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2013 Wrap-Up

January 6, 2014

Although I love setting and achieving measurable goals each year, I didn’t  set any for 2013.  It was the year of transition, of being apart from my husband a lot, and of preparing for a new future.  It wasn’t a year where we worried about money a lot, besides our automated retirement savings.  We ate out a ridiculous amount and our last-minute vacation to Europe wasn’t cheap.

While there is a lot I want to focus on in 2014, I’m satisfied with 2013.  We survived the distance, both obtained new jobs, and still managed to have quite a bit of fun.

From a dollars and cents perspective, it is easy to quantify 2013.  The numbers below are rounded.

  • Total Gross Income: $174k
  • Taxes  and Deductions Withheld:  $52k
  • Retirement Savings (pre-tax): $17,500
  • Retirement Savings (post-tax):  $9,700 (will top off Roth IRAs before tax time)
  • Official Cash Savings: $14,500
  • Checking account balance increases:  $9,590
  • Retirement Investment Gains (mix of pre and post tax $):  $45,184
  • Cash Interest Gains:  $456
  • Student Loan Reduction:  $1,250
  • Money spent in 2013 (estimated from above information):  $69,687
  • Estimated spent in 2012: $60K

From a spending perspective, I can give some estimates on where the money went, but I didn’t track it as nicely as I like to, so I’ll just give the two biggest hitters. .

  • Rent (includes all double rent & parking):  $25,500
  • Travel (Europe plus other smaller trips):  $7,000

I’m not sure if I will go back to tracking everything for 2014. It is useful, yet energy consuming.  Do any of you have an opinion on the value of tracking all of your purchases?   I should be able to make it easier with a few tweaks to our current system

Spending $10k more than last year makes sense.  We lived apart off and on, we went on a much bigger vacation, we ate out a lot more, and we had some purchases related to moving.  Still, it is a lot to spend, and without knowing exactly where it went or what the real number is, it is very hard to track it against my values.

I think I answered my own question – I will track my spending in 2014, at least in January and February to get a better picture of how things are going!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2014 7:57 am

    I have always tracked my spending. I’ve almost never budgeted. It scares me to consider stopping tracking because I truly believe data is power. Have you considered trying an app you both have on your phones, such as Mint or even a shared Google spreadsheet (you can edit them on your phone)? I get receipts as much as possible and if not, enter an amount spent in a special list in my tasks app and then once a week, I enter them into a spreadsheet. It’s less overwhelming to do a bunch at once. Or you could just look back at your credit card statement after the bill comes and categorize stuff like that! So many ways to track spending.

    • January 6, 2014 8:59 pm

      I faltered when Tom and I got married, and even more last year due to the unknowns. The main issue was that I didn’t have / set up access to all of T’s accounts. We resolved that, and I should be able to track more easily. I also like to keep it in a spreadsheet, despite using a Mint-like tool. Then I can do what I want with the data!

      • January 7, 2014 8:09 am

        Owning my own data is key. I hate the idea of giving it all up to Mint when there’s no real way to get the data out.

  2. January 6, 2014 1:21 pm

    I’m like Leigh – always track, don’t really budget. Tracking makes me feel in control – even though our spending is pretty controlled, I feel a bit at sea/a bit panicky if I’m not actually going back and tracking those transactions. My online banking lets me do this right from the interface so it’s not terribly tedious. I just need to do it a couple times a week – if I leave it too long I forget what each transaction was for (and I am not a receipt keeper, it just doesn’t work for me). That said I haven’t been tracking since we got back … basically once we start getting regular paycheques again I will, but things have been so messy I don’t really want to / see the point in it for these 2 months of upheaval,

    As you put it so well: “Without knowing exactly where it went or what the real number is, it is very hard to track it against my values.”

  3. January 6, 2014 1:22 pm

    I say don’t track unless you are curious / care about the numbers.

    Me, I can’t stop tracking. I need to know how I move from one year to the next in terms of spending on food and so on, and it’s like seeing a diary of my whole year in numbers.

    I have a general budget: spend around $30K but that’s it.

  4. January 11, 2014 7:05 am

    I love to track but keep my budgeting minimal. I try to be very flexible as possible with how the numbers land.

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