Friday, December 2, 2016

2017 Theme For The New Year: Every Dollar Counts!

I realize that you are all busy this month with Christmas shopping, baking, parties, writing Christmas cards, and planning your holiday
meals. December is always extremely busy for everyone.

That said we want to be prepared for 2017. So we have been planning our extremely frugal goals for the New Year. We want to know what they are and how we will accomplish them. Because after almost 50 years of marriage, we have learned that you can't get to your goals without planning. If you plan nothing for the next year, then you will most likely end up having nothing accomplished a year from now. We have learned that we have to write the goals down and review them monthly. That said some people can just save as much as possible without writing down their goals but they do track their money. We need a goal list to remind us.

Do you want to be to be where you are now in your life in December of 2017?  Or do you want to plan some goals and be so much farther ahead?

We know that we want to be much farther ahead. I have already shown you our largest spending categories with the reviews we did.
The reviews gave you an idea of what we have budgeted and would like to spend for each of those categories. Now that said, we would like to spend much less than we have budgeted for those items. So we will be spending as little as possible and making every dollar count. 

So the idea is not to spend but to spend as little as possible on each and every thing. We tried our best this year and after this month's spending report, we should reach our goal of saving $50,000. or more for 2016. We kinda of knew that if we tried, we could do it. But without reviewing our income and expenses each month, we would not have gotten there. We kept our eye on the end goal! However we had lots of leaks that I wrote about during the year. We are going to try our hardest in 2017 to plug those leaks.

I know that so many people make their goals for the New Year and break them after a few weeks or a few months. We have been guilty of that sometimes too but this year we will make a concerted effort to plug those leaks. 

So without further ado, here is our rough list of goals for 2017:

- I want to lose 30 lbs. this year. I am uncomfortable so this needs to get done. Hubby lost his weight the hard way, by being sick. No one should have to lose weight that way. However his weight is now perfect for his height. Both of us will exercise 5 days a week.

- We want to save $ XXXXX. this year. We purposely did not put a money figure on it with the exception that it will be 5 figures. We want to see if we can save more by watching every dollar we spend. Question for you here: Do you like the monthly expense and investment reports that we show you every month? They are a lot of work. However if they are helping enough people, I will continue to do them. Let me know if you are interested.

- We will calculate our net worth monthly.

- We will re-balance our investments at least once or twice a year. We have been doing this yearly; however we think taking a look twice a year might be beneficial to us. 

- Track our spending again on Quicken or Personal Capital.

- We want to keep groceries under $300. per month. This should be easy since we are well stockpiled. We will be eating from that stockpile as much as possible. I will be menu planning using the foods in that stockpile. We will have two meatless meals a week. The other meals will be portioned according to the Food Pyramid 
that I posted. We will use all leftovers and try not to have any food waste this year. We will try one new recipe bi-monthly.

- Restaurant and Take Out will be no more than $100. per month out of pocket. We have acquired a few gift cards for Burger King, Applebee's and Panera at discount for next years spending. We may get more from relatives for Christmas. I will let you know at the beginning of the year how many gift card dollars we have. We will use them just as frugally as every other dollar we spend. 

- We plan to spend no more than $400. for the entire year on clothing. We will buy used if we can. Our thrift stores locally are not the greatest and sometimes it is more feasible to buy new with coupons, discounted gift cards, and Ebates. We definitely will buy as few as possible.

- Make 95% of our cleaning products. There are tons of recipes on the web.

- We will watch our electric and gas consumption with an eye towards conservation so that we will spend no more than $1600. for the coming year.

- We are hoping to spend no more than $8500. on medical, dental, prescription drugs for 2017. But we will try every way that we know how to lower those costs.

- All auto costs should be under $2000. for the year. This one won't be easy because our insurance goes up every year and our car registration will be due for 2 years next year. But we will try.

- Gifts are set at $1160. for the year. We will stick to this budget.

- We will be researching all of the free events in the area so that we can entertain the grandchildren when they are here more frugally. That doesn't mean that everything will be free. But we will use as many as the grandkids are interested in.  

- We will also look at doing some of those free things ourselves instead of spending money to entertain ourselves.

- We will take full advantage of every freebie that we can find and use.

- We will continue to earn reward points on our credit cards while paying them in full every month. Most necessities go on those cards. We love getting 1 - 3% in rewards.

- Since I do most of the shopping, I do the rebates and I am always on the lookout for them. I also shop through Ebates  if I shop online since I use in store pickup when I can. That way I earn a percentage back for the same items that I would have walked into the store to purchase. It's a win, win!  For groceries and other items, I use Ibotta and Checkout 51 for rebates. 

- I will organize the entire house by year's end which also includes the basement, attic and garage.

- We will in-source all of our work ourselves with the exception of outdoor trimming, weeding, mulching,and lawn fertilizing. We outsource our car repairs and oil changes too. We will pay for those services. Hubby can no longer do these and I have enough to do. 

As you can see, we will be very proactive with our money. There will be no designated NO SPEND days. We will just spend as little as possible when we do spend. We will not procrastinate with any of our goals. We will plug all of the leaks. We will make every day as frugal as possible. We will make every dollar count! And I will be blogging all next year five days a week when possible to share those frugal days.  

That all being said, a blogging friend of mine is considering a very low cost year next year. I don't want to give away her goals or what she might name her main goal. But I am here to applaud her and urge her on. Her blogging is wonderful and we could all learn from her. I will be following her every day. I will link you to her blog when she has made her decision. 

If anyone else is considering being as frugal as they can next year and blogs, please leave me the address to your blog in the comments. I would love to check it out. If anyone has any questions, please ask by leaving a comment. And please remember to let me know if you want me to continue the investment and expense reports next year.


  1. I never understood the point of No Spend Days or Months. Eventually you NEED to spend so keeping your spending artificially low for some preset amount of time just makes it seem like you are spending less.

  2. Hi, I just began following your blog several months ago. I happen to live a few towns over from you!! Was just wondering if you have a line item for monetary charitable gifts every month/year. Also, do you have a plow service during the winter for your driveway? Thanks, Sherri

    1. Hi Sherri,

      We only give charitable gifts in December unless there is a something like a special drive for a new fire truck. Then we give during the year and I post it during that month.

      We do not have a plow service. We snow blow.

  3. I love your monthly budget breakdown and look forward to your posts in 2017 on how you stay on budget and be frugal You're such an inspiration to us all!

    1. Hi mamabean,

      Thanks so much for your kindness. I will decide if I continue the breakdown. You are the only one who has expressed any interest.

    2. I like the breakdown as well. I'm a "numbers" girl and it keeps me on my toes to see how well you do!

  4. I hope your blogger friend is going to go through with her plan so you can direct us over to her.

  5. I wrote a long commrnt yesterday but has problems with internet connection and it disappeared.
    I enjoy your breakdown posts so much. I wish you could continue them. You are such an inspiration!

    Some of my goals for 2017 will be
    - track my spending and also my income
    - saving xx xxx.xx
    - paying off two debts
    - wisely investing into my clothing and also buying necessary makeup
    - renewing some things in my house and organizing it from top to bottom
    - taking advantage of most free or low cost activities
    - getting all freebies that I can
    - losing 12 kilos of weight. This is 1 kilo a month challenge
    - spending as much time with my son as I can
    - organizing all the documents
    - making daily frugal reports
    - trying 1 new recipe every week
    - having fun reading, writing and drawing

    1. Hi Veronika,

      I hate it when that happens. I had the same thing happen to me on an e-mail yesterday. Thanks for your kindness.

      Your goals are wonderful. The first one will really help the second one. When we track income and expenses every month, it makes us more aware of where we can cut and how much we can save by doing so. My favorite of yours is spending as much time with your son as you can. Family time is so important. Kids grow up so fast so in a blink of an eye they are out on their own.

      I will be applauding your goals.

  6. We are going to make some small tweaks to our budget (one category up - food, to better reflect our actual spending & two growing boys. The other categories will be going down to absorb that increase & also generally help us save more).

    I haven't yet posted my goals, but will be. The goal setting for the new year is one of my favorites. And yes, I set monthly goals as well that help me stay on track. I also find that it gets too easy to forget about your goals without a regular check in.

    Good luck with your goals!

    1. Hi Hawaii Planner,

      I love that since you are upping the food budget you are going to lower elsewhere.

      I am looking forward to hearing about your goals. Good luck with them!

  7. Congratulations on reaching your goal! That is awesome!
    I love your ideas on ways to cut expenses, and I really need to do better and stop the leaks.
    I'm sure the monthly expense reporting is time consuming...perhaps a quarterly one? It would still be time consuming but not as often.

    1. Thanks Kathy. I haven't reached it yet but hopefully I will the end of the month.

      Great idea on the expense report. I will decide if enough people are interested to keep the monthly one.

  8. I am a little behind with my reading so I am catching up. I love seeing your totals each month and cheering you on as you beat your budget goal to reduce a category. Congrats on your $50k goal. I have been inspired throughout the year to make my own adjustments. We are in the middle of finalizing our Jan move so my budget planning will have to be refined after we are in new house/ climate for at least a month. I have however found septet all opportunities to cut other standard fixed costs in our budget.....I shopped car and home insurance and saved $300 a year, got my cellphone bill lowered $25 a month by asking (kept current plan) off contract customer service retention attempt to keep me from switching carriers. $50/ monthly Internet will become employer reimbursed as expense and item at new house since will be working remote

    1. Well Hi Stranger,

      It's good to hear from you.Thanks for the kudos. I wish you all the best on your move. Wow, $300. a year on car and home insurance is quite the cut. $75. monthly really adds up. I love talking to retention people. You always come out the winner.