Where Did My Money Go in 2013? Financial Review

They always say you should know where every penny of your money is going, what you are spending it on, how much are you saving and are you living within your means. “They”, of course, being those financial pundits that presently know more about where to put money than I do. We’ll see how long that lasts! 😉

For the first time in my entire existence, I now have a pretty picture of what I am doing with my money. At first, I thought it wasn’t a pretty picture, no Van Gogh for me! Nevertheless, after careful inspection, I realized I was within parameters for my income level. The perfectionist in me finally conceded a point, I had done something right and it was with my finances.

I could not be happier! Finding joy in something that used to bring me extreme amounts of anxiety is a breakthrough. Believe me, when I was married, had a mortgage and car payments I was anxiety ridden about how I was going to pay for everything – I was living the paycheck to paycheck dream, err, nightmare. It really did keep me up nights, and I vowed I did not want to have heart palpitations about my finances anymore. Once I was divorced, I made a pact with myself that I would rewrite my life and so far, it’s been going fairly well.

Net worth

For all of 2013, I was on a steady upswing in my net worth. It’s still a paltry number but I went from a net worth of over -$40K when I started  all this in 2010, to a positive $13,383 in December 2013. I couldn’t “officially” start tracking net worth until September 2013 as it took me some time to figure out all the numbers and get my investments input into Quicken.  I am ecstatic that I’m finally in positive territory! As of January 28, 2014 my net worth stands at $14,929.00

Where is the money going?

A note on the spending numbers: budget tracking in Quicken didn’t officially start until March 2013. I was between using Mint.com and Quicken; unfortunately, the numbers did not translate over into Quicken :(

yearly spending

The biggest area of spending is no surprise, the car! Car payments were 11.87% of my spending or $6549.90. If we look at my car as a whole with insurance, gas and service, it cost me a total of $12,193.28 or 22.10%. That is why they’re called money pits!

The next largest expense is no surprise either… clothing! I spent 14.60% or $8054.96 on Clothing.

Grocery expenses were $2952.90 or were 5.35% of my income for the year.

Maggie the cat cost me $1612.23 for the year between Vet bills and Pet food, toys and supplies. The vet bill came in at $888, which is high because of Maggie’s health issues the past year. Luckily, we’ve figured out what’s wrong and I am working to correct it. Poor Mags is an anxiety ridden, stressed out fur ball presently. I’ve taken measures to keep her calm and shield her from the nasty neighbourhood cats that sit on the front porch and tease her.

Thanks to my generous family, Rent was only 2.9% of my spending or $1599.99.

Ironically, I thought my Bills and Utilities would be higher but interestingly they were quite low:

Mobile Phone 1.90% or $1046.44

Television 1.76% or $973.62

Home Phone/Internet 1.64% or $906.72

We all like to bitch about how much TV and internet costs when in the grand scheme of things they are rather minute compared to what we spend on cars, housing and other vices like fashion.

What Were My Finance/banking charges?

Everyone wants to know these numbers I’m sure! I’ve done quite well in keeping costs low in relation to my banking:

Finance charges on line of credit $1060.44 or 1.92%

Banking fees $275.01 or 0.50%

ATM fee $6.00 or 0.01%

It would be nice to eliminate these altogether but the way my banking is setup is easiest for me right now and allows me the flexibility I need.

Interested to see all the monthly numbers for 2013? Take a look here.

Where Can I Change My Habits?

As I looked over the list, I realized there was no real drama in any of my spending aside from my fashion tendencies.  In all reality, or a perfect world, I should not be spending more than 5% of my net income on clothing which would be somewhere in the ballpark of $2700. Like I said…in a perfect world….LOL!

I managed to spend 38.93% or $21,481.73 on items that Quicken categorized as “Other”.  After further checking, that $21K was divided amongst 53 different little areas. Each area was 2.65% of my spending or less, three of the areas were in relation to car expenses alone, which I’ve added to the number above.

I do not know how I did it but Restaurants came in at $1131.99 or 2.05% of spending. How awesome is that? On the other hand, possibly I have no life…

Putting Together a Plan to Change Habits

Remembering to track everything and always keep Quicken up to date is of utmost importance. I will be happy once 2014 gets into the financial software, as I’ll be able to do a year over year comparison of my spending.

Getting better at tracking my budget and net worth are important for 2014.

Working to ensure I don’t exceed my income every month is a necessity! For 2013, of the ten months I was able to track correctly, only five of them I did not exceed my income. Most of the excess spending came in the form of small emergencies: cat getting sick ($888), I needed a root canal ($2676) and the decision to spend money on career coaching ($2100).

income expense 2013

Most of my goals I set out for 2014 will put me on the right path to financial independence and debt freedom by August 2014. I want 2014 to be a stellar year compared to 2013. Sure, I had successes but I know I can do better!

Do you take time to do a spend analysis? Do you know where your money is going? 


  1. That’s a damn awesome clothing budget :). I’m super minimalistic with my clothing, but I have a few big items on my list I really want to buy. But alas, they will have to wait for now.

    I should check Mint to see how 2013 was. I don’t want to see my food spending…

    • LOL! I spend way too much on clothes, I’m honestly trying to do the minimalist thing. I’ve downsized my wardrobe quite a bit and it’s much easier to choose something in the morning.
      Best of luck on the food spending. :)

  2. Wow. That’s a huge jump of net worth! It’s really amazing what keeping track of your spending and income can do. Lucky for us software programs like Mint and Quicken make things even more convenient. Good luck with your pursuit for debt freedom and financial independence!

  3. Glad you are in the positive net worth area. I’ve just gotten more diligent about where exactly my money is going and checking out my net worth numbers more often. I can’t really figure out mint for a budget yet, especially on a variable income. That part trips me up a bit, but I do use it to see my overall net worth. My biggest expense would be my rent, followed by groceries and “life expenses.” I’m working on trying to reel at least the last two in, while trying to stay healthy (the grocery part).

    • Groceries can really get away from you when you’re eating healthy, I had that problem this month. I have a similar issue being in sales that my commissions are not always the same, I still have a salary but it can make it difficult to budget. I always try to use the average or worst case scenario for budgeting.

  4. That’s great for you that you’re still able to analyze your spending well. I think you’ll be doing better this 2014, so good luck! :)

  5. Wow, you’ve really done quite a good job with tracking all of this. Even though it may seem tedious, I think this will help you zone in on certain aspects of your spending and help you to target what you need to change. I did something similar and it helped me to identify that I needed to refinance my mortgage, get lower car insurance, and call up Comcast for cheaper TV service.

    Now you’ll just have to figure out how you can work in different investment goals among all your other bills.

    • Thanks! I’ve realized it’s so important to track your spending. For years I didn’t do it and my finances were a disaster. Yep, investments are next on the list! Lots of learning to do first :)

  6. For me, banking fees are the worst.. I don’t know what it is, even if it’s just $200, I feel cheated!!! :)

    Groceries are also a big thing too for us especially since BF keeps experimenting with food :)

    • Believe me, I feel cheated paying what I’m paying. It sucks but because I need cross border banking it works out better the way it is.

      LOL! Sounds like you have a chef on your hands with your BF! 😉

  7. It is quite enlightening to look at a cute little pie chart and see where most of your money went. I think the first step in getting finances back on track is just seeing the big picture. That pie graph is nonjudgmental. It just is what it is. I hate paying banking fees! It really pisses me off. I wish I had your clothing budget!!! Congratulations on staying focused and increasing your net worth!!

    • Thanks! The big picture is telling me I spend too much on clothes! I don’t want my spending to be that high, hence the fashion cleanse :)

  8. Although Maggie’s expenses are high, I think it’s nice that you spoil her so much and love her so much. At the end of your life, this is what really matters.
    I’m hooked on tracking my spending. It revealed that I was blowing 12k a year on restaurants. It took a few months, ,but this past month was just over a hundred bucks, and that’s only because my brother and his wife wanted to eat out and it was a sort of family get together = about $50. I don’t think that you should even joke about your restaurant spending such as “I have no life”, because it will affect you negatively. You should start seeing frugal living as the easiest thing in the world to do, just not buying stuff – easier than playing the piano, easier than getting through some touch academic study program, easier than winning a gold medal at the Olympics, easy peasy, easy does it. You’re getting rich the EASY way… EASY, patiently, responsibly.

  9. OK, I meant to say, “tough” academic program. typo.

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