Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

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abat.rama
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Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by abat.rama » Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:09 pm

... I was surprised to see how much less we spent over the past two months because of the stay at home order due to covid19. Our expenses went down by 50%. How about you? What can we learn about our "normal" expenses from this experience?

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by Rob5TCP » Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:18 pm

My expenses went way down. Primarily because I was taking a number of weeks off to go back to the Canadian Rockies and then S.F., Portland and Seattle. Three weeks in Canada and 3 weeks on the West Coast. So, since there has been VERY little to do, my expenses compared to last year, and what I was going to spend this year are down 60-70%. June will be done, but not that dramatically.

jebmke
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by jebmke » Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:19 pm

My bank hasn't issued a statement yet. May is usually light and this year could be very light. My landscaper is behind on billing so I haven't seen a bill for all the work they did in April or May. June will probably pop when I get this bill and July is going to be epic with two quarters of estimated taxes plus my 2019 taxes and property tax bill.

Being retired, our routine has not changed that much so I don't expect expenses to be much different this year.
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sailaway
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by sailaway » Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:22 pm

Do you mind sharing where the savings were?

Our spending has pretty much been a wash. Less gas, but an awesome set of noise cancelling headphones. No eating out, but higher utilities with everyone home all day.

Our big savings came from having to cancel the longest and most elaborate vacation we have ever planned, so not exactly normal spending, anyway.

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TheTimeLord
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by TheTimeLord » Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:23 pm

CC bills for both April and May were down significantly.
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beyou
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by beyou » Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:24 pm

Similar thread already out there :

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=315679

mega317
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by mega317 » Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:27 pm

We have two little kids so honestly we never got out much and our lives are barely different. No daycare so our expenses are way way down just from that. We spent about 10% more on food and the other big changes (paid off our cars and refinanced in March) are not related to coronavirus.
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Olemiss540
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by Olemiss540 » Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:36 pm

Yes. Gas, eating out, and entertainment budgets went almost to zero!
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Ice-9
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by Ice-9 » Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:41 pm

For more than a decade, I've mostly lived by Boglehead principles. We don't buy luxury items, we invest all we can, we avoid high expenses. The biggest thing I've always pictured most folks on this forum disapproving of from our usual spending is restaurants. We live in a great area to dine out and usually take full advantage. The second biggest area I think we might get Boglehead disapproval would be grocery shopping.

For three months, I'm pretty sure our spending would meet even the most frugal Boglehead's standards. :) On Personal Capital, some quick transaction searches reveal restaurant expenses + grocery expenses each of the last three months have been (much) less than either category individually before the pandemic.

Purchases at the deli/beer store at the end of our street have gone up, however.
Last edited by Ice-9 on Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

learningtime
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by learningtime » Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:45 pm

We are down but not sure by how much.
Not eating lunch outside, not shopping for work clothes, not paying for parking (around $250) or train pass (around $300), no sitter for the younger one, etc.
It's a strange time.

pseudoiterative
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by pseudoiterative » Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:21 pm

Not really, expenses are similar -- I don't have kids & share a small apartment with a housemate, and hadn't been spending much money this year anyhow. Expenses in March, April, May are roughly comparable to expenses in Jan, Feb. Went into isolation & started working from home in mid march. To give a breakdown into three buckets:
  1. predictable monthly expenses - rent, utils, groceries, recurring donations : 1375 AUD / month
  2. amortised infrequent predictable annual expenses - travel, dental checkup, private health insurance : AUD 235 / month
  3. everything else - discretionary spend on shopping, restaurants, books, etc : varies a bit, say AUD 0 -- 200 / month
multiply the numbers by 0.7 to convert from AUD to USD.

The expenses from the first bucket roughly haven't changed -- rent, recurring utilities, food spend at supermarket is the same. I was cooking nearly all meals at home anyway, so makes sense. Same for second bucket, since that's budgeting for predictable annual expenses that haven't changed. Expenses on the third bucket have been roughly zero in April and May, but were unusually high for March, due to cost of improving home office when making the switch to work from home full time. So averaged over the entire period of lockdown, spend from this bucket seems comparable to the two few pre-lockdown months of 2020.

poker27
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by poker27 » Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:26 pm

Even paying for a couple weekend trips (Airbnb and car rental) my expenses are wayyyy down. We would eat/drink out at a disgustingly high level. My Costco bills have greatly increased tho due to my drinking at home ;)

Kaizen Soze
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by Kaizen Soze » Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:47 pm

The answer to this question seems to be how much slack/discretionary spending is in your budget and did you rein in?
Ours, not as much discretionary spending as we’d like, so our May expenses are only slightly down from reduced food, gas, and entertainment. I haven’t calculated it, but we’re probably in the down 10-15% range.

MikeG62
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by MikeG62 » Wed Jun 03, 2020 6:56 am

Largest drop are in T&E (it's gone to zero), followed by DW's pocket money, health care out-pocket costs (no doctor visits), restaurant spend, gym dues and gas. T&E is by far the largest underspend.

These savings have been partially offset by grocery spend (which was more than 40% over budget - largest single monthly spend since I began tracking expenses in this level of detail in 2016) and discretionary/misc spend (which was more than 60% over budget - and includes things like Amazon purchases, clothing, home improvement, pool supplies, etc...). Grocery spend has been over budget for 3 months in a row, which is not surprising given we've been in quarantine for that long and are not traveling and otherwise eating out. Discretionary spend was way over budget due to a large amount of online purchases. In fact, we are getting packages delivered to our house almost every single day (a portion of which is attributable to our daughter who is quarantining at home with us and can't stop ordering things). I think both of these categories will settle down a bit in June.
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dukeblue219
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by dukeblue219 » Wed Jun 03, 2020 7:03 am

There's been a bunch of these threads. Our spending is down overall thanks to daycare closed and no gas, but our restaurant budget is way up since we're doing lots of takeout and delivery to support local favorites. Grocery budget is actually up too, since we've been doing more Whole Foods delivery and less Costco.

Susan1963
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by Susan1963 » Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:29 am

We have tracked our spending for a over a decade. Outflows in March April and May were down 40%. Transportation, entertainment, travel, clothing, gifts (no get togethers), and work expenses were almost zero. Also our food spending was actually down. I was baking and big cooking, using the foodstuffs from the pantry, since I had the luxury of time at home

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Sandtrap
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:38 am

Massive spending going on here.
Projects scheduled last year are happening with payments due. New paint and synthetic stucco on our home, new large farm/shop steel building, etc, etc. End of a long 7 year total renovation and property additions.
Unfortunate that the market fell 30% in March. A bit of bad timing (sequence of returns risk in retirement) with these huge outlays but is recoverable thanks to a sound "boglehead portfolio strategy".

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mak1277
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by mak1277 » Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:51 am

Definitely seeing decreased expenses due to stay-at-home. Main driver is that I am no longer eating out for lunch every day as I would for work ($10/day basically). Now eating lighter/less/leftovers at home.

Pomegranate
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by Pomegranate » Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:54 am

Slightly higher - pretty much the same now but planning to buy another shotgun - thanks for peaceful protests :confused

SQRT
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by SQRT » Wed Jun 03, 2020 9:01 am

Big savings in travel, eating out, really most discretionary items. Offset by more groceries and liquor. But these are small in relation to the former. Pretty typical I suspect. The more you usually spend on things that you can’t do now, the more you will save. Obviously.

go_mets
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by go_mets » Wed Jun 03, 2020 9:25 am

Big savings in eating out since we usually eat out twice a week at sit down restaurants.

Groceries have gone up about 33%. We do not do delivery.

Carson
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by Carson » Wed Jun 03, 2020 9:28 am

Our groceries were up in April but down in May. I made a concerted effort not to be bullied into high prices at the stores and adapted our menus/choices instead. Also I managed to avoid a Costco run. That's going to catch up to me this month... :shock:
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hoffse
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by hoffse » Wed Jun 03, 2020 9:52 am

Our spending was down a lot in May. We didn’t have to pay for daycare, but even backing that savings out we were still way under budget. We have not had a single entertainment or eating out expense since March 15. No babysitters, no dry cleaning, and very little personal care (1 haircut for the entire family in 4 months). In fact, I have learned to do some of the things I used to go to a salon to do, so that savings is going to be permanent for us. We haven’t bought gas since the first week in April, etc. Even our medical spending is down because our kid has been out of daycare for 3 months, so none of us have gotten sick.

Our grocery budget is way up, but that’s to be expected since we aren’t eating out at all, and we have no catered lunches at work anymore. Utilities are up a little, but not as much as I would have predicted before this all started.

We are saving some money on our streaming and cell phone service with the AmEx plat offer.

And now with the ability to cash out UR points at 1.5x for grocery spend through the end of September.... well the savings rate is about to get even better because that’s our largest spend category by far!

simmias
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by simmias » Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:08 am

Susan1963 wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:29 am
We have tracked our spending for a over a decade. Outflows in March April and May were down 40%. Transportation, entertainment, travel, clothing, gifts (no get togethers), and work expenses were almost zero. Also our food spending was actually down. I was baking and big cooking, using the foodstuffs from the pantry, since I had the luxury of time at home
This experience has been truly eye-opening to me regarding just how much it costs me to have a job. Not just for transportation and clothing, but for all the times of "sure, let's grab a bite to eat or some drinks" that I often feel obligated to join.

My spending has been down across the board for everything except electricity. Groceries has stayed about the same surprisingly. Waistline has also reduced significantly, to the point where I had to actively add more calories to my diet because I was losing too much weight!

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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:17 am

Income way up, spending down for gas and eating out. Our insurance bill became due for both the house and all the cars. $4k there. June will be another big spending month. We had an at fault accident and the insurance company already gave me a check for the initial estimate (minus my $1k deductible). Brought that to the body shop yesterday, so a $1700 bill will be coming next week. Water heater sprung a leak yesterday. The good news is that the expensive burner can be reused in the new unit. The bad news is that even without paying for a new burner, it's $3k.

To even everything out, my wife started her job and May was her first full month. So there's a big jump up in income. We enrolled her into the 401k at the max ($26,000) which turned out to be 67% of her pay. She was unamused. The company matches 5%. We won't be able to Roth and both have too much in tIRA money to do backdoors. And at 24% federal, it makes no sense to do backdoors, even if we could.

Oh....we have a little rework that's going to be done for the new roof done in the fall. No cost. But once done, it'll be time to paint the house. There's probably $10k.
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MDfan
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by MDfan » Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:19 am

We spent more on groceries and takeout because we have kids back home for a while. Also, golf opened back up so I played a lot of golf in May to make up for lost time. So my answer is probably no.

sean.mcgrath
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by sean.mcgrath » Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:36 am

Expenses down 50% year on year, and are almost exactly the same as the previous two months. Down 36% YTD. Unlike others, we don't eat out (less than once per month) and typically about 20% of my meals are on an expense account when traveling. What's really interesting is that eight of my nine spend categories are down YTD, not just one or two. Spending on the house is the exception, at 108% of last year; definitely lock-down related.

I just read the second part of your question about conclusions. One conclusion is clearly that most of our spend is discretionary, and not even automatic discretionary (meaning, something like our cable TV subscription). The other is that we decided three years ago to ramp up vacation spending by adding City weekends the older and moved out boys are happy to join. Not being able to take them now makes me appreciate what good value for money they have been in creating special times / memories with our boys.
Last edited by sean.mcgrath on Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mw1739
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by mw1739 » Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:57 am

Nope - March and April were way down but May was a bad month. Paid for some repairs to the house (3k), new dishwasher (1k), Anniversary gift, Mother’s Day gift, and the economy started re-opening so we made overdue Costco trips and everyone got haircuts. Aside from the repairs and gifts, spending was down very slightly, maybe $2-300.

foamypirate
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by foamypirate » Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:32 pm

I sure wish! However, it was not to be so.

We moved into a new house right at the beginning of February, so the last few months have been spent on all sorts of stuff you can spend money on in a new home. Decorations, furniture, ceiling fans, a tractor for maintaining the property (we moved to acreage), etc.

3funder
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Re: Did you see a drop in your expenses in May?

Post by 3funder » Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:33 pm

Indeed we did; our childcare expenses dropped dramatically.

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