Year of Frugality: Month 11 Update

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My how things have gotten crazy around the Summit of Coin household. You can probably tell by my lack of posting, but I have had a hard time finding any time to write articles. I am knee deep into basketball season and it has taken a lot of time from my normal writing time.

Besides basketball season, we have been busy traveling and going to Christmas parties or birthday celebrations. My normal two to four hours each weekend to work on the website has been dwindled down to nothing.

Therefore, you are getting this monthly update late and it has been over a month since my last article. The good news, we are close to a two week break from work for me and my basketball season only has four weeks left (six weeks including the break). This means more time for writing articles in the upcoming months.

As for the Summit of Coin family, we have been enjoying time together, whenever we can. Work and commutes get in the way. However, we got a nice break over Thanksgiving and we traveled to Nebraska. It was a short and busy trip as we celebrated my daughters 2nd birthday and Thanksgiving all in a 5 day span.

With travel, we did experience a rise in those expenses, but I was pleasantly surprised with the small rise in monthly expenses in November. Check it out below:

November Spending Report:

  • Auto: $319

    • Gas

    • Tolls

  • Cash: $0

  • Clothing: $35

  • Dining: $122

  • Daycare: $1,835

  • Donations: $490

  • Entertainment: $22

  • Gifts: $5

  • Groceries: $638

  • Health & Fitness: $70

    • Gym Membership

  • Household: $216

    • New Stockings for Christmas

    • Other Misc. Household Items

  • Insurance: $107

    • Homeowners Insurance

  • Medical: $75

  • Mortgage: $948

    • Interest

    • Taxes

  • My Kids: $306 (We may have stocked up)

    • Diapers (2 boxes)

    • Pull Ups (3 boxes)

    • Wipes (2 boxes)

  • My Pets: $46

  • Utilities: $380 (dropped Netflix and our Auto-Pay for Electricity did not go thru - paid electricity late in December)

    • Streaming TV Service

    • Internet

    • Water

    • Natural Gas

    • Cell Phones

  • Vacation/Travel: $1,267

    • Paid for a Cruise in March

    • Rental Car in Nebraska

    • Gas in Nebraska

    • Parking at the Airport

    • Cart Rentals at the Airport

  • Work Expenses: $64

    • Snacks for my Students before Thanksgiving break

    • It was my month to supply snacks for a team meeting


How about that, our trend of staying under $7,000 continued into November. This is pretty impressive as November was a high income month, with my wife receiving 3 paychecks! We didn’t let the extra income affect our spending, however, we saw a huge increase in savings and our savings rate will be affected later in the article!

November saw a decrease in both the grocery bill and the dining bill. This is something that my wife and I have been working on after discovering ChooseFI and their Skinny Waist, Fat Wallet Episode. We have worked on cutting down our grocery bill. We are doing better and I am more conscious of how much I am eating.

Our travel expense was large this month as we paid for our cruise in March and had a lot of expenses associated with our trip to Nebraska. I chose to pay the cruise expense in November, because I knew that it was a month that we had extra income.

We saw our daycare expenses jump up to the normal amount that we will be paying each month until summer. Luckily, we will save some money in both December and January with a week off in each month.

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

I would not consider November a low spending month. However, considering that we spent over $1,000 on travel, I am pretty happy with the results. Take out that $1,267 spent on travel and we only spent $5,678 in November. Now, I would consider that low (as that includes both the mortgage and daycare).

Going a step farther, we could take out daycare and mortgage and we only spent $2,895. That number right there shows exactly how much we spent on our monthly operating budget. That’s pretty good in my book as we continue to find ways to cut expenses!

Our overall spending for the year has fallen to $6,927.82 per month on average. Let’s hope for a strong close to the year with a solid December!


After discovering ChooseFI, I have been devouring every podcast that time allows. I have learned so much and it has even affected our savings rate. We made major changes and we are now maxing out our 457B accounts, which led to a huge increase in our savings rate!

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%

  • Year-to-Date Savings Rate: 31% (1% Increase from October)

Dang! we saved 44% of our income in November! This is definitely higher than our goal of 30% for the year, but I want more. I want to push for 50%! I think we can get there in the future as we continue to lower our expenses each month!


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. I will explain the reason for this shift in a later post, but just know that we won’t hit our mortgage payoff goal.

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

  • Year-to-date: $14,816.28

We did not add any extra principal payments to the mortgage in November. This left us at $4,250 in extra principal payments over the course of 2018. This will be the exact amount of extra principal payments that we make in November, with our shift in where we are directing our money.


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