Back in 2008, I wrote my initial post about our monthly expenses. It’s always interesting going back in time to see what the circumstances were. Back then, the update was compiled just before we had our first child, and we had a mortgage on our principal residence (a new build). Our annual recurring outlay was around $50k (not including RRSP, savings, captial expenses etc).
Five years later in 2013, I wrote an updated post with quite a different life story. By that point, we had two young children and we managed to pay off our mortgage a few years prior. Even though the mortgage payments were eliminated, the kids tied up the extra cash flow and more! At that time, child care/pre-school costs were high at around $12,000 per year (spouse working part-time). Our total annual recurring expenses back then were around $52k (not including RRSP, RESP, TFSA contributions etc).
Fast forward to 2015 and my oldest child is in grade school and my youngest in pre-school about to start kindergarten in the fall. Although one child is out of daycare/pre-school, there are still summer camps and activities that really add up. We managed to keep costs fairly low spending about $53k for the year.
Now onto 2016! Pre-school costs only consume half of the school year, the other half year is covered through kindergarten. However, children activities in 2016 really kicked it up a couple notches which resulted in a few more swipes of the credit card (starting to see burn marks!). The increased activities offset any savings we received from reduced pre-school fees. I’m all for the kids going out and enjoying activities, but what I didn’t anticipate was that it would result in lifestyle inflation.
With a high number of activities and neighbors/friends going to the same location, we discovered that we were limited in carpooling opportunities (car seats take up a lot of space!). After much discussion and debate, this frugal blogger reluctantly upgraded to a seven-seater SUV. The details of the purchase are for another post, but we managed to buy a high-quality three-year-old SUV for about half retail price (with cash so no financing charges). While we got a good deal on the purchase and a very fair trade-in value, it was no surprise that the large SUV increased our annual recurring expenses. Specifically, gas and insurance. I’m hoping though that as the kids grow out of car seats, that going back to a mid-size car/SUV (or maybe an electric vehicle) would suit any carpooling situation.
As we funnel our spending through a credit card (where possible), I use mint.com to organize transactions into categories where I pulled most of the numbers below.
Here are the numbers:
Housing Expenses: $9,867 (vs. $9,180 )
- Mortgage: $0
- Property tax: $3,700 (vs $3,500)
- Maintenance: $2,500 (vs. $2,000)
- Utilities: $2,600 (vs. $3,000)
- Home Supplies: $1,067 (vs. $680)
Car Expenses (2 vehicles): $4,041 (vs. $3,475)
- Car payments: $0
- Gasoline: $2,371 (vs. $2,250)
- Maintenance: $1,345 (vs. $900)
- Registration: $325
Home Essentials: $1,509 (vs $1,609)
- TV/Internet/Landline phone: $1,509
- Cell phones: $0 (work provided cell phone)
Food and Booze: $13,000 (vs. $12,360)
- Groceries: $11,500 (vs. $11,000)
- Entertainment/Eating Out: $1,500 (vs. $1,360)
Insurance: $5,780 (vs. $5,130)
- Home: $1,000
- 2 x Automobiles (for 2 people): $2,100 (how we save money on auto insurance)
- Life: $420
- Disability insurance (for 2 people): $2,260
Children: $11,500 (vs. $11,700)
- Preschool: $3,500
- Activities/summer camp: $8,000
Spending: $5,100 (vs. $4,500)
- Shopping/clothing/hair/gym/misc: $5,100
Other Expenses: $6,200 (vs. $5,160)
- Charity: $2,400 (vs. $2,360)
- Gifts: $2,300 (vs. $2,000)
- Health care (prescriptions, eyecare, dentist): $1,500 (vs $800)
Total Annual Expense: $56,997 (vs. $53,114)
As you can see from the numbers, it’s a bit of a jump in expenses since the 2015 update. The culprits seem to be spread evenly throughout the list, but big jumps for insurance, car expenses, and other expenses. I’m hoping this lifestyle inflation doesn’t last too long where I’d actually like to see some lifestyle deflation in the coming years. Especially since I’m planning on reaching financial freedom in 3.5 years!
While the ideal situation would have all of our costs included in the $57k annual number, unfortunately, that is not true. It does not include a family vacation, large capital expenses, or savings via TFSA, RRSP, RESP. So realistically, our annual expense number is much higher.
So what does your budget look like compared to mine?If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).