Since we talked about how 2016 went, I thought we should talk about what we see coming up in 2017. When I interrogated Marcus about what budget changes he saw, he was pretty much like Eh it’s pretty boring this year. Which is good!
Honestly, the thing that is keeping me up at night is the thought of purchasing a new home. We have, of course, saved for years for a down payment that we hope will fall in the 20% range. But right now our mortgage is so affordable and it keeps our cost of living so low. This is obviously really nice and gives us a lot of freedom to do other things. Like save. I am really curious to see what will change with our budget as our lives change in this area.
We reduced our allowances. By another $10 per week. I also cancelled my online subscription to the New York Times because my Dad got a BOGO after the election and shared his free subscription with me! That saved $180 annually so I cannot complain.
We increased our grocery spending. By $60 per month. SERIOUSLY IF YOU ARE NOT MEAL PLANNING AND SHOPPING AT ALDI YOU NEED TO DO IT. It is such a game changer for how much we spend on our food. And if you’re an organic person, they actually have a fairly decent selection of organic things.
In October, Laura and I were actually discussing grocery budgets because we realized that while we set ours based on what we were consuming, we weren’t really sure what was “normal.”
Marcus and I set out to do a little bit of research and what we found were the USDA Food Plans. Super-handy because as the cost of food changes, you can see what the most current costs are. This year, we have pretty much exactly budgeted for the “Low Cost” plan for a family of two. Last year we fell in-between the “Thrifty” and “Low Cost” plans. Y’all know that we eat well (and quite a bit), so I’m proud that we’ve been able to keep our grocery costs as low as they are.
We’re taking advantage of tax advantages. And maxing out our HSA again this year. There is a middling chance that a Littler Critter could come into our lives in late 2017, and a very high chance that it will happen in 2018. Either way, with one boy baby and dematology habit, there’s no reason that we shouldn’t be doing this. Plus, since we built this into our budget last year, we won’t miss the money.
The Baby Budget. Last year, Critter got his own line for purchases like: baby yoga passes (seriously), clothing, sippy cups, toys, and the like. Since we have no idea what to expect in his second ride around the sun, we thought it would be best to just maintain this and see where it takes us. If we spend less, that’s great.
Cutting Cable. We’re not doing it yet but you guys I am getting so close! Marcus has agreed that once we move, we can probably do without for a few months while we settle into the place, enjoy the summer, etc. and then determine what we’re really missing.
What are your financial goals for 2017?