Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Here’s how much I spent and saved in 2017

2017 was really smooth in terms of our shared finances. We’ve come up with a system that works perfectly for us, in that I can be as detailed with my money management as possible, while RD can learn as much (or as little) as he wants to learn, while knowing that all the bills are being paid (and we’re even saving a little bit in our joint accounts too!).

Related: How I saved 50% of my income in 2016

Last year was the first time I’ve done a spending recap before, but since the numbers continue to be easy to extract, I’m going to keep on with the trend – and now I’ll get to compare 2017 data with 2016, which makes me extra excited. :)

What I spent in 2017

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.


I had seriously grand ideas of spending less than $30,000 in 2017, but then life got in the way. Just looking at the chart, I can see exactly what I bought that put me over budget, as well as well above what I spent in 2016. It’s not horrible, but it’s really not that great either.

Related: Here’s how I spent $34,700 in 2016

Now, just for fun, let’s compare what I spent in 2017 with what I spent in 2016:

Fixed Expenses

(Rent/Mortgage, Utilities, Strata Fees, MSP, Insurance, Cell Phone, Internet)

Everything looks about normal. I’m super proud of lowering my Shaw internet bill though, saving me $105 from last year. Not that it mattered in the overall scheme of things, haha. It was just a one year price, so I’ll have to call again in the next few weeks to see what else they can do to keep me. There’s so much competition now that even if they can’t give me the promotional rate again, we can just go to another company with pretty much zero issue.

Variable Expenses

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

Ok it’s not that bad. I mean, if you take out the $4,500-ish that we spent on closing costs and moving into our condo, my total spending was almost exactly the same as in 2016. Moving is not cheap, and those expenses include hiring movers, buying new furniture, painting, and pro-rated property tax for the year. So, actually that makes it a lot better.


The cat was more expensive than I thought it would be (her costs are in the Household section of our budget). After our initial start-up costs (which weren’t that cheap), I’d say we spend about $100/month on her food, litter, treats, and toys.

I’m embarrassed at how much I spent on Entertainment and Clothing though. I bought a winter coat, so that took up at least 40% of my clothing budget, but Entertainment? That’s a lot of money spent keeping me entertained during the year. I guess 2 or 3 film festivals, a couple concerts, and a few dinners out each month would do it. I seriously want to cut this down in 2018.

Other than that, my spending looks *fairly* normal. My cell phone was over budget a little bit because I bought a roaming package when in Portugal.

What I saved in 2017

Overall, I saved 45.4% of my income in 2017, and increased my net worth by $47,645. I think I would have been able to save more throughout the year (because my savings rate is 4.6% less than 2016), but we are putting down more towards our mortgage than necessary. This helped me increase my net worth, but didn’t do anything for my bank account. :)

Speaking of the mortgage, you may recall that our purchase price was $468,000. We had a down payment of $115,000 which meant our mortgage was $353,000. After the first 6 months of payments, our current mortgage balance sits at $345,700. I’d like to be more aggressive with our mortgage in 2018, however I think our wedding might get in the way of that. More to come about how the wedding will affect our budget and spending in the next 8 months.

And that’s it! Any questions?

Was 2017 what you had expected financially?

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. Melissa says:

    Spending $39k in a year still seems really good to me! I really like your budget sheet – nice and clean! I can’t find a budget tracking sheet I really like, so my best guess for 2017 was we probably spent around $36k… that’s because I know between my husband and I, our bills (mortgage, student loan debt) come to $3k a month.

    Other than that, we really don’t spend much. Our debt takes way more than half our monthly expenses!

  2. Laura says:

    Great breakdown! I think $4500 for household expenses is great including moving. My boyfriend and I bought a house this year and the moving and settling in costs used up the whole budget allocated towards them for 2017.
    Just curious on why you want to be aggressive with your mortgage? I ask as I am continuity debating paying down out mortgage more quickly (emotional side) and investing due to the low interest rates (rational side).
    Thanks for another great post!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Good question! Well we wanted to be mortgage-free by the time we retire – and for me (fingers crossed) that’s in 15-17 years when I’m 50-52-ish. So we decided to be moderately aggressive with the mortgage to match that goal, which leaves room to save for retirement and have fun. We could technically be mortgage-free in less than 5 years if we went as aggressive as possible… but that’s currently not something we’re willing to do. I wrote a post a while ago called “Why I don’t want to burn my mortgage” if you’re interested. :)

  3. Kate says:

    Really interesting and inspiring! I’m so impressed you were able to do and see so much and only spend $39000. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Kate |

  4. GYM says:

    Great work this year and congrats again on upcoming nuptials!

    Do you include your purchase price as the condo asset or the BC assessment value for the asset?

    Also, does RD have benefits or MSP covered by his employer? Since you guys are getting married and if you have lived together for long enough his work benefits should cover yours I think? In any case MSP premiums are going down this year.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Thanks for your comment! For 2017, I used the purchase price of the condo, but going forward I’ll be using the BC Assessment value for the asset.

      Yes RD has benefits from his employer, but he pays for his own MSP. We’ve been trying to get me on his extended health plan for about a year now, but he is a federal employee so that whole issue with Phoenix has stopped our progress since we are very low priority. Hopefully one day, haha… :)

  5. Happy New Year, Krystal!

    Your actual spending in 2017 was so close to the budgeted spending. Wow!

    The increase from 2016 to 2017 is understandable. Moving into a new house is costly!

  6. Very detailed. I live in Oklahoma so are expenses are generally low. We bought our condo for 71,500 on Grand Lake. Our mortgage is $434 per month and HOA of $99 per month. We live pretty cheap. Even though it seems like the cost of living is higher where you are at you are saving a good amount back. That is amazing. Great post!

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