Thursday, July 08, 2010

Where Our Money Goes

Quicken Premier 2010 has many faults, but it does make it exceedingly easy to figure out how you spend your money, and that's what I did this evening. I ran a quick report that shows our expenses by category over the past 12 months.

Here is the report for your perusing pleasure:

One of things that immediately strikes me when I look at this list of categories is the fact that slightly over 50% of our spending goes towards rent and childcare. Together our spending on fuel, groceries and utilities accounts for another 11% of spending. That's over 60% of our spending that we have very little control over. On the positive side, my twins are starting kindergarten in the fall, so childcare expenses are about to take a major reduction.

Our third largest category is our vacation spending. My family still lives in Israel and we go to visit them once a year. Taking a family of 5 across the ocean is not a cheap trick. In addition we also go on a real family vacation, usually somewhere in the States, but last December we went to Costa Rica for 8 days. It was a blast. We spend a lot of money on vacations, but I am very happy to spend that money. We love traveling and those memories will be there for the rest of our lives. This is exactly what we are saving our money for...

Recreation is less fun than it actually sounds - at least for the adults. Most of the amount involves all sorts of after school activities for the kids: swim lessons, soccer league and so forth, but some of it is our weekend activities - museums, mini golf, bowling, and the occasional book or visit to Chucky Cheese.

Under dining I have both Alpaca and my work-day lunches, and any family restaurant outings we have. This category used to bother me, because it seemed like an obvious place to cut expenses, but the actual numbers aren't that high and we can afford this level of spending. I also enjoy leaving the office mid-day with my work buddies to go to a restaurant. Breaks up the routine.

Under the "other" category, we have several categories that are too small to stand on their own, including insurance (which accounts for about 1%), clothing (which accounts for about 1.5%) and cash spending (which accounts for about 1.1%). Cash expenses are the only uncategorized portion of our spending, and it's tough to know where that money goes. It is such a small amount of overall expenditure, that I don't concern myself with those amounts.

What do you think?

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Rob Bennett said...

What do you think?

I think there is a huge benefit in having a graphic like this available to you.

One thing that I would suggest is that you might try to put a similar graphic together that would show the benefit you could obtain from making cuts in any of the categories. Say that you were to cut spending by $100 per month. How many months or years sooner would you achieve financial freedom by doing so?

Knowing the answer to that one would help you assess whether the amounts spent in each of the categories are the right amounts, given your particular financial circumstances and life goals.


Savings Accounts said...

A lot of forethought must go into the figures that are input for you to get the result that will be the most helpful.