Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where the money goes

I took 6 months to open the American Express end of year summary, because I knew the minute I did I would be sucked into the graphs and the pivots, and there goes an entire Sunday.  Today, to be precise.

And the summary is so….summery.

summary graph

The first surprise was that I spent less than it felt like, and the numbers are a little skewed because I put the deposit for the new car on Amex (chu-CHING, rewards points) then paid it from the Ameriprise money market.


So factor that in.  but the rest of it is typical, and fairly interesting.

(to me.  anyway.  what are Yoooo lookin at?)

“Communications” reflects my prior relationship with the Burner, that is (for the white suburbanites) my pre-pay cell phone, which was meant to be disposable, but hung on for 6 years.  And I only replaced it to stop dialing you from my pocket. It worked just fine.

You can drill into this pie by constantly clicking to understand Amex’s taxonomy of your frittered away life.  It thinks the voice coaching session I bought was an “internet service,” and that my purchase at Austin’s famous BookPeople was “art/jewelry.” 

Groceries - $732.32.  is that a lot?  I don’t know.  I eat out a lot, and restaurants are filed separately.  Over $500 there, and most of it in the quarter I was unemployed.  But remember I went on vacation then.

Anyway, groceries.  interesting.  5% of total credit spending – 25% of “merch.”    Amex had a triple points special last year, so I took full advantage.

If you want to see your life reduced to a single bar graph, there are a few snapshots I recommend:

- your internet viewing history, subcategory

- YouTube viewing history

- Your Year in Facebook Status

- Your GPS log

- This:


Take out the outliers (Chevy on the left and the “all others” purple bar at the right, and here is the summary of my life.

  • Southwest Air
  • Telecharge ( I am known in some circles as Ticket Mistress)
  •  Broadway Across America (misspelled even)
  • USAir
  • Gulf (it says Gulf Oil Building.  If I helped buy a building I want a dividend)
  • Netflix (oh…sweeet Netflix…)
  • Willows Motel (this does not look good.  I feel I must explain that the Willows is my go-to establishment when staying in Williamstown for theatre, which will appear later in the chart.
  • United Airlines (I fly too much)
  • Lord & Taylor (people say to me, You shop at Lord & Taylor?? well, not exclusively, but yes.  If Frugal Fannie were still open, I would still go there.  But it isn’t)
  • Target – Amex itemizes my Targets.  I don’t know why, but I am glad to know they get equal time
  • Star Market – well, there are the groceries.  More food than summer stock, but not more than Netflix.  really?
  • Williamstown Theatre Festival

By the way, this exercise started because I was cleaning out my mailbox.  The year-end summary was the 2rd one in.  I am in real trouble today.

I gave you a bunch of links because I really don’t know when I can get back to this page.


  1. $14.08 a week for groceries? Looks to me like you need to eat more!

    And quit it with the mailbox cleaning - surely there's a baseball game on TV??

  2. I live alone, go out for meals rarely, buy LOTS of prepared stuff (for lunches mostly)and manage to spend about $72 per week which also includes laundry/cleaning stuff and OTC drugs -- less now that it's a Martin's store!! What on earth do you eat and is that the way you stay so in shape?!? M

  3. your 6 month grocery bill is my 1 month grocery bill. 'nuff said.


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