After I decided to try budgeting, I decided to not keep track of every penny I spent and I didn’t put them into very specific categories either. I had a weekly budget to spend for that week including gas, groceries and etc., but didn’t make separate budget for each category. I chose to do this because I was lazy and didn’t want to commit to that, but now that I’m trying to assess how I improved from previous year, I don’t have specific numbers to compare. So I looked through the bank statements for the last few months of 2013 and averaged out what we spent in 4 categories. I already have the one for 2012 since I used that figure to come up with my 2013 weekly budget. I adjusted a little bit for the extra money we spent while my niece was here since that’s an anomaly. I’m a little disappointed with the final numbers though. Yes, we did better than 2012, but I expected our numbers to be much lower. I think I got a little tired of it towards the end of the year. The last part of 2013 probably doesn’t reflect the whole year, but I’ll use this number since that’s the part I used for 2012 too.
Monthly eat out average amount for 2012 $496.50
Monthly eat out average amount for 2013 $356.34
Difference is $140.16
My target for 2013 was to keep our eat out budget to $100 a month other than where we budget for special occasions like Valentine’s day or birthday. That went way over as you can see. It seems like $100 a month for eat out budget was too much for us. So to keep it more realistic and to continue our effort in slimming down this category, my new target for this year would be to keep it under $200.00 a month for our eat out budget. We have to cut a little over $100.00 a month and I think it’s manageable. $356.34 is probably inflated with end of the year outings and get together, so I think $200.00 is a very doable figure. We don’t know of any other family members coming over or any other foreseeable events that would hinder us from keeping target this year.
Monthly grocery average amount for 2012 $354.66
Monthly grocery average amount for 2013 $331.46
My target for 2013 was to keep our weekly grocery budget to around $100.00, but not go over $400.00 a month. We are doing well with that, but maybe our grocery budget is too high. But since this includes all the cleaning products and other misc. things needed at the house, I’ll keep the target amount as it is at $400.00 a month for now.
Monthly gas average amount for 2012 $214.08
Monthly gas average amount for 2013 $275.54
Although we were able to keep this under $300.00 a month, which was our target, average amount we spent on gas went up in 2013 from 2012. It could be the varying gas price or maybe we just drove more than before. I’ll keep the target amount at $300.00 a month, but try to drive my car more than my hubby’s car when we go out together since my car is more fuel efficient and uses cheaper gas than my hubby’s.
Monthly shopping/misc. average amount for 2012 $838.49
Monthly shopping/misc. average amount for 2013 $727.79
This figure does not reflect the correct amount for the year since Christmas shopping that was budgeted was also added here. The figure from 2012 was purely done with credit cards and the figure from 2013 was budgeted and paid for with cash. I need to keep better records of this throughout the year, so I won’t run into this problem. But my target was $100 a month without the few budgeted big shopping trips. I think the real figure runs around $300 a month for 2013, which is still way over the target. I know we didn’t go shopping that much other than the planned shopping trips, but we still ended up buying stupid stuff and wasted money on things that weren’t planned well. So my new target for this year is $200.00 a month for shopping/misc. purchases.
Overall, we did improve our spending habit since I started blogging. But as you can see from the numbers above, we still have so much to improve on. The difference is though that we didn’t use credit cards for these purchases and we planned many of expected expenses and if we didn’t, we were still able to manage it without depending on credit cards. Another difference is that we paid a big chunk of our debt.
I already have a set of new goals for this year and improving on our spending habits in these 4 categories will definitely help us achieve those goals. I won’t dwell in the past, but use those half failed half success experiences to be better now and in the future.
How did you do last year compared to the year before?