Our Report Card: First Half of 2019 Spending
Earlier this month we sat down and looked at our spending for the first 6 months of the year. This is also the first 6 months that we decided to pursue the FIRE goal. Even though we are being mindful with our spending, the spending we have done to date was astonishing - and not in the good way.
Below is a chart that shows the major spending categories. A potentially good sign is that the highest percentage of our spending was actually from our pre-FIRE credit card bills. We decided to pursue our FIRE goal in early January. At that time, we were also paying off Christmas credit card gift spending. So, this 24% number represents an old lifestyle, which hopefully we won't see again this December and January.
The next highest spending category was our new house. Coming in at 23%, this is really not a good sign. We have only had the house for 3 months! Many of the changes and updates we made to the house were hopefully a one-time investment. This is an area we have to be very careful about moving forward since we love to improve the homes we live in.
The third highest spending category is "Other," which was everything on our monthly spending tracker that was under 5% of the total spending. It represents bills like our car payment, Netflix, medical, etc. This spending is on track and within our budget.
Then we have "Unknowns." Unknowns are the items that do have a normal monthly spending rhythm. It includes gifts, gifts to ourselves, and grooming. This is an area we need to work on for the second half of 2019. We are definitely over-spending in this category.
Groceries came in at 10% and restaurants are 6% of our total spending. We can always find ways to save on groceries but overall, I am satisfied with where we are on this. Restaurants, however, is an area where we can do better. The good news is that we are finding that since owning the house, we are eating out less! So hopefully this will drop for the rest of 2019.
Finally, the "travel" category was at 5%. Travel is something that is very important to us and we actually do a very good job at travel hacking, so we are happy with this area.
If I was going to give us a grade, I would give us a B-. The house and unknown categories are not good for us. And we need to be more mindful of this moving forward. However, last year at this time we had no idea what we were spending our money on and I'm sure we were spending much more than we are now!