Daily Life | 2019 Spending Summary – Q4

Last year, I skipped the spending report for the 4th quarter of the previous year, because I didn’t get around to analyze it before January was over and then it made more sense to do the annual spending report for the whole year. 

This year I am trying to wrap up the quarterly spending, before I analyze our whole spending year 2019, although I am not seeing huge fluctuations from the previous quarters in our main categories. However, I am proud to say that we did bring down food spending (groceries and eating out) quite a bit (if you’ve been following my spending reports, you know that is always an area that I wish we would spend less, but then I always realize that food is a priority in our budget).

So, let’s take a look at our spending for Q4. I pulled these data out of YNAB*  (the pie-chart was done in Excel). Our overall spending was pretty much the same in Q4 as it was in Q3, although the spending by category shifted a bit.

Let me tell you, it was much more fun spending money on plane tickets overseas in Q3 than paying our annual car insurance bill in Q4, but oh well. That’s life, am I right?

As a reminder: these are percentages based on money spent, not based on my (take-home) income. Not included are savings, retirement contributions, healthcare premiums, taxes, and everything else that is pre-deducted from my paycheck. 

Home (38 was 36% in Q3) – The spending for our (rental) home now includes rent, utilities, household items, and rental insurance. Spending was up this quarter, because rental insurance came out (due in January). 

Groceries (14 was 16% in Q3) and Dining Out (6% was 11% in Q3) – We did bring down our grocery and dining out spending this quarter, which makes me really happy (because it’s still a big chunk of our spending and something I am constantly working on.)

Car Maintenance (13% was 1% in Q3) –  Annual Car Insurance payment is due in January, but came out at the end of December (so we paid it “twice” this year), but will bring down totals in 2020, I hope. 

Gifts (5% was <1% in Q3) – This quarter included Christmas, so I don’t think I need to explain the increase in gift spending, or do I?

Travel (5% was 15% in Q3) – Travel expenses were down, because we only took a weekend trip to SoCal in November. 

Health & Fitness (4% was 4% in Q3) – This category includes my gym membership, and our medical and dental co-payments and stays pretty much the same, if there are no unforeseen doctor visits.

Cable/Internet (3% was 4% in Q3) – Bill went down a little bit, because we didn’t order any movies on demand.

Clothing (3% was 1% in Q3) – we’re not big spenders when it comes to clothing, but we did buy a few new things this quarter (boots for me, sneakers for Jon, a couple of long-sleeve shirts and jeans.)

Shopping and Miscellaneous (2% was 4% in Q3) – We did cut our discretionary spending again in Q4 by about 40%, which is not very high to begin with but made a significant dip as we did have race fees in Q3 that we didn’t have in Q4.

Cellphone (2% was 2% in Q3) – Expenses were almost the same.

Transportation (2% was 2% in Q3) – Gas and parking fees. Even though I’ve been using the bus and bike more to get to work, our spending on gas hasn’t changed much (which could be due to fluctuating gas prices, and gas here is expensive in general).

Personal Care (2% was 3% in Q3) – This category includes all toiletry items, makeup, J’s beard trims, and haircuts. 

Subscriptions (1% was 1% Q3) – This includes Netflix, Prime,  and Identity Guard Fraud protection.

Donations <1% was <1% in Q3) – still an area I’d like to expand, but at least we’re giving something.

How was your spending in Q4? Did you have a chunk of Christmas 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 always enjoy these kind of posts since everyone’s pie chart looks a little different! I just did my 2019 spending post. It was a very expensive year between buying a house, plus some furniture for the house, and all the other expenses that go along with moving! 2020 should be a less expensive year! One area I’m focusing on in 2020 is understanding my Target and Amazon spending. My target spending was higher than I thought it would be so I am going to track what category of things I’m spending money on.

    I actually did not spend much on presents. We don’t buy much for presents, so I probably spent $250 total? $100 went to a charity in lieu of a gift for my parents, I spent about $50 on Paul and $50 on the gift for his cousin. The rest was split between a gift for another gift exchange and a book for Phil’s mom. So all in all, not too much money!!

  2. Christmas gift expenses were definitely our big one in December and so was our eating out expenses, between traveling and then basically ordering take out the whole week we were down with the flu! I’m hoping to get a bit more on track here in January with some of that!

  3. I love these posts and shears learn from them. Also I love how you break everything down and can see percent increase vs. decrease and in which categories. The food one we struggle with, too—we just love eating so much and trying new/good for us foods! Thanks for sharing this. I haven’t met my deductible for the year yet and keep getting slammed with doctors and hospital fees so hope that is met before baby is here or god knows what I’ll owe for a c-section lol

  4. That looks like very reasonable spending! Well done! Yes, dining out is always something to work on. We introduced a rule that we never dine out except when there’s a social situation that requires it. That has really helped.

  5. I think I made some payments in Q4 just so that they wouldn’t end up in Q1 for 2020. :) Maybe it’s tricking myself into thinking that I’m spending less. LOL.

  6. We spend alot on groceries and eating out! It is just so convenient when you have had a super long day and don’t feel like cooking!

  7. We are doing a GREAT job (so far) this month of curbing our spending. I cannot even believe that we had money left over to make it until the next payday. Sure, we’ve got a ton of debt but all of our bills are current and we aren’t starving. Calling it a win!

  8. Do you mind sharing your percentage of savings?

    I spent a lot of money during both Q3 and Q4 of 2019. I don’t have the exact numbers because I don’t use any budgeting tool but I wasn’t able to save anything. Between traveling to see family, paying tuition for two college classes and wedding related expenses, my savings were essentially 0.

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