Expenses 2009, Budget 2010

I spent much of Saturday updating my finances in wesabe. I wanted to see where I’d spent my money and, ultimately, where I could save more. I’m notoriously cheap a pretty good saver – basically, I continue to live like a starving student1 despite having a big girl job and I pick up teaching gigs and contracts to supplement my income. I figure since I’m used to living on the cheap, why not continue that and save the difference/use it to pay off those damned student loans? But I know that I could save even more than I am if I actually look at where my money goes and then set up a budget2.

This is a pie chart3 that shows my top five spending categories for 2009:

Wesabe only shows the top five categories on the main graph; the “other tags” section includes all sorts of things including:

  • cell phone and Internet
  • clothing
  • recreation (e.g., hockey, running race registration fees)
  • gifts

Things of note from my 2009 expenses:

  • I’m well within the “you should spend less than 30% of your income on housing recommendation.”  In fact, my rent4 comprised only  11% of my total spending, and I didn’t spend all the money I made.  It works out to ~9% of my gross salary from my main job and ~7.5% of my gross income from all sources in ’09.
  • I spent almost the same amount on food as I do on rent.  This probably explains where the additional 15 lbs I’m carrying around came from.  About half my food expenses are from eating out.  This is waaaay too much.  I need to make friends with my local produce store again!
  • Electronics being so high in 2009 is an anomaly. I bought both my MacBookPro and my iPhone in ’09 and these aren’t expenses I anticipate having every year.
  • Transportation being so high is a bit of an anomaly as well, since it counts the down payment I put on my car this year.
  • I spent a lot more on clothing than I thought I did.  I shop almost exclusively at thrift stores5, so I get my clothing for a fraction of what they cost at real stores.  Yet I managed to spend $1,000 on clothing in 2009!  Granted, $350 of that was on shoes and $200 of that was for running shoes.  But still.  I think “clothing” is one category where I can cut down for 2010.  I’ve decided that I won’t buy any news shoes this year, except possibly running shoes if needed6.

So, basically, my two problem areas are clothing and dining out.  Cutting down on both of these will allow me to put slightly more money into my RRSP7 and increase my student loan payments each month.  And thus I might pay off my student loans before I turn 100 years old!

  1. e.g., cheap basement suite, almost  all clothing comes from thrift stores, most movie passes are free from contests, books come from the library []
  2. props to my friends Kim and Rebecca for sharing their budget Excel files with me! []
  3. I heart pie charts! []
  4. which includes my utilities []
  5. occasionally, if I’m feeling rich, I buy stuff at Winners! []
  6. and they will be needed if I do as much running as I’m planning to do this year []
  7. which I do automatically every two weeks []