Our Family’s Expenses: December 2016

I had to look at the total amount a few times to believe it. $12,530? We were making such good progress up until now. But we knew there would be months like this. Unfortunately, it was the end of the year.

We continued to use EXCEL to track our expenses and, so far, it seems like it is doing a good enough job. We didn’t see any reason to change it.

If this month’s categories and calculations seem a bit different than the previous months’ they are. Previously, I wanted to see what our actual expenses were each month to be able get a ballpark number for our retirement.  From this point on, I would like to see where the money is going and how we can trim the fat without feeling too much pain. Currently, I don’t believe that strict budgeting will be the best way to go for our family. So I decided to just keep track of where the money is going and see what we can do to eliminate some extra spending. We will adjust as we go.


So where did the money go in December?

Here’s how it all broke down:


House & Home Improvement: Home Improvement related expenses will increase going forward since we are planning on updating the house to get it ready to sell in the near future.

Monthly Sub Total Expense Entry Amount
2,046.14 Mortgage Payment 1883.98
Utilities – Heating 32.82
Utilities – Cooling/Water 129.34


Work/Job Related Items: This section includes union dues, parking and pension payments. They all will go away when we retire from work.

Monthly Sub Total Expense Entry Amount
493.34 Work related expenses 493.34


Vehicles [2]: Our car insurance may seem high due to having a part-time teenage driver included in our policy.

Monthly Sub Total Expense Entry Amount
1337.21 Car Insurance 681.48
New Tires & Maintenance 494.96
Gasoline 160.77


Health Care & Life Insurance: I am still thinking about dropping my life insurance.

Monthly Sub Total Expense Entry Amount
441.05 Life Insurance 74.86
Health Insurance [Family] 344.50
Medicine 21.69


Phone & Internet: We don’t have cable but we use Netflix regularly. What we pay for internet stinks though.

Monthly Sub Total Expense Entry Amount
270.51 Internet 79.95
Cell Phone 190.56


Personal Items: Shoes, Clothing etc…

Monthly Sub Total Expense Entry Amount
85.35 Personal Items 85.35


Groceries & Household Items: I would like to keep this number below $600 every single month.

Monthly Sub Total Expense Entry Amount
724.21 Groceries & Household Items 724.21


Dining Out & Entertainment: This section includes dinners, lunches, coffee shops (we love our coffee in this household), movies, games etc…

Monthly Sub Total Expense Entry Amount
278.61 Dining Out & Entertainment 278.61


Gifts: Christmas time.

Monthly Sub Total Expense Entry Amount
165.69 Gifts 165.69


School/Education: This section includes items like lunch money, school supplies, fees for classes, tuition etc..

Monthly Sub Total Expense Entry Amount
6238.00 Lunch money, tuition, room & board 6238.00


Membership Fees & Dues: Credit Card membership fees, dues, late fees etc..

Monthly Sub Total Expense Entry Amount
450.00 Chase Annual Membership Fee 450.00


So total comes down to $12530.11.

So do you budget or keep track of your spending? If you do how did you do last month?


2 thoughts on “Our Family’s Expenses: December 2016

  1. We primarily use Mint to track our income and spending. December was elevated for us, but mostly due to a couple of home renovation projects. This included new flooring in our bedroom and replacing all three exterior doors (Wow – good doors are expensive).

    I have a couple of questions/comments on your breakdown:

    Heating: wow, only $32? Are you in the south?

    Vehicles: We have two teenage sons on our policy, so I feel your pain. Our sons do pay part of the premium

    Cell Phone: $190 seems pretty high. Have you checked out any of the budget carriers (e.g. Cricket, Republic, etc.)? Also, any chance you get a corporate discount through work?

    Chase Annual Fee: I’ve never had a card that required an annual fee. Do you feel like you get your money’s worth for the $450 fee?

    1. It is expensive to maintain a house. We also need to spend some money to fix a few things this winter and spring.

      Heating: December’s payment was for the month November. November was unusually warm and we didn’t really have to use the furnace at all. I am sure next month’s bill will be a different story. 🙂

      Vehicles: Currently, we are paying for the insurance. We wanted to let the older one only worry about school since it is his first year in college. It is a big transition. We will reevaluate this summer. In addition, the youngest one will be 16 in a few months and he will also be driving.

      Cell Phone: $190 is for four phones. It includes service fees and monthly payments for the two of the phones. That was the deal when we got the phones so that we wouldn’t have to pay anything for the phones and got additional monetary incentives. It wasn’t a bad deal at the time. ? When the contract is up I am not planning on getting new phones anymore. I will definitely look into Cricket, Republic and others when the time comes. Sadly enough, that is the amount with my 10% corporate discount. ?

      Chase Annual Fee: The fee is for Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. It had 100,000 bonus points (Worth $1000. $1500 if I use Chase’s web site). In addition, I get $600 back ($300 credit for last calendar year and $300 credit this calendar year). Even if I pay $450 for the fee I still will be making additional $150. So, This totals to $1150 or $1650 if I use Chase’s web site for points. It is a good value. Both my wife and myself got one. I will probably cancel hers before we pay the next annual fee. I will probably downgrade mine to no fee Chase card and transfer all our remaining points to it.

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