Where Her Money Went in 2015

Debt Repayment
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!
Mama Sherman

Us with Mama Sherman – We were given field passes to the Seahawks game when Alicia was in town. We agreed watching a team that wasn’t our own was way less stressful!

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!

Money Budgeting in Mint App
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!

Analyzing 2015's budget to make 2016's budget even better!

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!

Graduation day!


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.
Eagles Game

My Mom and me at an Eagles Game

Miscellaneous Expenses

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?

My trip to Dubai – at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque

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).
Street Art in Ehrenfeld

The street art in Ehrenfeld was so cool!

Food and Dining

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.
Dinner at Marrow

Brittany and Me at Marrow, a restaurant in Tacoma, WA

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.

Everything Else

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?
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  • Reply
    Pam S @ Nuts for Nutrition
    January 13, 2016 at 1:01 am

    Sounds like a great plan! Exciting your student loans will be paid off soon and exciting you got to meet Mama Sherman! Go Seahawks :)

  • Reply
    January 13, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    YAY!!!! ernie is my alicia – the person who cheers me on and encourages me and inspires me. without him i’d probably still be making the lowest minimum payment and spending my money on all the dumb crap i want. life is done so much better with people in our corner.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Ah! Great to hear your student loans will be paid off soon. You go girl!

    ​xx katie // a touch of teal

  • Reply
    January 13, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    This is so helpful! You guys are both awesome for sharing your financial journey with us online.
    Rachael recently posted…2016 Reader Survey (+ Ad Space Discount!)

  • Reply
    January 14, 2016 at 3:23 am

    Good Work!!! I need to pay more attention to my finances.

    • Reply
      January 15, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      It’s a little stressful at first, but then it really pays off and becomes fun and exciting!

  • Reply
    How I Paid Off My Car!!! (That I Never Should Have Bought) - Where My Soul Belongs
    February 9, 2016 at 7:15 am

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