The past year was quite busy for our little family, as briefly described in our last article celebrating 2 years of blogging on ModestMillionaires. Let’s get into the financial side of 2018 with a detailed review of our spending and investments for that year.
Overview of our spending
This year we also celebrated the first year in which my salary (Ms Mod) surpassed Mr. Mod’s salary :).
We spent $55,100 on our regular annual spending and also did a major renovation which cost $22,400.
I’ve separated spending related to the renovation from our annual expenses since this type of renovation is in fact a non-essential improvement of our home and does not consist of regular maintenance that would reoccur in the future.
Furthermore, this renovation increased the value of our home by more than what we spent to complete the renovation in a DIY fashion, however, as we have no plans to sell our house any time soon, we do not count the value of this asset in our investments.
Obviously, this important expense limited our capacity to invest this year, but it was a deliberate choice which we felt would increase our comfort on our journey towards financial independence that would also not negatively impact our goal to reach FI by 2025.
Now without further ado, here is the overview of our spending for 2018.
As a quick reminder, our objective, as described in our 2025 plan, is to spend a yearly average of $45 000.
|Category||Yearly 2016||Yearly 2017||Yearly 2018||Monthly 2018|
|Recurring fixed expenses||$10,728||$11,457||$11,228||$936|
|Municipal and school taxes||$2,929||$3,138||$2,803||$234|
10,000$ over our predicted budget!
Between managing the busy life with two young children, a big renovation project and health problems for two of our parents, we had a little less attention to focus on our expenses, however we maintained a level similar to last year’s spending.
In our 2017 spending review post, we detailed why our spending was close to $11,000 over our $45,000 budget. This year we are in a similar position, however I am very pleased with the efforts we have made to get out spending back on track at the end of 2018 thanks to our mission to reduce our grocery spending.
Here are some events that marked 2018 in terms of higher expenses:
- About $5,000 was allocated to the purchase of a new bed for Mr. Mod and I, as well as a single bed for baby #2 who is now 3 years old and finally for the purchase of lightly used couches (purchased on kijiji) to replace our old couch.
- We also had a lot of help with our renovation projects so we thanked and fed our friends/family with pizza, beer, wine, etc., which contributed to maintaining our high spending on restaurant, wine and beer.
In conclusion, some of these expenses will not be recurrent, at least not before several years from now such as when our new to us couches also need to be replaced.
Objectives to reduce our spending for 2019:
For 2019, based on the last two years as well as the current trajectory of our spending for January and February 2019, I’m comfortable with a target level of annual spending of $48,000. An additional expense of about $8,000 related to the major renovation project from last year will also need to be added on top of this.
Here is where we are focusing our efforts this year:
- Continue tracking our grocery expenses based on our mission to reduce our grocery spending. Our goal is to spend $150 per week in groceries and less than $215 per month for lunches/ fast-food/ restaurant.
- We are being proactive with our budget for restaurant/ fast-food expenses and have set an alarm in Mint to alert us when we are approaching our maximum budget per month.
Less expenses in wine/beer :
- We are continuing to ban alcohol during weekdays (except really special occasions).
- We will put in extra effort to maintain this habit during the summer as it proved to be more challenging for us to resist a cold beer or delicious cocktail during a beautiful summer evening. Let’s mention that the renovations also contributed to increase our spending in that area since every accomplished step was celebrated with a nice beer (or more) shared among friends.
- I tend to spend a lot when celebrating holidays or special events with our kids (Christmas, Easter, their birthdays, etc.) therefore this year I am choosing to track all the purchases I make for these occasions. This tracking technique has been helpful with regards to our grocery spending so I’m adopting it for this category of expenses as well to be more conscious of our spending in that area.
Value of Investments in January 2019 and end of March 2019:
According to our 2025 plan, in January 2019 we should have a total investment of 49% of our target FI# (does not include the value and asset we own of our home), however, that amount accounted for our plan to only pay off our mortgage in 2021 or later but, in February 2017, we decided to take out a portion of our investment to pay off our entire mortgage.
Here is a brief history of the value or our investment and where we stand in comparison to our 2025 plan:
|Month/Year||Objective 2025 Plan in % of our FI#||Actual Total Value of Investment in % of our FI#||Note|
|January 2017||36%||34%||We decide to pay off our mortgage at that moment|
|July 2017||39%||28%||With a house fully paid as well 🙂|
In January 2019, the markets were quite down. Indeed, back in August 2018, our total investment value exceeded 40% of our FI#. This milestone is very encouraging to us and although the market declines don’t stress us much, since we are investing for the long run, we are still very happy to see that our investments are now (end of March 2019) back at a total of more than $ 44% of our FI #.
Looking forward to seeing how the rest of 2019 shapes up for our spending and investments!
How’s your spending looking now that 3 months have already passed by for 2019? Are things looking good in terms of your target budget for this year?