Expenses · Finance

2016 Total Expenses

Hi Everyone!

Hope your January is going well. Thought I’d share my total expenses for 2016 for anyone who is interested.

Let me preface by saying that the total came in higher than I expected. It’s a good reminder that you can only plan so much and a savings account is invaluable. No credit card interest for this girl!

In total, my 2016 expenses were $21,299.03.

Without further ado, here are my 2016 expenses by category:

Fixed Expenses = $6,613.08 (vs $6,197.67 in 2015)

This is up slightly over last year, mainly due to the cost of internet. Sadly, this cost will be my most expensive utility in 2017, estimated to be $840. Ouch. This is what happens when there is only one option for broadband, even though I live mere miles from downtown Minneapolis.

As for the other expenses: I have a townhouse so my monthly association fee includes lawn, snow removal, garbage, and insurance. The homeowners insurance I pay is condo insurance. Since I don’t really have property, my property tax is relatively low, considering Minnesota is a higher tax state. The taxes owed are from filing my 2015 tax returns; I purposely set my withholding so that I’d pay in, rather than receive a refund.

My house is heated with natural gas, and my water heater uses gas as well. The city I live in started imposing a $7 “city fee” for both gas and electric bills in 2016 so these are both higher than last year and that trend will continue. Since I don’t have a lawn to water, my water expense is quite cheap. I canceled my landline earlier in the year so this will be $0 for 2017. I use Virgin Mobile for my cell phone, which is only $33/month for unlimited everything. I realize that my car insurance seems high, but I have great coverage and I’m happy with the company so I’m not going to mess with it just to save a few dollars.

Variable Expense = $14,685.95 (vs $11,473.44 in 2015)

Most of my variable expenses are quite boring so I won’t bother to talk about gas, groceries, etc. Instead I’ll focus on the big items.

Pet expenses came in about $3,000 more than I expected. It started in January when my cat, Moe, was diagnosed as diabetic. That lead to glucose checks (at $32.50 each), insulin, syringes, and prescription food. Poor guy went in for a dental cleaning in August and ended up having teeth pulled (to the tune of almost $2,000). In October, the focus switched to my other cat, Rocky. Unknown to me, he was suffering from kidney failure and we ended up euthanizing him because it was so advanced by the time he started showing symptoms. While I’ll still be caring for my diabetic cat during 2017, I’m hoping that there aren’t any additional health problems. We’ve both been through enough to last us years. The emotional toll has been far greater than the financial.

The electronics I purchased this year include a Doxie scanner, an SSD for my laptop, new cell phone and a small TV and Roku stick for a spare bedroom. The scanner has made it possible to get rid of a majority of the paper in my house, although I still have a lot of files left to scan. The SSD has made my 4-year old laptop much faster and easier to use. The last two were indulgences for sure, so I won’t even try to justify those.

My medical costs are paid for out of my HSA but I include them in my expenses so I can monitor just how much it is each year. It includes prescriptions for chronic health problems, my annual lab costs for blood tests, and eye exams.

Although I no longer exchange birthday or Christmas gifts with friends or family, I did buy a new laptop for my parents (as they were using my old one, which was more than 10 years old), as well as some small gifts for friends since we’re all turning 40. A milestone birthday deserves a little something. The only gifts I give every year are to my friend’s two kids — I put money into the custodial brokerage accounts I created for them for birthdays and Christmas. This will continue until they are at least 18 (they are currently 3 and 5).

Admittedly, the donations category is lower than I’d like it to be. I’d definitely like to bump up how much I give going forward.

Other Observations

Because my mortgage is paid off and I live in a small townhouse, it only cost $4,804.16 ($400.35/month) to live in my house during 2016. Sadly, I’ve spent well over $200k on my house in the 15 years I’ve lived here, but the average cost per month and year will decline each additional year I live here.

Without the cats, my annual expenses would have been $16,930. I find value in having pets so this expense is worth it to me and I can easily afford it. If you’re thinking about adopting a pet, make sure that you are aware of all the possible expenses beforehand.

Plans for 2017

Looking ahead, I have two goals:

  1. Make sure that I’m saving enough to cover some major house expenses coming up
  2. Focus less on stashing as much money as I can into investments and instead set a savings goal for the year.

Regarding the first item, there are a few expenses likely in 2017 that I want to be prepared for. My fridge is almost 15 years old and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went out any day now. Since my cat’s insulin needs to be refrigerated, I’d rather replace it before it dies so I’ll likely do that this spring. Another appliance that I’m thinking about replacing is my washer/dryer. The dryer is fine, but I have an HE front loader and I hate it. The set is 10 years old so I’m debating replacing this in the spring. Since my house requires a stacked unit, the dryer will have to go as well. The last item is my water heater. It’s almost 9 years old so it’s possible this could also go out any day. So, I need to make sure I have enough in savings to cover all 3 of these being replaced, which would be around $4,000.

For the second item, I’d like to be a little less stringent regarding how much I save and spend. My mentality over the last two years has been to spend as little as I can while saving as much as I can. Instead, I’d like to set savings goals for the year and enjoy the rest of my money. My hope is that I’ll focus less on my finances if I loosen the reins a little. The important thing is to hit the savings goals, and let go of the small stuff.

How was your 2016? Any big goals for 2017?

6 thoughts on “2016 Total Expenses

    1. Wow, paying off $65k would be amazing! I look forward to reading more about that throughout the year 🙂

  1. On the whole I think you are doing very good. My home is much bigger, so the expenses are larger too. On top of that we adopted a rescue Greyhound…and of course there are initial expenses with any new pet. As far as replacing items in the house, our furnace is 25 years old this spring and our a/c unit is 15 years old. Total $7000. yuck

    Fortunately, we budgeted for the items. I still hate to spend the money though.
    Joanne Mahoney recently posted…Is Life Insurance Tax Deductible for Business Owners?My Profile

    1. Yeah, a new furnace and a/c is expensive. But I’m glad that you were prepared and already budgeted for it. Makes life much easier, even though it is a bummer to spend the money on something so mundane.

    1. Thanks Mrs. Groovy! Is it crazy that I think I should be able to live off much less than $21k? That still seems high to me.

      I’ll definitely keep an eye out for good deals over President’s Day. Thanks for the tip!

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