Note: I'm going to remind (some of) you, love is not based on how much you spend on your family. You might read this post and think, "Her family must not be eating/wearing clothes/brushing their teeth/enjoying life with a budget like that." Rest assured, we have just as many luxuries and opportunities as the next family. Being frugal involves careful planning, creativity, skills and a willingness to do work. It DOES NOT involve voluntary suffering or hardship. With that being said... onto our 2017 spending!
Grocery Spending: $1258.79
I am really happy with our grocery spending this year; an average of about $104.00 per month. On a no-baby year I would have budgeted about $1040.00, or $80.00 per month. I'm surprised that we only spent an extra $5.00-6.00 per week, even though I spent the entire year either pregnant or breastfeeding.
This year I'd like to spend around $1560.00 ($10.00 per person, per week), or $130.00 per month. I'm planning a bigger garden and have also become much better at shopping/cooking in the last year, so this shouldn't be much of a challenge.
We spent an average of $28.00 per month on: Essential oils, vitamins, Q-tips, dental floss, toothpaste, toilet paper, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, saline drops, baby wipes and other personal care items. Since I was pregnant last year, I spent $125.00 or more on one-time purchases like a pregnancy pillow, reusable menstrual and nursing pads, and other nursing items. In addition, I spent at least $15.00 per month on prenatal vitamins; something I am no longer taking.
Even though I'm not buying prenatal vitamins anymore, I'll need to budget for a few baby items every month. Thanks to cloth diapering and breastfeeding our monthly baby spending is pretty low, but I still use some disposable wipes and a disposable diaper here and there, as well as things like the saline drops. With some couponing and sales-watching, I think I can bring this budget category down to about $15.00 per month.
Household Supplies Spending: $420.00
In 2017 we spent about $35.00 per month on miscellaneous things like: paper plates/cups/napkins/forks, thread, kitchen timer, batteries, ant bait, trash bags, grill utensils, electrical cords, freezer bags, light bulbs, photo frames and cleaning supplies. Included in that monthly spending were $100.00 worth of one-time purchases: curtains, kitchen floor mats, an essential oil diffuser and a squatty potty.
Again, I won't be buying pregnancy items (squatty potty, anyone?) this year, but I will be buying more baby stuff. Hoping to bring spending in this category down to $25.00 per month.
We spent about $400.00 on clothing this year (an average of $33.33/mo.) . Most of that was buying two new wardrobes for me (maternity and nursing/postpartum) as well as cloth diapers for Baby ($100.00+). I was shocked to see this number at the end of the year, but that's what happens when you buy things new instead of at thrift stores. I didn't like ANY of the maternity tops I bought used, so I ended up spending $20.00 here, $20.00 there. Same thing for nursing tops. I did try making my own nursing tanks, which worked, but just weren't as convenient or comfortable as a good nursing T-shirt. The good news is that I will have plenty of nursing and maternity clothes for the next pregnancy. The cloth diapers should help us save money in other areas, plus they too will be around for the next baby. I would like to see this number drop to $75.00 per person ($225.00 total) in 2018.
We spent more money at restaurants this year as we did on groceries. About 25% of that spending happened on vacation (at least four weeks in 2017). I would like to reduce this category; travel eating and date night in particular. My plan is to get better at keeping snacks around for road trips, plus using discount gift cards or Groupon deals for date night. Generally we spend about $25.00-$35.00 per week on date night. I'm going to challenge myself this year to spend $20.00 or less by using coupons, gift cards, and whatever other means I can find.
Most of our other expenses increased this year as well. Our cost-sharing program for healthcare went up $140.00 per month (total is now $500.00/mo.), as we added another family member and the price increased as well. We bought a new-to-us car, two new pieces of furniture and paid for a 2018 vacation. Our overall spending increased by at least a third, if not more. We didn't expect that Baby Girl would cost as much as another adult, but there were a lot of one-time expenses that we didn't realize would happen. Even though I know we will be buying more stuff than in our pre-baby years, I hope it won't be as outrageous this year as in 2017.
What are your spending/saving goals for 2018?
Til next time,