For 2012, I’m focusing on using my Quickbooks reports to design a more realistic budget for the New Year. In the past, I tried creating a “utopia” style budget that was unrealistic and disappointing each month. Yet, before I can take on the task of formulating my budget, I need to really look at where my money went this year. I like how Newlyweds on a Budget calculated her expenses based on every $100 so I decided to do a similar calculation:

For every $100 I spent.

$45 went towards rent and utilities. Ouch! Mock me all you like but that’s the price I pay for living in the second most expensive city in the US.

$8 went towards the car. Much better. Must have something to do with being a one-car family and biking a lot.

$7 went towards the purchase of household items. This was mainly our new couch and refrigerator. Moving often equates to new purchases.

$13 was applied towards groceries. I think we can do better than this in 2012.

$7 was applied towards business expenses.

$4 went towards personal items like clothing and doctor’s visits.

$3.50 was applied towards meals eaten out and entertainment, such as movie rentals (Netflix and Redbox).

$10 went towards a bunch of miscellaneous expenses like my Starbucks, postage, travel, gifts, insurance, etc.

$2.50 measly dollars was applied towards our savings. I think I need to be grounded or placed in the time out chair.

I can definitely improve on groceries, business expenses, household purchases (I’m hoping there just aren’t any this year!) and miscellaneous expenses. I’m sort of stuck in a lease this year, so my rent and utilities will remain about the same. However, I’m giving myself a big pat on the back for reducing my meals eaten out and entertainment by $1.00. I’ve also reduced my Starbucks expense by 90-cents per $100 as well. If I can cut out a few more dollars per category (minus rent/utilities), I should be able to boost that savings amount to $7 per $100 which would put me on target to meeting next year’s savings goal.

Quarterly updates should help.

How do your expenses stack up?


  1. I like the way you’ve broken down the expenses! Very easy to tell what items you can control and what you can’t (rent/utilities).

  2. Hunter - Financially Consumed Reply

    I echo MCs sentiment, this is a great way to present the expense allocations. Housing is crazy in CA, no arguments there. I need to shift the needle on savings too, and stop spending so much on renovating our depreciating house. It’s time to make more money : )

  3. Squirrelers Reply

    I like the way you presented this, based on a percentage basis but then transferring it to dollar terms. To your comment on housing – yeah, LA (and SF) have quite the cost of living. Here in the Chicago area, it’s expensive compared to the national average but not as high as where you are. I always get a kick out of some folks who live in low cost of living areas who just can’t grasp the value concept of getting what we pay for.

    • @Squirrelers – Yes, the cost of housing is out of hand. I envy those that only pay fraction of the cost for the equivalent of what I have. I suppose I could always move, but convincing my significant other is another story. 🙂

  4. That is a hard question to answer. It all depends on how much the members of the family eat and what kinds of foods they like. My husband and I have 5 kids, so there are 7 of us. By using coupons and rain checks, finding sales, eating generic foods whenever possible and by buying in bulk, we are able to keep our food budget within the range of $100-$150 dollars a week. Some weeks a little more, some weeks a little less. It helps if you can plan your menus ahead of time to avoid impulse buying. We also rarely take our kids to the grocery store. That way we can pass up the attractively packaged kids foods, like sugar cereals, cookies and candy. Cookies are much cheaper to make at home, and generic cereals are often just as good as brand name ones. And again, bulk buying is a huge help.

  5. How are you going to do better on groceries?

    Isn’t it amazing to read other blogs and their housing costs! I get so envious lol

    • @Evan – I need to start using coupons more often. I’ve become a little lazy about that. That should reduce my grocery expense by a few bucks!

  6. I feel your pain as I am in LA. Nice way to look at your budget. Need to take a look at my own. Great job on cutting meals and entertainment down. Happy New Year!

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