a financial retrospective

Today I played around a little with my records of my 2011 spending.  Above is a pie chart of where my money went, on average, each month.  What are the categories?  Let's take a closer look.  They're in a fairly random order, since my spreadsheet for 2011 was not all that well organized.  Rest assured that the 2012 one makes a bit more sense as a result of my experiment so far.  
2011 average monthly spending ratios
Overall, I'm pretty okay with this.   The majority of my spending was apparently focused on paying off debt, which I'm a fan of.  However, during this time I was still putting more charges on the credit card(s), so some of that is masking other spending.  It's a slightly convoluted system, and I'll definitely be keeping closer tabs in the future.  

The second biggest category was food.  Not eating out, but groceries.  See previous post; we're working on this.  

I did not track wedding expenditures in this form, because 
  1. it would have thrown off all the numbers by quite a bit, and
  2. it was a one-time cost, and I didn't want to be stressing about it too much.  
We had a relatively inexpensive wedding, and it helped my sanity to not be tracking every penny and having to look at that rather large entry.  Maybe that was a wrong call, but it's what I did.  Consequently, I gave up entirely on tracking during the month of October for during the wedding and honeymoon, so there's a gap in the data.  That said, the averages still hold; there's just a dropped month in there. 

Of the money I spent, the above bar chart says where it went.  But how much of my income actually got spent?  For that, I need another section of my spreadsheet.  While looking at expenditure ratios wasn't particularly depressing, this was.  I figured out what proportion of my income was not spent each month, and plotted that.  I'll let the chart tell its own story: 

monthly savings as proportion of income,  2011
The grand average proportion of income that was not spent in one way or another (rounded to two significant figures): 0.012, or 1.2%.  Yikes.  

Apparently I particularly fell off the bandwagon in July.  What happened in July?  
  • I got an oil change, which is somewhat expensive since I use full synthetic oil.  
  • I bought a digital camera for myself and Mr. Geek, just because we didn't have one.  
  • I spent nearly $300 on groceries just out of my account, and probably more than that from the shared account.  We took a trip out of town for Mr. Geek's final fitting for his wedding ensemble, which perhaps ought to be tagged as a wedding expense and removed from the tally, but we took a mini-holiday while we were there so it remained a 'vacation' expense.  
  • I spent a ridiculous amount on audiobooks that month, since I was still driving my very long commute by myself at that time and needed them to keep awake.  
  • Finally, I bought a significantly overpriced (but fabulous!) retro swimsuit for a 4th of July pool party, except that it didn't arrive in time anyway.  
Ouch!  On the plus side, I apparently totally rocked in September.  However, it's also possible that I simply failed to record some of my expenses.  There are still some bugs in the system.  

It's really eye-opening to have all these numbers to play with, and to be able to see trends over time.  Hooray for spreadsheets!

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