Where My Money Went in 2015

Debt Repayment

Stephanie challenged her readers to peek into their Mint app and look at where their money went in 2015. I have a general idea of where it went but I’m nervous to actually open the app and see for sure.

Money Budgeting in Mint App

Because I am so nervous, I took that as a sign that I really needed to look! My budget in 2015 worked out really well, and I did take the time to reevaluate for 2016 and see where I would need to make adjustments. Just because 2015 went well doesn’t mean that I should settle. I think that looking at 2015 will shock my system into making bolder changes to my 2016 budget, possibly getting out of more debt, and hopefully having a healthier financial situation!

Are you as nervous as I am? Gah. Here goes nothing.

Where My Money Went in 2015:

Budget Recap for 2015

Home: $11,000. This number is slightly skewed from the home buying process, but $7,990 of that was for rent/a security deposit. This is down significantly from the year before where I spent $13,080 on rent. That’s the difference that moving to a super small apartment and saving a few hundred dollars a month will do!

Car*: $10,820 Oddly, I also spent $7,990 on my car payment last year. Crazy! But see the asterisk below. The rest of that is all on maintenance, gas, parking and insurance. I spent $93 on parking. I’m so thankful that I don’t live in Seattle proper or I’m sure that would have been much higher!

Reviewing 2015's Spending to Increase 2016's Financial Health!

The day I traded in my lovely Jeep for a Ford Focus that was a more responsible purchase and got WAY better gas mileage! I miss that Jeep.

Credit Card Payments: This is a category I tried to keep up on throughout the year. Mint never could learn when I was paying a credit card payment online. I had to set them all up to automatically transfer out of my bank account and then it finally learned what I was doing with that snowball payment. Because this number isn’t accurate, I’m not sharing it. But I can tell you it was roughly $6,000-$8,000.

Student Loan: $6,497. Ouch, but at least this year, for the first time ever, I actually paid off some of the principal balance. I am on income based repayment. I anticipate that this number will be significantly more in 2016 after I file my taxes, and have already started budgeting for that increase.

Food: $6,717. This was my largest number of transactions as well. In 365 days, I purchased food or drinks 305 times. Remember, if I were to go to more than one bar in a night, that would count. I promise I didn’t eat out 305 times a year. But this has inspired me to limit my eating out one month. I feel a challenge coming! Thankfully, for my own peace of mind, $4,131 was on actual groceries. This is a HUGE improvement from years past, and I’m certain that bringing my lunch 4 days a week and coffee to an attempted one time a week. really helped me limit my restaurant/fast food spending. What didn’t? Pho.

$400 on coffee?! Seriously??!

$400 on coffee?! Seriously??!

Entertainment: $507.00 This includes a year of spotify, the Luke Bryan Concert, Jason Aldean/Kenny Chesney Concert and Dallas Cowboys Game. Oh and Hunger Games/Star Wars. I don’t spend a ton of money on entertainment, a habit I broke in law school when I was too broke and busy to be entertained by anything except music. haha

Travel: $2957.00. This number reflects three out of town weddings, our trip to Dallas, two trips home to help out when my Great Grandma got sick, and work travel that was reimbursed. I don’t think that’s too bad! I am hoping to take a trip home in the next couple of months so that J can meet my parents and we can have a fun getaway. Stay tuned. Not captured: my trip to Vancouver for Blog Podium because Nadine was nice enough to let me stay with her and her roommate for free!

Dallas Cowboys Football Game

Uncategorized: I went through my uncategorized transactions briefly and labeled the ones that I could identify on the spot. $12,000 of this was spent via check. That means it is one of four things. 1) My Boyfriend got cash for something and needed me to write him a check because his bank doesn’t have a physical location. 2) Rent. 3) Tithes. 4) Medical Expenses. I try to write checks for all of my medical expenses. I have no idea why, but it’s something I got in my head as a teenager and I’ve never stopped.

Stephanie also took out how much she spent at Target. I know I spent way more at Target at the end of the year to get stuff for my new house and a lot of on wedding presents. But I’m sure even some of that wasn’t a worthwhile use of my money. Without further ado, the money I spent at Target totaled: $2,058.89.


Shockingly, though, Target is not my most shopped retailer. My most shopped retailer is Fred Meyer at 49 visits in 2015. Yay Union stores! Target is my happy place. As a former, long term Target employee, I drank the Kool-Aid and could never live without it. But I hope I’ll be able to spend more money at locally owned shops in the future.

I think I will need to go in and reevaluate my spending and find out where it’s all going. My mortgage is more than my monthly rent was in 2015. I’m looking for a roommate to counteract that. First, because it’s just smart. I don’t need this much space. It’s twice as much as I had when I rented. Second, it falls in line with my goals to finish paying off my debt and use my money in a way that honors God and keeps my focus on what I need, not what I think I want based on what other people have.

Hikes are a Free Way to Have Fun - Glacier View Peak, Washington State

Going on a hike is free, fun and super satisfying!

*I’d like to clarify one thing about my car. After I started the home buying process I switched my snowball payment from my credit cards to my car. The number I spent on my car is several thousand more than the minimum payment. While my minimum monthly payment is pretty expensive, it’s not as expensive as that number looks. I swear I’m not driving a Lexus or something. :)

Soooo…. are you brave enough to take Stephanie’s dare?

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  • Reply
    January 7, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Your travel dollars went a long way! Impressed by the number of trips you were able to take.
    Paragon2Pieces recently posted…New Year Goals

  • Reply
    January 7, 2016 at 9:39 am

    This is a good idea. We generally look at our monthly summary thing, but I’ve never looked at the whole year. Our biggest chunks were home ($29,000, wowie zowie) and gifts & donations. I can get behind both of those. I can’t totally get behind our $13,000 on food… or, the insane amount we spent at Amazon. That’s a tough one though because it’s all just categorized as “shopping,” but the things you can get from Amazon are so varied. I like to think at least some of that stuff was necessary.

    We also spent $900 on coffee. Where’s the rolling eye emoji… :-/

  • Reply
    January 8, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Super interesting! We’ve been doing something like this for the past 18 years…as long as we have been married. It’s always the first thing I tell people to do if they want to make adjustments in their spending. It really puts into perspective that $400 for coffee doesn’t it!

  • Reply
    January 9, 2016 at 1:26 am

    Wow, this is really cool! How awesome that you were able to track a whole year of spending!
    Rachael recently posted…A Mini Travel Guide to Shanghai

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 1:09 pm

      It was so eye opening! I super recommend it!

  • Reply
    The Start of the No Eating Out For One Month Challenge - Where My Soul Belongs
    March 30, 2016 at 7:46 am

    […] reviewing my 2015 spending and seeing that 305 transactions were made at food/dining/bar type busine…, I knew I had to make a change. I could feel a crazy idea forming, and when that happens, I do my […]

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