Wow! I can’t believe another year has gone by and I’ve written expense reports for the entire 2017 calendar year. We’ve had quite a ride, spending more than planned, yet still staying within our goals to a certain extent.
How Did We Do?
I am happy to report that we stayed rather close to our $25,000 yearly spending I tout after I remove the expense of the mortgage and the other one time purchases we made this year for landscaping, a fence to be put in, and a frivolous purchase of an iPhone.
Our total 2017 expenses, not including those one-time purchases is $27,317.56 which is a whopping $5,000 less than 2016 (we were targeting $8,000 less than last year).
Where We Can Cut
Where we will cut back is on the expense category of Food, as we are ditching Costco which was a huge blow to our monthly spending every time we stepped foot in that store or I opened the app on my phone. I know, I shouldn’t blame a store for my spending problems, but Costco was just too easy to overspend and give into to impulses. If you can’t break the habit, remove the option to access the habit, right?
I plan to cut back on Clothing purchases, as I am minimalizing my wardrobe to include pieces I can mix and match among accessories that I am making for myself (crocheting a cozy shrug for example).
I haven’t lost the weight I thought I’d have lost by now, but I haven’t gained either. I am now focusing on eating better, and cutting back my wardrobe will eliminate more decision fatigue in my day and hopefully encourage a healthier lifestyle. I will continue to get Monkey items as needed, but the rest of us are swelling with drawers and closets full and we would do well to skip buying for awhile.
Other areas of our budget are pretty on par with what I anticipated from years prior. We flex our budget throughout the year as needed and save up for bigger purchases when we decide they are something we want to spend on. I’m pretty pleased with how this past year turned out and what we were able to accomplish with some of our surplus for 2017.
It’s the first year we’ve really felt like we’ve gotten ahead on many fronts and are finally more established in our home, with our project plans, and what we can to accomplish in the coming year.
Take a look at where all of our money went in 2017!
|Item||Amount||Frugal Mom$ter Musings|
|Clothing||$987.61||Looks like another One Year No New Clothes Buying is in order!|
|Food||$10,198.29||Costco gets us every time.|
|Gifts||$1,720.75||On par with what we budgeted.|
|Health & Medical||$404.65||Thank goodness we have good insurance.|
|Household||$11,717.50||Too many Home Depot projects and spent a whopping $2,500 on landscaping plus $4,500 on a new fence thanks to Jeter!|
|Leisure||$2,206.83||Books, activity programs, a fair amount on a paddle board, and several race sign-ups.|
|Pets||$797.98||Jeter’s adoption fee, too many toys, food, and what not to keep that little guy happy.|
|Travel||$1,615.99||Washington DC AirBnB, Atlantic City Bally’s Hotel, deposit for 2018 trip, and lots of EZPass payments|
|Mobile||$1,000.50||iPhone 7 for me, Tracfone airtime (really should be $100 for the year!)|
|Without Extras||$27,007.66||This excludes landscaping, the fence, and my mobile phone purchase.|
Wondering why some bills may be missing from this report?
The September 2016 Expense Report will answer your questions.
Expenses Tracking Update
I recently decided in the future, I will be removing Donations from my list of expenses, as it is truly not an expense and something we choose to do as an added thing for our community. I will be tracking this, but more privately as we increase our donations and look to grow that area of our “investments” into the greater good.
For 2018, it was around $400, which was far more than any other year and while significantly low compared to others, I am proud we added regularly giving into our plan for this coming year.
Do you look back at your yearly expenses?
I never did, truthfully, until we started doing these monthly and annual reports. It’s actually been an eye opener to really see where all of the money has gone. It’s great to know how much we make and what we are spending on so we can plan for the future and where we’d like to be each year.
The monthly reports, while sometimes cumbersome, have become easier with changing my spending categories this past January. They provide such insight into what was happening in our lives that month, and also how we may be wrecking our goals or reaching them as we go forward. I definitely think it’s something worth talking about and sticking with for 2018, even though at times I’ve considered stopping these reports. It does help me, and makes me a little more accountable as well as embarrassed at with our spending!
Happy New Year!