Where Her Money Went in 2015Debt Repayment January 13, 2016
You guys know Alicia from No Spend Month. I know Alicia from high school. She is one of my closest friends and has been an enormous support for me throughout my debt payoff journey. Remember when I told you that you need an accountability partner to tackle those goals? She’s the best financial accountability partner I could have asked for!
Alicia graduated law school the year after I did, but went into an area of law that had some more financial stability than mine. She is also a huge smarty pants and worked her ass off to get every opportunity and I am so proud of everything she’s accomplished since we were teenagers in high school youth group. I wish I would have taken notes on all of our long chats about finances, goals, retirement, student loan payment and making room in your budget for travel!
Unfortunately, she does not have a blog. So I asked her if she would share her 2015 report with you guys here! Then I stalked her Facebook and took a bunch of her photos so that you could see how super fun her life is. Here we go!
I was browsing Brittany’s blog and her 2015 year in review on spending motivated me to do one of my own! Brittany and I go wayyyyyyy back, and she is one of my biggest supporters as I’ve made my way to a debt-free life! She was definitely on my side all of 2015 as I made a huge goal to finish paying off my student loans (which I did not do – but more on that below!). So… without further ado… my financial breakdown!
Half of my money went to Education and Home – this is no surprise for three reasons: 1) my aforementioned goal to pay off my loans; 2) I live in DC proper – of course my rent is high; and 3) I helped my mom with a down payment on her dream house, so some escrow costs piled up toward the end of the year.
I spent a whopping 30% in this category! I made a humungous dent in my student loans – enough so that I shouldn’t have any problem finishing before my 30th birthday in June. Happy birthday to me! After paying my minimum payment, I gave every spare cent I had after savings directly to this cause (making sure to mark those extra payments as principal payments!). I’m so glad we got to start with a category for which I am incredibly proud!
About 23.6% of my spent money went to the home category. In addition to my rent, which was most of that, I had some escrow fees from the end of the year for the home purchase I made with my mom. We had to go for it – the home is across the street from her lifelong best friend’s home, on the street she grew up on, and absolutely gorgeous. Another category for which I am very proud.
My mom and I also share a credit card (I encouraged her to put all of her purchases on my Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card so we could earn a Companion Pass – mission accomplished, and we will be traveling all around the US/Caribbean together this year because of it!), so Miscellaneous Expenses belong to her, but were largely paid back to me.
13.2% of my income went to my Financial category, which is basically a catch all for the various types of savings accounts I have. This amount doesn’t include my 401K (which I maxed out, and you should try to do to – ESPECIALLY if your job matches your contributions!), but I still want to see it go way up this year.
About 10% of my spent money went towards travel. Percentage wise, I am okay with this. Dollar wise, I had a budget in mind for travel for the year, and I exceeded it by about $1,500. However, I did book three 2016 trips in 2015 so maybe I get a pass?
Travel is a huge passion of mine. Especially being young and childless, traveling to places that are places that are harder to get to, or in which I would have a hard time being really comfortable/spoiled while also getting a real, local experience, is at the top of my list for the foreseeable future. This past year, my big personal international trips were to India and the UAE. I also got to go to Germany for work, and did lots of domestic travel as well (including visiting Brittany in Seattle! I will be back).
About 6.8% of my spent money went toward food and dining. This might not sound like a lot, but I am hoping to lower that percentage this year for sure. Not only for cost reasons, but for health reasons. It’s healthier and less tempting to eat things bad for your health when you eat at home.
As a young (youngish?) adult, this is one of the hardest things for me because socializing always seems to happen around a meal and/or a drink. Or drinks. One of my goals this year is to see my friends in situations that are about more than a meal. For example, a friend of mine and I have started going to see movies together every so often (I am not a huge movie person naturally), and I have started inviting friends of mine to work out with me when I find free workouts around DC.
The remainder of my budget largely went to Bills and Utilities, Health and Fitness, Shopping, Uncategorized (aka pulled money out of an ATM and spent it without accountability…), and Gifts and Donations. I am happy with the spending/could stand to spend more in some of these categories. As far as the others – because these added up to less than 3% of my spent money combined, I am not too worried about them. We all have our vices and clearly these are not mine! I think it’s best to focus on what tempts you the most.
Thank you so much for sharing, Alicia! Anyone else want to go travel the world now?
PS. Go Cowboys :)
We are so thankful that Stephanie inspired us to review our 2015 spending. While we both had financial goals for 2016, this exercise really opened our eyes to how we can be better. And isn’t that the point of life?