Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Spending

I decided to record all of my spending last year. Not sure if I had anything exactly in mind when I did this but I thought it might result in something interesting. If nothing else it should answer that never-ending question of "where did all that money go?"

This is a fairly limited view of my spending because it is missing two things. It does not include my wife's spending which includes such things as car insurance, and it does not include anything directly taken out of my paycheck such as health insurance and money I put into my 401(k).

Here is a chart of my overall spending:

The typical middle class person in Los Angeles spends 65% of their income on housing and transportation. I have always found this to be a bit silly, these are the areas where you really get the least benefit for your money. I at least have managed to stay well under this trend. About 25% of my income went to rent, 8% went to my car, and 6% to airline tickets. That adds up to 39% of my income spent on housing and transportation. This is much lower than this when you consider that my wife does not pay rent and pays far less on transportation. I doubt our total percentage of income spent on these two things exceeds 30%.

My spending on food and dining was 10% of my income. This is somewhat higher than I would have guessed, but does not seem particularly out of line considering how much time I spend cooking or at restaurants. What was a little more surprising was the break down of this component. A whopping 73% of this spending was at restaurants and bars. Only 27% of my spending on food goes to grocery stores.

The little bit that did go to grocery stores at least seems to follow my philosophy well enough. I have tried hard to avoid spending at stores with reward programs. Apparently I have succeeded. Here are the 5 grocery stores I spent the most at in 2012 with the percentage of my income that went to each:

1: Sprouts, 0.67%
2: 99 Ranch Market, 0.5%
3: Stater Brothers, 0.46%
4: Northgate, 0.33%
5: Ralphs, 0.17%

On that list only Ralphs has a reward card program, and I only spent so much there because it happens to be the closest supermarket to me.

Restaurants were harder to interpret anything interesting from. I rarely go to the same restaurant twice so the list is dominated by places I hardly even remember. Still, there a few places which did manage to get the bulk of my money, fast food places I go to lunch at, places within walking distance to home, or places I only went to once but paid for a large group. Here are the 5 restaurants I spent the most at with the percentage of my income that went to each:

1. Chipotle, 0.3%
2. Don Jose, 0.23%
3. Panda Express, 0.21%
4. In-N-Out, 0.20%
5. Punjab Palace, 0.18%

I was a bit surprised just how much I spend at Shell gas stations. I don't particularly like Shell gas stations since they have picked up on the grocery store rewards band wagon. However for some reason I seem to spend a lot at them. Here are the 5 gas station franchises I spent the most at with the percentage of my income that went to each:

1. Shell, 1.38%
2. Arco, 0.93%
3. Mobil, 0.47%
4. Chevron, 0.45%
5. Exxon, 0.25%

Clothing is just strange. Most of my spending on clothing was for clothing I wore only once or twice. Either it was for a few days in an Alaska winter or to wear to someone's wedding. I think of work clothes as being expensive since I had to spend so much when I first started and was broke, but as a percentage of my income it is negligible. Here are the 5 clothing places I spent the most at with the percentage of my income thatwent to each:

1. REI, 1.05%
2. Macy's, 0.24%
3. JC Penny, 0.21%
4. Van Heusen, 0.21%
5. Famous Footwear, 0.14%

What I usually think of as shopping and silly spending hardly puts a dent in my budget. All those hobbies and books I buy which often feels a bit over the top only added up to about 7% of my income. This 7% includes a lot of money which went to gifts to other people or basic everyday items. Here are the 5 generic shopping places I spent the most at with the percentage of my income that went to each:

1. Amazon, 2.41%
2. Target, 1.00%
3. Apple, 0.91%
4. Orvac Electronics, 0.26%
5. Digikey, 0.22

I was glad to notice one thing on the list which I won't be seeing again. That is student loans. I spent 4.8% of my income last year on student loans, finally finishing them off.

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