OK, this should be fun! This post is the first of an annual series that I will publish, usually around this time of the year. It will be pretty much what the title alludes to: my total expenditures from the previous calendar year, with comments on what I would like to reduce/change/improve going forward. But before I go any further, there is one big question that I’m sure a bunch of you out there are asking right now:
“Why on Earth is this guy doing this??”
The rationale behind this kind of post is pretty simple – it’s an accountability piece. It’s for me as much as it is for anyone else (although it may also be a decent demonstration of how to build simple budgets…for those who are in search of a way to do it!). It’s a demonstration of what a person who has early financial independence as a goal can do once their brain is wired to pursue its achievement. My approach and my openness isn’t anything new and it’s the modern father of frugality, Mr. Money Mustache, who has inspired me to be so forthcoming. I’ll give some secondary kudos to an up-and-coming millennial blogger, Gwen from Fiery Millennials, for her work on publishing monthly status reports as well. I admire her honesty and sense of humour when talk about this subject!
Note: the name of this report doesn’t have the word “income” in it. For the time being, I’m not yet comfortable publishing these kinds of numbers. That may change one day though…
My process isn’t perfect: although Mint.com allows me to track all of my electronic transactions, I’ve let $800 in undefined cash purchases slip through the cracks. It’s rare that I use cash, however, so the impact of omitting some of my purchases isn’t huge in the grand scheme of things. Still, it does prove that I have something to improve on as I track my spending! I typically use cash to pay for things such as the occasional dry cleaning bill, some haircuts, the odd drink, and the (very) odd cab ride, so those are the areas of spending (laundry, grooming, alcohol & transport) that would have reflected my use of cash.
Upon further review, I found one final loophole: I spent approximately $300 across a range of random purchases, including things such as a (now-cancelled) newspaper subscription, some kitchen items, as well as a few music downloads. I’m going to add this amount (and the $800 in cash spending) to my final 2016 expenditure total toward the end of the post.