2017 has been a whirlwind – starting a new personal finance blog, tons of skiing throughout the winter, a diving trip to Belize, camping trips – oh yeah, and that pesky thing called “work” that consumes 45+ hours of our lives each week. Time to see how our year-to-date expenditures, January through June 2017, are tracking against our planned 2017 budget.
This is the first year I’ve tracked our expenses in such detail (I used to just lump together “credit card payments” as one expense item) and there is a lot of additional detailing to be had. That “miscellaneous” category still leaves a lot to be desired. Having the right online tools to automatically sort and summarize categories has really helped us see the biggest picture on where our money is going. We track everything using Personal Capital’s Free Budget Tracking Tool and I love that I can “drill in” to any category to see individual transactions, plus you can now add custom categories.
The first six months of 2017 were mostly on target, which is pretty impressive given the ghastly start to the year in January… Luckily, February, April, May and June were under budget and brought us closer to our projected monthly spending. Month-for-month, we were only $100, or about 2%, over each month.
Projected Mid-Year 2017 Spending: $33,690 ($5,615/month)
Actual Mid-Year 2017 Spending: $34,345 ($5,724/month)
January – June 2017 Saverdink Household Spending Details:
All items below are our estimated monthly expenditures for 2017 and the actual average monthly expenditures year-to-date. Remember, Taxes, 401k contributions, health insurance premiums and charitable donations are paid directly out of our paychecks and are not reflected in the budget below.
Mortgage: Estimated: $1,800 Actual: $1,800 ⇒ No surprises here. $1,800 fixed payment (includes $90 extra principal payment). Of course, we *just* received notification that we have an escrow shortage and our monthly payment will be going up slightly.
Utilities – Electric: Estimated: $100 Actual: $89.13 ⇒ We’re a little below budget on our electric bill thus far, but we expect summer months to be a bit higher due to our window A/C unit and dehumidifier in the basement.
Utilities – Propane: Estimated: $150 Actual: $148.04 ⇒ Spot on! I expect this to go down over the next few months. We have a propane tank that will only be filled a few more times through the end of the year.
Utilities – Water: Estimated: $40 Actual: $35.18 ⇒ Expect this to stay steady through the end of the year.
Utilities – Internet: Estimated: $50 Actual: $49.09 ⇒ Fixed expense.
Home/Auto Insurance: Estimated: $160 Actual: $339.69 ⇒ Paid in full in January. By the time December rolls around this will be divided by 12, not 6, so it’s on track.
Gas/Tolls: Estimated: $360 Actual: $295.04 ⇒ Long commutes and toll roads make this a pricey category. This is category also includes yearly car registration fees.
Groceries: Estimated: $550 Actual: $519.39 ⇒ Hopefully this stays on track through the end of the year. Summer grilling season = more friends and family coming over to eat. Long-term we’d like to find a way to bring this down a little.
Restaurants: Estimated: $80 Actual: $65.44 ⇒ Haha, big spenders over at table 4! One thing to remember – it’s not that we NEVER go out to eat – it’s that we save dining out for when we’re traveling / on vacation and those expenditures are accounted for on our vacation category. If we’re just hanging around home, we save eating out for special occasions, like birthday celebrations with friends and family …or a quick stop at McD’s for a breakfast sandwich before a day of hardcore skiing 🙂
Entertainment: Estimated: $25 Actual: $20.42 ⇒ $8/month for Hulu and $11/month for the New York Times Digital. In reality, most of our hobbies also serve as entertainment. A day of skiing or kayaking = entertainment in my book!
Home Maintenance: Estimated: $200 Actual: $144.82 ⇒ This is such an unpredictable category, that I hold my breath until the year is over. Unfortunately, our driveway needs repair and we expect that to be a $$$ job.
Clothing/Shoes: Estimated: $50 Actual: $44.21 ⇒ Nothing terribly exciting here. As needed clothing purchases for home and work.
Hobbies: Estimated: $250 Actual: $133.66 ⇒ I’m actually surprised this isn’t higher. This category includes skiing lift tickets, new sporting gear, camera equipment, etc. I suspect some of the smaller expenses fell into the miscellaneous category. We did buy a skiing season pass in the fall of last year, which we utilized on several weekend ski vacations in Jan – March, but the cost was not in this year’s budget. Not to worry though – we’ll likely buy the same pass this fall.
Vacations: Estimated: $1,200 Actual: $1,276.65 ⇒ Yup, we’re over budget here and it’s not likely to go back down. I’d say I’m sorry… but I’m not 🙂 The bulk of this category was our scuba diving trip to Belize back in April. We also had several ski weekends over the winter, plus dining out while traveling. Summer months will be fairly low in this category – camping trips are cheap – but we have another big international trip planned for September! Airfare already hit our June budget.
Miscellaneous: Estimated: $550 Actual: $529.62 ⇒ One word: Amazon. Well, plus some additional charitable giving, personal items, household goods… Pet supplies have been minimal to date (and mixed in with other general purpose items), so pet care is currently encompassed in this category.
Folks… and now the bad news. We completely forgot to account for a rather expensive budget item! Vehicle maintenance and repairs. Owning older vehicles, this can get rather expensive and has a higher likelihood of occurrence. Even newer vehicles need tires every few years, new windshield wipers, etc. I’m adding a new category for tracking – Automotive – and will account for yearly vehicle registration fees in that category going forward. This is why it’s so important to review your budget every few months and ensure it is a close reflection of reality. Adapt and revise as needed!
Automotive: Estimated: $0 Actual: $215.67 ⇒ $1,000 repair in January on my 9-year-old vehicle, plus normal things like windshield wipers.
Revised 2017 Saverdink Household Budget
|Utilities - Electric||$100|
|Utilities - Propane||$150|
|Utilities - Water||$40|
|Utilities - Internet||$50|
|Home/Auto Insurance||$160||Paid in full in Jan, but this represents the monthly equivalent.|
|Automotive||$200||Vehicle Repairs/Maintenance; $500 annual registration fee|
|Gas/Tolls||$300||Moved car registration fee to "automotive" category|
|Pet Care||$50||food, litter, vet visits for 2 cats|
|Hobbies||$250||Includes new sports gear, skiing lift tickets, photography equipment|
Total Monthly Expenditures: $5,755
Overall, we’re pretty happy with how things are going this year from a financial standpoint. Our savings rate is over 50% and our net worth is steadily climbing upward. The biggest (known) hiccup for the remainder of 2017 will be a much-needed driveway repair. It is not currently included in our budget, but we have savings to pay for it ready to go. Having enough time to work, play, travel, read, relax, visit family, clean the house, etc always seems to be the biggest challenge 🙂