My Household Budget (2018 Edition)
If you have not been following along, in early 2017 I became fed up with my bloating household expenses and made a commitment to do something about it. At that point in time my recurring household living expenses were averaging almost $3,250/month. Since then, quite a few strategic changes have been made which have brought household expenses down by an average of over $700/month (and counting). I continue and track these numbers to both hold myself accountable and pass along any savings strategies/opportunities discovered to you.
Here is an overview of the process and where things now stand.
The objective here is to highlight the year's household expenses. To help analyze these expenses, I calculate a rolling average of monthly outflows to get an assessment of whether or not expenditures are steadily moving higher or lower. I am not accounting for miscellaneous expenses (clothes, travel, meals out, etc.) as they are rather discretionary and personal. Instead, I want to hone in those necessary items that are somewhat fixed and more predictable. By going this route, I can evaluate where there is room for a reliable budgeting improvement.
Here are the latest numbers:
As of the last post, rolling household expenses were $2,775/month. Currently, they stand at $2,542/month which is an improvement of $233/month in the last 6 months and $535/month over the same time 1 year ago. Total savings over the course of the year tallied $6,421. While we didn’t make any major budget adjustments during the 2nd half of 2018, the previously implemented savings on rent, car payments, healthcare costs and utilities are continuing to produce results by bringing down the rolling monthly average.
Here are highlights of the major spending swings that occurred over the course of the year:
Automotive costs were reduced by a total of $2,023 in 2018. This is predominantly due to the car being paid off in May of 2017.
Cell phone expenses were reduced by $661. This is attributable to our switch from Verizon to Total Wireless (which I highly recommend).
Grocery spending increased by $1,159 in 2018. We increased our spending here simply due to a focus on eating in more often. Although not tracked here, this did result in savings to our individual discretionary spending at restaurants. Also, we started using the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card for groceries which kicks back 6% (as a plus, the card also looks rather bad ass!).
Healthcare costs were reduced by $2,368 on the year. This was due to our transition to Medi-Share for health “insurance” coverage rather than renewing our existing policy on the healthcare exchange.
Miscellaneous house expenses increased by $1,777 due mainly to furniture purchases made for the new apartment. Now settled, these costs should also settle.
Our rent/housing costs were also reduced by $3,146 in 2018. Moving from our downtown loft to a less expensive apartment right on the outskirts of downtown was the reason for these savings.
Our taxable income will be lower for 2018 which gives us the opportunity (aka, makes it more affordable for us) to hop back on the healthcare exchange for 2019. This will increase our healthcare costs but not by that much. One of the more beautiful aspects of both self-employment and real estate investing is how tax advantageous they can be.
GOAL FOR 2019
Not going overboard on detail like I have in previous years, my main goal for 2019 is to simply bring our rolling monthly household spending average to under $2,250 by the end of the year.
It’s been fun to watch the progress made within our budget over the past 20 months! The primary objective now is to keep tabs on lifestyle inflation and continue to let the monthly rolling spending average work its way down. I am always on the prowl for additional cost savings and will implement and share when discovered. Check back midway through the year to see how things progress.
Still have yet to start budgeting for your own household? I encourage you to take action on that, as there are many good reasons why you should be tracking your expenses. Here is a blank version of my Excel budgeting template if you would like to get started today.