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January 2017 Spending: Our Money Went Where?

January, thank goodness you’re over… It seems like once one thing gets taken care of another comes up. So how did January pan out for us – expensive. Lots of deltas, not too many plusses. Some of it was fun, some of it was sad, and some of it was routine things that snowball into more expensive costs than we expected. Here’s the rundown of our spending this month and where we are in relation to our FIRE/FFLC goal.

Spending Positives

The good things are few, so let’s cover those first. We’re still keeping up with college savings at $800/month total and our investing goal of $4k/month was achieved. Mrs. SSC cut the kids hair, so no costs there, tithe to church $500 (rather than chipping in random weekly cash amounts), and finally groceries were under $600 but not quite to the $500 level Mrs. SSC wants to hit. I sitll count that as a win.

Total spend for January 2017

Total spend for January 2017

Spending Negatives

Some big negatives include a new dishwasher, not cheap to begin with, was made more expensive by our plumbing issues. The connection for the dishwasher was pretty tight and the installer didn’t want to accidentally snap it off and cause water damage and more issues. So we got a plumber and he made the final connection and replaced/repaired 3 other brittle looking shutoffs under our sink for a cool $300. Yeeaahh…. At least it’s quiet!

We also spent $655 for our big summer trip up to MT/ID later this year. It’s a doozie, but we’ve been paying for it here and there so when it gets here, there shouldn’t be any major expenses to cover.

Two oil changes for the cars upped spending in that category by ~$110 this month.

We had to put Quinn down, but not before a couple of vet visits to see if there was anything else to do – there wasn’t. Sometimes old age just catches up to you. Between the illness and cremation, pet costs were almost $500 this month.

Such a sweetie!

Such a sweetie!

Next month will see higher pet costs as well because Lola needs a teeth cleaning and most likely a removal of one of her teeth. Fortunately, it’s Dental Awareness month and our vet is having a 20% off special all month on dental procedures. Plus, we’re adopting a new greyhound, Zoe which has a $250 adoption fee. We didn’t think it would move this quickly since last time it took close to 6 months to get a greyhound, but no complaints from me on a quick adoption process.

Spending Miscellaneous

My company switched from a bi-monthly pay scheme to a bi-weekly pay scheme which means we only had 1 “big” paycheck in January and I will be short 1 week of pay this year. It’s in “arears” and will get paid out when I leave, but that doesn’t help right now.

Hat tip to 1500 days recent Airplane theme

Hat tip to 1500 Days recent Airplane theme

Mrs. SSC’s job had some more associated costs with it. Between renewing society membership fees and a new desk for her home office, her new expensive hobby rang in at $762 for January.

Also, it looks like from Feb. onward we will need to get a tutor for our oldest. He’s been struggling with his homework (yes, homework in kindergarten, and book reports, like wtf, kindergarten really?!) and while we’ve been working with him at nights on his letters, numbers, and reading he’s still struggling. After looking into various resources it sounds like he may be dealing with dyslexia, which explains a lot of his struggles. So we’ll be getting him a tutor that can specifically help with that and hopefully turn things around for him.


On the plus side, we’re at 80% of our goal, woohoo!! On the down side, because we can now see the end our mentality has changed a bit. We’ve never been in it for the Retire Early aspect of FIRE, and we just want a Lifestyle Change that fits our family more and gives us more free time. Mrs. SSC likes working, I currently still like my job, even though with the reorg I now have 2 MORE bosses for a total of 5 above me with the option to add a 6th. Yep, 6 months of figuring it all out and this is what they came up with… Notice how I said “currently like my job”, lol.

Yep, sounds about right...

Yep, sounds about right…

The main point if that we are at the stage that if a decent job comes up outside of Houston, we’re fine taking it, even if it means we won’t be saving as much and might be working past 42. Gasp!! Working longer?! WTF?!

Another thing that could happen is that we stay in Houston longer than we planned initially. With a 4% growth (after inflation) we can hit our FFLC financial goals in October of 2018. Given the uncertainty of the health care situation we’ll probably keep hunkered down here until that gets sorted, or Mrs. SSC or myself find another job outside of Houston. With healthcare…


That’s pretty much it for our January Spending and forward projection. Let us know what you think of the pie chart over the graph. We just couldn’t think of any good comparison categories for this year, and after last year, things look too similar to make that chart useful anymore. Any thoughts on a new way to show it?

Hope your January went well for you!

30 thoughts on “January 2017 Spending: Our Money Went Where?

  1. The Money Commando

    Good point about health care. I think that’s the single largest unknown that would prevent me from actually pulling the plug and retiring early. The Affordable Care Act wasn’t perfect, but at least it meant it was possible to get insurance on the open market. Who knows what the situation will be in 2017 or 2018…

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      No kidding. It wasn’t great, but it was available to provide some insurance at a reasonable cost. Here’s to hoping we end up with something similar soon.

  2. Mrs. COD

    Aw, a new puppy! Good for you…My boys would love it if we’d get a dog, but with three cats, it’s highly unlikely. I enjoy your spending charts! I still need to finish our January spending report, but happily our grocery bill was way lower than usual!
    Good luck with the tutor. It’s good to start getting help with something like dyslexia as early as possible (I assume). Can’t believe kindergarteners get homework, though!
    Thanks for the Office Space meme. My kid is walking around with that DVD case because I just watched it last week! Love it! So many classic work scenarios ?. I don’t miss bosses and memos and staff meetings, except for the candy my principal used to give out at meetings, lol…

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Nice job on having a way lower than usual grocery bill! I love Office Space! So relatable on so many levels. “I wouldn’t say I’m missing work…” lol

      I can’t believe the homework either, January was about 20 pages of letters, numbers, words, etc… The weekly book reports involve writing 2 sentences about the book, drawing a picture, etc… t can be a struggle when they’re still learning sight words and that sort of thing.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I agree, free playtime would be way better. Sunday night after the halftime show my oldest told me “Next year, I don’t want to watch the Superbowl beause I’d rather get books instead.” Since they stayed up later to watch the halftime show and have a dance party, I just read 2 short chapters from his books instead of the usual reading time.

      The want to is there, to learn to read, he’s just struggling more than most in his class. I can’t wait until he gets over that hurdle though.

  3. Brian @ Debt Discipline

    Book reports in kindergarten? What happened to coloring and playing? I mean I want my kids to grow up smart and all, but let them get use to the social and structure pieces of the school day first. Good luck with the tutor.

    We have been considering adding a 2nd pup, not sure we are ready. Good luck. I’m sure the family be be happy to have her.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I know right?! It’s definitely different from when I was in kindergarten.

      A second dog does add a lot more responsibility, and twice as much poo to pick up in the yard, lol.

  4. Jax

    You should see if your public library has a “read to the dogs” program. Kids get to pick their own books to read and then sit with a friendly dog for a few minutes and read to them! It’s low pressure (dogs don’t care if you can’t pronounce a word or read slowly, or stumble or aren’t perfect) and it gives kids practice reading and reading out loud (which is the best way to become a better reader-practice!)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      That’s a pretty cool program, I’ll have to look into it! He has gotten better at reading, but is still struggling a bit with sight words. I get him to use the phonics method to figure out what letters are in “new” words, and then sound them out and he loves it when he figures it out. We’ve moved past the “BIscuit” reading books and are using the Berenstein Bears learning to read books now. He likes those stories a lot more, so he seems to be trying harder with them.

  5. FullTimeFinance

    Our preschooler, 4 year old, gets homework. It’s usually things like writing his name but man it’s like pulling teeth at this age, so I feel for you. The pie chart is a good fit. It might be a good fit to do two charts. One with fixed and variable and one that explodes at this level.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Oh, that’s a good idea about a fixed and variable costs chart(s). Although I did hear Mrs. SSC say, graphs, ugh, I hate making graphs… So, maybe I’d have to do that part of it. 🙂

      His homework consists of about a page a day (~20 pages) each month of writing lettes, words, figuring out sounds, math, etc… Then a weekly book report where he has to write 2 sentences about the book, and draw a picture and write a sentence about the picture.

      Nothing crazy, but pulling teeth might be easier some days. 🙂

  6. TheMoneyMine

    So Mrs. SSC’s new job is now an expensive hobby? So, it’s like she’s in early retirement already ? 😀
    Having 6 different bosses might be a nightmare to manage the day to day, but if you do a good job, I’m sure you can ask for a raise 6 times. Isn’t that great after all?

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      it IS like she’s in early retirement already, lol. And yes, it is starting to appear to be more of an expensive hobby, but that’s okay because unlike mine, hers comes with a paycheck and benefits, so we’re still ahead in a lot of respects. 🙂

      I do like having more exposure to different people even if they are bosses, and since each of them has different teams under them, I am building my corporate exposure as well. I figure the more people who know my name and face the better I may be if the axe comes down for layoffs. That’s all assuming I’m doing well in my position though and not just irritating all 6 of them, bwahahaha…. 😀

  7. Mrs. BITA

    Again, sorry about Quinn, that sucks. Yay for the new dog and the quiet dishwasher!

    I’m sorry that your eldest is struggling, and I hope the tutor helps. That is a great example of the unexpected spanners life can throw in the works. There is no planning for something like that, all we can do is adjust our plans and keep chugging along.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks, we’re excited about both, even though we still both miss Quinn.

      I was thinking it could be dyslexia when i noticed he kept switching b’s and d’s, m and w, and E and 3, and other things. I switch numbers around more than letters, which is why I was so poor at math for so long. I could get the mechanics, but never the exact right answer, which some professors will tell you is the important part, lol. Thank goodness for teachers who gave partial credit for following all the proper steps. 🙂

      Hopefully his tutor helps him and gives us some tools we can use with him to get him to better work at it.

      Being flexible is key with SO many things in life.

  8. Jacq

    I have 2 or 3 bosses depending on how you look at it…but for reporting to 2 people this is the easiest time I’ve had of it since 2008. And my bosses are fierce, no poaching of my time by other managers without my boss’s approval.
    My dad had a very unexpected health issue so my unplanned January travel is a lot more than usual, between deck parking and tolls to drive there and gas. Usually I visit over Christmas and don’t go back til Feb. Jan having 5 weekends got 2 visits, after leaving Jan 4 and Feb will also be 2 visits, but last trip I skipped the toll roads and will do that again.
    I hope the tutor helps. Thank goodness I didn’t have book reports in kindergarten I napped every day when I got home, even sometimes in 1st grade.
    Mmmm donut charts….

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      My immediate boss is fairly protective of us and our time, and his 2 immediate bosses are pretty laissez faire about being active with anything below their level – whew… I just never know how the 2 new upper bosses operate. Another plus, is I’ve worked for the 6th one before and we got along great. Here’s hoping it doesn’t turn into a goat roast. 🙂

      Sorry to hear about your dad’s health issue. That can trip up the best laid plans.

      Until the kids came along, I still napped every day when I got home, lol. 🙂

  9. Lucky Girl

    Always enjoy your updates! We are in the same situation with two kids so we can relate on many of those hurdles and unexpected expenses. Health care uncertainty will prevent us from fully pulling the plug any time soon!

    Homework in Kindergarten (or pre-K, as Full Funded Finance mentioned) is crazy! For the first time in a while I’m thinking our insane choice to pay for private school was a good idea. My 1st grader’s teachers are very careful about not pushing kids too far or causing them anxiety. She only started homework this year, and it is very laid back.

    Hope you are able to find a good tutor and work with your son’s teachers on the challenges.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I agree homework is crazy at that age… Hopefully the tutor helps him get over these hurdles.

      It’s a big waiting game with healthcare. Sure we can ramp up savings to expect to pay full market prices, but that would add at least 1-2 years to hit that number. Sigh… Here’s to hoping something similar or better comes along.

  10. The Green Swan

    Sounds like it was one of those months you look forward to forgetting about. A lot of one-time, unique and unfortunate circumstances. It happens to all of us at one time or another. That’s great your getting some extra help for your son, I’m sure that’ll be beneficial. Definitely not an expense to think twice about! Here’s to a better February! Thanks for the update.

  11. Mustard Seed Money

    I hate months like that where Murphy’s law shows up and doesn’t go away. Outside of a new year I think January is normally the pits. You have to take down the decorations, get back into things at work and for me it’s normally dreary outside. No thank you!!!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yep, January is the somber return to reality after a nice month spent thinking about hopes, magic, and loved ones.

  12. Miss Mazuma

    Dude – that kindergarten sounds hard core!! It’s great you’re getting him the help he needs now and hopefully things can turn around. At such a young age it is hard to tell if the breakdown is in the information going in or coming out. Having gone to public school but also having taught at a Montesorri school, it was interesting to see how kids did in an open classroom setting. I was not good in public school and most likely would have thrived in Montesorri. That being said, some kids work better with structure so you just never know!

    Anywho, I am so happy to hear about the new pup on the seen! Zoe has some big paws to fill but no doubt will be happy in her new home. 🙂

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Seriously though, that amount of homework in kindergarten, what the hell? I don’t know if he’d do better in Montessori style system or not. I think my daughter would thrive in that environment, but our oldest may just bounce from one thing to another. Actually, he’d rpobably spend most of the day looking at books and asking lots of questions and wanting to “science” everything. 🙂 Maybe he’d do well in that environment too.

      I just know that during free play time around the house, it can be like moving a mountain to get him engaged in it, whereas our daughter will just wander off and do her own thing and stay content and engaged with whatever interests her. Not enarly as easily distracted.

      We’ll have some pictures to share soon, or at least in February update. She’s a bit older at 6.5, which we were a bit worried about due to Greyhound health issues, but you can’t choose who you love.

  13. Fruclassity (Ruth)

    I have never heard of book reports in kindergarten. Hmmm… On the one hand, I really don’t think it’s what should be happening at that stage of the game, but on the other, it did allow you to be alerted your son’s possible dyslexia. So much better to know earlier rather than later. I hope you find a great tutor and that your son gets well set up. There are tons of success stories among people with dyslexia as you no doubt know : ) It sounds like your FFLC is creeping up on you gradually. Enjoy the transition : )

  14. Steven

    At my old job for the first 6 months I thought I was in this bizarro world and was in the Office Space movie, then in a reality check I realized that everyone is living in the bizarro world, it’s called corporate america.

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