Year of Frugality: Month 4 Update

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Well, April is in the books and I am smack dab in the middle of baseball season. This means late nights and less time with my family. However, I truly love baseball season.  I really enjoy the smell of the grass, the time outdoors and coaching up kids to play the great American pastime. 

As far as our family, my wife is heading down the homestretch of pregnancy. With a summer due date, we only have a couple more months until we are parents once again. My daughter has started swim lessons and she loves the water.

We didn't do anything outrageously exciting in April, but we were always busy with family events for Easter, a bridal shower that my wife attended and a visit from family from Nebraska. Our busy month of April did not lead to a very frugal month on the financial side of things. We dealt with another major unexpected expense and paid our income taxes for the year. 

So, let's look at those dreadful non-frugal expenses now.

April Spending Report:

  • Auto: $2,857
    • Gas
    • Tolls
    • Repairs
  • Cash: $60
    • Used for Misc. Expenses
  • Clothing: $59
    • Clothing for my daughter
  • Dining: $326
    • Includes date nights
  • Daycare: $1,003
    • Charged 5 times instead of 4, because April had 5 Mondays
  • Donations: $600
  • Entertainment: $0
  • Gifts: $0
  • Groceries: $1,015
  • Health & Fitness: $116
  • Household: $70
    • Misc. Cleaning Supplies
    • Lawn Mowing
  • Insurance: $91
    • Homeowners Insurance
  • Medical: $545
    • Paid Medical Pills for Pregnancy Appointments
    • Our Daughter had check-up
    • Paid the deposit for the delivery
  • Mortgage: $1,023
    • Interest
    • Taxes
  • My Kids: $51
    • Diapers
  • My Pets: $0
  • Income Tax: $793
    • We were short on paying in and had to pay extra
  • Utilities: $351
    • Streaming TV Service
    • Internet
    • Water
    • Natural Gas
    • Cell Phones
  • Vacation/Travel: $48
    • My wife traveled to Laredo for a shower
    • Purchased 3 round trip flights to Nebraska (with points)
  • Work Expenses: $40
    • Practice Exam Book for My Wife's Re-certification


Dang!!! Do you see that number? That's almost $4,000 more than last month at $5,133. What happened to our decrease in spending? Well, once again the unexpected car repair expense gave a shock to the April budget.

I was already planning on the tax bill, and had an inkling with my car. I could hear my steering column grind every time I made a sharp turn and there was a red liquid dripping from my car. I hoped they would be related, but sadly they weren't. My car needed a new radiator and a new rack and pinion system for the steering column. Add in that we threw in two oil changes and April really was a big auto repair month. 

Below is our running tally for major repair expenses since last August:

  • 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
  • March: NOTHING!!!!
  • April: Auto Repairs and Tax Bill

Needless to say, I have increased our savings amount in our new car fund in hopes of purchasing a new car next summer. We should have enough cash saved by then! Other than auto repairs, groceries also took a big hit.

We almost spent $300 more dollars on groceries than last month. We had been cutting down our grocery bill, but I have a theory on the reasons that our groceries increased during the month. I have an article idea planned for later in the month to dive deeper into our grocery spending.

April Spending Rates:

Apr 2018 Spending Rate .png

2018 Savings Rate Goal: 30% 

  • January Savings Rate: 21%
  • February Savings Rate: 16%
  • March Savings Rate: 32%
  • April Savings Rate: 26%
  • Year-to-Date Savings Rate: 24% (increase of 1 percentage point from March)

Despite all the extra spending we did in April, we still found a way to save a good percentage of our spending in April! It helped that we had invested in my daughter's college fund, before finding out about the car trouble. We were over-budget in April with the savings and auto repair. However, we were lucky to come out way under budget in March. This has allowed for us to be under budget for the entire year despite a dreadful April.


Beginning in February, we kicked off a four month challenge of avoiding anything new. As you can tell, we really did not spend a lot of money on anything unnecessary. There were some new items that we purchased that are exempt, based on the guidelines we laid out at the beginning of our 4-month challenge:

  • Diapers (Household Consumable)
  • Car Repairs
  • Thermometer covers
  • Unmentionables

With this being our third month of our buy nothing new challenge, what did we buy (if anything) that was new?

  • Reusable Swim Diaper

In April, we bought ONE, that's right only ONE new item! I know we have a goal of ZERO, however, I am not too mad with this purchase. With my daughter starting swim lessons in May, they required a disposable swim diaper and a re-useable swim diaper over top of the disposable. 

  • January: 34 (No Restrictions)
  • February: 2
  • March: 7
  • April: 1
  • Total: 44


We began the year by setting a goal of paying off $20,000 of principal on our mortgage. We were able to find some extra money to throw at the mortgage, despite the unexpected auto repair. 

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
  • Year-to-date: $5,494.23

We threw an extra $200 towards our mortgage in April. Since the beginning of 2018, we have paid an extra $1,700 on our mortgage! This leaves us with approximately $6,787 extra dollars to pay to reach our goal! That's an extra $848 each month to reach our goal. We have some work to do!


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