I can’t believe I am doing another annual spending report. I feel like I just did this, but this is just because 2021 just flew by in the blink of an eye.
As always, I pulled these data out of YNAB* — You Need A Budget, the software I’ve been using for 6+ years (the pie-chart was done in Excel). It’s been helping me to really stay on top of our finances.
Looking at some of the spending reports that some of my blog friends have posted, I realize once again: not one financial situation is the same. Our financial situation is a little unusual as well, and without going into too much detail (I struggle with how ‘transparent’ I should be and how much detail is irrelevant), let’s just say that while we technically are a one-income household, we do have some financial assets outside of my paycheck that factor into our finances and allow us to allocate more money to retirement and investment accounts.
My type-A brain would like things to be a little bit more straightforward (because as it is, to max out my retirement savings at work, I am taking a smaller paycheck and we “dip” into our other assets more than I’d like for day-to-day expenses, but I think it makes fiscal sense to maximize the tax advantages that we get through my work-retirement account.
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 (40% was 45% in 2020) — The spending for our (rental) home includes rent, utilities, household items, and rental insurance. Spending in this category was up, unfortunately, which had to do with a slight rent increase in August. Overall spending: ⬆︎
Groceries (21% was 22% in 2020) and Dining Out (4% was 5% in 2020) — We had an increase in grocery spending (what with the inflation going on), but saved a few hundred dollars in our takeout category. Food is still a huge chunk of our budget. No surprise there. Overall spending: ⬆︎
Shopping (9% was 3% in 2020) — we usually spend very little on just random shopping, but this increase in spending last year was due to the upgrading of our phones, which we paid outright. Overall spending: ⬆︎
Fitness (6% was 2% in 2020) — Well, in case you have been living under a rock and haven’t heard; I bit the bullet and bought a Peloton last summer, which fully accounts for the jump in fitness expenses and I am absolutely okay with it. It’s been the best purchase of the year. Overall spending: ⬆︎
Car Maintenance (4% was 3% in 2020) — Expenses in this category are for registration, car insurance, AAA membership, and miscellaneous car expenses (like oil changes, car wash, etc.). Spending was a little up last year due to how the insurance payments came out, but we didn’t have any out-of-the-ordinary expenses. Overall spending: ⬆︎
Cable/Internet (4% was 4% in 2020) — This category stayed pretty much the same in 2021, although we had a bit of an increase when I had to – once again – renegotiate our contract. Overall spending: ⬆︎
Cellphone (3% was 2% in 2020) – Expenses were about the same. Overall spending: ➡︎
Healthcare (2% was 4% in 2020) — Our medical spending, out-of-pocket and co-payments, was actually up by $150, mainly due to the fact that we saw the dentist twice last year (which we didn’t in 2020) and I had a little trip to the ER in November. Otherwise, we continued to wear masks, wash our hands, and did not have any unforeseen doctor visits (thankfully!!). Let’s keep it that way. Overall spending: ⬆︎
Gifts (2% was 3% in 2020) — We spent about $350 less on gifts in 2021. This includes birthday, Christmas, and ‘just because’-gifts throughout the year. Overall spending: ⬇︎
Subscriptions (1% was 2% in 2020) – This includes YNAB, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Identity Guard Fraud protection. I also had to renew my blog domain. We spent about $95 less because I paid for my blog hosting service in advance in 2020. Overall spending: ⬇︎
Personal Care (1% was 1% in 2020) – This category includes all toiletry items, makeup, J’s beard trims, and haircuts. We spent about $50 more last year, probably because Jon actually went to the barber twice. I continue to cut my own hair. Overall spending: ⬆︎
Travel (1% was 3% in 2020) — Well, let’s not talk about travel. While a whole lot of people resumed travel last year, Jon and I still stayed mostly put. I took a couple of day trips to see a friend, and then went down to SoCal for two nights in December, but overall we spent about $1100 less than for 2020 (and most of that spending in 2020 was for travel, we didn’t even take). I do hope to – and would happily – spend more on travel in 2022. Overall spending: ⬇︎
Clothing (<1 was <1% in 2020) – we’re not big spenders when it comes to clothing and even though we spent a little more last year than in 2020, it’s still a very small amount of our overall spending. My most exciting clothing purchase was a pair of Dr. Martens that I had been thinking about for years. Overall spending: ⬆︎
Donations (< 1% was <1% in 2020) – We almost doubled our donations in 2021, although it doesn’t really reflect in our spending pie. Overall spending: ⬆︎
Transportation (<1% was 1% in 2020) – We spent about $100 more on gas last year than in 2020, but still moved our car very little. Overall spending: ⬆︎
Overall our regular spending in 2021 stayed about the same, even though the spending went up a little in most of the categories. Since the pie chart only represents percentages of overall spending, this can be a little misleading sometimes.
We had a few fluctuations here and there, but the two big-ticket items that made our 2021 more “expensive” were our iPhone upgrades (overdue) and the Peloton, and those were worthwhile purchases IMHO. We also continued to prioritize retirement savings/investments as part of our budget, and as you can see, a larger chunk of our money still goes to our home (not surprising in CA) and food. I continue to work on meal planning and shopping smart, but I don’t know how much more I can reign that in.
Did you see some of the same trends in your spending in 2021? What was a spending category that surprised you?
* 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!