End of Year Financial Update and How We Deal With Budget Setbacks

We are so, so not going to hit our monthly saving goal this month. Neither did we last month. Even though we’ve been pretty good at saving money there are just certain things that cost money that can’t be avoided.

Things like:

1. Upcoming Tax Season

However much we like to go on our dream trip around the world, we firmly believe in paying ourselves first.

So we try to max out our 401k, HSA, and IRA’s… and of course putting some money aside just in case we end up owing taxes.

2. The Holiday Season

Not only is this the holiday season, this time of the year seems to be the time everyone we know is having their birthday (or their kids birthdays). We also had an out-of-town wedding that we had to travel to. The travel cost to visit relatives and friends for these occasions will add up. A big chunk of it of course came from our visit to Jill’s parents in Indonesia (we’re leaving back to the US tomorrow, so sad).

3. The impending death of our car

We’re saving up money in preparation for the inevitable death of our car. We’re hoping our 10 year old Subaru would last us until our departure next year, but it WILL need some TLC to for it to last that long (assuming it were to last beyond this year). Unfortunately we can’t seem to go to an auto shop without costing us a fortune… so we’re building up some fund for it too.

4. Ski season is here!

We love the outdoors and we love the mountains. We climb them in the summer and ski down them in the winter. Living relatively close to the greatest mountain range in the country makes it hard not to go outside and enjoy what it has to offer. But since we don’t own our own equipment, the rental fees and lift tickets are eating into our budgets as well.

Things we do to turn woes into heroes!

1. Make instead of buy. Instead of buying presents, we try to make our own: homemade cookies, printed pictures, even handmade Christmas and birthday cards. We would trade in our old books for a credit at the local secondhand bookstore and use it to buy books/dvds for to gift to others.

2. Drive less. Even though it’s cold outside, we try to ride our bikes to work as opposed to driving. It’s really hard to force ourselves to go out there in the cold, dark mornings… but if we want to make the car last we simply have to drive it less. We bundle in trips to run errands and carpool with friend and families whenever we can.

3. Cut down on fun. We simply won’t go skiing as often as we like and even then only whenever we can take advantage of lift ticket deals or rental deals. Fortunately there seems to be quite a lot of those deals around here e.g. last year they ran buy 1 get 1 deal if you got gas from Shell. We just have to find these deals 🙂 Craigslist and Ebay are also an awesome source for deals on ski lift passes.

So yeah, there has been some setback, but that’s just the way it works. Our new year’s resolution mantra is not to stress about finance (or planning) of our rtw trip too much. This is probably just the New Year optimism talking, but I know we’ll make it work somehow. We have exciting travel plans for 2011, new ideas on ways to supplement our income, and a healthy dose of New Year spirit.

Hello there 2011! Bring it on!


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8 Replies to “End of Year Financial Update and How We Deal With Budget Setbacks”

  1. Don't know about you guys but food, for us, is and always will be the biggest expense. Dining in is tough but you gotta do it.

  2. I was into saving last year but not very successful. Well, it depents but I'm trying harder this year. Should stop doing stuff 🙂 hehe

  3. I've found biking to be one of the best and most radical money savers.
    Taking a tram instead of a car does save you money, but nothing in comparison to biking!

    Keep it up guys, I'm sure next month will be better!

  4. When I was saving one of the things that motivated me to do less was as soon as I decided not to do something (i.e. dinner with friends, movies etc) I went to online banking and put the money that I would have spent directly into my savings account. It made me excited to say no to things because it added up so quickly.

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