Loonie IT Guy's Vice: Spreadsheets

This didn't look right at first.
I love spreadsheets. I love that I can play around with the numbers to give me information beyond anything I could hope for.

I love that calculations are instantaneous once I add in the formulas I want. I love that I can make charts and graphs to display the numbers I've crunched.

Wifey isn't as enthused with spreadsheets. She deals with spreadsheets at work, so she doesn't really want to deal with them at home as well.

The other week, I was on Mint trying to navigate the trends section to display our total spending YTD for 2014. After some unsuccessful clicks, I managed to pull up a chart. Holy cow! We were spending more money on cars than on our mortgage! No, wait. That wasn't right. Even though gas was at an all time high, I last filled the tank in the middle of June. Something didn't add up. Upon closer inspection, I found that Mint was more than doubling the amount we spent on insurance!

One of the things I like about Mint is that it allows you to split up a single transaction into many categories to be filed correctly. If we go to Wal-Mart to buy some milk and wifey buys a pair of socks for her mom, we can split the transaction to be categorized under Food and Family. We do this splitting each month when we pay the insurance bill since we combine our home and auto insurance with the same company. However, when Mint grabbed the information for our auto expenses, it grabbed the split amount and the original amount!

No amount of clicking and navigating could help me fix this bug, so I gave up and went to Google Drive to work on a new spreadsheet. Since I did most of my tracking on Google anyway, it didn't take much time to populate a new sheet with our YTD expenses. Once that was done, I created a simple pie chart to display the data.

Holy cow! We are spending 46% of our money on housing!

I did a quick check in my head, that didn't make sense either. I looked at the numbers more closely and realized that this percentage was based on total expenses! Ah... that makes more sense. Since wifey and I don't buy much stuff, of course most of our money will go to housing.

I also realized I didn't factor in our 'Other' expenses. It's strange, but we have a Miscellaneous category and an Other category. The Miscellaneous category is meant for things like shampoo, or dish detergent, or toilet paper while the Other category is meant for things we don't normally do monthly like visits to the dentists or trips out of the city.

As a result, I added in the amount we were saving (net income - all expenses) and the other expenses category to create a new pie chart.

Ah... this looks much better.
This made much more sense. Our home (mortgage + property taxes + home insurance) was about 33% of our take home pay. If we include utilities, it would be around 36%. Fairly decent. Our transportation costs were a respectable 13%. The finance lady on TV suggests we have 15% of our income in transportation costs. The amount we were spending is fairly okay for us considering wifey takes public transit and we have insurance on two vehicles. Personally, I'd love to remove one car, but wifey insists her parents have the freedom to drive to the beach or where ever they fancy.

Our Life insurance costs are a little higher, but I expect that number to go down considerably. More on that in a later post.

Our savings rate is lower than I would like. However, considering the cost savings measures I've taken the past few months, I expect this percentage to increase. This number also doesn't consider the money I receive from Amazon or wifey's 5% company match to her RRSP.

Elated with the results, I eagerly showed wifey the charts and figures.

She shrugged her shoulders and wondered if that was all I did that evening.


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