How’s that budget doing?

One of my goals for 2017 is to improve my finances. Part of my plan to do so entails tracking my equine related expenses by saving receipts and entering them into a budget spreadsheet. This is the first time I’ve done something like this; my typical method of tracking expenses was by writing them down in my planner as they occurred…and never thinking about them again.

I dutifully entered every equine related expenditure I made in January in my tracking sheet, and took a look at them yesterday.

Spending by category last month.

I’ve been classifying the expenses into broad categories (Competition, Tack/Apparel, Feed, Barn, Health), which are broken into subcategories (for example, “Feed” is broken into “Feed”, “Treats”, “Supplements” and “Hay”). I also have a section for notes on this spreadsheet where I can add details about what I purchased. As you can see, the bulk of my expenditures have been on feed, tack/apparel, and competition.

Feed is pretty self-explanatory, although this breakdown is somewhat misleading. I bought hay all at once back in October, so this chart doesn’t reflect the cost of feeding hay (since I didn’t buy it in January). However, the horses are eating the hay at the rate I estimated when I bought it, and my feed cost is right on target with the calculations I made before I took over caring for the horses. The cost of feeding is about $5 per horse per day.

Tack and apparel spending was high this month; I splurged on a couple of Ogilvy baby pads and a new cover for my half pad. (The cover I bought with it originally is white, which looks completely disgusting after a few months of use.) I also bought myself a pair of Romfh breeches at work, but that’s it! I’m also happy to report I received my clean-out bag from Used Horse Stuff, so I hope I’ll be able to get some cash for things I no longer need.

Definitely not this white any more.

If you’re wondering how 23.5% of my spending was on competitions when I haven’t been to a competition, don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind. This spending was on annual memberships and registrations (USEA, OCTA, etc.) as well as a donation I made on a benefit trail ride.


My spreadsheet isn’t totally comprehensive; for example, I don’t have the money spent on material spent the repair the burst pipe in the barn on here, or the gas I used to haul to various locations. That spending is captured in the household budget. However, tracking my horse expenses has definitely made me more mindful of how and where I spend money!

Do you have a budget? How do you track your expenses?

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

19 thoughts on “How’s that budget doing?”

  1. I don’t have a horse right now so my budgeting is much simpler – basically just equipment, lessons and saving for competitions. I keep a separate savings account where I squirrel away little bits of extra income when I have it, so over time it grows and then I don’t have to stress about buying something new or paying my entry fees.

    1. A separate savings account is a great idea! I’ve been looking at high-yield savings accounts as an option for a place to put an emergency fund, but haven’t put in in action yet!

  2. I’m trying to do this for the first time this year too, but am just planning on tracking hay as a once a year big purchase since my guys don’t get any from April-November really since I have good grass for the grazing. 🙂

  3. I’d have to take my own horses away if I tracked my expenses this month. I’ve been really irresponsible in the buying stuff I don’t need category. This is really smart though, and probably something I should be a grown up about and do also.

  4. Oh man. I am…. Not super keen to track all this haha. Charlie is definitely a costlier horse in some ways than Izzy was (like. Uh. Short shoing cycle with shoes all around….) but I think we are starting to stabilize. Hopefully. Lol

  5. I added up once what i spent over the course of a year just on basics like board, shoes, and training rides. It was horrifying and I vowed to never do it again!!!

    1. I did that a couple years ago. I thought I had a good idea what I spent. I was under-estimating by a fair amount. I’m glad I did it though, I think its important to truly understand what they cost and I suspect many people are under-estimating as I was.

  6. I’ve been trying really hard to stick to more of a budget as we are hoping to purchase an acreage this year (and then I will be picking your brain about that!). I think I’m going to take a page out of your book and start monitoring it a bit more formally with a spreadsheet (rather than a rough in-head tally)/ 🙂

  7. I’ll share my spending per month…board bill averages $500. Lessons average $300. I put $1000 – $1200 a month into a “for horses” account, and work off varying amounts of board and lessons. So, I almost always have enough extra in that account for whatever vet/farrier/shows/tack/supplies/riding apparel i want or need. Some months it does require some pretty strict budgeting though!

  8. Ever since I graduated university (almost 6 years ago), I meticulously track and categorize all of my spending every month. I keep an excel chart and then add fun charts to show comparisons of year to year, how my eating out costs affects my grocery costs, net worth over time, etc etc. It’s become a pretty easy habit and I plan to keep doing it indefinitely.

    When it comes to the horse side of things I use 4 categories, so not as detailed as you (I have 31 categories in total for all spending). My horse categories are: 1. Board, 2. Farrier/Vet, 3. Riding Lessons/Shows, 4. Horse Misc. The Miscellaneous category is what includes all my purchases of tack, riding clothes, blankets, etc. so that is the one that I always need to watch and control better.

    I tend to track spending rather than budget it. I frequently spend money on things that I don’t strictly need (blogland is a terrible influence haha!), but I find tracking is a great tool to know where all my money goes. When I want to make a future financial change like buying a house or increasing retirement funds, I can see exactly where I need to cut down and by how much to make it happen.

  9. Since moving I’ve been tweaking and tweaking and retweaking my budget again and again. It’s pretty interesting considering I don’t even have a horse trying to squirrel away as much for the future as possible

  10. I don’t even want to know what I spend on horses. I have a fairly good idea, mind you, but I think it’s better for everyone if we all just pretend it’s not as much as it is. 🙂

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