A little late with this post seeing as it’s now the first week of January, but I didn’t want to skip it. Checking in regularly on these “to do” items keeps them fresh on my mind so I get them done. 

Short term goals:

1. Call USAA to see if we can get better insurance rates. 

This one is a consistent fail. I think the problem is that I know USAA is generally competitive (and their customer service is stellar), so I will be hard pressed to actually switch. Still, I need to do my due diligence here and make sure we aren’t accidentally way overpaying. 

2. Open up a separate credit card for work purchases.

I finally opened the Chase Sapphire Preferred in December. This one is in my name only, but we will be opening one just in my husband’s next, and I will have him use that for work purchases (and everything else while we work on meeting the minimum spend). I think I’ll then keep his as a work purchase only card in the future to keep things simple. 

More miles for more adventures!

3. Move my husband’s TSP and my old job’s 401k to a new account.

*Facepalm* This one is still hanging out. I also have money in an Edward Jones account that needs to be moved over as well. Once an account is up and running, I do awesome, but for some reason, actually setting then up takes me forever. 

4. Continue tracking our day to day expenditures as they occur. 

I didn’t do nearly as good of job on this in December as I did in November. I want to blame our busy schedule with my birthday and the holidays, but really I just need to do this because it makes such a difference in our overall spending. From here on out, I will be writing them down as they occur and posting them regularly in the Facebook group for extra accountability. The only way we will even come close to our big goal for the year is if I stick to this religiously. 

5. Hand make the rest of our Christmas presents. 

Success! I finished the last of our presents up a few days before Christmas. I’ve had a habit in previous years of impulse buying “just a few extra” gifts in the last week, but I completely resisted that urge this year. And I’m quite proud of the presents I did make

Five spice mix for a homemade pho “kit” for my father in law


Long term goals:

1. Determine FI milestones for our own life.

I am going to continue tracking our expenses to the penny for a few more months before I try and nail down our ultimate FI number (and the milestones along the way). We are well on the way to getting to a place where I can talk confidently about our annual expenses, and that feels really good. 

2. Pay off remaining dollars on our real estate investment.

We paid off $435 this past month, so we now owe $3,726.78. I feel like this should have been higher, but we are still working on replenishing our cash from the really expensive months we experienced lately. I’m excited to get our general savings accounts back to where we like them because then we will be putting a ton of money away to investments. 

3. Be intentional about charitable giving.

It may not seem like much (because it really isn’t), but we have away 1.6% of our income this year. As we haven’t really ever had any kind of giving plan in the past, I’m certain this blows away any previous year’s percentage. Now that I’m focusing in  on our finances, I really want to up my game here as well and double this number to 3% in 2018. The more closely I track our spending, the more I realize how much we do have, and the more I want to give back

All of us here in the personal finance realm are so privileged and so lucky to be able to pursue this big giant goals, and we need to use some of that to send it down the line. This doesn’t negate the hard work and dedication that’s required to go down this alternate path, but it is something that should be acknowledged and understood. 

4. Save half our income. 

My last post was entirely dedicated to this topic, and it is our one overarching goal for 2018. Enough said. 

The next one of these financial updates will include a breakdown of all our expenses for the month like I did at the end of our “No” Spend November, so I have another place to keep us accountable and on track to meet that big goal. 

Please send any really awesome cheap recipes my way, because that’s going to be key in keeping our regular spending to a minimum. 

14 thoughts on “Monthly Financial Update: December 2017

  1. Yes! Tracking our spending has definitely led to us giving back more! Now that we have a handle on our finances we can give more intentionally! That’s two awesome goals for 2018, double your giving and save 50% of your income!

    1. I would love for the giving to continue to grow each year! Part of that is also choosing a specific small list of charities I want to stick to and give regularly to them.

  2. Really like that homemade spice mix as a gift, what a great idea!

    And I agree, tracking spending is so important! How can you know what changes to make if you don’t actually know where the money is going. Let’s crush that 50% goal together this year! 😉

    1. Bulk spices in general are soooo much cheaper too. Mixing them up for gifts I found out that black pepper is almost half price if you buy them whole and then grind them yourself.

      Let’s do this!!!

  3. I didn’t do a good job keeping track of my expenses in December either and I am now scrambling to see where all my money went to! …and it wasn’t my birthday:) Giving back is really important , glad to see you making it one of your goals.

    1. Yeah, December was better than pre-November, but not nearly as disciplined as we should have been.

      Our giving number is still really low, but it’s getting there.

  4. I haven’t tracked our expenses in years, not since around the time PiC and I combined finances and I got us on an aggregate budget but I’m curious what tracking a full year of expenses will show us so we’re trying it out this year. Nothing fancy, just a spreadsheet! I keep an eye on them through our credit card statements already but that’s month to month and it’s easy to lose track of the overall picture when it’s based on CC statements.

    I’m also planning to do better with our giving in 2018 – we keep increasing it each year and I intend to keep that trend going.

    1. We haven’t either, and while we’ve done “well enough” without tracking, it’s sure been an eye opening experience so far.

      How do you pick your list of charities to give to? This last year I just gave when the opportunity arose, but I’d like to be more purposeful about it this year.

  5. Ooh that homemade pho spice kit looks really good- great idea! My husband makes a delicious pho but it takes all day. I have yet to tackle pho in my instant pot.

    I track my expenses (not to the penny though since the penny is obsolete in Canada now) but not super accurately, I write it in my day planner. Keep up the great work!!

    1. Oh, pho definitely takes all day! But the kit cuts out all of the prep work at least, so then it’s just add water and cook 🙂

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