Year of Frugality: Month 10 Update

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We didn’t do any traveling in October and both of us are officially back at work. This means we are back to our long commutes, and our daughters are both at daycare everyday. This means that we cherish every moment we get on the weekends.

We have enjoyed a (free) pumpkin patch, purchased some pumpkins for $20, painted some pumpkins, carved a few pumpkins and have gone for multiple walks and bike rides. We love our walk and bike ride time. It allows us to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy the little family time that we have.

Essentially, we have gone from constant family time for 3 1/2 months to 2 hours (give or take) on the weeknights and two full days together on the weekends. That’s a whole lot less time together as a family. Which gives us even more motivation to cut down our spending and increase our savings.

By adding the daycare expense back into the mix, our expenses are going to go up. This added around $970 to our monthly expenses in October. Let’s see how we did in the rest of the categories.

October Spending Report:

  • Auto: $569

    • Gas

    • Tolls

    • Repairs

  • Cash: $12

  • Clothing: $150

  • Dining: $231

  • Daycare: $970

  • Donations: $570

  • Entertainment: $107

    • Boardwalk Rides

    • Pumkin Patch

  • Gifts: $5

  • Groceries: $747

  • Health & Fitness: $81

    • Gym Membership

  • Household: $533

    • Lawn Mowing

    • Exterminating

    • Toilet Paper

    • Paint

    • Copy paper

  • Insurance: $107

    • Homeowners Insurance

  • Medical: $561

    • More bills from the birth of our daughter

  • Mortgage: $950

    • Interest

    • Taxes

  • My Kids: $125

    • Diapers

    • Wipes

  • My Pets: $46

  • Utilities: $582

    • Streaming TV Service

    • Internet

    • Water

    • Natural Gas

    • Electricity

    • Cell Phones

  • Vacation/Travel: $0

  • Work Expenses: $36

    • Parking for my Wife at a training (both of us are still pretty steamed about this - we were never told about it before the training)


Last month, I mentioned a goal of $6,500 or less with daycare returning to our monthly expenses. The best part, my wife and I worked really hard towards the end of the month to keep our expenses low. Our hard work paid off and we came in under the $6,500 goal for the month of October!

We saw a lower grocery bill, a lower dining bill, and a lower overall utility bill. We took another step towards lowering our utility bill in November by canceling Netflix. Eleven dollars may not seem like a lot, but it will help decrease expenses for a while!

We saw an increase in gas, tolls and repairs this month as both of us are dealing with our commutes. Let’s just say, I can’t wait to find a way to cut down my commute time and expenses from the commute (my wife is in the same boat).

I found an interesting stat from the data: our monthly expenses minus daycare and mortgage were $3,980 (I kept property taxes and homeowner’s insurance). With that number, we are looking at $47,760 a year to live on total. That’s definitely attainable, once the mortgage is paid off and my wife stays home with the kids.

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

Jan-Oct 2018.png

With another low spending month, we have decreased our average spending to $6,945 over the course of the year. A decrease of $37 from September. I expect November to be one of the highest spending months of the year. We are looking at almost $2,000 in daycare costs and around $800 in travel costs. We are preparing for a cruise in March and we are traveling to Nebraska for Thanksgiving.

Adding those estimates to the mortgage, we are looking at $4,800 in spending before we add in any other expenses. With just those numbers, I can see $7,500-$8,000 as a possible spending number for November.


Oct 2018 Savings.png

Every time that I have presented a savings rate before today, it was an untrue savings rate. I had not been including retirement contributions in the rate. I’m not sure why, it could be a combination of laziness or embarrassment that we were not saving more for retirement.

However, I finally sat down and added our retirement contributions to the saving rate for 2018. This increased our overall savings rate to 30% on the year and I changed every month to reflect the retirement contributions.

This increased each months savings rate from either 3 to 5%. Essentially, this means that we are saving less that 5% of our spending on retirement savings (shakes head). We were putting a huge focus on mortgage pay off over retirement savings. Changes are already in the works for November!

2018 Savings Rate Goal: 30% 

  • January Savings Rate: 26% (5% increase with retirement)

  • February Savings Rate: 22% (4% increase with retirement)

  • March Savings Rate: 37% (5% increase with retirement)

  • April Savings Rate: 30% (4% increase with retirement)

  • May Savings Rate: 25% (5% increase with retirement)

  • June Savings Rate: 35% (5% increase with retirement)

  • July Savings Rate: 33% (3% increase with retirement)

  • August Savings Rate: 29% (3% increase with retirement)

  • September Savings Rate: 24% (3% increase with retirement)

  • October Savings Rate: 30%

  • Year-to-Date Savings Rate: 30% (5% Increase from September)

Now that I have included retirement savings, we are looking at yearly savings rate of 30%. This is great news as we are hitting our savings rate goal! I expect a higher saving rate in November as I have already made changes to increase retirement investing for both my wife and I. We may have high expenses in November, but I also expect a high savings rate as my wife will get paid 3 times in the month!


We did slip a little and we purchased a few new items in October. I don’t even think you can call this a slip up. We really decided that there was some value to the new purchases we made in October.

  • Baby Monitor Cord (1)

    • Old one died and this allows us to have a cord downstairs and upstairs

  • Halloween Costumes (2)

    • These weren’t even for our daughters…these were for us.

    • We already had our oldest daughter’s halloween costume.

    • We found our youngest daughter’s costume at re-sale store.

    • My wife and I decided that it would be fun to have a family theme for halloween.

  • Halloween Accessories (2)

    • We purchased a mask new for my daughter to complete her costume.

    • We purchased a cat set for our youngest daughter to complete a Catwoman costume.

I am really not mad at us for our five purchases. Sure, we could have got away with buying three new items for the month, but it was fun dressing up as a whole family in the same theme. Once our kids get older, this probably won’t be the case. It’s a memory we will cherish.

  • January: 34 (No Restrictions)

  • February: 2

  • March: 7

  • April: 1

  • May: 8

  • June: 57 (No Restrictions)

  • July: 31 (No Restrictions)

  • August: 7

  • September: 0

  • October: 5

  • Total: 152

We are at a total of 152 new purchases over the course of the year. We only have one month left, before we go back to no restrictions. Therefore, the number is going to jump in December with the purchase of Christmas gifts, but I don’t foresee us going crazy in December.


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 dealt with a car repair bill plus another medical bill from the birth of our daughter that slowed down any progress that we might have made in November.

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

  • Year-to-date: $13,839.05

We did not add any extra principal payments to the mortgage in October. This left us at $4,250 in extra principal payments over the course of 2018. Thus, we still need to pay an extra $4,204.07 in principal payments. That’s an extra $2,102 on each mortgage payment to reach our goal by December.

As I mentioned in August and September, we are not going to reach our goal. We are not even going to work hard on trying to reach our goal. Instead, we made a shift and are throwing more focus on retirement investing. I will dig into our decision a little deeper in a later article.


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