2017 Expenses

Hello all! I’ve officially gone through all my expenses from the last year and, frankly, I’m surprised at what I found considering the complete neglect on my side.

Now, remember from my recap that I bought a house last year, my own space totaling in 646 square feet. Home sweet home. I actually was quite lucky with my place as it is completely remodeled down to the nuts and bolts as it was a meth storage facility back in 2010. Furthermore, it was under contract before I came along but the people who were going to buy it backed out with this information. I’ll do a deeper post on my home buying experience, but wanted to bring this up because if not for this major step in my life, I would have had a positive year financially. While it can be debated whether or not I did have a positive year as I now have a home I am building equity in, this does not change the fact that I spent more than I made last year.

Overall, my net income was $30,665.85 while my expenses totalled $38,894.41. I overspent by $8,228.56, or 26.83% of my take home pay. Now, back to the home buying. If I remove all homebuying expenses: down-payment, earnest money, furniture, and home goods, I would have been leftover with $1,495.71, or almost 5% of my take home.

Now, I know 5% is nothing considering it is recommended on the low-end to save at least 10%, but I am happy with this number as I did not check my expenses once this past year. It is unfortunate that I did not do more because during the timeframe I was not living on my own, I could have saved a substantial amount of money. Now that I have home expenses, my ability to do so has changed dramatically.

Without further ado, here’s my financial breakdown from 2017:

Income:

I had income from a variety of sources this year, the majority of course coming from my job. Again, this totaled to $30,665.85.

Work income: $28,713.53.

  • Mileage: $2,103.48
  • Paycheck: $25,564.91
  • Bonuses: $1045.14

Miscellaneous income$1,331.98.

  • Miscellaneous: $1,146.56
  • Refunds: $185.42

Passive income: $620.34.

  • Interest: $111.57 (Digit, Prosper, Miscellaneous)
  • Cash back: $318.90
  • Dividends: $189.87

My dividends didn’t grow as much as I was hoping as I did not funnel enough money into stock accounts, partially due to Loyal3 changing to FolioFirst and me not transferring that account to my TradeKing now Ally Invest account, which I have rectified for this coming year due to the $5 a month fee to hold my account at FolioFirst. Suffice it say, I’ve also updated my transfer from $65 to $100 a month at Ally. This is $5 more than what I was sending to my individual stock accounts before the FolioFirst change.

Now, where all my money went.

Expenses:

I spent money in several categories, ranging from healthcare to home goods, etc. I didn’t tally up the transfers between depositing money into investments versus withdrawing toward savings and vice versa because frankly, those are just transfers. I did pull from savings multiple times to pay healthcare bills as well as for my home and auto loans.

Auto: -$3,888.91.

  • Tickets: -$90.00
  • Insurance: -$399.00
  • Payments: -$2,054.28
  • Gas: -$1,051.16
  • Service: -$559.67

I received two red light photo tickets. For insurance, my dad and I agreed when I bought the car that I would pay the same amount as what my dad had been paying on my Pontiac Grand Am, which is $57 a month. My dad does sometimes skip payments, giving me some extra money in my pocket, which happened five times this year. I made no extra payments on my car this past year, but have changed it for 2018. I filled up the gas tank 33 times this year. I drive a lot for my job, about a third of the time, which is why I get paid mileage as well, due the wear and tear on my car. I put more than 10,000 miles on my car. With all these miles came a need for new tires, which I bought on sale from Wal-Mart, costing $265.20 to buy and $102.48 to install. I also purchased a rebalancing plan to save money on the cost of rotating my tires as it goes for the life of my tires. The rest of the money on service included cleaning and buying various car products.

Bills: -$11,976.60

  • General: -$132.15
  • Business: -$104.00
  • Insurance: -$915.96
  • Mortgage: -$1,810.56
  • Home Purchase: -$8,541.72
  • Taxes: -$472.21

General bills included my internet and energy with my internet at $29.99 a month and energy at a little under $15 a month. Business is paying for a website, two domains, and a P.O. box for a collaborative organization I am a part of. We’re not a filed business yet, so there’s no ability to reimburse or even hold money at this point. I’d love advice on this if anyone has it. I will say that I had a blast creating the website and am proud of it. Insurance here means my whole life insurance, which went up midway through the year as I took advantage of my additional purchase benefit (able to buy additional insurance without a medical exam, which is extremely important to me as I am not the most insurable person). Mortgage here included one month of HOA fees, my earnest money, down payment, home inspection, and mortgage payment. Lastly, the taxes portion includes taxes Fidelity withheld from my liquidated 401k (it didn’t have enough money in it to continue holding it there and I didn’t get it transferred in time), and state ($86) and federal taxes ($123). I do believe I did my 2016 taxes wrong as I don’t think I should have owed.

Credit Cards: -$8,417.53

  • Payments: -$8,098.63
  • Cash back: -$318.90

This is awful. I do use my credit cards for therapy as I have to file claim forms as my therapist is out-of-network, so I get money back at a very delayed pace. I did stop using a few of my credit cards: Citi, Loft, Quicksilver, and Nordstrom. I had a bad customer service experience with Capital One, so I decided to do a 0% balance transfer on what I was paying interest on and I am working on paying the rest off. I applied cash back redemption on my cards as well. Payments speaks for itself as well.

Health: -$7,099.13

  • Dentist: -$315.69
  • Doctor: -$848.89
  • General: -$888.80
  • Insurance: -$1,013.40
  • Pharmacy: -$412.46
  • Therapy: -$3,120.00
  • Vitamins: -$499.89

I’m going to write a bit more on this topic. As I have stated in previous posts, I have bipolar disorder, which requires quite a bit of maintenance, such as psychiatrist appointments, vitamins, prescriptions, and copious amounts of therapy just to stay at a manageable level where I experience joy from life each day. In addition to my psychiatric condition, I have periodontal disease which requires quarterly appointments to my dentist. All of this adds up to about a quarter of my take home pay. And I have good insurance. I cannot imagine if I was on a high deductible plan or no insurance what these things would cost.

Now, my general expenses in this category were my gym and massage costs. I am currently debating whether to continue the gym membership as I have not gone in some time, though I greatly enjoyed it when I did. I cancelled the massage membership once I bought my home as I viewed it as an unneeded expense. Yoga helps with feeling tense, though I haven’t developed much of a habit around it. I do miss this membership at times.

Additionally, I pay my father for health insurance in much the same way I pay for auto insurance at only $81 a month. I additionally pay for cancer insurance at $37.20 a month. The benefit, which started at $5,000, goes up $50 a month, so it really is a good deal as several members, including my own mother, have had cancer at some point in their life.

Inconsistent Expenses: -$2,292.56

  • Balance Transfer: -$121.49
  • Misc. Fees: -$37.15
  • Other Fees: -$55.00
  • Interest Fees: -$63.56
  • Groceries: -$582.08
  • Home Goods: -$1,182.55
  • Personal Care: -$250.73

I completed balance transfers at a rate of 3% fee (a method I use to avoid paying exorbitant amounts of interest on my credit cards for medical costs), miscellaneous 401k and investment account fees, an overdraft fee, and a late fee. Interest fees from my credit cards before I completed the balance transfers. Groceries, home goods, and personal care as these costs can vary, whether I need new kitchen towels, toilet paper, or am changing the way I cook.

Miscellaneous Expenses: -$5,131.37

  • Alcohol: -$178.22
  • Cigarettes: -$97.90
  • Donations: -$7.00
  • Food: -$1,649.57
  • Parking: -$18.75
  • Presents: -$350.86
  • Miscellaneous: -$2,801.07
  • Unknown: -$28.00

I have significantly decreased the amount of alcohol I have been drinking (the last real binge being New Years and having one drink when I go out). I did begin smoking. I know, awful. I have only self-harmed once since beginning smoking, which was something I was doing regularly. I made a couple of donations through a Noodles & Company donation and a Planned Parenthood cause donation (I donated to the cause they were supporting, not Planned Parenthood itself). $16 of the parking was reimbursed by my work as it was incurred on the job. Presents are from birthdays, baby showers, and christmas. I also incurred a cost of $28.00 that I cannot for the life of me find where it came from.

Now, onto food. I spent a whopping 5.38% of my take home pay on going out to eat. Wow. Suffice it to say, I have not been going out as frequently and now that I have more of an awareness, I can opt for cheaper options when I do go out.

Miscellaneous costs such as clothing, getting my nails done, concerts, and spotify added up to another high at 9.13% of my take home pay. I will justify spotify as I pay half-price as I get cash back from my Capital One card. The rest of it, I just don’t know. No one needs that much clothing, or books that I don’t read. The expenses average out to almost $30 a pop. While I totally support buying the occasional shirt from Target or taking a night out-of-town for a concert, it should not add up to 10% of my income, especially now that I own a home.

Equity

On a final note, I owe $125,549.97 on my home, but Zillow values it at $128,717.00 meaning that I already have $3,167.03 in home equity. I’ve only made a few payments and while the current equity doesn’t equate or surpass what I’ve paid, it’s still exciting to see that much and to know that it will continue to build with each payment. With my car, it is valued at $8,388.00 and I only owe $6,236.06, which means it is worth more than my loan on it, which is also exciting especially taking into consideration the amount that I drove this year.

Final Thoughts

I learned a lot this past year and going through this really showed me some things. I am still happy with the results. I own a home, I take care of myself, I have a decent job, and still my expenses weren’t that bad all considering. This year, I’ll have to bolster my savings and investing, which I’ve already taken steps toward, as well as work toward being more conscientious with my purchases. Keeping up this analysis will help me do those things. Overall, I’m happy with 2017 and excited for 2018.

How did your year go?

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