Year of Frugality: Month 1 Update

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It's hard to believe that January is already over! We had a relatively productive month in the Summit of Coin household. We prepped for our buy nothing new challenge by purchasing birthday gifts for our nieces and nephews this month. We covered January thru May. That means over the next four months, we won't be buying any gifts or anything else new!

In January, we didn't do any traveling. We did take January 1st to relax and get ready for the onslaught of the busyness that January always brings. It was the last month of my basketball season and I was in the middle of working 11-12 hour days plus we have tournaments on the weekends to deal with. During these long nights of basketball season, my daughter is already in bed by the time I get home. Therefore, it's nice to have the month over! I feel like I am rambling, so we should dive into our spending report!

January Spending Report:

  • Auto: $1,235.46
    • Gas
    • Tolls
    • Repairs (Replaced the tires on my car)
  • Cash: $20
    • Used for Misc. Expenses
  • Clothing: $165.01
    • Used pants for me
    • New Shirts for both of us.
  • Dining: $323.46
    • Includes date nights
  • Daycare: $975
  • Donations: $400
  • Entertainment: $20
  • Gifts: $235.83
    • Gifts for 4 nieces and nephews
    • Gifts for friends to celebrate the birth of their child
    • Other Gifts needed for Jan-May
  • Groceries: $968
    • This number is too high, we are looking at ways to get it down.
  • Health & Fitness: $116.46
  • Household: $287.01
    • Cleaning Supplies/Paper Towels
    • Scroll Saw
    • Plastic Bins for storing clothes we no longer use for my daughter.
  • Insurance: $146.99
    • Homeowners Insurance
  • Medical: $298
    • Dentist Appointment (routine checkup)
    • Monthly Check-up due to pregnancy for my wife
    • Lab work due to pregnancy
  • Mortgage: $976.54
    • Interest
    • Taxes
  • My Kids: $134.52
    • Clothing
    • Diapers (2 boxes)
    • Water Bottle
  • My Pets: $270.53
    • Our dog is having some back issues.
    • Charges for two visits to the vet and medication
  • Utilities: $467.84
    • Streaming TV Service
    • Internet
    • Water
    • Electricity
    • Natural Gas
    • Cell Phones
  • Work Expenses: $90.31
    • Office Supplies for my wife's work
    • School Supplies purchased for my work.
  • Vacation/Travel: $252.64
    • Leftover expenses from our trip to Nebraska in December
    • The charges were made on 12/31, however they didn't clear until 1/3
    • Included hotel, gas, snacks, etc.

GRAND TOTAL: $7,383.60

Look at that, our $7,000 trend of spending continued in the month of January. Once again, this expense was helped by an unexpected car repair. One month after replacing the tires on my wife's car, my car also needed more tires. 

  • August: Auto Repair
  • September: Auto Repair
  • October: Washer and Dryer
  • November: Wisdom Teeth Removal
  • December: New Tires and Replaced the Struts
  • January: New Tires

I wonder if this trend of unexpected expenses will continue throughout the year. I would guess that the surprise expenses should slow down, but you never know. God only knows about what lies in the future. Hopefully, he gives us some grace and we can use some of that money towards savings.

One area that we need to tackle this year is food. Both groceries and eating out have been killing our budget. I believe that we can knock those expenses down a little bit. Maybe shoot for $250 towards dining and around $700 for groceries. That would be a good start. 

January Spending Rates:

January 2018.png

I'm not going to dig deep into our spending rate for January, however, I will talk about our savings rate. In January, 21% of our spending was savings. This was affected by the unexpected car expenses, however, this number is close to average that we saw last year (24%). This number is also 9% below our savings goal of 30%. We have lot's of work to meet our savings goal, luckily we have 11 months and a nothing new challenge coming up. I expect a higher savings rate in February!


In the month of January, we didn't have any restrictions and we did not shy away from buying new stuff, including stuff that would have been exempt during the challenge. 

The exempt items purchased were:

  • Diapers ($88)
  • Household Cleaners
  • Unmentionables

With no restrictions and no rules we were allowed to buy anything. We could have went on a shopping spree, but we didn't. Even though we didn't buy everything in sight, we still ended up purchasing items that weren't allowed during the nothing new challenge. The items are listed below:

  • Houston Astros World Series Shirt for our daughter (1)
  • Nebraska Cornhuskers Volleybal National Champs shirts (2)
  • Scroll Saw (1)
  • Clothing for our daughter (10)
  • Dress Pants (1)
  • Socks (2 packages)
  • Maternity Clothes (4)
  • Gifts (8)
  • Water Bottle (1)
  • Plastic Bins (4)

By the end of the month of January, we purchased a grand total of 34 new items. These 34 new items cost us a grand total of $547.29. As you can tell, we took the freedom that January offered to prep for our four month challenge of buying nothing new. We should see a drastic drop off of new items in the month of February.

Mortgage Payoff Update:

We began the year by setting a goal of paying off $20,000 of principal on our mortgage. January was a good month that got us set up in the right direction towards mortgage payoff! We paid off a total of $1,942.65 of principal in January. This amount includes an extra $1,000 in addition to the $942.65 of our mortgage payment.

To reach our goal of paying $20,000 of principal in 2018, we needed to throw an extra $8,500 at the mortgage. Our extra $1,000 paid in January leaves us with approximately $7,500 left to reach our goal. We are on track towards reaching our mortgage goal in 2018! That's exciting news!

I covered a lot in this monthly update. Each month, I will cover these same topics spending, savings rate, new items purchased and add in a mortgage update. Stay tuned each month to find out how we did and to see if we are reaching our 2018 goals.

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