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Came across my budget from 8 years ago

September 8th, 2006 at 07:00 pm

When I picked up one of my old financial planning books ("How to get what you want in life with the money you already have"), a piece of paper fell out, and on it was my budget from January 1998. Interesting to compare now and then.

My circumstances are very different: I live in a different state, have a different job, own a house rather than rent, am now in a committed relationship, and I have three pets rather than one. I'm still adjusting my budget to new circumstances since some of these changes (home & two of the pets) are fairly recent, but still, the comparison is interesting.

I make about 60% more--but that's both because I'm at a higher paying job and because I have a second part-time job in addition to the main job, which I didn't before. So taxes of course are proportionately higher. And I save more (30% more) and give more to charity (117% more), but my gift-giving has stayed about the same (I'm a notoriously bad gift-giver, alas).

Going from renting to owning makes a huge difference--my monthly housing + utility expenses have gone up from about $700 to about $1022, a 46% increase--but at least I'm building equity now. Household expenses are up, too, from $20 to $50/month as there's more to buy with a house, especially as a new owner--plus that includes repairs, which I never had to worry about before.

The other big increase is education expenses. I've gone back to school the past three summers, working very slowly on getting a certificate in accounting to add to my credentials. Mostly I take these classes at the community college, but just this year, I finally qualified to take classes for free at one school that I teach at, so that is helping hold those costs down some.

My grocery expenses are up about 24%, but eating out expenses have held steady. That increase could be accounted for by inflation--plus here in PA, I have much nicer grocery stores available to me on a weekly basis than I did when I lived in rural VT, so I buy somewhat more upscale ingredient indulgences--one of the ways I hold down the restaurant expense.

Transportation costs are up 52%--I have a newer car, but when I lived in VT, I lived literally right across the street from where I worked, so I only drove my car to do errands on the weekends and to travel. Now I commute 16 miles daily--but I also travel less. That is reflected in a nearly 80% *decrease* in my entertainment expenses (since I budgeted in travel with entertainment). Owning a home and 3 pets and having a relationship--not to mention more than one job!--I've become much more of a homebody than I was.

The other big decrease in my spending is in my "unreimbursed business expenses." As an academic, I can justify many of my nonfiction book purchases as research materials, and I used to do so quite a bit more than I do now. I still spend about $50/month on books and films for use in research and teaching--but I used to spend about three *times* that amount, so that's a big decrease.

So--lots of increases, a couple of decreases. I do miss the travel and "culture-vulturing" I used to do, and some day will have to do more of it again. The biggest increase over the past several years has been in my overall net worth, so that is satisfying.

2 Responses to “Came across my budget from 8 years ago”

  1. yummy64 Says:

    Sounds like you have done well for yourself!

  2. abd Says:

    Hundreds of household products and services can converted into investment.

    More info on: www.thecommonsensebiz.com

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