Looking Back: 2017 Money Pie

To welcome in the new year, I always take a moment to look back on where I spent my money. I find it very helpful in organizing my spending for the year ahead. In addition, it sometimes gives me a wake up call, as often it is easy to spend a lot in one category without even realizing it (cough, Costco, cough). You can find prior years here: 2014, 2015, 2016.

This pie is for spending only, and does not include savings. Here they are, in order of greatest to least!

Home: This category includes mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance, as well as other misc items, such as appliances, stuff from the hardware store, home improvement and furnishings. This year I actually spent nearly the exact same amount dollar wise as I did last year on my home category. However, I bought a lot of backyard materials this year!
Travel: Once again, travel ended up high on my list. This category includes flights, lodging, food and transportation when away from home, including long distance run trips and road trips. I did a 2,000 mile road trip to Wyoming as well as road trips to both Oregon and Mammoth this summer. I also went to Minneapolis for Lisa's wedding and to Bryce for the 100 miler!
Transportation: Last year I bought a car, so this year my transportation category was significantly lower. However, this still includes the daily commute to work (including pre-tax dollars) as well as registration, insurance, gasoline and maintenance for the car. Luckily I have my trusty bike, so much of the daily transportation is done sans vehicle. However, this also includes weekend trips for running etc.

Groceries/Dining Out: In 2017, I actually spent 17% less on food than I did in 2016. I had to double and triple check that number though, as I did not feel that it could be correct. However, after checking, I did confirm that I spent about the same amount dining out, but a lot less on groceries. The culprit? Costco! In 2016, I took 5 big Costco trips, whereas in 2017 I only took 3 and man, what a difference a Costco trip makes!!

Misc: This includes personal care, toiletries, gifts and donations, credit card fees and things like that. This year my dollar amount increased significantly! The bulk of it is gifts, but I had some registration/education fees to pay this year which really upped the dollar amount of this category a lot.

Health: This includes pre-tax deductions and any copay or charge for the gym, prescriptions, contact lenses etc. The bulk of this percentage is health insurance.

Shopping:  This category pretty much includes anything I buy on Amazon, regardless of the use. I am too lazy to sort through the purchases to see what is food related or what is not. In fact, that could be a big reason why my food spending was so much "less" in 2017, as I do buy a lot of dry goods on Amazon. In addition, much of it could probably also go towards the Entertainment or the Travel categories as well, as I did buy some camping/hiking related items as well.

Entertainment: This includes movies, baseball games, and running related (or other hobbies) expenses. This year, most of it went to race fees. I did travel for running, but I kept that in the travel category.   

The Verdict: In 2017, as planned, I did spend less dollars than last year. However, it's a bit of a cheat, as I bought a car last year. Without the car purchase, I would have spent about 9% more in 2017 than I did in 2016. I did see big increases in Health (I blame premiums), Misc (education) and Shopping (laziness of not sorting the category, aka human error). I spent a lot less on Groceries (sorting/human error/Costco) and Transportation (car purchase) and pretty much the exact same amount on Dining Out and Home.

What should I do differently? I would say that aside from spending less on shopping, I should probably get a better categorization system for Amazon purchases. Otherwise, I could travel less. NOT! Actually, most of my travel involved camping, so the bulk of the cost was flights and transportation costs.

Do you tally up your spending at the end of the year? Do you budget for next year? What was your highest spending category in 2017?

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