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YTD Comparison

July 17th, 2008 at 07:05 am

One thing I have forgotten is that as I get more data in Quicken (I only started using it in 2006) I can do more comparative reports. I think it is for the long run that Quicken gets VERY interesting. I think it will be fascinating to look at our budget in 10 years and compare it today.

But, since I have not had much data, I haven't been able to largely utilize comparative reports, before.

It recently occurred to me that I could run a YTD comparison of expenses. Compared to last year...



*Our auto expenses are actually down because our insurance went down. Our fuel is not up much really. We have just changed our driving habits. (Mostly drive the van less and drive the subcompact more).

*Cash - we have actually taken out less cash this year. Dh took out $440 or so for his little side business. Which actually has been reimbursed in some form or another.

We have only withdrawn $90 cash from the bank this year, then, technically. I have switched to credit cards only so makes a big difference. IT is very rare when either of us uses cash.

*Charity - we don't have a regular giving schedule so find it rather odd we are equal with last year... Just a fluke!

*Childcare - I am paying for 2 - so yeah it is a little more.

Explains 70% of the increased expenditures this year. & that is gone as of TODAY! So not much to fret over. BM's last day of preschool is today. Very bittersweet. The pocketbook is very happy. Big Grin

Oh yeah, this year with the kids out of diapers, we have justified more childcare for date nights, as well. (shifting the diaper costs to date night costs).

*Diapers - I had a separate category for the diaper service, which we dropped late last year. Though BM is largely out of diapers as of today, so that does help the bottom line immensely.

*Dining - yeah, we have been eating out more. The coupons have been stellar this year. & comes with the more dates, etc. We've been making room in our budget for this.

*Education - a lot last year went to LM's toddler class, which we dropped with his start in preschool.

*I guess we have been a tad more gifty this year than last.

*Groceries - spent slightly more on groceries. We haven't notice much increase in our grocery spending, and thus, the proof is in the pudding. Don't ask me for out secret weapon. We just haven't noticed much increase in price in our own food buying habits.

You could extrapolate that we spent an extra $13/month on groceries. Honestly, we've been buying a lot more expensive items and luxuries this year. So accounts for most of it.

*Gym - we didn't have membership before June of last year.

*Disability insurance premiums went down a bit.

*Medical is a little lower because we switched to a HDHP. However, we have some outstanding $1k bill in space somewhere (expect it eventually). So our overall expenses will probably be up from last year. (They always are!!)

They would have been ASTRONOMICALLY higher though (as they always are, year after year) if we hadn't of switched to a HDHDP.

*Misc - too many little things to make sense of. But mostly we have done much better this year.

OH - last year we bought a HDTV for $1k. That accounts for most of the difference.

*Mortgage Interest - going down down down... BUT we paid an extra payment somewhere in 2008 - it's just payment timing.

*Taxes - the difference is the amount I owed the IRS on 4/15. Was for a ROTH conversion. (Part of it anyway).

Otherwise, taxes are rather the same.

*Vacation is up but we got all our vacations out this year before LM turned 3 (while he was free).
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All considered, we spent $2k more this year than last.

$3k more when you consider the TV in the equation last year.

$2k can be explained by childcare.

$1k can be explained by vacation (just paid for/accomplished sooner).

Another $1k can be explained by taxes.

So all in all, we notice little increase in our expenses over last year. You could argue we spent around $1k less than last year, all considered!

I also had a raise this year and will lower our childcare expenditures by $300/month, come August.

We're saving all that.

So our personal economy? Just fine for now.

Not spending more. But yes, earning more.

I admit I was rather surprised how in line our expenses were, to last year. Or maybe more surprised they were a little lower.

Particularly, as, with time, I think we get better and better at directing our money where we truly want it to go. I would argue we have always done that. But it just improves with time. I literally feel like we have had WAY more money to spend this year, than last. We do have a gym membership and the kids in preschool and all that. But all of our other expenses have remained largely unchanged. Or we were able to lower the unimportant stuff a bit to accommodate other luxuries. What it comes down to.

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Also, when I cut out the tax expenses, I come up with $30k expenses for the first half of 2008. A SOLID $5k/month. Would be needed to maintain current lifestyle, after taxes.

You may recall that our emergency fund is based on 3 months of expenses at $4k/month.

This is still pretty valid since we pay most medical expenses from the medical fund AND because stuff like preschool and gardener are about $700/month and would be dropped in a second before I would touch the emergency fund. I am sure there is another $300/month fat to cut in case of emergency. EASY. So I am still quite pleased with the $4k basis for now. Eventually I would like to move up our emergency fund to cover more months of expenses, and all that. But for now I think it suffices.

It is a good exercise to see if our basic living expenses are still where I thought they were. & I think keeping our total expenses (with luxury) in the $5k monthly realm, is quite reasonable. I wouldn't want to get much past that though.

& let me tell you, there are PLENTY of people around here (where I live) who would argue a budget of $5k/month would be miserly and poor.

I beg to differ... With care and planning, there is nothing miserly or poor about our lifestyle. Wink

In fact, $4k/month doesn't even sound that bad if you ask me. & that includes shouldering some pretty hefty medical expenses.

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