I’d like to start off by reminding myself that tracking my expenses is very important. Without knowing where my money is being spent, it’s easy to over spend. Very easy. This year, I tracked my expenses for January, October, November and December. For the remaining months, I tried to piece together my spending from debit and credit card transactions. That was a painful processto say the least.
I could only take a stab at where my cash spending went since I had absolutely no desire to go through my massive pile of unsorted receipts. I divided the unknown cash spending to 25% transportation, 25% groceries and 50% eating out. It’s shameful, I know.
2010 expense tracking fail!
However, it’s not all doom and gloom, and I vow to do better in 2011. And the best part, I have the best readers to keep me accountable! ;).
A lovely pie chart of my 2010 expenses.
Please note that I do not include savings, retirement savings, charity, or money to my parents in my expenses.
Below is my best guess at my 2010 expenses and my 2011 budget.
Let’s go through each item one by one.
Rent: My current monthly payment is $335 including $20 for parking. Once I give my parents back their car, my rent will be $315 a month. My rent includes all utilities and internet.
Groceries: I buy a lot of my fresh veggies and meat from Chinatown when I visit BF. Groceries are pretty cheap there. I also cook for the entire week and freeze any left overs, which should almost eliminate buying lunches because I am unprepared.
Transportation: I have included my estimate for using public transit (including a monthly pass and train tickets for the year) from my Car Cost post. I am going to stay on my parent’s insurance even though I don’t drive the car normally. There are two reasons for this 1) I can drive on occasion 2) this will decrease my insurance rates later.
Telephone: My $40 a month plan is up in July. My phone is still in great working condition now; however, my plan leaves something to be desired. I am going to negotiate a better monthly plan and hope to pay closer to $25 for my monthly plan. I will still pay for my parent’s $17 monthly cell phone plan.
Entertainment/Recreation: This includes 5 seasons of volleyball fee’s membership (~$85 per season), and $25 a month. This should cover the occasional movie, musical or symphony.
Medical: I used the same cost as last year. I think I will be seeing the dermatologist, and getting massages at the same rate as last year.
Eating Out: I am going to try really hard to stick to my budget of $100 a month. I hope to fully utilize the Entertainment Book with BF when we get a chance. That’s not to say that we will only eat out at the restaurants – they don’t have dim sum. But if we can save $15 here and $10 there. It all adds up.
Bank Fee’s: I am going to keep my minimal balance at $2,000 in my checking account to waive the $8.95 monthly fee. I am also going to pay off my credit card balance single every month – no late payments. I’ve set up e-mail sto remind myself of when my Mastercard and Visa is due. I also need to re-evaluate if the $120 annual fee I pay is worth if for my credit card to collect Aeroplan points.
Toiletries & Grooming: I have budgeted to have my hair cut at my favourite salon 4 times a year. I’ve also budgeted for replenishing make-up I currently use. No buying new make-up that’s not a replacement for something that is finished. More on this when I discuss my “2011 Shopping Ban” in a later post.
Clothing & Shoes: I have allowed myself 2 clothing related freebies in my “2011 Shopping Ban”. Will discuss more when I write details for my “2011 Shopping Ban” post.
Electronics: I have allowed myself 1 electronic freebie in my “2011 Shopping Ban”. Will discuss more when I write details for my “2011 Shopping Ban” post.
Gifts: This is pretty similar to to 2010, except that I don’t have the $500 gift to my sister for traveling. I do plan to finance a trip for my parents this coming year, but I think I will keep that under “Parents”.
Travel: I would like to take a big trip this year. I would like it to last about 2 weeks. I’m not sure where I want to go, yet. Maybe South America to visit the Mayan Ruins. Maybe somewhere else. Will update when I plan some more.
Misc: I allot $20 a month just in case, but I don’t like having items under this category.
I like to look at spending on an annual basis because it gives me the bigger picture, and puts things into perspective for me. For instance, spending $75 on hair a month is a lot of money, but if I only do that 3 or 4 times a year. To me, that’s more reasonable.
My spending varies from month-to-month. For instance, I pay my parents car insurance annually upfront, so I usually don’t include it in my monthly recaps. I also don’t get my hair cut or pay volleyball fee’s every month. I count travel as a separate item, even though I included it in the chart above.
Generally, my monthly expenses should below $1,000, if I exclude one-time expenses. One-time expenses include: travel, Visa annual fee, car insurance, freebies from “2011 Shopping Ban.” As noted before, these expenses do not include savings, charity or money I give to my parents.
There you have it. Better late than never, right? 🙂 And I will have a post coming up on my 2011 goals and further details regarding my 2011 Shopping Ban and what I hope to accomplish from it (and why I am giving myself freebies).
How were your 2010 expenses? Did you fall off the bandwagon of tracking them like me? How did you adjust your 2011 budget from your 2010 budget?