My annual expenses for 2019 were about $500 less than the $17,433 I spent in 2018. It is good to have a downward trend in spending. My annual expenses for the past few years were $13,697 in 2017, $16,431 in 2016, $16,999 in 2015 and $15,775 in 2014. My expenses have been staying in the same ballpark for the past few years. Overall, I was pleased with my level of spending. I’m thinking I will be able to reduce my expenses a little more this year if no unexpected expenses pop up.
Before breaking down my budget categories I want to give a shout out to a couple of other bloggers that share their low annual expenses. A Purple Life lived on $17,896 in 2019. It is impressive that she can live in the high cost of living area of Seattle on that amount. Screw the Average lived on $7000 in 2019 as a couple. That is absolutely amazing. One way they were able to live on so little was by almost eliminating their housing expense through house sitting. I don’t think I’ll ever get to that level, but their posts show me I can improve. Check out their blogs for more details on how they kept their expenses low.
This year I won’t have the same level of detail as I usually have. The spreadsheet I use to keep track of my expenses in detail wasn’t being backed up to Dropbox like I though and I lost a few months of tracked expenses when my laptop died. This summary was completed by looking at my monthly expense blog posts for 2019. I also have a record of my expenses in Everydollar with a little more detail, but I can’t figure out a way to get an annual summary of my expenses from there other than manually adding them up. That was more work than I was willing to do so we will have to make do with this simplified summary. This year I’m keeping a detailed monthly summary in Google Sheets so I can share more details in next year’s annual expenses post.
My biggest expense category was rent. I spent $4051.74 on rent in 2019. Part of the year I had cheap rent when I was living at my Mom’s and I had even cheaper rent when I was staying in Thailand. I’ll be going back to Thailand this summer and plan to move back to my Mom’s house after that so this category should be low again this year.
My second biggest expense was for health where I spent a total of $3531.12. About $1700 of that was for a dental implant. Most of the rest was for health insurance premiums. The remaining amount was for prescriptions, doctor visits, and health club fees. I won’t be getting a dental implant this year and my health insurance premium this year is $0 due to my low income. This category should be much lower this year unless I have an unexpected health problem.
My third biggest expense was for food at $2359.23 for the year. Most of that was for restaurant meals. I need to cut way back on eating out so I can reduce this expenditure this year.
My fourth biggest expense category was transportation at a total of $1735.72 for the year. This consisted of insurance, gas, a speeding ticket, property tax, licensing, car washes, oil changes, and a couple of small repairs. There were two months that I had $0 transportation expense since I was in Thailand. There should be at least two months this year with $0 transportation expense as well. It will be difficult to reduce this category much since I’m commuting the first four months of this year and I have a couple of larger maintenance issues to take care of this year.
Next was student loans at $1590.96 for the year. I’m on an income-driven repayment plan and made payments as required last year.
After that was household expense at $1316 for the year. This category included utilities, clothing, paper goods, cleaning supplies, kitchen appliances and anything else that didn’t fit into one of the other categories. A new laptop and a memory foam mattress are a couple of the miscellaneous items that were included in this category. I’ll do a better job of breaking out things from this category this year. This category will go down this year because I’m not going to include as many different types of expenses in this category.
Next was travel at $1302.95 for the year. This included two transpacific flights from the U.S. to Thailand, hotel nights, local transportation, intra-Thailand air fares, and visa fees, I spent almost three months in Thailand on one trip and three weeks in Thailand on a second trip. Credit card rewards kept this category from being much higher. It is possible to spend $1300 just on a round-trip ticket to Thailand if you don’t know better. Using airline miles for my first trip and credit card rewards combined with a bargain airfare on my second trip I got each trans-pacific flight for less than $100. This category will probably remain about the same this year.
My entertainment expense was $597.43 for the year. This was mostly for movies and movie concessions. I plan to spend less on movies this year, but more on other entertainment so this expense will probably be about the same.
My smallest expense category was my phone expense at $341.22 for the year. I have Google Fi which allows me to have phone service and data when I’m abroad. The expense was a little higher than it otherwise would have been since I bought a new phone in April and rolled the payment for the phone into my bill. Google financed the phone over two years at 0% interest so I used their financing rather than buying the phone outright. I think I can get this expense down a little this year. If you sign up for Google Fi using my referral link we’ll both get $20 Fi credit after you have been active for 30 days.
That is how I spent $16,826.37 to live in 2019. On that level of spending I managed to make two trips to the other side of the world, eat out almost every day, and see about 30 movies in the theater. You don’t have to stay home and be a hermit to have low expenses. If you have any questions about any of my spending, let me know. How was your year?