Finances How Free

Where does 55K go?

My salary is approximately 55,000 per year. Fifty-five thousand dollars a year seems like a lot to me, but it goes so quickly.  I want to see where it goes monthly.
55,000 dollars a year / 12 months per year = 4,583 per month
Out of that 4,583 a month, I contribute 500 a month to my 401 (k).
We’re down to 4083–still looking pretty good.
Federal and state taxes that are withheld per month: 526 (I usually get a tax return as well, but I do’nt know how much that’ll be this year, so I”m going to stick with this amount).
4,083 – 526 = 3,557
My next expense: medical insurance 493 per month. We’re down to 3,064. Three thousand still feels like a nice chunk of money, but there are more expenses.  Retirement. Besides my 401 (k), my employer takes out 340 a month for my retirement, so we’re down to 2,724–getting a little lower.
Then, I put 1,911 per month into my and my husband’s shared account for mortgage, bills, food, copays for doctor’s appointments.  2,724-1,911 = 813.
Wow I have 813 going into my personal account per month? That doesn’t seem right. It seems like I usually have 250 extra per month.
Oh, this is a relatively small one, but union dues.  I forgot that. Union dues– plus some other retirement thing that I’m going go have to look up because I don’t know what it is –adds up to 85 per month.  813 – 85 =  728.
Also, I’ve been paying an extra 250 per month towards the mortgage, so that leaves 478, which still is higher than I thought it was. Yeah, I usually only have about 250 left over.  Where’s the other 228 go?
Hmmm, another money mystery to solve.
Besides that relatively small discrepancy, that is where 55,000 a year goes.
In bullet point view:

  • Taxes: 526
  • medical insurance: 493
  • Union dues: 85
  • Retirement system: 340
  • Before Taxes, 401 (k) contribution: 500
  • Mortgage, bills, food: 1,911
  • Extra towards mortgage: 250
  • Money into personal account: 478? 250? This is the mystery.

In chart view:
Besides the 228 dollar discrepancy, looking at where my money goes has brought up some other questions:

  • How would I like to spend my money/Is my money going where I want it to go?
  • How similar or different is my spending to others’?
  • Now that I see what my employer contributes to retirement, do my quarterly statements reflect this?
  • Am I wasting money?
  • If I had more money, what category would I put it in?

Well, we finally know where 55,000 can go, and I’ll certainly work on answering the above questions in the future.
Peace out (and in)!




  • Brian

    nice job tracking everything! It takes a lot of work, but definitely helps to have a good understanding of where every $ ends up

  • peaceoutandin17

    Definitely. Knowing that 55K (which, to me, is a lot of money) goes so quickly also helps motivate me to save more and put more into retirement because then the money isn’t “gone.” It’s put aside for later.

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