Year of Frugality: Month 9 Update

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September came in with a bang for the Summit of Coin family. We spent the first weekend of September in Nebraska. We celebrated my nieces fourth birthday, attempted to go to a football game and spent the rest of weekend reconnecting with family. It was a really fun weekend, even if the Husker game was cancelled due to a thunderstorm that just stalled over Lincoln.

Later in the month, my wife went back to work. This meant that I was able to come home for a couple weeks. This is the second time I have taken paternity leave. The first time I had six weeks off with my daughter and this time I have two and a half weeks off. I will detail my thoughts and experiences from staying home with the girls, while my wife was at work in a later article.

September was a low income month, due to my wife’s maternity leave. By default, low income equals low expenses. So, let’s take a look at the numbers.

September Spending Report:

  • Auto: $209

    • Gas

    • Tolls

  • Cash: $0

  • Clothing: $16

  • Dining: $202

  • Daycare: $0

  • Donations: $210

  • Entertainment: $44

  • Gifts: $0

  • Groceries: $806

  • Health & Fitness: $116

    • Supplement

  • Household: $339

    • Lawn Mowing

    • Paper Towels

    • Toilet Paper

    • Bug Spray

    • Household Cleaning Supplies

  • Insurance: $107

    • Homeowners Insurance

  • Medical: $679

    • Payments of bills from the birth of our daughter

  • Mortgage: $952

    • Interest

    • Taxes

  • My Kids: $145

    • Diapers

    • Wipes

    • Breast Milk Storage Bags

  • My Pets: $0

  • Utilities: $621

    • Streaming TV Service

    • Internet

    • Water

    • Natural Gas

    • Electricity

    • Cell Phones

  • Vacation/Travel: $174

    • Misc. Expenses During Trip in Nebraska

  • Work Expenses: $0


That’s two months in a row of less than $5,000 in spending! Once again our income was lower with my wife on maternity leave. Her PTO (paid time off) ran out and we are living on my income plus her short term disability pay. Because of a lower income, we budgeted our money accordingly and kept our spending down.

It was helpful that the kids stayed home and we had ZERO daycare costs. We also lowered our gas bill this month. Having one person go to work, really helps keep that number down. We lowered our eating out back down to our goal of $200. That’s about a $100 decrease from last month and our yearly average.

We saw our grocery bill jump. I came to realize that I am the downfall of the grocery budget. I went to the store during my leave and spent $300 of our $800 in one trip. I am in the process of trying to stock up our freezer with pre-made meals for when both of us are back at work.

I took a big leap and bought a lot of food towards the end of September. The good news: our freezer is looking stocked with lots of options for meals once I return to work.

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

2018 Spending (Jan-Sept).png

With the low spending in September, we have decreased our average spending to $6,982. A decrease of $284 from August. We will see a rise in overall expenses for October, as our kids head back to daycare. However, we have a goal of keeping our spending under $6,500 each month. We will see how realistic that goal is come our next spending report.


Spending Rate September 2018.png

2018 Savings Rate Goal: 30% 

  • January Savings Rate: 21%

  • February Savings Rate: 16%

  • March Savings Rate: 32%

  • April Savings Rate: 26%

  • May Savings Rate: 20%

  • June Savings Rate: 30%

  • July Savings Rate: 30%

  • August Savings Rate: 26%

  • September Savings Rate: 20%

  • Year-to-Date Savings Rate: 25% (1% Decrease from September)

Despite our lower income, I still would have liked to see the savings rate a little higher. I do, however, contribute the lower savings rate to medical bills that needed to be paid in the month. This decreased our overall savings for the year by 1 percentage point.

We have three months left to increase our savings rate by 5 percentage points and reach our yearly goal.


From my recollection of the items purchased and the things needed, everything we purchased new were excluded items. We purchased the following items:

  • breast milk storage bags

  • paper towels

  • toilet paper

  • diapers

  • baby wipes

  • bug spray

  • fabric softner

  • Windex Refill

  • Hand Soap Refill

All the items listed above are considered household consumable and are allowed during our buy nothing new challenge. These were the only new items that we bought in September!!!

That’s right we bought NOTHING new that would have cluttered up our house.

  • No new books

  • No new toys

  • No new furniture

  • Nothing - - Nada - - ZIP!

Can you tell that I am excited? This is the first month all year that we stayed away from buying anything new! Below is a breakdown of the new items purchased each month.

  • January: 34 (No Restrictions)

  • February: 2

  • March: 7

  • April: 1

  • May: 8

  • June: 57 (No Restrictions)

  • July: 31 (No Restrictions)

  • August: 7

  • September: 0

  • Total: 147

The overall new purchases stayed right at 147! There is NOTHING left to say!


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. I based this on the knowledge that we had less income in September and that we needed to pay down $2,000 each month over the course of the last four months (normal principal payments and extra). I knew we would not gain any traction in September with the lower income.

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: $974.79

  • Year-to-date: $12,864.25

We did not add any extra principal payments to the mortgage in September. This left us at $4,250 in extra principal payments over the course of 2018. Leaving us with $4,204.07 of extra principal payments needed to meet our goal. With three months left, we need to throw an extra $1,401 on each mortgage payment to reach our goal by December.

I don’t see use reaching our goal. I believe we can come close at around 18K or 19K, but we won’t be reaching $20,000 in 2018. It stinks knowing we won’t reach our goal, but we are still going to push for $19,000 and see if we can at least pay off that much!


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