Year of Frugality: Final Update

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Well, another year is over! The Summit of Coin family just enjoyed a wonderful two weeks off together over Christmas and New Years. It was great getting to spend the time with my wife and kids. We got to spend a lot of time with my wife’s family and we took our girls to look at a light show.

Our oldest liked the lights, but was probably still a little too young to get anything out of the lights. She actually liked the slide on the playground and running better than looking at the lights.

Other than our holiday break, we didn’t really do much in December. We worked, came home, played with our girls, went to bed and repeated that process each day. With basketball season, I spend a minimum of 10 hours a day at work and sometimes more. This doesn’t include all the extra work grading and writing lessons that I do outside of work.

Let’s just say, the break was exactly what I needed with all the busyness of our life. Now, our December spending wasn’t that great. We took advantage of being able to buy whatever we wanted. December was a no restriction month on buying new stuff, however, we did find some pretty cool wins in terms of gift buying.

Let’s take a look at that crazy December spending:

December Spending Report:

  • Auto: $326

    • Gas

    • Tolls

  • Cash: $0

  • Clothing: $111

  • Dining: $277

  • Daycare: $1,940

  • Donations: $630

  • Entertainment: $100

  • Gifts: $532

  • Groceries: $763

  • Health & Fitness: $70

    • Gym Membership

  • Household: $724

    • Stocking Holders (needed to add two more this year)

    • Christmas Decorations (purchased the day after Christmas to get the discount)

    • Nest Thermostat (Old Thermostat stopped turning on the A/C)

    • Bookcase for our kids playroom

    • Stamps

    • Refrigerator Water Filter

  • Insurance: $107

    • Homeowners Insurance

  • Medical: $55

  • Mortgage: $945

    • Interest

    • Taxes

  • My Kids: $172

    • Baby Monitor

    • Payment for renting the building that we used for our daughter’s birthday party

  • My Pets: $0

  • Utilities: $640

    • Streaming TV Service

    • Internet

    • Electricity (twice, because I payed the November bill in December)

    • Water

    • Natural Gas

    • Cell Phones

  • Vacation/Travel: $56

    • Purchased two roundtrip flights to Tampa

    • Purchased three roundtrip flights to Nebraska

  • Work Expenses: $0


I know that we spent more than $7,000 in December, but I completely expected it. We normally do all of our Christmas shopping in December. In all reality, I don’t think $500 spent on Christmas gifts is terrible. That’s gifts for our daughters, gifts for some of the gift exchanges that we are in and gifts for our nieces and nephews.

That $500 is the reason we went over $7,000. Other than that, our spending didn’t seem that out of the ordinary. We did go out and eat more in December, because we were enjoying our time off with each other and took advantage of the less wait times at some of the restaurants.

Our travel expense was a major win! I earned the Southwest Companion Pass on December 27, 2018 (nothing like cutting it close, right). Once I earned this, we book our flights to Nebraska in May and Tampa in March. With both of these flights, I was able to use points that I earned from using travel rewards. We booked the Tampa flight for me with points and then I booked the flight for my wife as a companion (free).

We used the same strategy for the Nebraska flight. We booked my flight and my daughters with points and then I booked the flight for my wife with the companion pass. I will detail how much we saved in a later article.

Below is a look at our spending over the course of the entire year:

Looking to future Financial Independence or the future possibility of my wife staying home, I like to take daycare expenses out of the mix, because my kids would be at home. Without daycare expenses, we spent $5,510 in December. $5,000 is right around where I wanted our spending to be when I started this year of frugality.

However, I think shooting for $4,000 or less (taking out daycare) should be the goal, because looking at somw of our spending without daycare we were closer to $4,000 to end the year. That’s an annual spending budget of around $48,000. Based on $4,000, we were a little over my new goal in December.

Our overall spending for the year has fallen to $6,927.35 per month on average. That’s a yearly average under $7,000. I am okay with that number for last year, but I believe we will get that number even lower in 2019!


December 2018 Savings.png

We ended the year on a high note with the savings rate. This is all because we changed our focus to maxing out retirement accounts over paying off the house. This allowed us to end the year with a 44% savings rate in November and a 37% savings rate in December.

2018 Savings Rate Goal: 30% 

  • January Savings Rate: 26%

  • February Savings Rate: 22%

  • March Savings Rate: 37%

  • April Savings Rate: 30%

  • May Savings Rate: 25%

  • June Savings Rate: 35%

  • July Savings Rate: 33%

  • August Savings Rate: 29%

  • September Savings Rate: 24%

  • October Savings Rate: 30%

  • November Savings Rate: 44%

  • December Savings Rate: 37%

  • Year-to-Date Savings Rate: 31% (No Increase from October)

Our high savings rate was a great way to end the year, but it was not enough to affect the yearly savings rate much. The last two months only increased the savings rate by 1 percentage point. I thought it would affect it more, but it was only 2 months out of 12. Below is a look at our overall savings during the year:

All Year - 2018 - Savings.png


We began the year by setting a goal of paying off $20,000 of principal on our mortgage. In the August spending report, I estimated that we would come up short in reaching our goal. That estimate continues to hold true as we have shifted our goal. We are focusing more on retirement and less on mortgage payoff.

2018 Principal Payments (includes scheduled payments plus any extra principal payments):

  • January: $1,942.65

  • February: $1,147.58

  • March: $1,250.44

  • April: $1,152.81

  • May: $956.43

  • June: $1,958.82

  • July: $2,013.69

  • August: $1,468.71

  • September: $972.37

  • October: $974.79

  • November: $977.23

  • December: $979.67

  • Year-to-date: $15,795.95

We did not add any extra principal payments to the mortgage in December. This left us $4,204.05 short of reaching our goal of $20,000. Despite missing the goal, I am happy with the course that we have set for the future!