Slowly Sipping Coffee

Our money went where??? April 2015

Well, I am coming to a sad conclusion this month. We spend more money than I thought. Bummer.  Its not horrible in any way, just that if we aren’t being super vigilant, money gets spent. As in groceries. And a never ending list of crap for the house and yard – a new weed eater, a fire pit, an air filter/fan for allergies, window film for the back door so people can’t stare in at us (ok, no one has yet, but if anyone did I would have a heart-attack, so this is like life insurance).  I even caved after oh, about 8 years of pressure from my Mom and I bought eight $1.96 placemats. (She was not impressed by my efficiency in purchasing red ones, so they could also be used at Christmas).

Pie charts make me hungry!

Pie charts make me hungry!

Even though we had quite a few extra purchases, we didn’t blow our budget out of the water – thanks to the lower price in gasoline these days.  We even had to buy baby girl some new clothes, because as the temperatures climbed, we realized she had no shorts or t-shirts that fit anymore.  But, I think we should be good for the summer with clothes for the kids! That is a relief!

To review our goals:

Monthly – Spend less than $1645 on our credit card. Results – FAIL!  We spent $1980!  Our grocery bill was closer to $700. We even bought a take home and bake fancy-schmancy pizza (this is getting close to crossing the line of grocery vs. dining out!).  Plus, all the aforementioned house items helped break this goal.  So for May, we will try again!

Quarterly – buy less consumables, and donate ~300 items.  Here, we are not quite on target with consumables – but I am proud to say we have donated or thrown out 300 items as of this weekend.  I’ll do a separate post on this soon!  What is great about looking for items to donate, is that I realized that we really have cut back… I was really having trouble identifying excessive possessions as we got closer to 300 items.  I should admit though – probably 250 of these items are mine.  Mr. SSC didn’t seem as much in the spring cleaning mindset as I.  Maybe he will be inspired soon to find another 100 items or so of his own!  (hint to Mr. SSC – go clean out the garage! And I found that box of 100 CDs you stashed in the hall closet…).

Mr. SSC side-note: I’m motivated, but I’m finding it pretty hard to come up with things to donate/toss out. For instance, one day my 10 items consisted of my stash of beer coozies. I’d collected a decent amount by going to conferences, so I cleaned them out, except for the sentimental ones. Yes, I do have sentimental beer coozies. As far as the stash of cd’s goes… I find it hard to toss them out, even if they are backed up on my computer. I know I can download them to an ipod and listen to that in the car, but I can also grab a stack of cd’s to throw in the car as well. I just can’t let them go. Although, I could go through and get rid of the scratched beyond belief ones that probably wouldn’t play anyway….

Yearly – we are rocking and on track at 43.3% of our savings goal.  If we can keep this up we should exceed our goal by 10%.

Here are the juicy details:

You can see that car insurance was due.  I was able to switch and get a lower rate, but that always hurts. We always pay it in full because we get a slight discount in the rate if we pay upfront.  OK, and I don’t know if this has been brought up – but, yes, I have a car loan. My interest rate is 0.0%… I’ve got no reason to pay it off early!  Groceries were up a little, again. It might be time for us to do another grocery analysis…

Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15
mortgage -1911.99 -1911.99 -1911.99 -1911.99
house utilities -260.85 -328.43 -253.84 -249.01
phone, tv, internet -237.81 -256.95 -239.07 -239.39
daycare -1805.50 -1790.00 -2237.50 -1790.00
car note & ins -323.45 -323.45 -323.45 -1061.42
health 0.00 0.00 -7.90 0.00
groceries -504.59 -630.82 -784.00 -690.00
misc shopping -54.00 -291.73 -144.88 -598.27
gas-toll -225.79 -516.10 -455.00 -233.00
gifts/entertain -80.00 0.00 0.00 -20.00
pets -192.72 -341.89 0.00 -51.50
maids -257.64 -257.64 -257.64 -346.26
cash -40 -40 0 0
gym -87.12 -87.12 -87.12 -87.12
travel 0.00 -1361.80 0.00 0.00
total -5981.46 -8137.92 -6702.39 -7277.96

As I’ve mentioned before, I like to take our average spending for the year and extrapolate it out to estimate our FIRE needs.  This also helps us figure out what our FI number is.  Looking at the first 4 months of the year, and adding in $8500 for healthcare, and $1500 for dental (I am totally ball-parking these), plus adding in a 5% slush factor, we are looking at a yearly needed income of $56275.  I know most people like to go by the 4% rule, but I’ve been feeling a little more conservative lately… primarily due to worrying about the true cost of healthcare and growing kids… so I am currently using ~3.5% to calculate our FIRE number. It gives me a safety factor that will help me sleep at night.  Given those numbers and assuming a steady 7% growth, I’m estimating we will hit FIRE in the early fall of 2018.  Not too bad!  But it involves a pretty aggressive savings plan… and in the back of my head I have a voice telling me that we should take a splurge vacation with the kids while we are still employed… I’m thinking a Disney Cruise!

So, how was your April? Are you happy or sad with your spending?
Do you ever think about taking a grand vacation, or purchasing something completely extravagant?

18 thoughts on “Our money went where??? April 2015

  1. Fervent Finance

    I was curious if you have ever done a calculation to see how much of a hit you’d take if one person would stay home. I’m just curious with the savings of child care, extra gas, tolls, car maintenance, maids, etc. Maybe I see a future post! :)

    April spending was above average for me but a lot of that was manufactured spending to get the bonus on my Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Luckily, I can calculate this quickly in my Excel spreadsheet. Making a few assumptions about spending with one income, and that we can save $1000/month more each year with Mr SSC’s raises or improved frugality – we would be looking at about August of 2021. But it is a great post idea – I did one a while back when I was considering going part time, I never did one considering only one income.

  2. Gen Y Finance Guy

    To be honest I am so happy that April is behind us. The first 4 months were very unusually high in the spending category. Here I am complaining, and yet we were still able to increase net worth on average by $5,700/month.

    That said we now have the home improvement project behind us ($5,000). My wife’s business coaching ($4,500) is pre-paid in full. Taxes are out of the way ($2,200). And a bunch of other one-time non-recurring expenses are past us.

    Don’t get me wrong I feel super lucky to have an income that allows us to save significantly even with large expenses like these. But now that I have my juicy details out there for the world to see, I like maximizing the net worth growth as much as I can.

    January through April were good, but May through the end of the year are going to be great. We should be able to increase net worth by about $8,000/month through the end of the year. That’s before any market appreciation there may be (or decline as well).


    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Blogging and putting our expenses out there really make us think about it all more too! And in the end, all that matters in that you keep on saving! I know we will have a few more pricey months coming up… but, hey, that’s life :)

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Not really, this daycare is actually less than the one we had our son in two years ago. Plus, we love the daycare – I am always amazed than my son can write his name at age 3! I tend to think of it as ‘schooling’ rather than ‘babysitting’ and that helps me feel better about the expense.

  3. Hannah

    Home spending is a big area of spending for us. Right now we are renovating (we bought a fixer upper), but we did a bit of review recently, and we found that we should expect $6K per year on non-investment home spending (this is insurance, taxes, repairs (roof, siding, etc.) and random purchases like appliances, paint, lawnmowers etc.)

    Our April was low spending but that wasn’t our goal. We wanted to buy the flooring for our house, but we got sick and then my husband’s finals got in the way.

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Yeah, last year we did some home improvements – and it hurt our budget. For the most part, I don’t think there is a way to do home improvements on the cheap!

  4. Abigail @ipickuppennies

    Our April spending wasn’t too bad. Looks like I may have overbudgeted by about $300. But we’ve still got a few days left, since I get paid in the middle of the month. So I’m assuming something will come up and suck it away. (I’m picturing that lake monster from the Jurassic Park trailer.)

    For now, though, it looks like we at least stayed on track. It would be nice if we could get to the point of spending a little less than usual. But one thing at a time.

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      I feel like that a lot. It seems like something is always coming up. Minus the one time expenses, our periphery spending is doing well though, so every little bit helps! We get lake monsters around here too. :)

  5. No Nonsense Landlord

    WOW, the cost of the kids could get you another property. Great savings rate anyway. I put a room reservation in for a trip this fall, and I was charged 100% already. I get a refund if I cancel 3 days prior to arriving.

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Yeah, you are not kidding! Daycare does take a big chunk out. Interesting thought about another property with that funds. We look at it as a windfall to need hat much less per year in FI, which works too.

  6. Kate@GoodnightDebt

    Daycare is so expensive! Yikes!
    My April spending was good. It was my first month out of student loan debt. That resulted in a little extra spending. Thankfully, our grocery bill was surprisingly low this month so it all canceled out. I started tracking my expenses in February, so its been pretty cool to see where I am spending and how I can tweak it to make it better.

    1. Mr SSC

      Congrats on being done with student loan debt! I love when low spending in one place cancels out higher spending somewhere else. Good job on tracking your spending too, you’ll be amazed where you can save costs.

  7. Finance Journey

    Day care was your biggest expensive after mortgage. This is the reason, I have asked my wife to stay at home and take care of our kid, rather send him to day care and extra taxt to government.

    In Canada, new family tax credits allow us to split our income if we have a kid.

    We are trying to live less than $2500 per month expenses, and save and invest rest of our inome.


    1. Mr SSC

      That is an interesting point you bring up. When my brother was dealing with this with my neice, it didn’t make sense for the wife to work. At that time in her career, her bring home paycheck didn’t fully cover the daycare costs. For us, it is different. Not necessarily a better situation, but one in which it makes more sense to keep working.
      A straight forward cost benefit analysis can tell you whether it’s economically better for your wife to work or stay home. Also consider the mental aspect of staying at home too. Most stay at home moms I know have gone stir crazy after a while (year or so) just wanting adult conversation and interaction. Play groups and other activities can help ease that, but it’s definitely something to consider in the conversation as well.
      Good luck on your decision!

    1. Mr SSC

      That’s a great point! We should put that somewhere on our site. I was just working on a post that was going to feature my retirement clock, and our revised dates because it’s moved up almost a year just in the last month!

      Currently, my retirement clock is set for sometime in June 2018 around 6 pm. That’s about 1134 more days if I remember correctly from this morning. :) That’s our most likely target date, but it could be sooner…

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