Income

Income was almost $75,000, which is almost $6,000 less than last year. Considering that I gave up my job, and didn’t make an income, this is actually really good. It represents a lot of hard work and overtime for the spouse, so all kudos should go to him.

This also doesn’t represent the full amount that spouse got paid. We still have money going to retirement and insurance every month, so this is just what the paycheck shows.

Spouse’s mom continued her generosity, and still represented about 4% of our income this year. And wants to continue next year.

Largest Expenses

As a percent of income, student loans continue to be the biggest expense. We dropped down the payments a lot, but they’re still 21% of income. We ended up making about half the payments we made last year, so we didn’t make as much headway this year as we did last year, unfortunately.

Rent comes right after at 20% of income. We’re hoping that by moving we’ll be able to lower it. Technically it’s “affordable” when you consider that affordability is generally thought to be about 33% of income, but when student loans are added in, that burden becomes pretty weighty. That’s basically 40% of our income and we haven’t even gotten to eating yet.

The third biggest expense trails the first two by a large margin. Because of our planned IVF expenses at the beginning of the year, followed by pregnancy, dental work, and new glasses, medical was at 6% this year, a large increase over last year. Hopefully it’s lower next year, but with a new baby, who knows? If the baby stays healthy we should be good, but let’s not count chickens before they’re hatched, shall we?

Biggest Improvements

Rent looks like an improvement, but that’s because we didn’t move in 2018, so there’s no security deposit included, like there was in 2017. So we’re just going to skip rent.

Business expenses and pet supplies are running neck and neck for biggest savings this year. My business is taking care of itself, and I may even be able to some funds back into the family coffers in 2019, but it won’t equal what I took out in 2017.

Pet supplies naturally go down when your pets don’t develop strange cancers or up and die, so 2018 as a whole was much healthier for the one cat left standing. Again, if we’re lucky, she’ll continue on that way for a few years, but it’s hard to tell with health/biology. In other words, I don’t feel like we actively tried to save money here, it just happened naturally because of circumstances.

We also spent about $2,000 less on travel this year. We did have two big trips, but one of those was a road trip, and the other we visited family who covered living expenses while we were there. This is another category I feel like we didn’t try to save money, it just kind of happened.

Conclusion

Overall, we ended up spending $33,000 less this year. Since we spent about $15,000 less on student loans, that means that about $15,000 less was spent in other categories. Many of our daily spending categories showed improvement this year, so we can be proud of that, and keep working on it.

Goals for next year are to boost income (and we think the move might let us do that), continue to decrease our “fun money” expenses, and increase our student loan payments and savings.

With a new baby it’ll be hard to judge how much we’re going to be spending, but I think the first year expenses are mostly (*knock on wood*) behind us. We’ll see. Clothing will be a big category, I assume, but we’re planning on thrifting a lot so we’ll see what happens.

I feel like this next year’s mantra is just “we’ll see.” I’m learning to be flexible, I guess!

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