Penny Reviews Her 2016 Spending in Excruciating Detail

Dearest Richard,

Thanks for sharing where your money went in 2016! I love looking at that stuff. I’ll share mine in a minute here.

A couple of things:

1) I didn’t see a category for charity. Please explain.

2) Like you, I don’t budget either. Like I said, I’m trying to teach myself how to spend more money. I’m in no danger of overspending. I always know where my money goes and for what reason it is being spent.

3) You are not materialistic, but (and this is just an observation), it seems that you like to amass experiences (big, expensive experiences) the way other people like to amass material possessions. Still seems like a form of materialism, even though you are not actually collecting material things.

4) I liked your charts, but I was kind of hoping for more. Like, how does your food money breakdown between what you spent at restaurants compared to the grocery store. What exactly does your category of “House” entail (like, toilet paper and contact solution and stuff like that)?

I think you told me once: It would take me 2-3 full days to list out all our expenses and categorize them in detail. Not gonna do it! But I’d love to see these details for a rich person. This is the kind of money porn that people love to look at! Isn’t that what financial voyeurism blogs are all about?!

Anywho, so, without further ado, here is where the Penny family’s money went in 2016, in all of its gloriously excruciating detail…

Okay, so you’re going to have some questions here. And your first question is going to be:

How on earth did you spend only $528 in food to feed your family of six?

Well, Rich, here’s a deep, dark secret. Since we are low income, we get the majority of our food covered by Food Support. I’ll write more about how I feel about this in another post. But, for now, there you have it. We get Food Support, which enables us to put more money to put toward our massive student loan debt. Which will bring you to your next question:

Where are your student loan payments?

For some reason, I like to keep them separate, in my head (and therefore on this paper). Since we are not required to pay them at all, I see them as a place where we are just throwing our extra money.

So, our grand total of expenditures in 2016 was actually:

 $31,942.03 in regular expenses

+$22,000.00 in student loans

 $53,942.03 total

Which brings me to your next question:

But Penny, you’re only making $43,000 a year? How can you pay all that?

My second deep dark secret, Rich, is … we get a massive tax refund every year.

Let’s look at these numbers:

$7,321– 2015 Federal Tax Refund

$2,655 — 2015 State Tax Refund

$2,006 — 2015 Property Tax Refund

$11,982 — Total

So, add that number to the $43,000 in income that we made last year, and we get:


There, now we’re ahead of the game. (Plus, I found $900 on the floor of Home Depot last summer and, after waiting 3 months to see if anyone would come back for it, I got to keep it.)

For the student loans, we have $1,000 taken out every month automatically, and then we put another $10,000 toward it at tax time. If we have more to spare, we pay more. But as you can see, right now, we’re right at that line: $54,982 coming in and $53,942.03 going out.

Like you, I look at what we spent money on and I don’t really regret anything. Well, actually there is this one thing. One time we went to this frozen yogurt place where you could put your own toppings on. We didn’t really know what we were doing, so we just loaded up our frozen yogurt cups and then they weighed it and priced it out based on weight. Each of ours came to over $10! So, that was over $40 in frozen yogurt. What a waste. It wasn’t even very good.

Now, let’s put together some fun charts. I tried to use the same categories as you did, but I ended up having to add a couple.

Okay, and now let’s see what it looks like with the student loan amount thrown in:

Pretty crazy, huh? Good thing I have that 13 year plan.

People sometimes ask me if I feel poor. I don’t. Not at all. I think that there is more to being poor than just a lack of money. There’s this documentary about the war on drugs called The House I Live In. In the film, it said that people don’t have drug problems, they have happiness problems. Happy people don’t get addicted to drugs.

I was thinking about this a bit in terms of poverty. Maybe happy people don’t feel poor. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel financially challenged. It could also be the fact that we do get Food Support, and Medical Assistance, and Scholarships to our private school and stuff like that… but so do other people in our income bracket who are complaining about their lack of money. I don’t know. Just a thought.

Thanks for reading! Now show me some of that money porn!


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