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August 2015 Budget Update and More!

Where to begin with the budget this month? Some surprising things we noticed. Greyhounds eat a LOT, haha! Our new grocery norm has jumped to ~$600, so the kids must be eating more… Oh yeah, daycare trumps the mortgage again this month, as it was a 5 Monday month. Yep, those little ones eat more, cost more, and our oldest is now in uniforms, so there was that extra cost. Upside, we found some uniform shirts at Goodwill of all places, so woohoo! Of course this was after ordering the bare minimum he would need. Mrs. SSC tried and failed getting uniforms on ebay, especially when the bids ended higher than buying brand new, wtf people?!

Daycare - you cruel expensive mistress!

Daycare – you cruel expensive mistress!

Everything else pretty much stayed on par, so that’s always a good thing.

Money, money, money! Going to someone else...

Money, money, money! Going to someone else…

In the winning column, we realized we’re at 70% of our savings goal this year ($150k) and we just may be able to pull it off if we stay focused. Our FIRE costs would have been ~$4,050 this month, and our current running total of our annual FIRE spending would be ~$55,700. As Mrs. SSC pointed out, this is with a 5% slush built in, and allowances. Take those out, and we are at a solid $40k, which is pretty good considering that we have a solid $15k buffer if things get wonky after we leave the workforce.

Speaking of leaving the workforce, Mrs. SSC is one week away from applying for her job again! She gets to also apply for 3 others, and hope she lands in one of them. More on that in upcoming posts though, when we have more to share. This has led to a LOT of re-evaluation of our life plans though. Mrs. SSC always wanted to teach and has recently begun looking for teaching jobs. We realize it’s the off season, and I have another 22 months until I get vested in my current 401k, so we’re not planning on leaving before then. However…. We’ve come to realize that we can probably pull the trigger as early as 2017 if some things happen. Mainly, if Mrs. SSC gets a teaching job somewhere that could buffer dipping into our savings for a year or two, we could begin our Fully Funded Lifestyle Change (FFLC) early. It would be more of a Mostly Funded Lifestyle Change, but one we think would be for the better. I really like my job, but I love lots of other things WAY more. :)

We both think that we are about done with our current lifestyle. Mrs. SSC wakes up at 5 am, short commute ~30 min, work, gets home by 4pm to get the kids and get them dinner. I get up at 5:30am, get the kids dropped off at 6:30am (poor kids), traffic ~40 min, work, more traffic ~50-60 min, then home by 6pm. I get to see the kids for an hour or so, then they get put to bed, and I have time to exercise/make dinner/relax/catch up with Mrs. SSC, my choice! Hahaha…. Then repeat 4-5 days a week. I’m appreciative to have my job, and very grateful of what it has afforded us, but man, this schedule sucks! So, we’re doing what we can to try and shorten our FFLC date. Even if it means (call the retirement police) working after beginning our FFLC.

While we will get more clarity on what path we may travel in the upcoming weeks, we have decided our current path is not sustainable. What that actually means in terms of our going forward plan, who knows. We’ll be sure to keep you informed however this whole thing shakes out though.

Have you had any workplace or lifestyle epiphanies lately?
Do your kids cost more than your house? 
Are these budget updates a helpful prophylactic for those currently without children?

Is this your car and family?

Is this your car and “family”?

22 thoughts on “August 2015 Budget Update and More!

  1. Steve @ Think Save Retire

    Good on you for staying close to your savings goals! And it is definitely looking like you guys are having the same kind of “Screw this, I wanna retire REAL early!” thoughts that my wife and I had several months ago. We significantly changed our post-retirement lifestyle to dramatically reduce our expenses (around $30k/year), but there are any number of ways to bring that beautiful FIRE date closer.

    The fun part is figuring out what’s going to work for you. I’m excited to hear what you guys figure out.

    I think your very last question is funny…my wife and I are DINKs – no kids, and honestly, we certainly do not plan on having any kids. I gotta admit – the daycare costs alone pretty much drop my lower jaw every time I look at them. :)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      It’s been tight trying to get to the savings goal, but surprisingly, we’re pretty close!
      Yeah, maybe it’s the downturn, maybe it’s watching friends and family reapply for their jobs, or maybe it’s just realizing there’s way more to enjoy than what we’ve got going on now, but omg I can’t wait to be done.

      Yeah, my jaw drops too when I see the daycare rolled up as a monthly spend item. Blech!

  2. Jenna

    I’m glad to see that you all are figuring out a way to change your life for the better now, instead of waiting for years and years. There are other solutions than a pile of money for having a more enjoyable lifestyle! You’ll be able to continue to save for eventual financial independence while spending more time with each other and your kids.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I couldn’t agree more about there being more ways to enjoy life than collecting cash! Even if our ultimate FI goal is delayed, I’m fine with that if I can have a better schedule and overall better rounded life.

  3. Fervent Finance

    I’ve definitely had the “I want to retire now” thoughts a lot lately. Butttttttttt I’m still about ~10 years from FI. Definitely makes me start to think if I want to begin a more flexible path, which would slow down my path to FI, but maybe give me more flexibility to do the things I’m passionate about and interest me. So in the meantime, I’m just in earn, earn, earn and save, save, save mode. It’s great how close you guys are to your goals!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      At least you’re in the early camp for savings, and can work towards getting some FU money now, so if an opportunity comes up in the future, you’ll be positioned to take it. Keep up the earning and savings! :)

  4. Tawcan

    Great stuff on staying close on your savings goal. Your work schedule is pretty brutal. I’ve been pulling similar schedule the last 1.5 month and it definitely isn’t fun waking up at 5 AM, especially now sun doesn’t get out that early. The only good thing is I can leave work around 2:30 or 3 and spend some time with Mrs. T and Baby T in the afternoon. Occasionally I’d need to work in the evening just to make sure I’m up to speed. Great stuff on realizing that your current path is not sustainable. Time for a change!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      My schedule is not a fun one, but it serves its’ purpose. Hopefully, just not for much longer. :) I’d be much happier if I was able to leave before 5, and not have a 12 hr chunk of life gone everyday with work and commute. I’d be fine making less too – perfectly good trade off as far as I’m concerned.

  5. Our Next Life

    Once again my heart bleeds for you, seeing those daycare bills! Ouch! Good luck to Mrs. SSC in reapplying for her job! Though after you shared that you guys would still be able to reach your FFLC goal with one income, I felt way less stressed on your behalf. :-) Your amended vision sounds pretty incredible, I gotta say! We can definitely relate to feeling done with this stage of life. :-)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Mrs. SSC emailed me this morning saying, “nothing like starting your day with someone asking what her plans are for a class she’ll be teaching in Dec. if she’s laid off in Oct….”
      I’m way less stressed about that, and well, if she does get laid off, then I can switch to leaving at 6am and getting home by 5 vs, leaving at 6:20 and getting home by 6. It’s the little wins. 😉
      I’m done, but need to curb that for a little bit until we can figure out a good parachute option from this schedule.

  6. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    Interesting to hear you say you are “about done” with this lifestyle. We’ve been feeling the same way lately, and I just hung up the phone with my baby brother and he and his wife are “done” too. It’ll be interesting to see what life changes end up happening – for all of us – as we contemplate just how ready we all are to change things up. :-)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      It’s ironic that I put so much time and effort into getting this position and am close to burn out after less than 10 years. I think it’s the dual income and equally demanding schedule for both of us that is contributing to it. Yep, I’m ready for a change. Only 22 months until I’m vested in my 401k here, but I’m not letting that control my future if we can figure something else or something better out in the meantime.

  7. Luke Fitzgerald @ FinanciallyFitz

    Great month! We have a 7 month old and just had to up our grocery budget. For a couple months we thought we could get by on our usual budget (its just baby food!!) but every week pocket money and entertainment money would have to pitch in to make it by. Finally broke down and changed it – it was only a matter of time I guess but that doesnt mean it didnt hurt!

    BUT…i must confess. We have a line of 8+ babysitters…all family. We are beyond blessed to have that at our disposal. I never spent one day in a day care and it looks like my children won’t either. It’s crazy how expensive that gets. Best of luck in September!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      That would be amazing to even have 1 babysitter that’s family nearby. I will say that I think the socialization aspect is good for daycare. Even if Mrs. SSC gets laid off next month we will most likely keep our oldest in full-time because he really likes it and getting to see his friends, but our youngest we would do a part time 2 day a week with our church. She’s more independent and seems to be indifferent, except she ahs different dolls and kitchens to play with.

  8. TheMoneyMine

    Day care is a ridiculous expense!
    Our largest expense says ‘travel’ instead of ‘daycare’, so once we have kids, I know what’s going to go first …
    Unless we manage to get transferred to some country where daycare is subsidized by the local government. That might be a worthy investment by itself.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      That could be lucrative from a daycare standpoint and if there is an override for being an expat. We still plan on travel, but currently, the house and daycare are eating up the majority of our funds. :(

  9. Prudence Debtfree

    What jumps out at me is what you say your FIRE costs would be as compared to your actual costs. Your actual costs are over 50% higher. There’s a real irony in there – and it makes financial freedom all the more appealing. The other thing that jumps out at me is the word “maids” in your expenses. We have not hired cleaners since we started our journey out of debt 3 years ago, and I REALLY want to hire them again. How did you come to the decision to keep on hiring domestic support given your financial goals? I might want to adopt that decision too.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah it’s quite interesting the difference in our “now” costs versus our FIRE costs. It’s probably why it took me so long to get on board with it. BUT, essentially, daycare will be out of the budget, as well as our mortgage payment. If you look a t the pie chart, that’s a BIG chunk of coin gone. We’ll have to cover our own health insurance so that’s accounted for, but yeah it’s crazy how little we can live off of once we get to FIRE.

      And as far as the maids go it’s a time versus money thing. We feel that it’s worth it for us to have them come every other week and get all the stuff we don’t want to do while trying to entertain a 2 and 4 yr old. We keep up with daily cleaning, but it’s nice to have someone hit the floors, bathrooms, and those things that need a deeper clean occasionally.

      On a similar note, we could get the yard done for $25/week, and since it takes me over an hr to do it each time, we have done it in the past. However, I’ve done it all season tis season, because I like it, and now that our youngest is a little older, it’s easier to find 1-1.5 hr that Mrs. SSC can watch them while I do the yard. Also, I do it at night after the kids go down at 7 pm, but that’s getting hard to do with days getting shorter.

      I hope that helps – but essentially, we justify it in the convenience category, and when we FIRE we will do it ourselves because we’ll have the time and not try to force it into an already hectic/busy schedule.

      1. Prudence Debtfree

        Again, more irony! I have thought that I’d like to hire cleaners until we’re financially independent – and then I’d just do it myself because of the time I’ll have. But since now is the time to save and cut expenses, we haven’t made that move. The way you have spelled it all out is getting me to think about it though. And it’s a very welcome thought!

        1. Mr SSC Post author

          Yeah, we thought the same, but justified it as an expense we won’t cut just yet. It’s just nicer to get to hang with the kids knowing we don’t have to mop or do the big cleaning stuff. For us, it’s worth the money to have the time.

          Glad I could help out with some different ways to think about it. :)

  10. May

    So glad my daycare days are behind me – but I do see a big tuition train down the tunnel so I cannot be glib.
    I hear you about things not being sustainable. I am constantly reevaluating and looking at other schemes. I have given myself until Jan and then I will go back to the drawing board to see if I need to change the plan.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      It will be nice when that cost is behind us, but unless something changes, we’ll still have a before school and after school cost for care of the kids, barring finding some nanny option. I don’t think they’re cheaper though, so… As far as tuition. Man, we’re planning on saving to help with an in-state school undergraduate but we both feel without some ownership, they’re likely to not take it seriously. That’s how I was anyway, and so we will cover most but not all of their school.

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