Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tracking Every Penny - Part II

Today I'll start going through some of our results, but due to the length of the details I'm going to break this up over two days. Today I'm going to looked at fixed and variable expenses while tomorrow I've cover occasional expenses.

Spending for March 2007

Fixed Expenses
Mortgage $1286.90
Mortgage Insurance $21
Phone/Internet/Cable $107.64
Cell Phone $11.10
Gas for Car $60
My RRSP $100
Bank Fee $6
TOTAL = $1601.64

This category expenses were all know to me previously, so there are no surprises here or nuggets of wisdom. What I did find is that I should have put my power, natural gas and water bills also in this section, but instead I just dumped them in Variable expenses when I started this.

Variable Expenses
Books $40.57
Groceries $321.91
Dining Out $83.61
Haircut $17.85
Crafting $25.30
Home Related $522.68
Power $73.80
Water $42.26
Natural Gas $139.05
Misc $35.39
TOTAL = $730.00

This category by far has been the most useful to track. Initially I was concerned with a few of the numbers, but as I discussed them with my wife we came to realize a few flaws in our tracking method. We have a disconnect from what is tracked in the budget and what was tracked here. In the budget there are three main pools of money that are not tracked. Spending cash for the wife and I for $320, cash for the kid $120, and a misc section to cover little things on Visa for $150 (total $590/month). From these funds we buy the milk in the middle of the month or junk food so that ended up in the Groceries section making it look higher than the regular budget amount of $250.

Some notes from the other categories include:
- Books was at a yearly high because we renewed our book discount card
- Dining out was all paid from cash and included a night out at the pub for me
- Home related looks high, but that includes two new chairs for my living room and a set of sheets for my bed
-Power is high because I get two estimate bills followed by an actual reading for the third, so my estimates are always high and then I equal out in the third month to my average of $45/month
-Natural gas was also an estimate bill, so I'm not sure how much my new furnace is going to save me

So overall I would move the water, natural gas and power to Fixed and then add a few more categories to Variable like milk runs, junk food and entertainment (to help separate out pub nights from eating out as a family). What I did like about this tracking exercise was I kept Misc down to a small value for those odd things like shoe polish.


Canadian Money said...

It's interesting to see your numbers. For comparison, here are a few of our average 2006 monthly costs.

Groceries $576
Restaur $201
Car Gas $158 one car- ouch!
Cell Phone $32

We don't have a mortage but we do have a significant opportunity cost with close to $250,000.00 tied up in the house. Say, about $15,000 per year, or $1,250 per month at 6%. Guess there's no free ride!

March is not in the spreadsheet yet.

Canadian Dream said...


Thanks for your numbers. It's always interesting to see what people spend on things.


Jordan said...

Hope this isn't too late, I've been keeping track of all my spending for the last year and found reading your numbers were very helpful so I thought I'd throw my 2006 numbers in the pot too.

We're a new family of 4, with 2 little ones: 5 months & 2yrs.

-Gas for Car: $79 - 1 car, no commuting
-Car Insurance: $227

-Rent: $1063
-Electricity: $32 (2 bedroom apt)
-Phone: $26
-Cell: $35
-Internet: $51

-Banking: $25
-Health/Medical: $47

-Food & Household items: $953

(Shopping at Walmart is hard to categorize, so this is also baby supplies, diapers, some toys & some clothes)

-Dining Out: $18
-Leisure items/activities: $93
-Personal Care: $7
-Clothes: $16
-Gifts: $40

-RRSP: $900


Canadian Dream said...


Thanks for providing the numbers. It's always interesting to see how other people spend their money.