Going into 2017 we were confronting financial difficulties. Hubs broke his leg and was off work for 2 full months(including all of January and 2 weeks in February), which meant much lower disability income for the first month+ of 2017.
Due to this I adjusted my Savings Challenge for 2017 down $3K from $38K to $35K.
Then Hubs decided to retire in the middle of the year which changed up our finances yet again.
I ended my Savings Challenge when he left his job at the end of June.
The Savings Challenge, modified to 6 months worth of savings hit $21,100.42 when hitting $17,500 was the goal for that length of time.
Even with this, going into 2017, I had no clue how austere it would become around here by the end of the year. 8-(
I had a few action plans to try to cut expenses going into 2017(before the retirement thing happened). They were--
* Dining Out Consciously using the stockpile of restaurant gift cards.
We did use them more but I still added to the pile of cards at the back end of the year. *sigh*
* Alcohol Don't buy more booze, use up what is here.
I may have bought 8 bottles of liquor/wine(other than for cooking)total in 2017. I also let the kids drink some of what I already had here since I don't drink much anymore(just special occasions really). I don't think Hubs went lighter on alcohol buying however so just me reducing what I bought still helped our bottom line on that line item of spending.
* Clothing Don't buy new clothing unless it's a need.
I did spend a little on clothing in 2017(6 tops, a coat which was sorely needed, 2 dresses, some underwear which was also sorely needed)and I think Hubs only bought socks and two pair of shoes(more supportive footwear due to the leg break). I bought no new shoes. A few souvenir t-shirts were bought on our road trip for us. The rest of the clothing was bought for the kids as souvenir items or for Xmas presents.
* Vacations/Trips Do less trips/vacations.
We took 1 big road trip to Idaho in 2017 that's where most of the vacation $$ went this year. I went to VA to mother in-law sit for my brother for two weeks in May but my brother paid my gas/tolls and paid for some of my food while I was there. I visited my Eldest son on the way home and paid for all gas/tolls on my return trip and stayed at his apartment so not many expenses on that trip other than some food out. There was a trip to see Eldest son in the Fall which wasn't planned, but needed at the time. Hubs and I went to see College Boy's recital but that was a day trip, not an overnight. So we did less trips in number but with retiring we took one very long trip.
* Stockpile Reduce and use up some items.
I tightened up on the stockpile amounts. Stopped buying certain items we were drowning in, gave some to the food bank, to the brother in-law who lives in town, took bags down to my brother to give out to various family and friends and then took a couple of boxes of toiletries on our road trip to hand out(much to the irritation of Hubs).
We did end up spending around $1K less on food/toiletries/paper goods compared to 2016 numbers.
With Hubs retiring suddenly mid-year it brought home the necessity of cutting expenses in 2017.
The short term disability pay sort of prepared us to keep spending in check once he decided to retire in 2017.
Overall, we did end up spending less on "wants" in 2017. I think not having to access the 401K the last 3 months of 2017 was a big win for us. A few expenses came up-the rescue mission was the biggest but we also had college tuition and living expenses to cover in Fall 2017. These but a small dent into our savings but we emerged from the year in good shape.
But sometimes it seemed like I had to drag Hubs kicking and screaming through the year.
I won't say it was pleasant at times as Hubs wasn't ready to stop spending so much on wants(WAM, alcohol and Eating Out mostly)so we did argue over finances for awhile. By October we seemed to have settled down into a spending routine now that keeps up both happy and satisfied.
I am still working on him about having a Sinking Fund to fund each month. He was surprised by how much we are committed to paying out on irregular but fixed bills. Once you remove the chunk to fund the Sinking Account the annuity income each month looks quite sparse.
While we "can" live on just the annuity income neither of us want to live that life if we don't have to.
Striking a balance between where the spending happens and how much to withdraw from the 401K in 2018 is our main goal financially we are working on at the moment.