You’ve all seen the graphs, and I’ve spent the last week or so going over the figures, creating some nice spreadsheet tables, so now we can have a look at what we spent our money on last year. I’m going to try to roll in the 2017 budget as well as I found the two posts quite samey last year, in other words the expenses for, say, Groceries category very much dictated what I put for the budget the following year, so it makes sense to talk about the two things in the same spot. I’ll try to keep the word count down as it should be fairly obvious what is going on from my tables – hopefully! As always if you have any questions let me know in the comments section.

And yes that is Baby T in the picture above, at about 3 months old, she was interested in money already just like her Dad! 🙂


spanky new table format

Last year, for the tables I created to put into my yearly expenses overview, I inexplicably created them in a separate spreadsheet to my mega expenses/income/savings rate/net worth tracker spreadsheet so it was a laborious manual task to create them all and cut/paste the figures over. This was obviously a stupid way to do it considering spreadsheets are all about automation and time saving so this year I went through another small amount of pain fun spreadsheet time and created a new table on the right hand side of my spreadsheets (Click the link above and scroll all the way to the right of either the “Expense Tracker 2017 or 2016” to see them in their full glory). I’ve also included a budget table in the 2017, and it will all update automatically when I enter expenses throughout the year, so I can instantly see how our average monthly spend is comparing to the budgeted amount, as well as last years figures. Pretty cool huh? As usual please feel free to make a copy of this spreadsheet so you can edit it yourself and make improvements/modifications to suit your own situation.

One other thing, I realised there are quite a few categories in the expenses table such as “Donation” and “Sponsor” which really should just all come under “Charity” so in the new 2017 tab I’ve merged those that I think were worth it. I’ve not done so in the 2016 one though so you’ll just have to put up with that for one last yearly review 🙂

OK, OK, enough words already, I can hear what you are shouting right now:

“Bring on the wall!”

(Oh wait… I think I misheard….?)

headline figures


So this is the way it’s going down. Each *thing* we talk about I’ll give you a table like the one above, which will show us 3 sections. This details the monthly budget vs actual spend, and the difference (“delta”) in the left 3 columns, then the same 3 figures but for the yearly totals. If we’re over budget the figure is a positive one and in RED to show we’ve been bad little FIREstarters, and if we’re under budget it’s negative and green.

So an easy one to start with, the total spend.

Look… we went way over budget. This is a common theme around here if you’ve been reading along for the past few years so I don’t think this will come as a surprise to many people. It will be more interesting however to see exactly where we overspent and why, which is all coming up of course. If you wanted to check out previous years then you can do so here for 2014 (final 7 months), and here for 2015.

You can also see our first spending category breakdown of “Mortgage” which we went slightly over budget on because we didn’t remortgage in time around September when the introductory rate ran out and the crappy high SVR 1 kicked in. A cautionary tale to you all!

Now for the second part, the budget for 2017:

I’ve included the monthly and yearly figures again, and the comparison this time is to what we spent last year, with the Delta column this time with red meaning “Budget is higher than what we spent last year” and green vice versa.

So as you can see, I’m basing these figures on 2016 expenses plus some other stuff we can talk about later. As a pre-cursor to this, I’ve decided I’m calling 2017 “the year of the big chill”. I’ll talk about this more in the next post about goal review and setting but just quickly: feel like I need to take the foot of the gas in all areas of life and slow it down and enjoy it – this includes being so picky about our budget. I know I’ve got some decent time off coming up over summer and want to use that to good effect. As well as that, we’ve had some pretty big life changes over the last few years (new house, new kid, etc…) and I would really like to just enjoy some time with the little one without having to worry about doing up the house, finances and all the other things that generally occupy my mind. So we’re gonna be a little looser on the spending this year.

So yes, despite going nearly £4K over budget last year, I’m still giving us even more breathing room for 2017.

One final thing to note here is at least the budget for the Mortgage should now be bang on because we’re on a fixed rate for 10 years (yes!!!).

Now let’s break it down by category



The big red here as you can see is Groceries so I won’t waste your time talking about much else. Before we continue the word Groceries basically covers anything we buy in a food shop or supermarket.

But why did we spend so much compared to budget?

  • Extremely bad estimate from yours truly, because I…
  • Didn’t take into account baby formula (duh!) plus nappies etc all of which come in to *at least* £50/month.
  • Didn’t take into account Mrs T would be living at home during the day and therefore eating lunch! (She used to get free lunch at work)
  • Didn’t take into account all of our alcohol purchased generally gets shoved into this category (I’ve removed that spending category from “Lifestyle” section

I’m not going to lie and say this wasn’t way over what it should have been anyway, but I think the above factors account for at least £1K of the extra spend, so it’s not as bad as it first appeared. Having said that, it has been noted and we’ll approach 2017 with a new found vigour to keep our grocery expenses down low!

Onto the 2017 budget…

So not much changing here but obviously we’ll try to trim the “groceries” budget to £320/month average, which I think is eminently doable! I think having a sensible target is key with this sort of thing. Last year I saw we were going so far over our ridiculous target of £230/month and kind of just buried my head in the sand about it (because it never seemed achievable so what’s the point, right?). Had we had a more sensible target, I might have pulled us up on it earlier and taken some action due to the view that we could still turn it around and come in under budget. A lesson to be learnt there for all of us, most certainly!



Over budget again here. I’ll admit that at least £200 of this was me (maybe £300, definitely no more) which I probably didn’t budget for at all which was silly. I’ve done well at not buying clothes for a few years but it’s catching up with me now so I needed a few bits to stop me from looking like a hobo… not a good look! 🙂

Next year I’m sticking this one in the “Lifestyle” category as don’t really see why it’s got it’s own one, so the budget will be discussed later on.


going out & holidays

I’m actually calling a win on this one, as we started paying for a holiday that we never knew we’d be going on (friends getting married in Dubai…£££ alert!!!) so that extra £884 in the holiday section is all down to that.

However in 2017 things are getting messy….

As you can probably tell from the big red number we are planning a few more holidays this year than we did last year. Baby TFS is old enough to travel about a bit (or more importantly we’re now confident enough to travel about with her!) and I’ve got 8 weeks (in 2 x 4 week stints) off over the summer period. It would seem silly not to make use of this time to go and see some of the world, and I’m really looking forward to it! We also seem to have hit another wedding season (I thought this was all over!?!?) so the “going out” budget is slightly inflated too. Here is a quick run down of what’s included in this part of the budget:

  • 5 weddings (one of which is in Dubai but we’ve paid for some of that already)
  • 3 week France road trip
  • 2 stag do’s (1 abroad), 1 hen do
  • UK break with my family
  • 2 x IOW caravan trips with friends, and Mrs T’s family

The bulk of the holiday spending is Dubai and France. I have no idea how expensive France is going to be but reckoned about £2,000 all in, if people have any opinions on that or cheap travel tips, please do let me know!

Having said all of that, I really hope I’ve over-budgeted here and we come in under this number! There is a chance, I’m hoping, that we’ll be so busy with all of the above there won’t be much “normal” going out needed and so that figure will reduce to compensate slightly, but we’ll have to see.

Either way, it’s gonna be a fun year 🙂



Finally a bit of green! It’s only a small amount but I’ll take anything I can get at this point 😉

I’m quite impressed with this, we managed to keep the, admittedly old and pretty crappy 2 TFS mobile (mkii) on the road for just £94/month. On a cost basis this shits all over having a new or new-ish car on a monthly payment plan. Yes I know, you don’t get the shiny BMW but it gets me from A to B just as well. Petrol also came in under budget as well, probably because Mrs T was not commuting to work for most of the year.

This is one of the ones where I’m rolling pointless categories into one going forward to now we will just have “Public transport” which will cover all other transport costs. Parking probably all just gets eaten up in the “cash” section as we never remember to tag that properly. A lot of public transport also just gets tagged in the “Going out” section but if we remember to tag it properly it can go in here. In any case, I’m slightly over budgeting compared to last year because, well, you never know what could go wrong with a 14 year old car!


personal care

Some more much needed green! The bulk of this was on Hair & Beauty stuff coming in under budget. Needless to say none of that has anything to do with me so well done to Mrs T on that one.

Dropping the budget here slightly as we came in under last year. Leaving hair dressing high as we have those weddings to attend and I know that means you gotta get your ‘do done!


home & garden

Went over here by £223 but actually pretty happy with this. The reasons being I made my own shelving unit and generally redecorated the hall way which wasn’t really budgeted for. Some slack was taken up in the Garden section which was generally left to it’s own devices in 2016.

There aren’t any big projects left to do this year and so barring any unforeseen expenses (yea yea… I know!) it should be safe to budget way less in this category compared to 2016. It should hopefully be tying up a lot of loose ends from my big jobs last year, and probably a lick of paint here and there. We are definitely not buying any more furniture in 2017, after having a weird fetish of buying (second hand, at least) tables over the last few years 🙂

I will also be aiming to make more of a go in the garden arena this year so have left that up in the £300 range even though we only spent £64 last year!



£140 over budget in this category and cash was the main offender here, second to take aways. Naughty us! Cash in all honesty was always just spent on “going out” so maybe I should just tag any spare cash as that, but I think I’ll leave it as a tag name going forward anyway as there is always a bit of cash that you just really can’t remember where it went. Apparently we didn’t spend much on electronics/gadgets last year which doesn’t sound right but then again I can’t remember anything we bought that was big so maybe it is!

Good to see Games/Gaming/Gambling all down to zero as I made a profit every single month last year with matched betting (despite even having one or two major goof ups!), and I am confident I will do the same next year so will remove those tags out of the spreadsheet. Which brings us onto…

I’ve also removed Alcohol and will tag all of that under “Groceries” to keep things simple. I’ve combined Music and Apps because it amounts to the same thing really nowadays (most music is bought through the phone anyway!). I’ve moved clothes into this group category as well and hope I’m not naive enough to think we can “only” spend £100 on them during 2017.


gifts & charity

Another category I am more than happy to have gone over on. The main reason being we decided to donate 10% of matched betting profits to charity around half way through the year, which was of course not budgeted for. This accounts for £519 of the £856 over budget with the rest just because we were a bit over generous with other gifts to friends and family. I can think of worse things to spend your money on than that.

Keeping the budget around the same this year seems to make sense, the only difference being that I know we’re gonna be donating around £1200 to charity if I hit my target Matched Betting earnings of around £1000/month, so that is now budgeted for, and hoping that we can very slightly keep birthdays and Christmas present spending in check this year. You will also noticed I’ve collapsed “Sponsor” and “Donation” into “Charity” because there is clearly no need to distinguish between the two! 🙂


hobbies & sport

I came in under budget on golf which is pretty decent. Just goes to show this hobby does not have to be very expensive! The running tags seem low and will definitely go up next year while squash can come down as I’m paying £10/month for effectively unlimited squash at a gym near work now. Gym is Mrs T’s category and she didn’t get much time to get down there with the baby in 2016 but is planning on doing far more this year. Likewise we’ll be spending quite a bit on photos this year no doubt, as we have about 15,000 cute pics of baby T to print out. Who needs wallpaper eh? 😉

All of which is to say that the budget this year remains pretty much the same as last year:


admin & financial

Couldn’t tell you what we went over on here but it’s pretty insignificant so I’ll just bump it up slightly for next year (Admin – other budget of £0 did seem a little optimistic!)

The Charges section must be bumped up as I had to pay a £467 tax payment when doing our tax return in January, so I put it there. Not a great start to the year!


baby TFS

Baby TFS came in well under budget and proves having a kid (at least when they’re new born) does not have to be expensive. Please note this didn’t include nappies and food and all that jazz which just went into the groceries category.

Seeing as most of the big stuff you need to buy a baby comes within the first year I see no reason why we can’t drop the budget here for 2017. The only big thing we can think of will be a new car seat when she gets a bit bigger, but everything else (Pram, buggy, high chair etc…) are all sorted for a good few years now.



Yes so we went over budget but no I’m not really all that bothered about it. The main reasons were clear:

  • Ridiculous estimate of groceries spend
  • Unforeseen holiday to Dubai (about 70% of it paid for last year although going in Feb 2017)
  • Extra DIY project
  • Gave extra money to charity

I’m also very happy with what we actually did with the money we spent this year. I think it’s fair to say we made it go a looooong way. Give a spendy couple £37,000 for a year and I bet they’d end up with maybe a one week holiday and a load of expensive plastic crap laying about the house. Looking back at what we did on the holidays and house improvements front I think it easily equates to a £50,000 spend for a couple who might be considered “average” on the finances front.

I’ve given ourselves more breathing room in 2017 and hopefully we can actually come in near to or under it… we’ll bloody well have to as the income side of the equation is starting to get stretched a bit. More on this next post where I’ll do a – much quicker than this you’ll be glad to know – summary of our income last year and expected income this year! (Along with the goals review and setting post, in no particular order)

Once again happy 2017 to you all 😉

What do you think?

Did we spend like horny sailors on shore leave or do you think this was a reasonable year?

Am I crazy in thinking we can actually beat our 2017 budget?


Let me know, in the comments below! 🙂



  1. Standard Variable Rate
  2. I say that like I don’t like it. Not true, I love this motor!