Budgeting Financial independence Parenting Spending

We’re running to stand still. (2018 Goals!)

Hey!  It’s already almost the end of February and I haven’t even talked about what we’re planning for the year.  In fact, you’ll notice, I haven’t talked about ANYTHING here for over a month.

Why the prolonged silence?  I’m back at work after maternity leave.  As it was before I left, work is extremely demanding even though I’ve dropped down to part-time (75%).  Any time I’ve had left, I’ve spent caring for my kids and sleeping.  And not blogging.  Or writing.  Or working out.  So in case you’re wondering how that “part-time” setup is going… well… not great!

But here I am!  And it’s time to belatedly talk about our financial goals for 2018!

In 2017 we set the ambitious goal of working towards an $80,000/year spending level.  We didn’t really get close.  In our best month we were at about an $87,000/year spending level.  And, for the year of 2017, we spent about $113,000.  MAN that sounds like a lot.

Then we had another baby, doubling our childcare cost for 2018.  We use daycare and no, there’s not an amazing discount for having two kids in there instead of just one.  In 2017 we spent $19,300 on daycare for 1 kiddo, so in 2018 we are on track to spend almost $40,000.  Childcare is now our single biggest expense, vastly outstripping our mortgage.  People.  This  path to financial independence is NOT smooth sailing.

So for 2018, in light of our even more insane childcare costs, our goal is to spend the same or less than we did in 2017.  HOW WILL WE DO IT?

Sharpen your pencils, my friends, we’re about to get to work.

First, some big news:  for the first time since I started this blog, we’re finally making a change to one of our HUGE fixed expenses — DAYCARE!  We found a daycare near home that seems really promising and is substantially less expensive than where we have the kiddos now.  We put down a deposit there, and will be making the switch in the summer (when the kids would have to move up to new classrooms anyway)!!!  That single change will knock $7,000 off our spending this year, and $14,000 off next year (since we’re starting the kids halfway through 2018)!!!!!!!!!!


But it still leaves us spending $12,602 more on daycare in 2018 than we did in 2017.  So to make up that extra spending such that we’ll spend the same in 2018 as we did in 2017, I looked at where we spent discretionary money in 2017.  Then I came up with some targets for 2018 that will cut down the slush in those categories.

Here is our spending by category.  The categories I’m specifically targeting for 2018 have a goal noted:

2017 Total 2017 Monthly Average 2018 Goal Aspired monthly avg Difference
Mortgage $23,528 $1,961
Daycare $19,300 $1,608 $31,902 $2,659 -$12,602
Food $12,147 $1,044 $10,800 $900 $1,347
Medical (insurance + out of pocket) $11,217 $964
Home furnishings $7,965 $717 $4,000 $333 $3,965
Travel $4,501 $409 $4,000 $333 $501
Home Improvement $4,453 $401 $2,000 $167 $2,453
Home goods $4,351 $381
Entertainment $4,323 $378 $2,000 $167 $2,323
Kids (non-daycare) $3,900 $309 $2,000 $167 $1,900
Utilities $3,831 $348
Gifts $3,044 $276 $1,500 $125 $1,544
Insurance (other than car ins) $2,413 $219
Personal care $1,968 $169 $1,500 $125 $468
Car stuff (gas, repairs, tolls, insurance) $1,712 $153
Health & Fitness $1,404 $128 $400 $33 $1,004
Clothing $1,232 $112
Donations $1,187 $108
Cell phone $732 $67
Public Transport $585 $53
Cabs $291 $26
Needed to offset extra daycare: $12,602
Remaining -$2,904

So look!  If we stick to the goals above, we’ll even be less than 2017’s spending by $2,904!  I’m planning to check in on how we’re doing on these categories each quarter.

Until next time…. I’ll be sitting in my house with the heat and lights off eating ramen noodles and darning socks.  (Kidding!!!!  But… y’know, we’ll be trimming the fat.)

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