What Did You Spend Last Year?

If I were to walk up to the average person and ask them what they spent in 2016, they would likely look at me like I was insane. Which I mean, yes, I am. But not quite for the same reasons they’re thinking.

I spent $35,424.60 in 2016.

And I know where every single dollar of that amount went.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “tell me more omg”, then please feel free to sign up for my newsletter (shameless plug), because I think I could tell you a lot of fun stuff in 2017. Including weird experiences that I seem to attract.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “why would I care what you spent?”, that’s totally fair. But if I know anything about people, it’s that we like to know how we compare to others.

And I’m alright with being your person (and divulging way too much about my personal life on the internet).

One of the best ways to prepare for a new year of financial success is by completely reviewing your annual expenses from the prior 12 months.

How much did you spend on travel, clothing, groceries, and beyond?

Wouldn’t it be easier to make a budget if you knew how much you’d actually need to allocate for each category? Uh, duh guys.


All it takes is a thorough (and sometimes long) review of your statements. Even easier? Track your expenses throughout the year, and then at the end you’re basically done all of the hard work. High friggen five.

But me? I like to wait and see the totals at year end. Keeps things exciting.
*winks aggressively*

So, without further ado:

(From annual, broken down into monthly & daily averages)

Annually: $3131.05
Monthly: $260.92
Daily: $8.58

Annually: $933.33
Monthly: $77.78
Daily: $2.56

Dining Out/Coffee
Annually: $1884.81
Monthly: $157.07
Daily: $5.16

Annually: $1539.46
Monthly: $128.29
Daily: $4.22

Annually: $1535.83
Monthly: $127.99
Daily: $4.21

Annually: $8400.00
Monthly: $700.00
Daily: $23.01

That is a total of $1452.05 a month.
Meaning, I spent $47.74 of my income per day in 2016.

Not Included are (my other boring) fixed expenses:
* Bills, which average $350/month (cable, internet, cell, insurance)
* Savings, which averages $1000/month
* Travel (Kelowna, Sicamous, Canmore, Vegas, Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Phoenix), which averages $1000/trip
* Business (website, video equipment), which averages $200/month

So, what do you think you spent last year?

By dissecting your expenses, planning for financial goals becomes a fun challenge rather than a difficult chore.

For instance, I now know what percentage of my income I should be able to save. I also know which areas of my budget I can trim to more easily accomplish my savings goals.

Small financial resolutions for my 2017?
* Cut my cell phone bill in half
* Cancel my cable (which I only had because it was free for one year)
* Better insurance coverage

Big financial resolutions for my 2017?
* Save for a house (and then buy one)
* Increase my overall income
* Trip to Portugal

What are your financial resolutions? Have you calculated your expenses from 2016 yet? Let me know in the comments!

PS: Thanks for baring with me while I took a couple weeks off. It’s good to be back.


18 Responses to “What Did You Spend Last Year?

  • This all looks fairly reasonable to me. Saving $12k per year is more than the vast majority of people.

    Portugal should be awesome, and I hear it’s pretty cheap relative to the rest of Western Europe.

    By the way, how’d you score a year of free cable? If it was free, I’d totally take it too. And probably watch too much of it.

    Also BTW, your travel adventures are so not boring expenses. One of them even produced that epic vlog with Des dogmomtalk!

    • Alyssa
      1 year ago

      Thanks TJ! We actually just booked our trip last night and I am beyond stoked! Time to start planning and saving for the rest.

      It was a part of a package for being a new customer with Telus when we signed up last year. I find they often have great promotions in December/January, which you could probably swindle even if you’re an existing customer! I’m not a huge cable fan so I can’t say I’ll be sad to see it go haha.

  • How on earth did you only spend $1,500 on groceries in a year! You must tell us your secret.

    I have had such an up and down year with my spending. I reduced a lot of my expenses but more expenses were added to the list, so it all broke even.

    My goal for 2017 is to track everything. I seem to over complicate the process and stop a couple months in. No good.

    • Alyssa
      1 year ago

      Oh man! Well, technically I split groceries down the middle with my husband, so he spent $1500 as well. Meaning we spent about $3000, which is still very cheap for a couple. We don’t buy meat, we buy bulk of our favorite products, and we also buy a lot of frozen veggies (that don’t have any added preservatives/sugars). I also found out I’m allergic to a lot of food this year, so that helped us spend less (considering I can’t eat half of it haha).

      Hey, breaking even is a great spot to be in! I think even if you track everything for those first couple of months, you should be able to stay consistent with your spend as the habits will be there. Although, it is different for everyone!

  • I love data! Thanks for sharing. Do you compare years, as well?

    • Alyssa
      1 year ago

      Thanks ZJ! I am definitely going to start doing this every year. I didn’t do it last year and I wish I did. It’s such a cool perspective.

  • I could never sign up for cable, even I was offered a free year of it. I feel like I would get attached to it during the free year and then never cancel, haha.

    • Alyssa
      1 year ago

      Hahaha, I feel you! But I actually don’t really watch TV, so it’s not a huge hang up of mine. I watch a lot of sports, but we obviously didn’t get any of those channels through the free package haha, so I’ll be glad to cut the cord.

  • Interesting post. I know my 2016 expenses to within +/- 2% accuracy, which is close enough for me. I rely on bank statements that I download into Excel, and with a few simple formulae, you can find out pretty much everything you have spent in a year – because for taxpayers, your bank account is the ONLY and ULTIMATE source for receiving money and from which you withdraw, whether for spending, saving or investing. If you use more than one bank account, you should do the same with that as well. The only expense items that escape are gift cards and vouchers that you may not put in your bank account so you spend them without corresponding bank entries, but this is usually trivial. I find my method to be very easy to do overall expense tracking without having to keep track of every expense and every receipt throughout the year (I am too lazy to do this). Of course, aggregators like Mint and Personal Capital can categorize the overall spending into categories for further analysis.

    • Alyssa
      1 year ago

      Uh wow, that’s a great accuracy haha! Bank statements are definitely where I go to find a lot of my expenses. I would say the gift cards/vouchers aren’t even large things to worry about considering they were most likely gifts (therefore not money out of your pocket).

  • fbgcai
    1 year ago


  • fbgcai
    1 year ago

    oops hit send too early – I use a simple pen and paper capture (in categories) and then copy to a spreadsheet monthly method and have done so for many years (decades!)- takes less than 60 seconds per day and 10 minutes per month to transfer – works for me

    • Alyssa
      1 year ago

      That is awesome!! So glad I’m not the only one!

  • So fun, thanks for sharing! You inspired me to take a look at my numbers… I keep track, but hadn’t done a year-in-review it. It’s a nice retrospective! I’m usually annoyed at myself each month for spending so much and waiting for the new month/fresh budget to roll over. But actually, looking back at what I spent and where I spent it is super satisfying. It might’ve felt like a lot at the time, but in review I did pretty damn good!

    PS have a great time in Portugal – Lisbon is one of my favourite cities in the world! The lineup for pasteis de nata in Belem is so so worth it. Porto is great with delicious wine. I’d suggest renting a car and traveling to a vineyard or two in the region.

    • Alyssa
      1 year ago

      I’m stoked you’re going to take a look at your numbers! It’s always super interesting to see what you spend on certain categories over 12 months.

      Omg, thanks for the tips regarding Portugal! I’m so looking forward to it. We’ll be hitting Lisbon, my husbands family hometown, the Algarves, and I think we’re going to fly to Madeira.

  • I love this data! Are you happy with where your categories ended up?

    • Alyssa
      1 year ago

      I am super happy! Especially with my groceries. I wish my clothing spend was lower, but I know that it is as high as it is because I had a ton of events last year (sisters wedding, my wedding, etc.) that ended up putting me over what I normally spend.

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  • Do You Know What You Spent In 2017? | All About The Dividends :

    […] Alyssa from MixedUpMoney. I would like to thank Alyssa because last year I read her post titled What Did You Spend Last Year and that inspired me to start tracking my expenses. Thanks to Alyssa I feel like I have a better […]

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