Expense Reports, Pay-Off Updates and Changing My Mind, Again

It’s been a rough start to the new year, but after talking with Chris last night he suggested I keep going in sharing our expense reports and mortgage pay off updates. He said there’s nothing wrong with sharing our story and our process. How did I marry such a kind and smart man?

You’re Not Frugal…

I’ve always wondered if we were frugal enough, but if you compare expenses to expenses, I’d consider The Frugalwoods to be Uber Frugal and unmatchable in many ways for us.

Yet, dollar for dollar they spent only $10,000 less than we did last year. Take out our fence installation and landscaping costs from 2017, and we’re right on par with them.

This is the perfect example of why one shouldn’t consider expenses alone in judging if another is frugal or not. Sure, we spent close to the median household income last year in the United States, but we also saved 45%+ of our take-home income.

Yes, 45%+ of our income was put into savings or investments, which did not include the extra we paid toward our mortgage which was a whopping $7,000+. I don’t have an exact savings percentage for 2017 for you today. I could get it from my money software, but it doesn’t matter to me at this point.

Yes, We Are Frugal!

I’ve been told once or twice that I’m not frugal, and I started to question again if we really were. Thank goodness Frugal Fringe came to the rescue with the Frugalometer calculator to give me a grade. I like being an A+++ student.

What I do know is our savings rate is high for us as compared to our peers and we do in fact live a frugal lifestyle. What we spend is usually on DIY projects that we have so much fun doing! Always, with a frugal growth mindset. People I work with wonder all the time how we live without debt and they make thousands more than I do!

In all reality, we are public employees, in one of the lower paid professions for the degrees we hold and live in a high-cost state. We are not the highest paid people out there, yet we are making it work on half our income and enjoying the process. If you want to see a 75% savings rate or retirement in 5 years, you’re going to have to seek a dinosaur loving software engineer, a frugal doctor, or some awesome people banking our yearly savings every.single.month. Gosh, I have portfolio envy!

In addition, 2018 is set to be closer to 55% of our post-tax income put into savings, investments, or used for other personal decisions outside paying off our mortgage.

Frugal is a Lifestyle and a Mindset

So, here I am, feeling silly for considering the end of sharing my expense reports or our slow walk away from a mortgage based on a little criticism.

I’ll attribute this lack in judgment to the emotional flu I’m experiencing right now.

I enjoy following other stories of expenses, missteps, and achievements on their way to living a frugal financial and passionate life. So, why not let others enjoy mocking in our missteps, cheering for our achievements, and sharing in this fun life of personal finance?

Deep breath… here we go again.

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