Going Overboard (Part 1)

I have been feeling great lately!  So great, actually, that I have been analyzing and re-analyzing and checking and double checking my spreadsheets.  I’ve added columns, subtracted columns, created more charts, and so many more instant calculations.  I enter something in on one page and that number gets used in a dozen other places.  Part of this is because I have an engineering problem that I like numbers and I like data and I like lots of ways to see the same numbers and the same data.  And, like I have been known to do in the past, I like to take certain things a little too far.

Total Monthly Spending
In true His Polish Princess Fashion, I went overboard on my spending analysis for the three years.  Truthfully, I have never looked at my spending as a whole, rather, just the disjointed categories I break everything out into at the end of each month.  I spend spending reduction or increase goals from there based on what I project they will be or I want to push myself to achieve.  I never once calculated how much I spend every month, only how much I save (in percentage form).  So I created a new column in my monthly list called “Total Spending” and I was shocked how much I spend some months (I am talking nearly $7,000!).  Then I wondered how much is my non-housing cost, because, well, I hope to not have to spend on housing one day in the next dozen or so years.  That number looks a little better, but why was my spending so high some months.  The culprits were easy to find when I looked deeper into my numbers: education expenses for my Master’s, and remodelling.  My house is a money pit, this I knew, but I didn’t realize how much it inflated my total monthly spending.  As for education, I am well aware that when you have a tuition bill nearly $4,000, your monthly expenses will be greater than $4,000 that month.

I decided I want to take out the expenses I deemed anomalies (remodeling and education) because they are “one time expenses”  won’t continue for much longer (I mean, I only have two more house projects left and then I’m good until I need a new roof in about 13 years).  I also decided to remove the mortgage so I could easily see my discretionary spending (you can argue that things like groceries and electricity aren’t discretionary, but I certainly have some control over how much I spend in these areas).  This lead to numbers that were truly surprising to me.  The most I have ever spent in a month?  Just under $4,000 and that includes $1,000 in medical bills.  The least?  $859.  That one surprised me.  So I wondered some more…

Total Yearly Spending
This is rinse and repeat my monthly spending, just on a yearly basis.  I already had a little flag off to the side that told me I spent around $34,500, $36,500 in 2014 and significantly more in 2015 at $52,500, but I wondered what would happen if I take the big numbers that skew my spending and throw them out the window.  So I removed remodelling expenses and education expenses to try to get an idea of what my discretionary expenses were.  It turns out, I spend about $31,000 per year when I exclude remodelling and education.  If I exclude all of my fun medical expenses, this drops to about $29,000.  And, if I take out my mortgage payments, my total non-mortgage, education, remodel, and medical expenses clock in right around $17,300 per year.  This means I am living on a lot less than I thought I was and I still feel like I am living like a princess.

Now, you can say I manipulated these numbers a lot, and that’s true, I did.  But I will argue that the great majority of the $14,000 I spent in remodelling costs last year will be a one time expense.  Siding your house and doing a significant amount of masonry work on it should be one time expenses over the life of the house.  It was a big project and thus made my spending for 2015 an anomaly.  Combine that with several thousand dollars worth of education and medical expenses, and it’s a crazy expensive year!  But my true test in this was not to manipulate data until I felt good, it was to determine if I had lifestyle inflation from my salary increases over the last few years.  You could say remodeling is in a way lifestyle inflation, and that’s fine, but I call it preventing my bee infestation from worsening and getting stung and incurring several thousands of dollars on epi-pens and hospital costs.  I also call it better sealing my house which helped lower my heat bill.  But definitely, many parts of it were wants, not necessities.  The most important thing I learned is that in spite of pay raises, I spent less in 2015 than I did in 2014, and it’s only a slight uptick from 2013 where I spent half of the year living alone.

I guess this means I could be closer than I think towards retiring early.


About His Polish Princess

I'm an engineer by day and an entrepreneur by night. I live with my Old Man, and our cat, Junior. Okay, so the cat is mine, not ours. I have some old fashioned opinions and I believe the unlikely can be achieved with hard work and a little bit of luck. I like cars and motorcycles and remodeling houses and taking risks. I love my family and my community in Small Town, USA. I believe life is one grand adventure that should be lived and thoroughly enjoyed. In 2013 I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and focused on natural healing. Fortunately, my disease has been in remission since 2014. In 2015 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. These things are just a road bump in life. They won't stop me from remodeling or buying houses or starting new ventures. Life is all about how you see it.
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