Comparing Annual Household Expenses

I thought it would be interesting to look at our annual household expenses between 2017 and 2018. I wanted to see what changed. Did we spend more? What about less?

I didn’t look at every expense item, but focused on some that stood out. In the end, I picked twelve items that I’ve tracked spending on, and looked at how they stacked up between 2017 and 2018.

Some of the results surprised me. Others I expected.

Increase In Annual Household Expenses

Out of the twelve items I tracked, seven saw an increase in annual household expenses.

Some of our annual household expenses went up, but others offset our total spending.

Netflix

Netflix raised their rates from $9.99 to $10.99 so we saw an increase in our costs. Minor, but from a percentage standpoint, it’s at least interesting.

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Would You Undo All Of Your Wasted Spending If You Could?

As we get older, we have more and more financial history and decisions that go along with this history that we can look back on.

Along with that, it’s easy to make a list of things that we would change, because they invariably ‘cost’ us money along the way.  Jessica at DebtKid wrote an article outlining things she would change, having had a chance to look back.  Among them:

  1. Would have worked in college versus taking out student loans
  2. Would have eloped instead of having a big wedding
  3. Would have waited to buy a house

All things that, looking back, most definitely cost her money in some fashion.  Loans have to be paid back.  Weddings are expensive.  Houses cost a lot of money and have suffered price drops.  All good points, and all things that may  have resulted in a different money situation had they been handled differently.

So, it’s easy to say ‘We would have changed all those things’.

But the more I think about it, I wonder if that’s really what people would choose if they did have the ability to make those changes.  I could see changing one, maybe two of the items, but consider:

  1. College is more than what you get in the classroom.  You build friendships for life.  You have relationships that lead you into adulthood and (hopefully) give you the maturity that you need.  Depending on how much you had to work to avoid student loans, you might have missed out on a lot of these important things.
  2. Weddings are definitely expensive and I can see the temptation to look back and say that having paid for one was a decision to change, if given the opportunity.  But, going along with that is that it’s probably the biggest party and biggest celebration you’ll have in your life.  Your friends and your families are all coming together to celebrate an incredibly happy occasion, not to mention the joy that the bride and groom should have.  Changing that would save money, but the memories that went along with everything associated with the wedding would also go away.  Would you change that?  Many would, but I know I wouldn’t change a single thing about our wedding.
  3. OK, I can see this one!

I think in every ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ discussion you have when it comes to money, I think you have to also look at the trade-offs that you’d give up if you could in fact reverse those decisions.  I look back at all the money I spent going out with my friends back in my single days.  We would go out, pay cover charges, pay for drinks, pay for cabs, paid for going out to movies or wherever else we landed, and not think anything about it.  The amounts were staggering.  Had I saved that,  I could have definitely had more money than I had today.  But, would I change that?

Probably not.  Because while the costs might seem foolish on paper, there were memories made along the way that I’ll have forever.  And, in my case, it’s an intangible reward I got for those expenses that I am very happy with.

9 Ways to Slash Your Spending Now

This is guest post written by Mindy Claribel.  Mindy runs MyCCFinder, an online coupons blog that updates at least 4-8 deals a day at your favorite retailers both online, as well as offline!
Everyone has monthly bills and unless you’re still living in your parent’s basement, I wanted to give you some killer tips that you can honestly implement today.  I’m going to take the basic bills that most people today use and what you can do in order to cut them in half.
#1 Your cable TV bill – Most of us today have a cable TV bill and if you’re paying more than $50 for your bill, you’re already paying way too much!  Simply call up your cable company and ask for a reduction.  If they refuse, tell them that you’re going to change services.  Call up competitors and see if they can match.  I know it’s a hassle, but it can be done.  You will find that most of the times they will give you a discount just for asking.
#2 Start using coupons for groceries – You grocery shop and I know you do.  Did you know that there are coupon related sites out there that will help you save on your grocery bill?   Websites such as CouponMom and AFullCup can both help you find printable coupons, as well as show you what coupons you can use on top of the sale price to save a ton of money.
#3 Use coupons on everything – Not only do you want to use coupons on groceries, you will also want to use them on everything else.  From shopping at a hardware store, to eating out at a restaurant, to getting your favorite shoes, you can get what you want and keep money in your pocket.
#4 Buy clothing at a cheap rate – You don’t have to go to the mall to get your favorite clothes.  Outlet stores, as well as thrift stores such as Goodwill and others can save you 80% easily when you want to buy clothing.  Yes, you can find a lot of name brands here!
#5 Analyze your health insurance – I switched over to a higher deductible health insurance account.  Since I’m self employed, I used to pay over $500 for my policy with a $250 deductible.  Today, I have a $3,000 deductible and I only pay $64 a month.  If you’re a healthy person, heavily consider this one.
#6 Look at other insurance – Your car, home, and other types of insurance should be checked up on annually.  See what kind of deals that you can get from other places.  If you can find it cheaper, see if your current insurer will match it.  Most places will give you a discount just for combining all of your insurance.  Check into this as well.
#7 Watch your utilities – It’s not too hard to save on your heating / electric bill.  Invest into a programmable thermostat and even set your temperature down to 62 or so at night when you’re sleeping.  By doing this, you can cut your bill back by at least 30%.
#8 Your phone bill – There’s no reason to pay $100 a month for a simple telephone.  If you do a lot of calling from your home, consider services like MagicJack that can save you $100s over the year.  If you don’t use your cell phone that often, you may want to consider a prepaid plan.
#9 Always compare prices – It sounds easy enough but no matter what you do, make it a habit to get at least 3 different responses.  Whether you want to get something painted, or maybe you want to buy a TV.  NEVER buy from the first place.
As you can see, it’s not really that hard to save.  It looks good on paper, but make a promise to implement it yourself.  By doing so, you can save 100s, if not 1000s per month!