The Frugal Momster Looks Back at Our 2017 Expenses

Wow! I can’t believe another year has gone by and I’ve written expense reports for the entire 2017 calendar year. We’ve had quite a ride, spending more than planned, yet still staying within our goals to a certain extent.

Here are the reports if you’re interested: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.

How Did We Do?

I am happy to report that we stayed rather close to our $25,000 yearly spending I tout after I remove the expense of the mortgage and the other one time purchases we made this year for landscaping, a fence to be put in, and a frivolous purchase of an iPhone.

Our total 2017 expenses, not including those one-time purchases is $27,317.56 which is a whopping $5,000 less than 2016 (we were targeting $8,000 less than last year).

Where We Can Cut

Where we will cut back is on the expense category of Food, as we are ditching Costco which was a huge blow to our monthly spending every time we stepped foot in that store or I opened the app on my phone. I know, I shouldn’t blame a store for my spending problems, but Costco was just too easy to overspend and give into to impulses. If you can’t break the habit, remove the option to access the habit, right?

I plan to cut back on Clothing purchases, as I am minimalizing my wardrobe to include pieces I can mix and match among accessories that I am making for myself (crocheting a cozy shrug for example).

I haven’t lost the weight I thought I’d have lost by now, but I haven’t gained either. I am now focusing on eating better, and cutting back my wardrobe will eliminate more decision fatigue in my day and hopefully encourage a healthier lifestyle. I will continue to get Monkey items as needed, but the rest of us are swelling with drawers and closets full and we would do well to skip buying for awhile.

Other areas of our budget are pretty on par with what I anticipated from years prior. We flex our budget throughout the year as needed and save up for bigger purchases when we decide they are something we want to spend on. I’m pretty pleased with how this past year turned out and what we were able to accomplish with some of our surplus for 2017.

It’s the first year we’ve really felt like we’ve gotten ahead on many fronts and are finally more established in our home, with our project plans, and what we can to accomplish in the coming year.

Take a look at where all of our money went in 2017!

ItemAmountFrugal Mom$ter Musings
Clothing$987.61 Looks like another One Year No New Clothes Buying is in order!
Food$10,198.29 Costco gets us every time.
Gifts$1,720.75 On par with what we budgeted.
Health & Medical$404.65 Thank goodness we have good insurance.
Household$11,717.50 Too many Home Depot projects and spent a whopping $2,500 on landscaping plus $4,500 on a new fence thanks to Jeter!
Insurance$1,172.50 Car insurance.
Leisure$2,206.83 Books, activity programs, a fair amount on a paddle board, and several race sign-ups.
Pets$797.98 Jeter’s adoption fee, too many toys, food, and what not to keep that little guy happy.
Travel$1,615.99 Washington DC AirBnB, Atlantic City Bally’s Hotel, deposit for 2018 trip, and lots of EZPass payments
Mobile$1,000.50 iPhone 7 for me, Tracfone airtime (really should be $100 for the year!)
Natural Gas$669.90 
Total Spent$59,812.92 
Without Mortgage$35,007.66 
Without Extras$27,007.66This excludes landscaping, the fence, and my mobile phone purchase.

Wondering why some bills may be missing from this report?

The September 2016 Expense Report will answer your questions.

Expenses Tracking Update

I recently decided in the future, I will be removing Donations from my list of expenses, as it is truly not an expense and something we choose to do as an added thing for our community. I will be tracking this, but more privately as we increase our donations and look to grow that area of our “investments” into the greater good.

For 2018, it was around $400, which was far more than any other year and while significantly low compared to others, I am proud we added regularly giving into our plan for this coming year.

Do you look back at your yearly expenses?

I never did, truthfully, until we started doing these monthly and annual reports. It’s actually been an eye opener to really see where all of the money has gone. It’s great to know how much we make and what we are spending on so we can plan for the future and where we’d like to be each year.

The monthly reports, while sometimes cumbersome, have become easier with changing my spending categories this past January. They provide such insight into what was happening in our lives that month, and also how we may be wrecking our goals or reaching them as we go forward. I definitely think it’s something worth talking about and sticking with for 2018, even though at times I’ve considered stopping these reports. It does help me, and makes me a little more accountable as well as embarrassed at with our spending!

Happy New Year!

8 thoughts on “The Frugal Momster Looks Back at Our 2017 Expenses

  1. Let’s see…a husband, two kids, and two dogs. That’s a family of six. And you only spent $27K, excluding the mortgage and one-time capital expenses? Pretty freaking amazing. And I had to laugh reading your Frugal Mom$ter Musings. I final threw out my old EZPass transponder last year. I hope New York has killed my account. Haven’t used it in over 10 years. Great year end review of the household expenses. Cheers.

  2. You might want to check that they don’t charge you $1 per month for that EZPass. Those ridiculous fees annoy me so much. I would love to toss ours, but we drive over bridges to visit family and those cash prices are astronomical. It’s amazing they can’t seem to fix any of the roadways on what they collect.

    Oh, and thanks for including my dogs in my family. I never considered being a family of ‘6’, but I guess we are!

  3. I feel you on the Costco problem…That store is like a candy store/playground for adults! After the first couple times my fiancée and I went to Costco, we quickly figured out that we needed to budget ALOT better. We eventually just set a strict cash budget with Costco and only spent the cash we allocated to it. We don’t use Costco anymore either, but man I do miss it!

    I wish you all the best in 2018!

  4. Thanks for stopping by! Yes, Costco was just too easy to overspend and I didn’t feel we were getting the best prices on anything we bought outside of a few items (which were in such bulk we tired of shortly after the purchase). I dislike having a house overstocked with things, plus it was killing the budget so I figured stepping away was a good way to reassess, and it’s been a LOT less stressful to think about now 🙂 So far, a month in I don’t miss it, but I am sure here or there I might miss some items. Our Wegmans is pretty good price wise and quality, so if I didn’t have that I might have stayed!

  5. Is this for real? You spent 60K, but claim it’s only 27K? You spent more than the PRETAX median household income in the US (one of the richest countries in the world)… How do you justify this as being in the same universe as “frugal”?

  6. Frugal is relative to income and where you live. Where we live, spending $60,000 a year is still half of what others spend yearly around us. When you remove the expenses of a mortgage and capital improvements, yes, $27,000 is frugal in my book when our peers spend well over $100,000 annually.

    Feel free to use this Frugal Meter on your own spending:

  7. You’ve inspired me to keep a closer eye on our spending habits now that we are retired. It seems some days it’s too easy to pop into a store and mindlessly buy things that capture my fancy instead of sticking with what I need – not just want. Time to knuckle down and cut expenses! Thanks for the inspiration, Kate!

  8. Congratulations on you’re retirement! Yes it’s so easy to just pick up a few things here and there without noticing! I have to work hard at times, especially summer, to consciously spend instead!

Comments are closed.