Daily Life | 2019 Spending Summary – Q1

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!


  1. 43% of my budget was spent on Coke Zero, baseball caps and graham crackers. I estimate! I’d actually be afraid of what something like this could reveal.

    Hayden’s ACL reconstructive surgery threw us for a loop. But we’re always hustlin to get more cash in the coffers that we just keep on keeping on.

    Wonder if a budget would help.

  2. Every time I read your spending reports it reminds me that I should start tracking and that I need a better overview. I constantly think I am low on cash and have no clue where it goes – which makes it hard to change something.

  3. I love seeing these reports from you! It’s all laid out so easily. I need to start checking my Mint budget more carefully, which I’ll probably do after my trip – time to really buckle down on my spending after it!

    Travel is probably where the majority of my spending went in Q1 – between a flight to Ireland and a flight to Boston, and some tours/trains I booked for Ireland.

  4. I also love spending posts like this one. I only do one annually but it’s always interesting to look back and see where all our money went. Our biggest chunk of spending in Q1 was paying down our mortgage with my bonus. It felt like the best use for the excess cash. We also spent a lot on daycare as it’s pretty pricey but totally worth the money spent!!

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