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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Where Did My Money Go?

Have you ever wondered where your money has all gone when you look at your bank account?  Ever been asked to "upgrade" something for "only $10/month"?  This post is all about finding where that money went and why $10/month may not be so cheap.

The $10 upgrade
Let's say you have broadband internet and are paying $50 / month.  You see a special where you can order cable on TV and internet in a bundle and it would only cost $80.  So you get it.  The cable company calls later asks if you want to upgrade to digital cable for just $10 more / month. Wow, ok.  All these new channels for only $10 sounds great.  Then you get a new TV so hey might as well get HD cable for another $10/month.   A few months down the line your friend has DVR and you get jealous that he or she can record shows and watch it any time they want to.  The cable company offers this for only $10 more / month.  Wow that's cheap.  Ok get it.

By all means, if you can't live without DVR or HD, that's fine, but think about a time when you didn't have this or if you could go an alternative route.  If you didn't have HD, DVR, or cable for TV your bill would be $50.  Now that you do have it your bill is $110.  You would've saved $60 / month or $720 per year.  Sorry, that's for another post.  For this post, I'm just trying to point out that $10 upgrades sounds fine one at a time, but when you add up all the upgrades, it starts to do just that, add up.

The One time yet Reoccurring Cost
These types of costs are things like car registration, dentist bills, Costco memberships, etc.  They don't hit you every month, but they do have a cycle.  I for one didn't pay attention to these costs as they did not occur very frequently.  It was almost like a one time cost.  If you break it down however, it gets pretty interesting...

Breaking it Down

  • A $50 annual Costco membership costs only $4.16 every month
  • A $60 semi-annual dentist visit (horrible copay) costs only $10 every month
  • A $240 annual Car insurance costs only $20 every month
Below are my expenses along with the honey's expenses broken down per month.  This is a list of as many things I could think of that takes money from my pocket.
Update:  A few more things that, depending on your budget, may impact where your money went.  Think of the reoccurring necessities like toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, etc.  Alone, they are inexpensive, but together multiplied by their frequency of purchases adds up to you saying "Where did my money go?"  So you may want to include those into your breakdown of your spending.

All Expenses

This is what it would've looked like if I just looked at my monthly statements.
Consistently reoccurring monthly bills

The difference between your bills that consistently reoccur and the bills that you pay once in a while or that slightly vary every month is where your money goes.  For us it was almost $500 / month.  This is the google docs version of the spreadsheet I used to figure all this out.


  1. I have really enjoyed reading your post. How many people don't even look at their monthly statement.

    Splitting up bills as you have done so above can put your monthly budget into prospective.

  2. I wanted to let you know that over three years since you first posted this on your blogspot, I found it online.
    This is exactly what my husband and I have been looking for! Every month we would ask, "Where did our money go?" The setting up each and every payment, especially those that fall into our "One time yet Recurring Cost," really makes sense!
    Thank you for your honesty; I've just spent three hours wading through bank records to confirm that I've gotten everything down on our Google Docs spreadsheet.
    Thank you again and God bless you and Honey! ☺