2018 Q1 & Q2 Expenses

If you read my previous post on Budgeting or Cutting Expenses, you may have either scoffed and said “It can’t be done!” (especially my food budget). Or maybe you were intrigued and thought “Oh wise Shrink, tell me more.”

So here are the numbers for my family’s actual expenses for the first half of 2018.

Expense                              Jan         Feb      March    April       May      June      Avg

Water                                  28.04      30.34     41.03     30.34      33.01    30.34     32.18  

Electricity                          101.43    124.30    112.34   101.52   109.58    96.52    107.62

Cell phone*                         70.00      70.00      70.00     70.00     70.00    70.00      70.00

Internet                                71.98      71.98      71.98     71.98     71.98    71.98     71.98

Hulu                                     13.54      13.54      13.54     13.54       0.00      0.00       9.03       

Food/Restaurant**             377.49    416.78    348.99   587.00   310.57  387.45   404.71

Car payment                          0.00        0.00        0.00       0.00       0.00      0.00       0.00

Gasoline                               30.25      39.96     37.36      54.63     74.08    35.30     45.26

Car Ins/Registration***         706.8         0.00      0.00        0.00       0.00  640.00   224.47

Car maintenance***                0.00        0.00      0.00        0.00        0.00  101.93     16.99

Home maintenance            552.49         0.00    28.11        0.00     51.27   322.86   159.12

Medical                                 21.80         0.00      0.00        0.00       0.00       0.00       3.63

Gifts/Entertainment            271.64     107.19     37.03      54.11     55.69   119.50   107.53

Other                                      0.00       11.00     14.96        0.00     17.00   357.08     66.67

*2 lines

**5 people

***2 vehicles

Income and Mortgage

My husband and I decided to not disclose this information (or what we contribute to our retirement plans).

I will say that our mortgage bill is 18% of my gross income and 23% of my net income (after deductions for taxes and social security, retirement, HSA contributions, and insurance). Health insurance premium through my employer is $136.78 per pay period ($3,556.28 per year) for the family plan.


Ranged from $28.04 to $41.03 (an outlier because we pressure washed and had lots of visitors) and averaged at $32.18.

Electricity (we do not have natural gas)

Ranged from $96.52 to $124.30 and averaged $107.62. We live in a warm climate and did not need to run the heat over the winter. I have some great electricity saving tips. Nonetheless, I expect the average will be much higher after the summer months.

Cell phone

I was angered by the costs and fees we were paying to a major carrier. When our contract ended we switched to a pre-paid cell service ($40 per line, $35 each with a family plan). We’ve used them for years now and I haven’t had any problems. I love that there is no contract or hidden fees.


Was $69.99 last year, so it went up by $1.99 per month this year.


We canceled this in May. You know how I hate recurrent monthly payments! I don’t miss it.


We averaged $404.71 per month for a family of five! April was higher than usual because we hosted Easter. This category includes our groceries, diapers and wipes, dog food, laundry and dish detergents, hygiene products, and other household goods. I also include eating out (which for us might be a pizza or sandwich).  If we go to a sit-down restaurant it’s for a special occasion and I put that under gifts/entertainment).

Car payment

Haven’t had one of these in years (we drive 14- and 12-year-old vehicles), and plan to never have one again!


Husband is a stay-at-home dad, so we only have one commuter. On the higher-than-average months, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and drove to the beach and some local (free or nearly-free) events. See our tips for saving money on gas.

Car insurance

$623 in January, $640 in June. We pay in full for six months, which saves about $200 a year and decreases the number of bills we have to pay each month. Our bill was a bit higher before we removed collision and comprehensive coverage. While I have high deductibles, I do not skimp on liability coverage. I also purchase UM coverage.

Car registration

$83.8 for the year for both vehicles.

Home maintenance

Termite protection ($285), Dyson Cordless vacuum ($299.00), air conditioner repair ($230), replaced pool pump ($363.79), SkyBell HD motion activated doorbell camera ($151.70, I choseSkyBell because there are no storage cloud fees!), and trips to the home improvement store for miscellaneous items (e.g., pool salt, air filters, water filters).


$21.80 for part of a well visit that, due to how it was coded, was not covered by insurance.


Birthdays, holidays, and kids’ activities. As you can see, we have lots of birthdays in January and February. In June we had a lot of small expenditures plus a graduation/retirement celebration (no, it wasn’t the same person).


Psychology license renewal ($300), continuing education, school-related expenses (e.g., field trips, PTA events), and clothing.

Many people wrote to ask about categories that aren’t included, such as clothes, babysitters (I have 3 kids), and kids’ activities. To be honest, I spend so little on each of these things that they don’t have their own categories.

So How Can You Save?

Upcoming posts will share tips on saving in each of these areas.

Next Food Finances Friday feature will outline how to spend $100 per person per month on food.


How does this compare to your household expenditure?

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