Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016 budget plans

We've got some big life changes ahead in 2016, so now's the time to evaluate our budget, trim & determine our priorities.

I have two different budgets for 2016. One budget will take us through the end of the school year, as we'll still need things like after school care, and I'm keeping our cleaning at biweekly. But, there are other changes we're making in the interim:

Categories that will stay the same through the end of the school year:

  • Rent 
  • Monthly childcare
  • Toiletries
  • Dining out
  • Utilities
  • Alcohol (we like our wine :-))
  • Seattle house mortgage (although we remain very much on the fence on what to do with this investment). We may sell mid-way through the year
  • Boys misc fund. This is for school stuff, plus a few other random expenses that don't fit nicely anywhere else.

Categories that we will reduce, in order to save more before I leave my job:
  • Cleaning (move to biweekly)- saving $180/month
  • Entertainment - saving $25/month (we had a very small entertainment budget of $50/month, so this will cut it in half)
  • Gas - lowering by $40/month, as we spent less than planned in 2015
  • Insurance - our 2015 budget was set before I called & negotiated a substantial discount, so cutting by $60/month to reflect actual charges
  • Travel, by $13,000/year. Travel has been a huge splurge for us, and our 2015 budget was particularly big (although we didn't spent it all) given our 10th anniversary. With the lifestyle changes, we need to cut back & find cheaper ways to get to & from our destinations.
  • Boys activities, by $2,000/year. I'm going to have to find other ways to pay for the rest of their soccer, as it's very expensive. And, cut out all other activities/sports. 
  • Reducing our house category by $500/year. We desperately need new dining room chairs (we were planning to have them reupholstered, as the stuffing is coming out of three of four), but we opted to swap out our chairs in our formal dining room that we never use. When we move some day, we'll update our furniture. 
  • Personal, by $200/year. This is haircuts for everyone, the rare massage for me (I get a huge discount from work), etc. 
  • Auto, by $2500/year. We got lucky & haven't needed much in the way of car repairs. But, this will only hold up if the cars don't need work, and we have two vehicles over 10 years old.
  • Boys college savings, by $500/year. I'm not in love with this change, but we actually got $250 in gifts for the boys college for Christmas, and if we have money leftover in the budget at the end of the year, I'll add the rest. 
  • Clothing, by $500/year (this is for everyone). Given that we have two growing boys who require sports uniforms, shoes, etc, the majority of this cut will be from me. I'm going to put myself on a fairly strict budget. More on that soon!
  • Christmas, by $200/year.
  • Gifts, by $500/year. The majority will be for gifts that we give each other. We've cut back all other gift giving already in 2015.

Categories that we will increase, before I leave my job:
  • Groceries - by $50/month. This is closer to what we *actually* spent, and the boys are eating more
  • Our vacation home mortgage - by $10/month, for tax increases.
  • Charitable donations. Plan to increase again by another $250/year for ad hoc giving, as we are encouraging the boys to help & participate. 
Categories that will increase after I leave my job:

  • Health, by $300. This will be to offset the cost of a gym
Categories that will decrease after I leave my job:

  • Childcare, by $1275/month. I've left in $100/month for random date nights.
  • Cleaning, by another $90/month. I'm hoping to be able to afford a once/month cleaning service.

So, how much will be saving? I expect to cut our spending by $22,840 in 2015. By far the most painful will be travel! I'm going to have a few separate posts about: travel, groceries, & clothing & my plans with that.

What about you? What are your 2016 budget plans? Any big changes coming up that require adjustments?


  1. This sounds good. You are leaving your job? I missed that! I just quit mine. Time to rejigger my budget and goals as well!

  2. This is a really good, thought-out plan HP! I quit my job last May but just restarted a new one (was planning to take a bit more time off but oh well...). 2016 is about figuring out the new normal of my expenses/savings/investments given the difference in compensation as well as making sure I allocate enough funds to help lower job stress!