Merry Christmas from the John & Jane Doe Guide to Money & Investing

Merry Christmas from me, Jon and Little Bit! Jon and I will be taking a couple of days to enjoy our own merry Christmas, so there will be no new posts until Wednesday the 30th.

Thank you for joining us as we try to get our financial life together one day at a time. We are by no means perfect, but when I look back where we were this time last year  we’ve seen some real growth in our financial life this year.

We’re tracking our expenses and budgeting. Last year, while we didn’t spend ridiculously and were within our means, we weren’t really being as careful with money as we could have been. There were definitely some missed opportunities for saving for retirement/college or paying down our mortgages more aggressively: lots of eating out, lots of impulse buys, and not much looking for savings opportunities. We were doing okay, but there was a lot of room for growth.

This year, though, we’ve made some real changes both in what we were doing and how I think about money.

  • We started this blog, which meant researching, writing, reading other great blogs and trying and thinking about lots of new things.
  • We did a no-spend October, and pretty much kept to our rules.
  • We started tracking our spending and budgeting more carefully, which led to a lot of other changes.
  • We switched our phone service from Verizon to Cricket (saving $80 a month).
  • We cancelled our Y membership, which we were only using for the pool. (Even budgeting in for city pool trips, that saves about $80 a month).
  • We cancelled some subscriptions (Audible, newspaper, magazines, Kindle Free Time) and I cut back on e-books and increased my library usage (saving about $50 a month).
  • We are working on getting our food budget under control, though it’s still a struggle. (we’re still over $100/week this month, but not by much)
  • We got tenants in an empty rental. (more income!)
  • Jon got a dishwasher and a new sink in the kitchen.
  • I examined my investments, and replaced several high fee mutual funds for low fee Vanguard index funds. (Jon was already doing this.)

We have a long way to go to get where we need to be, and I need to focus more on income in 2016. Cutting expenses can only get you so far in your goals. We’ve mostly been concentrating on the expense side this year.

I feel like we needed to do both, though, and starting to make progress somewhere in our financial life was better than not starting at all.

Enjoy a Happy Holiday season from the Jividens. We hope to see you in the next year as we continue on our journey to get our finances together, one day at a time..

When you look back over the last year, what progress do you see?

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