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Spending: What has changed in 11 years?

November 10, 2019

I stumbled across my 2008 budget and was marveling at how careful I was with my money just after I moved to California.  I was trying to get my 401k savings up, while also saving in my Roth IRA, building and emergency fund, paying down my student loan, and (in the next year) paying for a wedding.

I decided to compare my spending then with our spending today.  I adjusted the 2008 budget to 2019 dollars using this not-super-legit-looking-but close-enough website to compute a 19.25% inflation increase.  Then I took our spending projections for this year and, since my 2008 budget was just me, divided 2019 spending by two.

Ta da!

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 11.11.00 AM

Most of the major increases in spending are brand new categories, namely childcare, but also other baby costs and pet and donations.  We spend a lot more on both groceries and restaurants.  On the other hand, I no longer am trying to build up cash or pay down a student loan, so those categories dropped out.  My car expenses appear lower because we still have one car for two people.  I guess I’m ignoring the parking fee paycheck deduction, because I am bad about carefully including paycheck deductions in my budgets.

I was surprised to note that my housing costs aren’t wildly different – the “divide by two” thing is significant.  In 2008 I was living alone.  Once we moved in together, I paid $1,100 in 2019 dollars for my portion of a one bedroom apartment. That may be a more appropriate comparison point.  Still, we now have a house.  That includes modest housing projects that we did this year, but wouldn’t cover a new roof or anything major.

The big thing that has changed between 2008 and now is what happens outside of this budget.  In 2008, that budget was basically it.  I had some fluctuating percentage saved into a 401k (8-15%, always pushing it as high as I could stomach), but I essentially had no cash savings outside of what is listed (E-fund, Roth, car), plus what I could save from my two “extra paychecks” (paid bi-weekly).   In 2019, there is a lot going on after the budget & spending. There is a significant amount of money auto-deposited into various investments before we ever see it. There is more money left over after the spending, which is deployed to more savings, or to large but infrequent expenses like a car or a major home project.

Anyone else want to play this game?  How has your budget/spending changed in the past 10 years? Here is a slightly older post showing how our net worth changed, too!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2019 6:28 am

    Here’s the official inflation calculator from the BLS:

    I have never really budgeted. :/ Our childcare and mortgage costs are way down from 2008, but all our other spending categories are way up. This has been a year of putting off a lot of delayed expenses– we bought a car, finally fixed the kitchen… and a whole bunch more. I think maybe our Monday post has more details on just the last few months of our spending spree… if not then a future Monday.

    • November 11, 2019 4:58 pm

      Thanks! Looks like my number is a couple percent too low. I probably could have googled a better source myself instead of just taking the top result…

  2. November 10, 2019 8:53 am

    This was a fun game! I compared 2010 to 2018 because I was still in college in 2009 and 2019 is a bad year to compare because we moved to a townhouse and paid for two places for a bit. Overall spend isn’t up that crazy, adjusted for inflation (about 7%) considering net worth and income increases. I did take out the new car from the 2010 data. Charity and medical are up the largest amounts and housing was down, which shows the power of two and also buying an apartment instead of renting.

    Inflation is definitely the largest invisible cost!

    • November 11, 2019 5:01 pm

      I always think of how little I used to spend o thing, but inflation is a big deal!

  3. November 10, 2019 4:29 pm

    I want to do this too but I don’t know if I’ve actually kept my spending records from that period. It was almost all on paper, I only digitized my net worth records, because I controlled costs better that way. Things have changed A LOT. I remember off the top of my head that I paid $1300 for rent for a family of four, though, we pay more than double that now but two salaries foot the costs now unlike ten years ago.

    • November 11, 2019 4:59 pm

      I only have what I posted on my blog for most older years. Although, I am not sure if i kept my budget every month, it is a good estimate. $1300 for rent for four – how times have changed!

  4. November 11, 2019 5:33 am

    Ooooh this seems like a fun game. I’ll definitely make a post on this soon. Also, oof, childcare. I feel for you.

  5. January 4, 2020 9:29 pm

    I was surprised by how little our spending seems to have changed in most areas, though we have more splurge events where we spend a lot of money at once (furniture, cars).

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