My 2019 Spending

A financial blog is not a financial blog without some transparency with how we spend our money. Because of that, I have run the numbers on our spending in 2019. Our 2019 spending was fairly similar to 2018 with some key differences, some of which I was expecting. I have not included money spent on our wedding here as we budgeted separately and had separate accounts for that and because my parents made contributions to it.

Housing costs

Total spend = $24, 317.93

2018 spend = $24, 501.80

This is by far the largest category of spending for us. This includes our mortgage payment (nearly $20, 000), strata fees and council rates – everything it costs us to have a roof over our heads. This doesn’t include additional payments we make towards our mortgage as we consider that to be saving. This number is fairly consistent with what we spent last year. Our mortgage interest rate went down when our fixed period ended and we refixed at a lower rate, but our strata and council fees went up a little.

Groceries

Total spend = $5, 031.78

2018 spend = $5, 422.18

I’m happy with how this number has decreased from last year. We stuck to our revised budget of $100/week even though we continued to shop indulgently (I buy very expensive eggs from chickens with lots of room to run, superpricy lactose free milk, and sometimes expensive, marinated olives). However, we don’t eat meat at home (I’m pescatarian and Mr Millennial is flexitarian) and tend to buy in season vegetables for the bulk of our meals. We could definitely decrease this spending but we would lose some of our joy and I’m just not ready for that.

Utilities

Total spend = $3, 105.22

2018 spend = $3, 405.86

This includes our spending on electricity, gas, water and our contents insurance. Decreasing our utilities spending by 9% is pretty impressive considering that some of these costs (e.g. water bill, supply charges) are fixed and others tend to increase rather than decrease.

The main contributor to this reduction is the previously recounted changes we made to our electricity consumption. By turning off appliances at the power point and using the clotheshorse, we have kept our electricity consumption consistently 45-50% lower than in the past. I find this both shocking and disturbing.  How many people are needlessly spending on electricity? I told my aunt recently about this change and she replied “I had an electrician tell me that turning things off at the power point doesn’t really make much difference and people are just getting sucked in to do it”. I didn’t press the subject, but I suggest everyone do their own trial for a quarter to see how it affects your consumption and how much hassle it is for your family.

Car costs

Total spend = $2. 512.83

2018 spend = $2, 394.84

It concerns me a little that we spent more money on the car this year than last, considering we bought tyres last year and had nothing replaced this year. The main reason for the increased spending was the wedding.

Firstly, the insurance on our car was due to be renewed about two weeks before the wedding. Normally, when this happens, I consider our circumstances, I shop around, I collect a range of quotes and consider different products, and I ultimately choose the best option for us. I have never let my insurance renew itself automatically. This year, I dropped the ball. Two weeks before the wedding I was chasing a dry cleaner, organising a wishing well and writing place cards for attendees. I just didn’t have the time or mental energy to devote to looking into the insurance and this ultimately cost me.

Secondly, Mr Millennial drove our car to the wedding, rather than hiring a car for the day. Although this ultimately saved us money (see more money saving tips for weddings here), we took the opportunity to have the car professionally detailed so it looked its best in the photos.

Splurge

Total spend = $2, 500.00 (estimated)

2018 spend = $2, 000. 00 (estimated)

Mr. Millennial has the account for splurge spending (conveniently for him) and was unable to tell me exactly how much we splurged in 2019 (also very convenient), so I have estimated this cost. For me, Splurge includes making donations to charities, buying takeaway food or coffee and any money we spend out such as going to the movies. For Mr Millennial, it includes buying his lunch at work once a week and buying computer games and movies.

I expect our Splurge will continue to increase next year. At the end of 2019, Mr Millennial got a new job and a 60% pay rise (he was being considerably underpaid at his graduate job). Because of this, he no longer feels the pressure to be frugal (although I do keep trying to apply it) and has raised our splurge budget substantially. With our household savings rate now over 50%, it’s hard to argue with him.

Transport costs

Total spend = $2, 644.85

2018 spend = $1, 865.23

This includes money that both of us have spent on public transport as well as money for petrol. Mr Millennial takes the train to work every day so most of this is his public transport costs which increased at the end of the year when he started his new job. Because of this increase, I expect this category of spending will continue to increase next year

Health costs

Total spend = $6, 003.30

2018 spend = $1, 638.36

I had no idea we had spent this much money on health costs this year. Throughout the year, I saw an oral surgeon and had a >$2,000 wisdom tooth removal surgery so just under half of this is my spending. Mr Millennial saw five different specialists, he started the year on five medications and finished on three (different ones). He had one surgery, which was bulk billed but had some medication costs. He has also undertaken immunotherapy to reduce his allergies to dust and cats which have been causing him some concern. None of this spending was optional, neither of us even saw a dentist this year.

In 2020, I expect this area to decrease in cost. Mr Millennial’s health issues are finally under control (it feels so good to type that) and he should only need to see two specialists in the future and stay on these three medications. He does need to have his wisdom teeth removed, so we are looking at a minimum of $2000 for that but I’m not sure when he will have it done.

Electronic entertainment costs

Total spend = $1, 539.09

2018 spend = $1, 598.21

This category includes our internet costs, Netflix subscription and our mobile phone costs. We have actually cut spending in this area because the 2018 spend only included Mr Millennial’s costs for the second half of the year.

Although I anticipated spending $20/month on my phone in 2019, Boost introduced a new 365 day plan for only $150 which I signed up for in February so my phone cost has decreased. Mr Millennial has not yet changed his phone plan but we will continue to look into this.

Gifts

Total spend = $1, 394.19

2018 spend = $1, 565.92

Although we don’t buy each other gifts, we love buying gifts for our family and friends. Mr Millennial’s sister had a baby in July this year so we now have a niece and a nephew to buy for, which has been a delight. We spent more money this Christmas than in the past but we were very glad to do this.

Throughout the year, we spent a little less of gifts than normal. We bought a lot of gifts for family and friends as part of the wedding (e.g. gifts for attending, gifts for being bridesmaid/groomsman, gifts for parents) but this was included in our wedding budget. I also made the decision with my friendship group this year to not buy each other gifts for birthdays or Christmas. This meant that I instead wrote a list of “20 reasons you’re my best friend” and baked cookies at various times rather than buying and wrapping presents, and it was a welcome change. I hope this helps me to choose more meaningful gifts in the future, whether bought or not.

Clothing

Total spend = $899.28

2018 spend = $595.83

So much for my hope that this number would decrease in 2019… Mr Millennial continued to buy clothes for work and I also bought some things I really wanted for my wardrobe. Somewhere along the line I started considering makeup as “clothes” and I did spend a lot in that area as I did my own wedding makeup and bought a few different products to try them out. On the plus side, I now have enough good makeup to last me a while.

House/garden costs

Total spend = $694.98

2018 spend = $427.41

If I’m being completely honest, half of this spend is probably on baking things. I have finally decided that we are in a comfortable enough financial position for me to have a hobby and baking is my great passion. I bake cupcakes and cookies for people at work, I baked my wedding cake, and I usually bake in the RSPCA Cupcake Day fundraiser with my friend (which I skipped this year due to it being too close to the wedding and me being preoccupies). A lot of my Christmas presents this year were baking related and I’m looking forward to continuing to spend money on this in 2020.

Total spend = $50, 643.45

2018 total spend = $45, 294.27

So the increased expenditure can be explained completely with our increased health costs. I said last year that I wanted our household spending to be around $40, 000 but Mr Millennial thinks I’m being a little unrealistic with that and that I should be looking more at $45, 000 or even $50, 000. Perhaps he is correct, as neither of these years included spending on a holiday and that is certainly changing in 2020!

Overall, I’m happy with how we spent in 2019. Graphically, here’s how our spending went:

2019 spending

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