list.
Where did most of your spending go in the first quarter? Did you have 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!