Allowances: We did better with our allowance this year. Technically we both get $50/month, or $600/year. I think dh did a lot better because he got so much used stuff and used profits from his buying/selling to buy his toys. But I toned it down a bit as well.
Auto fuel was down $400. With gas prices we were way more mindful. Also, the van gets 20mpg and the subcompact gets 40mpg. We simply drove the subcompact more. I have been driving the van more the last couple of months to give that car a break. But yeah, was surprised we did spend less on gas. This does not count how many times dh's family slipped us cash for cash either - so we fared pretty well this year in this category. We spent $2800 on fuel.
Insurance was down $70. We spent $1500. (Liability insurance is really expensive in our zip code - terrible drivers).
Auto registration was about $250. Down $33 from last year.
Auto service went down $3. LOL. I guess we are consistent. We spent $1584. I put AAA here - $130. $667 on the 2005 van. It needed a new battery and a new windshield. Problems with the door locks and the window (as usual), and a diagnosis of a check engine light (was nothing). Also, 2 oil changes. Leaves $787 for the 2001 Ford. 2 oil changes, replace PVC pipe, replaced motor mounts, and a new battery. Oh yes, and replaced some brake lights. The Ford has almost 100k miles and has pretty much never needed a thing but new tires. So it was an "expensive" year for that car, but a long one coming. (Last year we paid so much because we had so many superficial problems with the van. Last year we only spent $150 to maintain the Ford).
Bank Charges: I was mortified to have a $3 overdraft charge. My Bad. LOL. I think it's a first.
Childcare: Well this was pricey! We spent about $400 on babysitting in 2008. About $400 more than in 2007. Was a bit of a splurge for us. The rest was preschool for both children. BM attended through mid-July so was a little longer than 2007, that both of them attended.
Diapers: last year's # was amount we spent on the cloth diaper service. (We used cloth but set them out once a week to be cleaned). This year we probably purchased disposables through mid-year. But something we haven't bought in many months. Hopefully, never again. Phew!
Dining: We splurged on this a bit more this year. One thing, dh and I have been having much more lunch dates and sate nights. So this is where we loosened up for 2008.
Education: This went up a bit as we paid for more school supplies and stuff for Kindergarten. Dh also took an Indian cooking class.
Entertainment: Blockbuster Online
Gifts: Guess we were more generous this year. Actually, I put my dad's fees for Family Camp here - we treated.
Groceries: They went up about $500. Since BM was done with preschool we had to buy a lot more food for him. (He was fed 3 days a week before, and he eats a LOT). We also tried a CSA service (organic produce delivered to our door from a local farm) for about 3 months. We just found it to be too expensive to justify for now. A goal of ours is to get a bike basket and do more produce shopping at the farms a couple of miles from our house. So you know, we could make a bike trip of it, and stock up while supporting the TRULY local farmers.
Household: About $1k for the gardener. We also spent about $250 to repair our fridge, and spent a fair amount on thermal drapes throughout the house. We bought a rice cooker and a broom. We also bought a carpet shampooer.
Disability $155 (down 30%)
Life Insurance $586 ($1.2 Mil coverage)
Medical was interesting. We switched to a HDHP and were able to save $250/month, while taking on a $3k deductible. This limited our out-of-pocket to $3k though. Under our old plan we could have been on the hook for more.
Last year we paid over $8200 on medical premiums/co-pays and $565 at the dentist.
This year we spent $6972 on medical premiums and deductibles (including an ambulance trip to the emergency room), and $3300 at the dentist. LM had a consultation for mouth issues and BM had a pile of cavities. Both kids are also going every 6 months for checkups/cleaning now.
Misc: Guess we are consistent. Dh spent $800 or so on his new computer. One of our newer computers, the motherboard blew and it was not salvageable. We don't remember the last time a computer of ours expired before its time. We just donated some old computers from the 90s for example.
This category included swim lessons for the kids, movies, 2 shows/concerts, camping supplies, outings with the kids (zoos, museums, etc.), school pictures, re-size of my wedding ring, new workout shoes for me, etc., etc.
Personal care: This is just haircuts. We are low maintenance. The kids are old enough to handle beauty school so we saved a bundle. When they were younger we took them to Cool Cuts. It was just so much easier.
Taxes: Just property taxes
Water - our bill went down $17. They raised rates but we were offered metered water for the first time. I really expected to save more with the metering. But $17 is $17! Water was $1095.
We paid a little more for gas/electric because 2008 was our first full year on budget billing. All in all I think we spend less (had lower bills in 2008). But we have prepaid balances on both accounts. I wish they would just take our annual expenses and divide by 12. But they refigure every 3 months and end up way over-billing some parts of the year. It bugs me because we are so consistent and we did this to smooth out the bills. Though they are smoother than usual. Our gas bills run $10 in the summer and $100 in the winter. Now they bill us $20 - $40. So it is better. But I wish they would just bill $30/month all year, and be done with it. Gas/Electric was $1460.
Cable & phone is hard to separate. Our cheap cable company provided our internet and cable service. BUT they got bought out by Comcast. We switched to Dish which is a little more expensive, and DSL through our phone company. So I used to classify internet under cable, and now under "phone." So it is a little confusing. We are definitely paying more.
However, we used to pay about $80/month for cell phones, and now we pay $55. Mid-year our parents added on to our plan and now we all share our minutes.
All in all phone/cable was $60 cheaper than the prior year. (Oh yeah, we got a lot of discounts from Dish because of the TERRIBLE customer service. Dh has gotten them to lower our bills a few times. That helps). Cable and Television was $2200. For Land line, 2 cell phones, Dish, & DSL.
Vacation: This is the first year since kids we put vacation in our budget. We had room for the first time. We were aiming for $1500. We went to D-Land for a week and did Family Camp. This also included a minimal amount for our trip to Denver.
In the end we spent $1800 more in 2008 than in 2007.
I can sum up the culprits as having 2 in preschool a chunk of the year (non longer an issue) and large dental bills.
We did spend a lot on fixing up stuff around the house; long overdue.
Everything else was rather consistent.
Roundabout goal is to limit spending to $60k annually. Much more feasible for 2009; certainly 2010 when LM is done with preschool. We also lowered expenses by $2400 annually, with our refi.
I did net about $66k this year. I did not include any income or payroll taxes in this analysis.
We had about $3k in other income. $1k interest, $500 credit card rebates, $1500 in ebay sales, rebates and focus groups.
We received that $1800 tax rebate, but we also owed the IRS a chunk for 2007 so was kind of a wash.
We also doubled our ROTH contributions in 2008, from $50/month to $100/month.
We started the year with $0 in our mid-term savings fund, and ended the year with about $2k. I had wanted to save $5k. We saved about $4200, but had a lot of unexpected expenses during the year, which drained the account to about $2k.
Not our most spectacular savings year ever, but may just be our best year since having kids.
All in all, a pretty good year.
ETA: I notice something large missing from my snapshot. For whatever reason, I usually include mortgage principle payments in my monthly expense snapshot, but I can not get them to show up here. What the heck? That's another $4k!!!! Am I blind?
Well, not as near $60k in expenses as I thought then. But that is my goal and I still see it as very feasible. I have to go figure this out now. It's driving me batty. MAkes you think, "What else is missing?"
2008 vs. 2007