It’s that special time of year where I get to pour over the numbers and check out how our 2015 finances did. 2015 was a hectic year for the FI Big Sky family. We dedicated most of our time to the kitchen renovation– and it’s still not complete. But it is mostly complete and very functional. While we are happy to have done it, I am not sure it is a project we’d undertake again.
We also had a monster storm last year, so we had our roof replaced in the spring. Immediately after having it fixed, another storm hit and laid some major lumber on the new roof. Fortunately for us, it only meant a dinged gutter and the manual labor of getting the monstrosity into a portable dumpster.
In other news, to help keep our sanity during the renovation, we undertook planting and caring for our first garden. There is a community garden a few blocks from our home and purchased plot for the season where we planted zucchini, peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, and four kinds of tomatoes. It was more than we could eat and we had to pickle, can, freeze or give away whatever we couldn’t eat fresh.
All in all, it was a pleasant experience that yielded positive financial and healthy results. Now that the successful yet expensive year of twenty fifteen is over, we’ve readied ourselves to spend much less in 2016. Check out the table to compare our 2014 finances with our 2015 finances and expected expenses in 2016.
|Expense Category||2014||2015||2016 Proj|
|Mortgage (incl. property tax and insurance)||$14,600||$14,890||$13,500|
|Lawn & Garden||$795||$215||$420|
|Auto Maintenance + Services/Parts||$970||$450||$600|
|Health & Fitness||$700||$670||$600|
|Gifts & Donations||$2,135||$1,800||$2,400|
There are so many caveats to these comparisons,* so I’ll just go through them since it’s not a perfect apples to apples comparison:
The cellphone category is high in 2015 because Motorola is a turd company and we had a month-long fiasco with them involving Mrs. FI’s broken phone. We ended up just getting her an iPhone 5c and we’re going to sell her current phone (they sent a new model after a month of ineptitude so…mo’ money!). I will also sell my Motorola phone (which hasn’t broken, but I’m not taking my chances!), so this should help to balance out the cost of her new phone and whatever phone I choose to get.
Other 2014 oddities include having cable for three months before wising up and dumping it, as well as paying to park my car at work for the times that I didn’t ride my bike. We also bought our 2005 Toyota Matrix in 2014. This set us up to haul Russell around, let go of Mrs. FI’s lease in October of 2015 and made it even more necessary to ride the bus. We made a lot of changes to our 2015 finances like increasing our after tax pay for 2016, becoming a one car family and other little changes. Our 2016 plan involves not having huge expenditures (no new cars, no remodel!), and see how much we can really sock away. If we’re serious about retiring in 2025, 2016 will be a big year to limit expenses and hopefully improve our earnings. *The total amounts are correct and those are really the most crucial numbers when it comes to our savings rate.
Paychecks: $62,500 (post tax)
401ks (Contributions + Match) = $9,180
Savings Interest Income: $16
Tax Return: $2,659
Credit Card Cash Rewards: $237
Investments: $47,500 (IRAs, 401ks, Prosper)
Cash Accounts: $5750
2015 Savings Rate: ~28% (we put $465 extra towards mortgage principle)
2016 Target Savings Rate: 60%
As you can see, our savings rate wasn’t great. But considering we paid to have our roof replaced and did a kitchen renovation, we’re confident we can meet a 60% savings rate for 2016 (barring a giant disaster). I’m excited to finally have a low spend year since we started tracking our money in 2013. In 2013 we bought our house, 2014 we bought our car, and 2015 we did the roof/kitchen. Finally, in 2016, we will not do anything to match these expenses.
So there you have it. What are your 2016 plans? Did 2015 go well for you or did you fall short of expectations? Let us know!