One of my financial goals for 2017 is to reduce our family’s annual spend from about $95K to under $80K. The million dollar question (or $15K in this case) is how in the world to do that… In a way, it should be easy. It seems incredibly, disgustingly, embarrassingly wasteful to spend that much in just 12 months… In fact, I still can’t really believe we spent that much (maybe there are some tracking errors skewing that number? Or maybe we’re just assholes that spend like idiots)…
Anyhoo, here are a few numbers from 2016 and how we can reduce them to help meet our 2017 annual spend goal:
- $9,500 on line of credit payments – Our LOC is now completely paid off, and we have no plans to tap into it again this year. Wow, this is easy! We already should have an extra $9,500 in our pockets, right?! Not so fast… there’s a wrinkle with this plan… a pretty major one. As of last month, G has no income coming in. If we can replace that income, then we should easily be able to reduce our 2017 by this $9,500. If that income won’t be replaced… well, that’s a different story.
- $6,300 installing plumbing & bathroom fixtures (shower, toilet, sink) in our cabin (we only got running water the year before) – This is obviously a one-time expense.
- approx $210/month on 2 cell phones & internet – I finally called our service provider (MTS) in late 2016 and negotiated a better price plus some loyalty discounts. In 2017, the monthly cost should be closer to $140/month. That will save us around $840 in 2017 (might seem insignificant, but it all adds up!).
- $830 in child care – Although G has been a stay-at-home dad for a couple of years now, we still incur some day care costs for our youngest (who isn’t in school yet) on days that G has medical appointments (he has many – the reason he’s not working is because of an on-the-job injury he suffered in 2014) or other daytime commitments. Our youngest starts full-time maternelle (kindergarten) in September though, so our day care costs for 2017 should be much lower (less than half) than $830.
- $270 in bank charges – For part of 2016, we were still paying monthly bank charges. That is, until we switched both our bank accounts to PC Financial. We now bank for free and get free cheques. I’m sure we’ll still incur some ATM fees now and then, but we should be able to bring these expenses down to under $50.
- $9,500 on groceries – This seems exorbitantly high (even though I’m sure I’ve inadvertently lumped some household expenses into this category). We need to make better use of the food we already have (actually use the stuff at the back of our pantry), and just all-around shop much smarter. G is responsible for grocery shopping though, and isn’t quite as keen on finances as I am (and isn’t keen at all on me telling him how to do things). Even still, I know G is more conscious of expenses now than he used to be, and I expect that we should be able to shave at least $1,500 off last year’s total.
There you have it… if we can manage the savings set out above, we’ll have shaved $18,775 from our annual spend. All without any effect on our quality of life! Of course, things never quite go according to plan… who knows what emergencies or unexpected expenses 2017 will throw our way. But at least we have some sort of plan to meet our reduced spend goal, and if circumstances change along the way, we’ll just have to adjust our plan…
I can’t wait to see how we make out with this one!