Saturday, December 22, 2012

Planning for the year ahead

I've been busy trying to get ready for the new year ahead today. I love this kind of stuff! :-)

I've already posted my 2013 goals, my 2013 snowflake goal, and my January decluttering challenge.

I spent several hours today, carefully going through our 2013 budget & making adjustments. I've created a yearly anticipated spend, & then went in & adjusted for each month. For example, I have a yearly spend for the kids birthdays, but they fall in February & March, so presumably all of the yearly budget will be spent then. I updated my monthly budget for each category & determined if I had any categories where I hadn't accurately predicted our spend. Skiing -when creating our budget, I forgot that this is the last year that S gets the discounted kids rate, next year our cost will go up.

Anyway, I'm about 90% of the way there. Can't wait to kick off my new tracking & budgeting in just 10 days!

I also planned ahead & bought two gift cards to my gym. They were offering a Christmas special - buy $500 worth of gift cards, get a $100 bonus card free. The boys attend a summer camp at the gym in the summer, so I bought two gift cards today ($1000 total) & will use those gift cards to offset our summer child care costs. My plans for the $100 bonus cards? Well, let's just say that my birthday massage (always my present to myself) will be free this year! The other gift card will be used for a hair cut & a wax, I'm guessing. I haven't had my hair cut in months. Maybe six months? I don't know, but it's been a LONG time.

I defrosted an enchilada dish that I assembled a week or so ago & froze, so we'll be having a frugal dinner in anticipation of all of the craziness. I'm also going to be having wine. YUM. Love Saturday nights.

I went to the gym for a quick workout, the kids are so excited about Christmas that they are positively quivering, & the sun is shining in Seattle. Can this day get any better?

I'm officially on vacation until January 2nd. Let the festivities begin!

Me with the boys five years ago. They've grown up so much! S (on the left) is now a complete bean pole!

And, I'm behind (again!) on posting my budget categories, so here's a double whammy for today.

In accordance with my plan in December to really dissect our 2013 budget & areas for cutback, I'm posting about one category per day. So far, I've covered mortgage interest (and a potential refi), our grocery budget., dining out, kids activities, gas, utilities at our vacation house, & utilities at our primary residenceclothing, & travel.

Today's topics for discussion are . . .  child care & personal spending.
  1. Child care - This one is mostly beyond our control, but luckily for us, N will start first grade next year, which means we'll be saving $330/month in full day kindergarten costs. Monthly average in 2012 was $1535 (and, I just have to call out that this is down from an all time high when we had two tiny babies in child care of . . . $4,000/month). Our budget for 2013 is $1200/month, as our expenses here continue to go down. This is a necessary evil - my salary more than offsets this cost, & for me to keep working, I need childcare. We are going to be planning our vacation days a little better this year, to hopefully reduce a few days here & there in costs.
  2. Personal - this covers all expenses for the four of us. Haircuts, my occasional pedicures, etc. We spent $94/month in 2012 & want to get this down to $70 in 2013. I think I got my hair cut twice in 2012 (or maybe just once) & gave up coloring my hair, so my portion of this expense is pretty small. :-) Our 2013 goal is $70.

How are you preparing for the year ahead? And, how much do you spend on child care (if any) or personal expenses? Always curious to see how our categories compare!


  1. Oh wow.. childcare is crazy expensive. It is hard work, so I can see why.. but ouch!! Glad you'll be saving a bit there!! :)

    As for personal stuff.. it gets worked into our "misc" category of $50/week.... but that's for everything else. It goes fast sometimes.. lol!!

    1. That's the dilemma - you want the best possible care for your kids, because it's such a critical job. But, on the reverse side, it's a FORTUNE. So happy that the kids are moivng beyond the stage where childcare is more than half of my paycheck! :-)

      I used to have a miscellaneous category, but could never figure out what I was spending it on, so I'm trying to break it out a little further, to shed some light on our spending! We'll see if it works.

  2. Childcare is crazy expensive. When our dd has a child I am not sure what she'll do, as we live too far away for me to babysitm so she will have to pay a lot also as they both need to work.

    I get my hair cut every 6 to 8 weeks as it's short and I want it to stay that way. Dh has to get his cut once a month. However come Summer I may attempt to start shaving his head again to try and save some money. It costs us around $18 CDN every time we get our hair cut. I dye my own hair, so that saves a lot of money.


  3. I remember back in the day (cos I'm so old lol), when childcare used to take up 80/90% of my salary - I didn't mind too much because I knew eventually it would get less and less.

    It's a good idea to break down your personal spending - I need to do that too as I can't seem to stay under budget in that category.