2014 Expenses, Part 3

2014 Expenses, Part 1
2014 Expenses, Part 2

It’s time for one final look at our expenses for the past year, and the past five years. But first, one more excerpt from old Quicken!

In keeping with the theme of evil corporations, if you bought CDs in the 1990s and early 2000s, you hopefully were part of a class action anti-trust lawsuit against the record companies who had been jacking up the prices on CDs for years.  I was, and I got this check back for the money I was bilked by buying Presidents of the United States of America, R.E.M. and Nine Inch Nails albums.


And what did I immediately do with that money?


I’m not going to say what those CD-Rs were used for.

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Total Expenses 75,919 68,230 68,491 78,068 96,234
Less Mandatory
Mortgage 9,438 9,388 7,304 9,960 14,355
Student Loans 2,512 2,512 2,512 2,512 2,512
New car payments 6,735 6,642
Contractors 8,696 3,700 1,694 9,775
DIY 2,873 560 598 246 2,426
Income Tax 15,335 16,057 15,940 17,564 23,150
Home Insurance 857 985
Property taxes 1,538 3,677 3,508
Total Mandatory 38,855 28,518 31,592 43,245 63,352
Total Discretionary 37,063 39,712 36,898 34,822 32,881
Avg. Monthly Disc. 3,088 3,309 3,074 2,901 2,740

Here are our total expenses, the total out-of-pocket, the whole nut for the year, less what I am calling “mandatory” expenses right now, to get us down to some comparable numbers.  Looking purely at the Total numbers, we spent much more during 2014 than 2011 and 2012.  But we have to subtract all the loans, and the extra payments to the loans, along with income taxes, which have increased as our income as increased. I also subtracted property taxes because, truthfully, what can you do about those? Arguably, our home insurance could probably be reduced a little, but I’m not losing sleep over it.

And those contractor and DIY expenses may not exactly be mandatory, but it wouldn’t be smart to go without them in most of our instances. Someone had to repair that roof and replace the boilers after all.

I just noticed this boiler is called Taco.

I just noticed this boiler is called Taco.

After subtracting all that stuff, we drill down to get what I’m probably incorrectly labeling as “Discretionary.” At any rate, with the mandatory expenses, taxes, and noise (read: contractor work, since it’s both aberrational and loud) removed, we have a set of more comparable numbers.

Surprisingly, 2011 was the year when we wasted the most money, even though its total total is the lowest out of the five years. There were no contractor expenses that year, but we blew more on food and gas for our cars during that year than the others. Not surprisingly, 2014 was our most frugal year, as I could have predicted from Part 1 and Part 2.

I don’t think I’ll be doing a monthly expense wrap up going forward. Since our expenses get put on an array of different credit cards for travel rewards, I book them as they get paid and the payment dates are unpredictable. With different due dates and that, there is too much noise. Expenses are usually trailing by a month or something after they were charged. But I think quarterly expense reports will work. Look forward to the Ridinkulous 2015 Q1 Report.


  1. So you book expenses when the cc balance is paid? Any particular reason? We’ve always booked expenses the date of the purchase, then paying the cc balance is just a balance sheet transfer, not an expense. We probably do it this way since that’s how mint does it automatically and I’ve been using mint pretty much since I got my first “grown-up job”. I don’t think I’d want to keep track of which transactions were on which cc payment. Sounds like a possible headache!

    • Norm

      January 5, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Since I’ve been using Quicken longer than Mint has been around, I am stuck doing it this way, too. I reconcile my check register in Quicken to my bank account about once a week. I’ve never even thought of doing it your way because I see my check register as a reflection of my bank account. And since we have a constantly revolving array of credit cards with minimum spend requirements to meet (three right now), I pretty much have to keep track of what expenses are on each card so I know when the minimum spend is met and I can move onto the next card.

      • I use a more recent version of Quicken (2013?) and it does this the way Mrs POP describes. This way makes the most sense to me. Quicken sees our credit card as an account and syncs to it and itemizes our transactions. The credit card sees a much higher volume of transactions than the checking account, and I would think it would be too difficult to keep track of all the individual transactions when I pay the credit card bill.

        • Norm

          January 10, 2015 at 5:25 pm

          I get it. Then it would just be a transfer from Checking to the credit card account in Quicken. Quicken 2003 doesn’t have anything close to that syncing capability. If it did, then I wouldn’t have to keep a separate spreadsheet for the credit card to know when it hit my minimum spending requirement. I could probably just pull a report instead! This might be something I have to look into.

      • Are you secretly an accountant? I think this kind of reconciling is what the CFO at my company does every Friday night… (He’s the only person I know who keeps track of sales tax he has paid and pays the appropriate use tax where applicable.)

        • Norm

          January 6, 2015 at 9:38 pm

          Ah, umm, hmmmm… *shifty eyes*

          You got me pegged. I am an accountant! It’s no secret. I don’t track my own sales tax, though.

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