Exposed – The Money Flamingo Household’s 2019 (and 2018!) spending!

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a nice break over the holidays and are fresh and ready to take on 2020!

I’ve decided to start the year on the blog by doing something we hardly ever do – share some numbers. I’ve detailed in our plan why we have chosen not to share our numbers. However, we’ve decided to make an exception for our annual expenses. I’ve always enjoyed reading other bloggers’ annual spending breakdowns (especially MMM’s as you can probably tell from the title). Plus, ever since I started posting regular reader case studies (with expense breakdowns) on the blog I’ve been getting quite a few questions from readers who want to know what our life in Sydney costs us, especially now that we have Baby Flamingo on board.

Below I’ll share the Money Flamingo household’s 2018 and 2019 spending breakdown. To put things in perspective, here is a quick recap of our situation: We are a family of 3 living in Sydney. We rent a small apartment by the beach. Since the birth of Baby Flamingo at the start of 2019, our spending has changed quite a bit. 2018 basically shows our annual spending as DINKs (with some pregnancy-related medical expenses and cost of baby equipment added in). 2019 shows our spending as a family. I was on maternity leave for most of the year. We won’t start childcare for another couple of months, so in 2020 our baby-related costs will increase significantly.

As you’ll see we definitely aren’t super frugal and we don’t mind spending money on things we get value out of. Here are some notes on some of our spending categories:

  • Rent: We spend a lot on our rental apartment, but living in a location we really enjoy is important to us.
  • Eating out: We don’t eat out (as in going to restaurants) very often but do spend a fair bit on takeaway, especially breakfast on the weekends.
  • Groceries / Supermarket: This is a category that definitely needs a lot of improvement. Our spending in this category has gone through the roof since the birth of Baby Flamingo. In our defense, I have to point out that it includes everything we buy in the supermarket, including nappies, baby food, wipes, and formula. We also try to only buy high-quality food. We are happy to spend more on Australian products, only buy organic meat and eggs and get a weekly local fruit and veg delivery. I still think we could do a lot better in this category and it is a big focus for us in 2020.
  • Holidays: We visit family in Europe every other year and usually go on several domestic trips in the years we don’t go overseas.
  • Transport, mobile phones, private health insurance: These are subsidised by our employers which is great, so the cost is probably a bit lower than you’d expect.
  • This breakdown shows our actual household spending (investment-related costs, charitable donations, taxes, etc. are not included).
Category 2018 spending 2019 spending
Rent $30,242.88 $30,722.88
Groceries / Supermarket $6,480.07 $11,125.65
Household goods $660.49 $1,065.00
Personal care $394.50 $572.70
Utilities (electricity) $1,058.27 $1,816.09
Personal insurance $1,997.28 $1,951.44
Medical expenses $2,181.74 $2,740.88
Transport $1,294.20 $1,512.21
Entertaining visitors $1,368.84 $1,529.18
Presents $75.58 $1,132.18
Work expenses $625.23 $82.24
Bank fees $203.87 $24.87
Baby Flamingo – Equipment etc. $2,422.41 $1,962.23
Baby Flamingo – Medical expenses $2,055.09 $2,643.84
Baby Flamingo – Childcare $0.00 $700.00 (We had to pay the deposit already)
Baby Flamingo  – Clothes $0.00 $498.52
Baby Flamingo  – Toys $0.00 $131.97
Baby Flamingo  – Misc. Expenses $374.00 $599.59
Eating out $3,093.50 $3,426.93
Going out $636.52 $30.00
Alcohol $351.94 $482.79
Netflix, Spotify etc. $259.83 $235.32
Electronics / Software $161.24 $491.52
Sports gear / Board games etc. $90.45 $0.00
Shows / Sports tickets etc. $0.00 $88.00
Misc. Discretionary spending $662.48 $312.59
Holidays $5,235.52 $5,838.58
Mr. Flamingo – Discretionary spending $3,492.59 $1,755.82
Mrs. Flamingo – Discretionary spending $1,849.39 $2,073.70
Money Flamingo (hosting and other website expenses) $416.97 $689.10
Misc. expenses $749.00 $1,765.57
Total $67,684.88 $76,235.82
Expenses excl. rent $37,442.00 $45,512.94

So, what do you think? Is our spending higher or lower than you expected?

9 thoughts on “Exposed – The Money Flamingo Household’s 2019 (and 2018!) spending!”

    • Hi Anja, what is Townsville’s rental situstion and job market like? I am thinking of moving up there to try and get a foot in the mines to speed up my FIRE

      Reply
  1. Thank you for sharing! Interesting to see someone else’s numbers, especially the baby costs. Good to see you guys still have a life, eat outand go on holidays. My wife and I are expecting our first child in November so this is very relatable 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks Jase, glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, we definitely still have a life! 🙂 I strongly believe that people who don’t enjoy themselves while they pursue FI are wasting their time.

      Reply
  2. Paying nearly 600 a week for rent seems about right for Sydney if you don’t want to live in an undesirable suburb.

    When it comes to health insurance what option did you go with? I still have not bothered with private insurance since I never go to the doctor but my gf and I are talking about kids which changes things considerably.

    Reply
    • We are quite lucky – our employers pay for about 90% of the cost for our private health cover. We have the highest level of cover for both hospital and extras. If our employers didn’t cover this for us we would do things a lot different though. For starters, I would drop the extras cover. We usually only use dental, so we don’t really get any value out of it. I think we would probably opt for Scott Pape’s approach – get the most affordable top level hospital cover and drop the extras (just pay out of pocket).

      Reply
  3. Hey Guys,

    I can totally relate to the rent expense, I pay just over 28K for a single bedroom apartment in Sydney. But alas you need a place to sleep, and I fly out of sydney. Although ironically I dont stay at the apartment much, because I always seem to be away for work. I think your doing pretty well with the rest of your expenses especially considering you have a family. I live pretty frugally, and apart from the hectic $28K in rent I usually only spend around $6-7K a year, of which $5K is core expenses like food, insurance, phone and the remaining $1-2K is discretionary spending like gifts, travel, weddings etc. I am fortunate in that I travel a lot for work and get paid meal allowances so this covers quite a bit of the expenses and I treat it as income as far as budget and savings rate is concerned. Thanks again for a very informative article.
    Cheers,
    Captain FI.

    Reply
    • Thanks Captain FI! Wow, 28k for a studio. Whenever I tell friends and family in Europe how much we pay in rent their jaws drop. Sounds like you are in a great position, 6-7k per year is awesome. It definitely helps to have a job that offsets some living expenses. Mr. Flamingo used to be in the military and was able to save so much when he stayed on base and everything was provided.

      Reply

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