What I spent in 2023

Posted on: 20 March 2024

I like to have a handle on my spending. I track pretty meticulously what I spend personally and as a family. I’ve previously talked about how to master your spending habits, where I delved into how I track what I spend, what I spend and how I analyse it.

Over a year on from writing the post, I thought it would be useful to share what a “year in my life” looks like for my spending. Heads up; this was written as much for me as anyone else as a “deep dive” into where my money was spent; an exercise I encourage you to do annually too.

My budget

My wife and I have our salaries paid into a shared account and pay ourselves an equal monthly allowance from that, to cover our own individual interests. This started at £275 in January 2023 and grew to £325 by the end of the year. It totalled £3,525.00 over 2023.

This income is supplemented by several other pots of money, including health plan payouts, gifted money and the sale of old items.

Top categories

Where I spent the most money in 2023, by category:

  1. Running
  2. Health & Wellbeing
  3. Tech
  4. Gifts
  5. Chelsea
  6. Transport
  7. Food & drink out
  8. Football
  9. Home gym
  10. Charity

Running (£765 spent)

No surprises here. Running has become my primary hobby over the last few years, so inevitably I wanted to spend the majority of my hard earned money on it. This was also me holding back somewhat, knowing I was on a tight budget; I could’ve spent a lot more if I’d given in to my imagination!

Here’s a breakdown of what I bought in the running category last year:

  • 4 pairs of shoes (sold 1): £270
  • Race entries & track sessions: £215
  • Clothing: £190
  • Strava subscription: £55
  • Nutrition: £35

Health & wellbeing (£530 spent; £195 claimed back)

I take my health a lot more seriously these days. A combination of having kids, having hobbies that put a demand on my body, and just growing older really. The breakdown:

  • Vivo Life protein powder subscription & Huel: £200
  • Dental plan: £180
  • Contact lens subscription: £110
  • Bulk deodorant top-up: £25
  • Supplements/vitamins: £15

Tech (£470 spent; £195 from pots)

I pay off my phone interest-free each month. I also splashed on a few gadgets last year, funded partially by gifted money and old tech sales:

  • Phone payments: £225
  • Replacement Shokz bone conduction headphones: £90
  • Key Light Air (used): £90
  • Garmin HRM Pro Plus HR monitor chest strap: £65

Gifts (£430 spent; £145 from pots)

I made 37 gift purchases last year. This figure remains high year-on-year. Some lovingly chosen, others admittedly made more out of social obligation.

Chelsea (£420 spent; £380 from pots)

I bought tickets for 9 games last year, plus an annual membership to Chelsea and the Chelsea Supporters Trust. I’m fortunate that the majority of this was funded by a pot of money I accumulated in 2020. This pot will be exhausted at some point in 2024 so I need to find another source of income to fund watching Chelsea. The breakdown:

  • Tickets: £380
  • Chelsea Membership: £35
  • Chelsea Supporters Trust: £5

Food & drink out (£400 spent)

I made 49 individual transactions on food or drink (excluding snacks); too many to breakdown. Certainly not an insignificant amount. This amount would almost certainly be higher though if I worked in an office.

Transport (£375 spent)

I take the train a lot. Going up to London to watch the football, socials with friends in Brighton & Hove and travelling to races and Parkruns. I renewed my annual Network Railcard to discount these journies. Last year I bought 38 train tickets and 2 bus tickets. I also spent a small amount on fuel and parking for shared car rides.

  • Train tickets: £310
  • Petrol money / parking: £35
  • Railcard: £30
  • Bus tickets: £10

Football (£285 spent)

At £4-6 a pop, the cost of weekly-to-bi-weekly football sessions add up over the year. I don’t begrudge this at all though. It’s invaluable for my mental and physical wellbeing and provides a consistent, regular social connection.

  • Subs for Monday & Thursday night: £245
  • Clothing: £40

Home gym (£280, gifted)

Full disclosure; this was entirely funded by some gift money I received from my parents. I bought the rack, bench & plates from someone local on Facebook Marketplace. I topped up my equipment with some fractional plates from Mirafit. Breakdown:

  • Rack, plates & bench: £245
  • Fractional plates: £35

Charity (£270; £55 from pots)

  • Sustrans monthly donation: £130
  • Football tournament: £55
  • London Marathon ballot donation: £50
  • Individual race sponsorship: £30
  • Christmas jumper day donation: £5

Other categories

  • Phone, TV & Internet: £120
  • Domains & Servers: £105
  • Snacks: £95
  • Clothes: £90
  • Music streaming: £80
  • Activities: £55
  • Books: £35
  • Cloud storage: £30

How it went

I spent a total of £4,835, with £3,585 coming form my monthly budget. That's £60 over budget, but is leveraged by spreading the cost of some items over 3 months using Monzo Flex.

An average of just over £400/month is sizeable, but a good chunk less than I was spending pre-COVID/pre-kids (the periods conveniently coincide for me). Honestly I could've spent more on almost every category, but I'm content that I'm in a period of my life where spending (somewhat) lavishly is not the focus. I'm lucky I can still do mostly all the things I want to do, even if some months I do have to compromise.

As earnings increase and childcare costs reduce, the amount I can spend will grow. I will continue to track it because it brings me a sense of calm knowing where it's all being spent.

Tags: finance stats