Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Here’s how I spent $34,700 in 2016

2016 was the first full year in a long time where I’ve shared expenses with someone and it has been split evenly. I’ve never done a recap like this before on GMBMFB, but since it was so easy to separate out my numbers, I thought I’d show you exactly how much I spent this past year, as well as what the monthly average was of how much I spent – down to the penny.

I actually did struggle with sharing this much information on my blog, but I want to be open and honest with my spending – to you, but mostly to myself. Plus, anyone could have come up with the numbers below, based on my monthly recaps. It was an eye-opening exercise though, to add up my monthly numbers … it’s also a bit embarrassing to see that I spent over $1,200 on non-athletic clothing and shoes when my budget for the year started out at being $500. :)

Related: 2016 Annual Goals Recap

Note that the lines in orange are expenses that we share 50/50 – and the numbers you see below are my portion of the expenses.


Fixed Expenses

(Rent, Utilities, MSP, Insurance, Cell Phone, Internet)

Our hydro bill will fluctuate but I don’t see much of a drastic change, and we are frugal with the amount of heat we use (which is why I put this bill in with the fixed expenses). I’ll be looking at getting a cheaper internet rate in the next couple of months, but other than that, I don’t see my fixed expenses changing much for 2017.

Variable Expenses

(Food, Household, Entertainment, Clothing, Travel, Car/Transportation, Personal Care, Fitness, Gifts)

The numbers are a bit skewed for 2016 because I bought a Macbook Pro, which set me back about $3,000, and we did a crazy amount of overnight travel this year (about the equivalent of 2.5 months when you include weekends). Although, I anticipate my travel to cost more in 2017… which is why I want to save in other categories. Ideally I’d like to see my expenses under $30,000 for 2017.

I made my budgets quite generous in 2016, and I didn’t hold back on my spending that much. You can see that for yourself in the Entertainment and Clothing categories. :) I’m hoping to get these back down to a more reasonable monthly average for 2017, especially now that I have almost every piece of cold weather athletic gear I can think of (except a winter coat – waiting on sales!).

It surprised me to see how much I spent on Gifts, as I thought I was fairly frugal in the giving department (plus for the most part, my friends and I don’t really exchange gifts for birthdays or Christmas). But I booked a long weekend getaway for RD’s birthday last year (I plan on doing the same for 2017), and I bought a spa day for my sister and I which was about $500, so it makes sense – I’ll just have to increase my Gift budget for 2017 because I don’t see that changing much.

I’m fairly certain our Groceries and Entertainment budgets will drop considerably. The first 6 months of the year we often went out to restaurants (Entertainment) instead of cooking, or went to the pricey grocery store since it was closer to our house, because we weren’t as organized as we could have been – and that definitely changed during the last half of 2016 when I took over all grocery shopping and cooking duties. :) I’m also going to work harder at buying what’s on sale (and not necessarily just what we like to eat).

My Car/Transportation budget will also decrease for 2017 once I stop driving to work. I’m being transferred to another office location, and will have to start taking the SkyTrain to work. My company will be reimbursing me for the monthly transit pass, so that will cut down on the cost of random transit trips, gas, car insurance, and wear and tear on my vehicle.

2016 Conclusion

I’m fairly pleased with my spending for 2016. Take away the price of my laptop, and I’m at $31,700/year. Trim a few of my other expenses, and I should be in good shape to hit my $30,000/year goal for 2017. Hopefully.

2016 also saw a nice increase to my salary, which in turn saw an increase to my savings rate – which now sits at about 50%. But I’ll talk more about that later this week! :)

Adding up my monthly numbers and looking at my spending on an annual basis really made me more aware of where I can trim my budget and where I should be more generous. I’ll definitely be doing it again at the end of 2017, and I’m excited to see how the numbers compare!

Do you know how much you spent in 2016?

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. Michelle says:

    Hi Krystal
    I’m new to you blog and I’m loving it! Thanks for sharing all the details of your money. You probably have covered this in a previous blog, but how do you keep track of your transactions? Do you enter everything manually on you computer or do you have an expense tracker like Mint?
    I really don’t think I can be disciplined enough to enter everything manually. 😬

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Thanks for your comment! To answer your question, I manually keep track of all of my transactions in a detailed Excel spreadsheet. I used to use Mint but found it wasn’t detailed enough, and actually did like Quicken a lot, but found my budgeting was more suited to Excel since I could customize everything exactly how I wanted it. :) And maybe I’m just a super nerd, but I find it really fun entering all of my transactions manually hahaha.

  2. I stopped tracking every expense in the middle of last year because I found it was expelling too much energy–energy I diverted into side hustling to earn more. But now that I’m self-employed, I think I need to try it again. $30,000 for the year is a fantastic goal. I think I’m going try YNAB to make it easier.

  3. Michelle says:

    I was going to sign up for the YNAB as well, but now it’s paid product 😢

  4. Michele Cooper says:

    Thanks for sharing this article Krystal. I think its very important to keep track of your spending and your expenses. Its a great way to check if your over-doing your budget and find any possible leaks in the spending. And though it may seem like lot of work but a detailed expense sheet is surely beneficial in the end.

  5. CH says:

    Would you consider sharing your detailed excel spreadsheet?

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yes I’ve definitely considered sharing my excel spreadsheet to readers. I’d have to clean it up a bit first and create a spreadsheet guide, so let me think about it! :)

  6. Kathryn Whelan says:

    Do ou track your savings in a separate sheet? I didn’t see any saving line item in your budget.

    I am looking to simplify my budget and expense tracking. I really like yours. I had over 50!!! line items. Toooooo many

    • Krystal Yee says:

      I don’t track my savings as a line item in my budget, it’s tracked separately in a separate tab in my spreadsheet (and reconciled on a master sheet with the rest of my numbers). I used to have a ton of line items in my budget too because I thought I liked that much detail, but have really tried to simplify it over the years. :)

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