Monthly Money Reports

Income, Expenses And Goals Update – December 2017 (Part 2)

Finally my Income, expenses and goals update (Part 2) for December. It took a while because I was behind on my expense tracking. Remind me never to do that again! Anyway, it looks like I spent a lot of money in December, see for yourself.

EXPENSES – $5,288

I started keeping track of my expenses in detail in October so I could figure out how much I would need once my kids move out and I am retired. I am only interested in the minimum amount needed for now while keeping my current lifestyle. The goal is for my FI ratio to reach 100% without kid related expenses. That information will be more valuable in 2018 since I will be starting the tracking from January. I was told our office was being shut down at some point at the end of this year or early 2019 (You can read all about it at Could getting laid off be the right opportunity for me to retire earlier?)so it is more critical than ever to know where all my money is going.

Tip: When the holiday season started I was too busy to update my expense spreadsheet, then I got sick and then The frozen pipe that broke the landlord’s back so I had a lot of catch up to do this week, and it was VERY time-consuming. If you track your expenses, do it regularly no matter what, otherwise it becomes a much larger task and you may keep procrastinating to a point where you  may just give up.

  • Household: I budget our household expenses once a year, in March. I estimate the spending for the coming year based on past spending and future goals. I think it is a reasonable number even once retired and the kids have moved out.
  • Charitable Donations: I make bi-weekly contributions via payroll just so I don’t forget! I have done this for years. I give while I can; you never know what may happen in the future (i.e.: layoff). This doesn’t prevent me from making other donations when I come across a good cause. I don’t plan my bi-weekly contributions to be as high once I retire so I left $50/month for my core expenses.
  • Gas: To and from work, driving the kids around. The expense should drop once I am retired and kids have moved out but I may be very active and still drive around a lot so I am not adjusting for retirement.
  • Life Insurance: Additional life insurance until the kids move out.
  • Bank fees: Monthly bank charges, includes VISA, chequing account and safety deposit box
  • Bus Pass: Pass for my son. My daughters’ passes are included with tuition.
  • Cell phones: $198 is for my three kids’ phone which I don’t plan to pay forever!!
  • Kids Clothing: My son has grown again! I was thinking I may stop feeding him, any thoughts? I don’t usually buy my daughters’ clothes anymore since they have part-time jobs. (which is why I give a little more at Christmas).
  • Christmas gifts (yes $2,504, no judging!!):
    • Includes everything from stocking stuffers to gifts, gift cards and cash for all (not just my kids!).
    • I give my kids cash and clothing, you can see what else I spent my money on at  Am I Having a Frugal Christmas Meltdown? I don’t expect that amount to change much in the future. It may not be too frugal but my kids will probably always appreciate a little help at Christmas so unless I can’t afford it, I plan to keep on giving.
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Took one of my girlfriends out for her 50th Birthday- $91.00 for two! Ouch:) Not much food, lots of wine!
    • I didn’t need anything but went to the mall to Christmas shop and ended up buying myself a few things. Of course I didn’t need anything! But the deals were so good! (Note to self: No more window shopping!)

Summary – FI ratio is 60.6% even with Christmas spending;

  • Total expenses post kids: $4,463
  • FI Income $2,703
  • FI ratio – 60.6%. Without Christmas spending, I am at 138.7% FI ratio for December!

This is great, with my FI income I can cover over 60% of my regular expenses including Christmas this month. If needed, I could easily adjust my Christmas spending and my FI income this month would cover all my expenses! Too bad rental income is not guaranteed.  I can’t wait to see what the numbers look like next year over a full year.


Based on the annualized numbers for 2017, I need to generate an additional $12,388 to reach 100% FI ratio.

My core expenses, excluding kids, come up to $35,752 which is close to what I have been targeting in after tax income. I will probably need an additional $10,000 to cover taxes so a total of $22,388 of additional income. I will calculate a more accurate tax estimate in the next few months.

Unfortunately, while the last three months have been good on the rental front, 2018 started with a few hiccups already ($1,000 in insurance deductible, tenants moving out in March) so I will have to see how it looks by next June.


Last month update

  • I didn’t even start adding it up but I know I am in the red for December. Too many trips to the grocery store and too many goodies to bake!
  • Traffic was down from previous month! Part of it is probably due to the holidays and for taking a break because I was sick.
  • I finally signed up for twitter. Thank you Lily and Amy! I hope to make great progress in January in adding followers.
  • I didn’t do anything on Tailwind.
  • No Sweets? FAIL FAIL FAIL. It was the holidays!!
  • 10,000 Steps a day. FAIL . Haha,  I was sick. No further comments

Updated Goals

  • Reduce Grocery bill by 30%: I updated my goal to $200/week (the equivalent of $865 a month for a family of five – no small kids). Compared to the $280/week we used to spend, it will be a saving of $4K per year once we reached it.
  • Increase my dividend to $12,000: Currently my forward dividend is close to $10K but I plan to invest more and aim for $12K for 2018.
  • Increase my savings to 60% of all income so I can prepare myself better for next year when I no longer get a regular paycheck (still don’t know when).
  • Make it to One year. I know it doesn’t seem like much but I have considered packing it in a few times already. Blogging is fun but it is very time consuming and can be a lot of “work”. I want to make it to one year at least! Check out my post on why blogging is not easy.
  • Increase traffic by 20% every month. It is not very aggressive at all but I want to keep enjoying blogging and I am worried I may add too much pressure on myself with a higher target.
  • Reach 1,000 twitter: Not sure why 1,000 but it seems like a good number. I just started using Twitter and managed to get to 100 followers. It’s not many but considering I didn’t know anything about twitter 3 weeks ago, I am happy!
  • Look into Tailwind: I would like to give it a try, I hear so much about it.
  • Cut back on Sweets: I have to do better in this area. I have had a number of medical tests done in the last few months due to health problems and I have to make changes to my diet:(
  • I reduced the steps goal to 8,000. 10,000 was a little aggressive considering I sit at a desk for a minimum of 9 hours each day! I am also getting a Fitbit Flex 2 (basic one) soon so I don’t miss any of my steps anymore. My phone is doing a good job but I don’t always take it with me. I got a Flex Alta for Christmas but returned it because it had too many gadgets and I just wanted the basic one, so just waiting for it. I hope I like it. The first one was also too bulky on my wrist.

Wow, it took me a while to catch up on this report but I am glad I did. I was considering just skipping it this month, but pushed myself so I could post the update.  One of the benefits to sharing on your blog is that you sometimes feel accountable.  It is so helpful in my FI planning to breakdown my expenses. I can’t wait to have numbers for a full year in 2018.

How about you, how did you do in December? Did you make any interesting goals ?


8 thoughts on “Income, Expenses And Goals Update – December 2017 (Part 2)

  1. Nice update Caroline. A couple random thoughts.

    Of course as you can imagine, I love to see you growing those dividends. Keep it going.

    Considered packing it in on your blog? We both started in September 2017, so we both have to make it to September 2018 and beyond. I have not seriously considered packing it in, but it is a whole lot of work. What has surprised me: Writing doesn’t really consume as much time as I thought. Promotion through social media to build readership is where all my time gets consumed. And finally, monetizing the blog looks very challenging and very long term. I think you read RB40, right? I’m just so impressed with the revenue stream Joe has built. But them I have to be real, he’s been at it for about 6 or 7 years. So hang in there. I would miss you if you pack it in.


    1. Awww, would you really? lol. As long as you stick around, I will try to do the same, deal? Blogging overall is very time consuming and I also seem to be technically challenged! Never used Twitter until a few weeks ago. And there is so much to learn about setting up the blog still. I do enjoy the interaction with other bloggers a lot.
      Yes I follow RB40, his blog income is coming along really nicely but he still spends an average of 20-30 hrs per week blogging. I am not sure I would enjoy it as much. As usual thanks for stopping by Tom.

  2. Nice summary Caroline, you are doing great! I echo Tom about the blogging. I started in August and it is time consuming, but I am still enjoying it. Monetizing the blog looks challenging and will take years. Stick with it Caroline and do it for enjoyment it will get easier. We all like reading your posts.

  3. Very good update, Caroline. I remember the time when my kid was on his own financially, it was a huge relief to me. The expenses dropped a lot. December is always a month with higher expenses, due to the holiday. Once tracking for 12 months, you’ll get a better picture about the expenses.

    Regarding the blogging, I have been struggling. Time is not a huge issue to me, as I’m retired, kid moved out, and I don’t have any rentals. Seeing the traffic stagnant, I questioned myself many times if it’s really worth the effort. I’m still hanging there. I’m not a fan of Facebook or Twitter. Tried them for 24 hours, still didn’t like it, and closed those accounts.

    1. Hi Helen, yes kids are great but can be a real drain on the budget! My youngest is 16 so I still have a few years to go.
      As far as blogging, welcome to the club:) Social media is very consuming but I am going at it very slow. I think it is a necessary evil to grow traffic at first. If you ever feel like it, send me an email. We can keep each other motivated. I like your blog. Keep it up and enjoy it!

  4. Hello Caroline!

    $91.00 for two on your girl friend’s birthday? That’s awesome! It’s worth every penny especially when you don’t do it all the time. It’s always nice to enjoy and splurge on these little things.

    I find that the holidays are always a drain when we buy so many gifts, food, alcohol, decor, donations, etc.! Now comes the January hangover lol… but I’m sure we’ll all survive within the next couple of months.

    And…. did I read that you’re packing up w/ the blog?? I know we just met, but like what Tom said, it would be sad to see you go… I also just started, but I hope I don’t end up packing down the months. It is a lot of work… not so much of writing, but LEARNING about blogging, building relationships, promoting on social media, commenting, and reading other bloggers’ blogs.

    I was encouraged by a few bloggers to have fun along the way. To just take your time and go at your own pace. Ignore all the noise around you (all the pins and twitter comments by other bloggers, all the posts about how so and so made $3,000 per month in thier first month of blogging, other bloggers’ income reports, etc. etc.). I was told to ignore all of that and to… JUST HAVE FUN!! Slow and steadily… just like building your net worth and passive income stream 🙂

    So, I hope you don’t go………………… 🙁

    1. THANK YOU! Yes I keep reminding myself that it is supposed to be fun! And it is for the most part:) I am not packing it in yet but it does go thru my mind once in a while. I want to at least make it to one year and then we will see. Slow and steady win the race!

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