Understanding what you spend money on is an important step in managing your finances and reaching your long-term goals. One effective way to get insight into your spending habits is to analyze your spending by category. In this guide, we’ll delve into the process of analyzing your spending over the last year, breaking it down into key categories: housing, transportation, food, entertainment, debt, and savings.


Begin your analysis by examining your housing expenses , which typically form a significant portion of your budget. This category includes things like rent or mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowners or renters insurance, and utilities. Compare these costs to your income to determine the percentage allocated to housing. Ideally, housing expenses should not be more than 30% of your income. If they are, consider exploring ways to reduce these costs, like negotiating rent, refinancing a mortgage, or downsizing.


Next, focus on transportation expenses, including car payments, gas, maintenance, car insurance, and public transportation costs. Calculate the percentage of your income spent on transportation to gauge its affordability. If this category exceeds 15% of your income, look at options like carpooling, using public transport, or downsizing to a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Identifying areas where you can cut back on transportation expenses can free up funds for other financial priorities.


Food expenses include groceries, eating out, and any other food-related costs. To analyze this category, break down your spending habits and identify areas for potential savings. Consider creating a grocery budget, meal prepping, and minimizing dining out. Aim to allocate around 10-15% of your income to food expenses. Being mindful of your food spending not only promotes healthier financial habits but also encourages healthier eating habits.


Entertainment expenses cover a lot of everyday and special occasion things, including streaming services, subscriptions, concerts, movies, and recreational activities. Reviewing this category lets you strike a balance between enjoyment and financial responsibility. Try to allocate no more than 5-10% of your income to entertainment. Identify any subscriptions you’re not using or activities that can be trimmed down to redirect funds toward more substantial financial goals.


Debt analysis is crucial for achieving financial stability. Include all types of debt you have—credit card balances, student loans, and personal loans. Calculate the percentage of your income you’re spending on debt repayment. If it’s higher than 15%, it might be a good idea to reevaluate your debt repayment strategy. Think about consolidating high-interest debts or negotiating lower interest rates. Creating a realistic repayment plan can accelerate your journey toward debt-free living.


Savings are the cornerstone of financial security. Evaluate your contributions to savings accounts, emergency funds, retirement plans, and other investment accounts. Experts generally recommend saving at least 20% of your income. If you fall short of this target, reevaluate your budget to find areas where you can cut back and put more money toward savings. 

The bottom line: analyze your spending 

Analyzing your spending by category gives you an overall view of your financial health and empowers you to make informed decisions. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your budget based on these categories ensures that you can adapt your financial plan to changes in income, expenses, and priorities. By taking control of your financial habits and aligning your spending with your goals, you pave the way toward a more secure and prosperous future.