Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

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PhillyPhan
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Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by PhillyPhan »

I was rather shocked to see our spend this year is trending towards a 30% reduction, mostly attributed to the pandemic.
I had a feeling we were spending less, but figured it was more a reallocation to other areas with a much smaller net reduction.

Some of the notable items missing from this years spend, travel (~5k), clothing (~1.5K), gasoline (~1k), dining out (3k), Starbucks and spontaneous work lunches and happy hours (2k).

In addition to the lower spend, we have more or less avoided the city wage tax (~3.5%), and eliminated our public transit spend (3k which leads to an even lower spend (~35%).

I am not quite sure how to feel about this as I imagine our reduced spend is similar to millions of others and it cant be a good thing for the economy.

Curious if others are trending in the same direction for 2020?
retiredjg
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by retiredjg »

Haven't done any math, but I have observed that my checking account balance is going up a little each month. I don't think my spending has gone down as much as yours, but I was already retired when the pandemic arrived.

Trying to spend as much as I can at local businesses. Also have mixed feelings.
spectec
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by spectec »

Our 2020 spending would have been lower, except for that prepaid Viking cruise we're hoping to take in 2021 (or maybe 2022 :shock: ) But on the other hand that same amount will presumably reduce spending for that year (unless we double up), so the reduction shows up somewhere. In some areas we have increased spending (such as tipping extra for most services), and definitely have increased our giving, but all in all I'd say our routine spending has generally been less.
Last edited by spectec on Sat Nov 21, 2020 2:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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jebmke
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by jebmke »

I had a big tax bill this year (for 2019). Also pumping a lot into the state Food Bank so we are pretty even on the year.

Groceries are probably up a little bit and eating out is about the same - just take-out instead of inside.
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WoodSpinner
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by WoodSpinner »

Our expected spending has gone down by about 25%, but .....

We ended up increasing spending this year because:
- Converted 50% more from IRA to Roth than planned to the top of 24% bracket, (I am 61).
- Made large gifts to my Daughter/Son-in-Law
- Had to replace Tankless Water Heater
- Unexpected repair expenses on our RV


Sigh, so we are just a bit above our target and still doing well.

Despite our planning, life gets messy!

WoodSpinner
KyleAAA
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by KyleAAA »

We ended up spending more doing home projects, with more to come.
khram
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by khram »

At first it reduced, then it increased. I wasn't using gas, wasn't going to restaurants as much, canceled all gym memberships basically. Later I "got rid of" my car, at least for now.

But bought a ton of home gym equipment. With home office and home gym, I am now moving to a bigger place. Eventually I will get a newer car (I didn't sell, but it was totaled and I'm just not buying quite yet, effectively the same thing as a sell with insurance payout), which will essentially push forward a big purchase that I had figured would wait a few years. Will be spending money on movers, etc., will be buying a few additional pieces of furniture. Am doing grocery delivery now, which is marginally more expensive with tips (but less, at least for now, if you consider I don't have a car). Before my car got destroyed, I also dropped about $1000 on maintenance throughout the year.

I do feel my expenses are going to start scaling. But once I go to the office, I'll have my home gym forever. Won't need to schedule my work hours around what times the gym is least crowded, won't need to get home late from the gym, will have more time at home to read etc. And I've spent more money on books this year than before. Which is also good.

I did travel, but it was a road trip, not too expensive since I was at my vacation house, just some hotels along the way.
mgensler
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by mgensler »

Excluding taxes, our expenses are down 25% vs last year. The biggest drop is travel and ATM/Cash. The last time we went to the ATM was in August.
MathWizard
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by MathWizard »

Spending has been reduced about 20% .

Reductions are mostly travel to/from work, eating out, entertainment, goodies for the office staff, vacations
and trips to see relatives.
We have been ordering some takeout to help keep local businesses afloat, and have upped
charitable contributions, or the spending would have been reduced even more.

It's good to know that we can cut back to this amount if we need to in retirement due to a more severe
downturn that I plan on.
HomeStretch
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by HomeStretch »

Our spending is down significantly in the same categories. We decided to funnel the money into a few house repairs/projects - water leak and repair, add a standby generator, replace 1 AC system, fence repairs and update landscaping in certain parts of yard. It made staying at home more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.
flyingaway
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by flyingaway »

We probably spend more, mostly in casinos. Money has to be spent, I never had that problem: how can we spend that money?
BabaWawa
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by BabaWawa »

Similar trend for us, about 25-30% under budget. Travel, gas, restaurants way down. But we'll make up for it once the vaccines are hopefully widely distributed next year.
e5116
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by e5116 »

With daycare being closed for several months, saved a lot of money there as they did not charge although I still donated some monies. I'm sure a lot in same boat. Eventually got a nanny which was slightly less than two in daycare, now back to daycare.

Travel and eating out definitely less, grocery up. I had large business expenses in the past though so would get reimbursed on those items (so free food for the week) and get a decent sized chunk of awards which are no more. Many by me with young children are sending their kids to private schools to be in person so have those large additional expenses, my kids aren't quite at that age yet.

So yes, spending down this year because of pandemic. I expect there is huge pent up demand for travel and dining. I plan to travel a lot with the family personally once it's safe again to do so.
howard71
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by howard71 »

The amount of money we usually spent on travelling was more than offset by the upgrades made to our home while we were cocooning. We had to cancel our planned trip to Europe but we have some nice new furniture and appliances. Especially enjoying the patio which we never used before but now it's nice and comfy and becoming our favorite room.
pseudoiterative
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by pseudoiterative »

I switched to working from home in late march. There were some small pandemic related expenses at the start of the period (a couple of hundred bucks getting a better desk for the home office) but apart from that my monthly spend while working from home during 8 months of partial/complete lockdown is comparable to pre-pandemic monthly spend during jan-feb this year. Back in the before-times when i was commuting to the office, that was cycling by bike, and i'd usually pack my own lunch from home, so in my situation i didn't have any additional savings due to working from home -- i continued to maintain roughly the same savings from my pre-pandemic routine.

I am spending a bit more money eating out now that we're out of hard lockdown in my city, and enjoying it.
hicabob
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by hicabob »

I don't bother to budget but definitely have reduced spending. Nipped my travel in the bud dramatically and eating out of course.
Spending a bit more on the house though.
yules
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by yules »

Interesting question, because this in many cases is forcing us to recognize what is discretionary that we thought was essential after certain items lifestyle creeped into our lives.

I am interested to know how much geography plays a role in pandemic expenses. For example, I used a lot more air conditioning at home during the summer, rather than be in the office air conditioning for 9 hours a day, so when I saw that bill, it was a punch in the mouth!

Yules
Topic Author
PhillyPhan
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by PhillyPhan »

mgensler wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:03 pm Excluding taxes, our expenses are down 25% vs last year. The biggest drop is travel and ATM/Cash. The last time we went to the ATM was in August.
Same with me, I habitually would take out 40-60 every 2 weeks and this is no longer a thing.
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PhillyPhan
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by PhillyPhan »

flyingaway wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:24 pm We probably spend more, mostly in casinos. Money has to be spent, I never had that problem: how can we spend that money?
Interesting, pre-pandemic, Poker was a hobby, but all the rooms around here are closed now.
PharmerBrown
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by PharmerBrown »

I would guess ours was around 30% also......just the other way.
We haven't been following a budget for the last 6 months. We did a DIY home projects. We'll get back on track next year.
TigerNest
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by TigerNest »

Oh goodness, it's been such a dramatic change:
  • Childcare: From $3,400 / month to $0 (we take turns watching the kids & get help from the grandparents)
  • Housing: From $4,900 / month to $3,200 (We moved out of New York City, stopped renting and bought a place)
  • Commute: $150 / month to $0. We're both working from home

That's $5,250 / month right there.

Also we stopped spending money entirely on:
  • Dry Cleaning (no more suits to work)
  • Haircuts
  • Laundry - (we own a washer/dryer now instead of having to pay $2.25 / load)
  • Gym
  • Dental Insurance (cancelled)
  • Dress clothes (I went through multiple pairs of shoes / year due to NYC weather)
  • Lunch at work
  • Babysitters
  • Dining Out
  • Uber/ Taxi
  • Shows/ museums / events
  • Vacations and Travel
Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by Ron Ronnerson »

2020 has been an interesting and surprising year for sure. I got a small raise, our investments are up, and our home value appreciated while our costs went down for the year.

These are some of our changes in costs per month:
-mortgage payment: down $365 due to refinancing
-auto depreciation: down $100 or so (we replace cars mainly based on miles rather than on age of the vehicle)
-gas: down $100 month (working from home)
-auto maintenance/repairs: down about $50/month
-auto insurance: down $65/month on two cars (switched from State Farm to Geico)
-travel: down about $400/month (mostly in refunded miles and points for flights and hotels)
-health insurance premiums: down $220/month for our family compared to last year
-entertainment: down $50/month (no going out to the movies, etc.)
-eating out: down about $100 month
Total: $1450/month

The $2900 stimulus we received (which comes to the equivalent of an additional $240/month) helped cover some costs for the year too.

Factoring it all in, I’d say costs are down somewhere between 20-25% for us.
flyingaway
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by flyingaway »

PhillyPhan wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:05 pm
flyingaway wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:24 pm We probably spend more, mostly in casinos. Money has to be spent, I never had that problem: how can we spend that money?
Interesting, pre-pandemic, Poker was a hobby, but all the rooms around here are closed now.
Anything other than poker is open.
EnjoyIt
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by EnjoyIt »

Spending is down about 17-18% from last year. But much of it is because we had done expensive medical bills last year and we used a ton of chase point for groceries, and travel expenses that we would normally paid cash for. We actually have done a decent amount of traveling the last few months. But all within the US to less populated areas to get away from the city.
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InMyDreams
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by InMyDreams »

2020 - First year of paying "retiree" health insurance.
2019 - First year of more free time, so lots spent on travel.

I had just run a spending comparison report in Quicken earlier today - my 2020 total spending is very close to 2019 because of the travel last year and the health insurance this year.

Definitely fewer $$ on dining, too.
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geerhardusvos
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by geerhardusvos »

Besides building an American ninja warrior course inside for the kids, we have spent less in almost every category except for groceries.
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goos_news
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by goos_news »

It's definitely less than 30%. Maybe more like 18%. Travel, restaurants, gas, pet care, personal care are the main savings. I actually had to return to going to office several months ago, but lunch is free now.

Spending on groceries increased a bit, and we lost rental revenue. Charitable giving is up, especially since my company is matching 2:1 for COVID.
Gnirk
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by Gnirk »

My total spending is down 33% for 2020 as of today, and almost all of my Christmas shopping is done.
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dodecahedron
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by dodecahedron »

KyleAAA wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:00 pm We ended up spending more doing home projects, with more to come.
Same here.

Also increased charitable giving AND increased my contributions to support election of political candidates aligned with my values. (The former tax deductible and the latter not.) But both increases were partly motivated by Pandemic considerations. In the case of charitable contributions, I particularly increased support of charities that help the most vulnerable members of society deal with the economic fallout of the Pandemic.
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Artful Dodger
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by Artful Dodger »

Cut back travel drastically, but spent more on home improvements, so at least for this year it's a wash. Most of the vendors (flooring, tile, plumbers, glass, kitchen appliance, carpentry, tree service, etc) have been real busy - scheduling two to three months out. I know the home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowes) had some big quarters. A friend of mine who owns a couple of Ace Hardware stores said his business was up 40%.

I certainly feel for the restaurants and entertainment venues. Had already bought tickets for two concerts that were refunded.
quantAndHold
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by quantAndHold »

About even. Less travel, more remodeling.
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JS-Elcano
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by JS-Elcano »

I don't think my spending has gone down. It may even have been a bit more. An international trip that I had planned and already paid for was postponed to next year and then we decided to do a domestic trip instead. So, I had expenses for two trips.

I spent more money around and in the house, nothing major, but small things that I tackled on weekends when I couldn't do other things due to the pandemic. But I also saved some because I work from home three days a week, and I saved money by not going out to upscale restaurants and cultural events that we usually subscribe to, but were all canceled. So, I would say it balanced out in the end. Certainly not 20% changes.
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Picasso
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by Picasso »

I actually think that our spending has increased by about ~5% as we are making more elaborate meals and fueling newfound hobbies. This is doesn’t have me concerned. It’s nice to spend so much dedicated time with my wife.
AlohaJoe
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by AlohaJoe »

Spending is down 40% for us. Our travel spending was about 50% of our budget in normal years and while we've done a few domestic trips in Vietnam haven't had any big, expensive international trips. Haven't felt the need to spend money on remodeling just because of the pandemic this year.
protagonist
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by protagonist »

We had our house painted, so I imagine that probably offset our reduction in day to day spending.
protagonist
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by protagonist »

We had our house painted, so I imagine that probably offset our reduction in day to day spending. But it needed to be done.
ccf
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by ccf »

Our spending is up due to food costs. I haven't been comfortable going to the supermarket so it's been food delivery, more expensive local stores (which I am happy to support), mail ordering specialty items, and sometimes takeout.
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manatee2005
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by manatee2005 »

I think if the pandemic reduced your spending by 30% it means that you were spending too much before the pandemic.

My spending didn't decrease much because I was already at a low level and I couldn't cut any more.

How did you spend $5k on vacation? That's $500 per day on average 10 day vacation.
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Cycle
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by Cycle »

our spending went up. had to get a household employee, ie a nanny. we spend less on travel and commuting...
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Explorer
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by Explorer »

My monthly credit card bills are lower.. and I do pay them off in full.
KlangFool
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

No change for me.


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SDLinguist
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by SDLinguist »

Discretionary spending has fallen off a cliff for us.

The two biggest things are just going out to eat/bars/socialize/movies and activities on the weekend have dropped to almost non-existent.

We probably ate out half our meals before March. Now on a "bad week" it might be 3 times total and that probably includes $1.50 for a Costco hotdog.

We were spending north of $1k more months that not on eating out and now its 10% of that, if that.

Groceries have gone up but nowhere near that drop off.
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

Dinners at restaurants: way down.
Lunches at restaurants (take-out): way Up.
Foods: up.
Gas: way down.
Utilities: up.
--------
Net: probably down.
KyleAAA
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by KyleAAA »

manatee2005 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:58 pm I think if the pandemic reduced your spending by 30% it means that you were spending too much before the pandemic.

My spending didn't decrease much because I was already at a low level and I couldn't cut any more.

How did you spend $5k on vacation? That's $500 per day on average 10 day vacation.
You could spend $5k just on flights for a family of 4, depending on where you went. 2 hotel rooms for $200/night each would put you close to that, as well.
sailaway
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by sailaway »

We cancelled our international vacation and drove less, but grocery prices went up and we donated more than usual. Pretty much a wash.
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PhillyPhan
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by PhillyPhan »

manatee2005 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:58 pm I think if the pandemic reduced your spending by 30% it means that you were spending too much before the pandemic.

My spending didn't decrease much because I was already at a low level and I couldn't cut any more.

How did you spend $5k on vacation? That's $500 per day on average 10 day vacation.
I don't see it as spending too much but more related to the environment we spend our days in. We both worked in the city and would often grab lunch with coworkers or head out to happy hours, or take a starbucks break. We would also enjoy spending money on new clothing for work and went on date nights with other couples. Our 5k vacation save was a result of eliminating almost all of our typical travel, which involves 2-3 trips per year.
capran
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by capran »

Pretty impressed that people track their spending as thoroughly as so many comments indicated. We rarely eat out anyway, so have not reduced something that is so low to begin with, so no impact there. But we didn't do a 4 to 6 week fall road trip which, even with mostly tent camping, usually costs at least 3k, so that will have an effect on businesses in the US (gas, camp fees and an occasional motel). And this will be the first year since we started going to Mexico for a couple of months in the winter in 2012 that we won't be going. But except for airline tickets, the reduction of spending won't affect US business, but results in at least a 6k reduction in our spending. We spend the summer on a boat, so the only change there was the little money we spend stayed in the US since Canada was closed. Looks like our balance sheet may be a little higher year over year, but not a huge difference.
JordanIB
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by JordanIB »

Down about 50%. Mainly due to lack of trips/vacations and eating out.
River in Sight
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by River in Sight »

It was interesting to analyze this in Quicken. We live in a city, normally eat out a lot and travel quite a bit, so I assumed our spending would be down; but overall, year to date vs. last year, it's actually up a bit..

Childcare expense has fallen dramatically, as has public transportation cost (no more monthly passes since March). The "entertainment" category is also way down, no more sports events or concerts; health and fitness is also down since my wife canceled her gym membership.

However, I was surprised to see Food & Dining was actually up since last year. We don't eat out at all during COVID, but to support the local restaurants that we like I started getting take out lunch 2x per week and take out dinner 2x week at the restaurants within a couple blocks of home. Surprisingly to me, I seem to be spending more money on this than I was in 2019 when we were regularly eating out. Also somewhat shocking how much I have spent on coffee this year, again I have increased how often I get coffee out to support some of the local businesses. And although our airfare spending is way down, we did spend a lot on hotels for weekend trips to get out of the city so travel is not as far off as I would have thought. Interesting exercise.
AlohaJoe
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Re: Pandemic reduced our spending by 30% - How about you?

Post by AlohaJoe »

manatee2005 wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:58 pm I think if the pandemic reduced your spending by 30% it means that you were spending too much before the pandemic.
Why does it mean that? I don't understand how they are logically related.
How did you spend $5k on vacation? That's $500 per day on average 10 day vacation.
So? What's wrong with spending $500 a day? Why should I die with money left over if I have enough to spend $500 a day on holidays?
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