Year of Frugality: Month 2 Update

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Well February is over and I am pretty happy with the progress we made this month. Despite our struggles with more unexpected expenses, we still found a way to cut back and come out under budget in February (Yippee). 

We even took a little trip to the Austin area to visit my wife's grandmother. This trip was great for our family as we visited a state park, went hiking and then enjoyed a nice lunch. A couple weeks after that trip, we got the opportunity to watch Garth Brooks in concert. Both of us have always wanted to see Garth, but never had the opportunity. Luckily, he came to the Houston Rodeo! 

It was a pretty good month. We enjoyed some new experiences and still found a way to cut down our expenses. Let's take a look at those expenses:

February Spending Report:

  • Auto: $257
    • Gas
  • Cash: $17
    • Used for Misc. Expenses
  • Clothing: $16
    • Purchased some unmentionables
  • Dining: $217
    • Includes date nights
  • Daycare: $1080
    • Registered the one-on-the-way and had to put a deposit down to reserve their spot at daycare.
  • Donations: $600
  • Entertainment: $195
  • Gifts: $79
    • Flowers/Cards for Valentine's Day and Birthdays
  • Groceries: $768
    • We cut this number down by over $200 from last month!!
  • Health & Fitness: $12
  • Household: $1,387
    • Repaired our Garage Door
    • Replaced two valves in our heating unit. (Kind of scary our natural gas alarm went off at 6 am one morning due to a leak in our heating unit valves. The energy company turned our heaters off and would not let us use them until the leaking valves were replaced.)
    • Quarterly Bug Spray
    • Miscellaneous supplies (Spray Paint and Hooks) for some woodworking that I have done lately
  • Insurance: $91
    • Homeowners Insurance
  • Medical: $200
    • Filling at the Dentist
    • Parking at Medical Center for Doctor's Appointment
  • Mortgage: $1,028
    • Interest
    • Taxes
  • My Kids: $222
    • Diapers (2 boxes)
    • Swim Lessons
  • My Pets: $140
    • Adopted another pet
  • Utilities: $475
    • Streaming TV Service
    • Internet
    • Water
    • Electricity
    • Natural Gas
    • Cell Phones
  • Vacation/Travel: $242
    • Hotel/Snacks/Dining Out in the Austin Area


In the month one article, I mentioned two areas that we needed to tackle (groceries and dining). I even set a goal: decrease groceries to $700 a month and decrease dining to $250 a month. We actually spent $767 on groceries and $217 on dining. Sadly, we did not drop groceries below $700, however, I am happy with the progress that we made. 

As I said in the introduction, I was pretty happy with our spending this month. We cut down our expenses in multiple categories, including groceries (decreased by $200), dining (decreased by $150), and clothing (decreased by $150). Because of this savings, we came up $500 under budget and we were able to donate an extra $200 to our church.

Despite our savings, we still came up spending over $7,000. This number was affected by the fact that we had some repairs that came up at our house in February. This gives the Summit of Coin family 7 straight months of a major expenses. The list of major expenses is listed below:

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

Can March gives any relief? Let's hope so!

February Spending Rates:

February Spending.png

2018 Savings Rate Goal: 30% 

  • January Savings Rate: 21%
  • February Savings Rate: 16%
  • Year-to-Date Savings Rate: 19% 

As you can easily see, we have some work to do to reach our goal in 2018. Those major expenses really hurt our chance at saving some money in both January and February.


Beginning in February, we kicked off a four month challenge of avoiding anything new. I was pleased with our results. We did purchase some new items, however these items fell in the exempt category. The exempt items purchased were:

  • Diapers (Household Consumable)
  • Garage Door Repair (Home Maintenance)
  • Heating Valve Replacement (Home Maintenance)
  • Quarterly Bug Spray (Home Maintenance)
  • Rodeo/Garth Brooks Tickets (Experiences)
  • Swim Lessons (Experiences)
  • Unmentionables

With this beginning our buy nothing new challenge, what did we buy (if anything) that was new?

  • Birthday and Valentine's Day Cards (2)

In February, we only purchased two new items. These items were cards costing us around $3 each. Both cards were for my wife for valentine's day (one from me and one from our daughter). Sadly, I purchased these cards instead of making them myself. My wife handmade my card and I loved it!

In January, we tried to plan for all gifting purchases that we would need until May, however, we forgot about the cards that go along with these gifts. Below is the list of non-exempt new items we have purchased this year. We need to keep up the good work in March and look at making our greeting cards during the remainder of the challenge months.

  • January: 34 (No Restrictions)
  • February: 2
  • Total: 36

Mortgage Payoff Update:

We began the year by setting a goal of paying off $20,000 of principal on our mortgage. We made a lot of progress towards our goal in January. That progress slowed in February and we were not able to put as much money towards the mortgage. Below is our breakdown of principal payoff in 2018.

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

  • January: $1,942.65
  • February: $1,147.58
  • Year-to-date: $3,090.23

We threw an extra $200 towards our mortgage in February. When added to the extra $1,000 we paid off in January, that's an extra $1,200 paid off in 2018. This leaves use with approximately $7,300 left to add to our mortgage to reach our goal.

Reaching the Financial Summit, Starts with You!

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