Our 2018 Savings Rate and What’s Ahead for 2019

We can’t quite believe 2018 is already over.

We did a lot of art gazing in 2018.

As always, the years seem to fly by and before we could blink, we’re now well into 2019.

Savings and spending wrap ups are usually my favourite things to read on other blogs- but they’re my least favourite to write. Usually, we are less than thrilled with our spending and savings rate and 2018 is no different. In fact, it’s our worst yet!

As many of you know, I took a bit of a hiatus from the blog in 2018. This was predominantly due to a change in jobs (twice) and then a move, meaning I had just a little bit too much on my plate and wasn’t able to dedicate the time to the blog that I usually had.

During 2018, we also fell off the FIRE bandwagon a little bit and lost our way, with our spending increasing and our savings decreasing. While this wasn’t done mindlessly (we were well aware of it occurring), in some ways it occurred because we were questioning the validity of our goals and exactly what we wanted out of life. This theme will hopefully continue to be explored this year, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it contributed to our increased spending.

I also would like to caveat that Poopsie and I are well above average earners. So while to a typical Australian couple our savings rate probably seems okay, with each of us knowing how much we earn, we know that this could be so much better. While we don’t want to reveal exactly what we earn, it is high and there is no reason we shouldn’t be able to save a lot more.

Before I reveal our 2018 Savings Rate, I will outline a couple of categories where we definitely spent too much.

Gift Giving – $4 433.41

We definitely consider ourselves to be generous people, but this seems excessive. We had a new nephew born in 2018, but this does not explain such a large amount. I do know I sent a lot of flowers in 2018 which, while lovely, can probably be reigned in. I will try and pay better attention to this in 2019.

Groceries – $10 134.38

Wow! This is huge! Does anyone remember back when we spent just over $400 a month on groceries? We do! In 2018, our average monthly spend was $844.52! Almost double. Yes, we are eating meat again but this should not double our costs. While we do not want to sacrifice our health, we do want to improve on this in 2019.

Car Costs – $7 873.53

While this is quite high, we aren’t too surprised. We had to become a two car family in 2018, due to the locations of our jobs in Sydney being so far apart (please note this does not include the purchase price of our second car which we bought in 2017). When I moved to Canberra in July, Poopsie stayed in Sydney until the end of the year which meant commuting to Canberra for him on the weekends, an increase in both fuel and tolls. We intend to go back to being a one car family in 2019. Also, Poopsie will be riding his bike to work most days and I will continue to walk to work so we should see our car costs go right down.

We saved a little bit of money in this category by Poopsie changing our own brake pads.

Household – $7 177.99

Whoa! We did move twice and we find everytime we move, there are little things to pick up for the new place. We also bought a sofa bed for our spare room which was a little under $1000. We got a new suitcase, a new backpack and some new bed linen. I bought myself a new bike when I got my new job and we bought a TV (the first TV we have owned in almost four years). Everything else was transactions that was under $50 each. This category makes it very, very clear that little purchases do add up and before you know it, you’ve spent over $7000!

Eating Out – $4 836.95

This seems enormous to me but we spent an average of $403.08 per month. While this is high, it isn’t astronomical. We celebrated my 30th birthday and also spent more time in 2018 eating out with friends. I’d definitely like to see this come down in 2019, especially as it is clearly not being offset by a reduced grocery bill.

Clothing – $6 523.86

We do not usually spend this much on clothing. After leaving my job of over twelve years, I commenced a new corporate role in August. This did require me to update my work wardrobe and, while it was a fairly large initial outlay, I’m pretty confident I won’t need to spend too much on clothing in 2019.

Travel – $9 778.03

In 2018, we went to Tasmania twice, booked a cruise for February 2019 and booked our flights for our New Zealand trip in March 2019. New Zealand will be our only overseas trip in 2019. I am going to Melbourne for a weekend at the end of March with my sister and still need to book my flights and accommodation. Apart from that, we plan to do some day trips to the snow and a couple of weekend trips in the surrounding area. I expect this will be a little bit lower in 2019.

There you have it, the categories that have caused us particular concern when reviewing our 2018 numbers. In 2019, we want to make sure we get back on track with our frugality and see some of these go down.

So… our 2018 Savings Rate. Are you ready for it?

Abysmal. As I said earlier, this is particularly bad noting how much we earn. If we want any hope of retiring early, we need to improve upon this.

As many of you know, we like to calculate how much we would have spent in retirement each year. This basically means taking our total amount spent and subtracting those things we won’t pay in retirement, namely child support, rent and mortgage interest. Over the past couple of years, we have spent around about $50 000, sometimes slightly less and sometimes slightly more. They were all pretty close though that we were happy to declare we had a rough retirement budget of $50 000.

Well… 2018 sure changed that.

Our total “retirement” spending for 2018 was $67 950.

Almost $18 000 more than we aim for. Boy, do we have some work to do!

So what’s ahead for 2019? Buckling down!

We have both gone through a couple of existential crisis’ this year, particularly regarding our spending and whether pursuing early retirement is what we really want. We intend to continue to explore this on the blog, with the hopes that the community can help us wrestle with our concerns.

We will be travelling to New Zealand in March, so keep your eye out for another instalment of Where We’ve Travelled.

We still have two interviews left to publish from the original Australian Blogger Interview Series but I have recently contacted some new bloggers requesting their participation. I hope they say yes and we’re able to introduce you to even more bloggers.

To finish, thank you so much for continuing to read along and provide encouragement and support. I know that 2018 did not provide you with the regular blogging you’d come to expect here, but I hope to rectify that this year.

How was your 2018 Savings Rate? What are you focussing on in 2019? Share in the comments section below!

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4 Responses to Our 2018 Savings Rate and What’s Ahead for 2019

  1. Miss Balance says:

    Like you, I love reading other people’s spending reports (though note I’ve yet to get to my own )
    While 31% might not seem all that high, keep in mind it is way above the average, and your 31% as a dollar figure is probably more than my almost 60% so I’m a tad jealous.
    I’m super surpried by your grocery spend. To be higher than eating out is quite interesting to me as I’m the complete opposite with eating out being about 4 times my grocery spend.

    Looking forward to hearing about what else is on the cards for 2019 with you guys.

  2. J.D says:

    Looking forward to following your journey in 2019!

  3. Ozstache says:

    If it makes you feel any better, my 2018 savings rate dropped to 6% after a holiday to China and Japan, urgent cataract surgery for my wife and a replacement car that was very spendy and just pure indulgence (but I love it!). 2019 should be a lot lower spending for me.

  4. Moving always makes you spend more.
    When I moved to The Best House In Melbourne, I knew I’d be totally remodelling the backyard once my original house was sold. 2018 was the year I spent 50K on landscaping AND took a trip to China and North Korea.
    Yikes!!!
    This year will be a bit less “spendy”.
    I hope…

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