Tracking your monthly spending is the first step to gaining control of your finances.
I initially was hesitant to share our personal spending since it’s a little scary putting this information out for the world to see, but I’m really passionate about helping couples get control of their finances and wanted to provide an honest account of our spending. I’m hoping that by being more transparent, we can help couples begin a conversation about how they will allocate their income.
Tracking is only the first step, but this process has helped my wife and I to trim hundreds of dollars from our monthly spending once we figured out where the money was actually going. Tracking our expenses has also allowed us to set aggressive savings goals since we know about how much we will spend each month.
Below is an account of our expenses for the month of October. We currently use Personal Capital to track our spending.
I’ll comment on certain categories but first let’s see the breakdown:
So here are some details on a few of the categories:
Mortgage: this includes PITI (principal, interest, tax, insurance)
Giving: this is not really an expense but does represent our 2nd largest cash outflow category so I left a place holder here. More on this in my next post.
Restaurants: eating out tends to be the largest discretionary expense we have each month. We derive a lot of value from our weekly dinner dates and a weekly bagel and coffee breakfast. This also includes any ice creams or coffees we get.
Baby Gear: All sorts of baby stuff. Getting ready for the birth of Baby Cents in November.
Utilities: Electricity, Gas, Trash/Water
General Merchandise: lamp for baby room, mattress protectors, 10 year anniversary photo album
Entertainment: this is higher than normal. We went on a fall apple picking adventure, had friends visit from out of town, etc.
Once you know what you are spending, you can sit down as a couple together and decide on any changes you want to make. You can then create a budget to allocate your spending intentionally. This allows you to spend money on the things that provide value to you as a couple, and to reduce or eliminate the spending that doesn’t add value.
So what about you? Are you tracking your expenses each month?
Are there any categories of our spending that surprised you, in either how much we spent or how little?
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