October & November 2017 Frugal Master Results

 October was another merry Halloween.  I started using a new spreadsheet to track things more like a business.  It is like a balance sheet with income/expenses and assets and liabilities.  The big thing is it is a total picture.  Before I was only tracking after-tax items. 

With this spreadsheet everything is tracked.  The 2 most important cells on the sheet are the monthly cash flow and the net-worth.  These two indicators tell me whether I am saving every month and how things are tracking overall (am I getting closer to FIRE.) 

The good news is I am tracking the right way.  The bad news is I have had negative cash flow for the past 4 months.  This is contrary to my savings rate which was 26% for October.  All of that is in my 401k contributions.

Upon doing this I have discovered I am still spending more than my after tax income.  What a lie I have been telling myself.  I have accepted my financial mistake and learned from it. 

The new plan is to actually save after-tax income to boost my savings rate.  To help in this I am exposing the whole financial picture to the whole family.  The spreadsheet gets updated and posted every week on our family bulletin board.  Yep we still use the cork board to organize our lives.  It is BIG and it is VISIBLE.  By going over it with everyone I hope they learn the in's and outs of finances.

So what drove me to negative cash flow for the month?  First we took a trip so Amish Country and stayed in a hotel overnight.  That hotel plus eating out was several hundred dollars.  Not to frugal for the frugal master.  The second big ticket  expense was paying off some replacement windows that were on a loan.  It was a 0% interest loan but I got tired of paying a small monthly amount.  From now on I will just pay the cash and be done with it.  No more thinking about it and less stress. 

Front Yard Destruction

November starts the holiday season and with it the start of my budgeted holiday spending.  Thus gifts/charity is a higher percentage of my expenses than normal.  Other unusual expenses were the first brake replacement for my wife's 12 year old minivan.  On a unexpected note my water bill dropped by $20.  The toilet replacements are finally starting to pay off.  One more toilet to tackle next year and I should see another big drop in that utility.

We were on track for a positive cash flow for the month until the worse storm to hit the area happened.  We were without power for 3 days and my generator wouldn't start.  Luckily my neighbor went out and paid several hundred dollars for the largest one he could find.  He then kindly lent me an outlet.  Food saved and wife was able to take a hot shower!


The downside was I had several trees down in the yard.  The city came and removed the whole tree from my tree lawn.  I choose to purchase a chainsaw and cleanup the remaining trees instead of paying someone else to do it.  Free firewood and now I have a saw to trim in the future.  Because of that we were negative $50 in the cash flow.  Getting close to positive again.  Also on the plus side 27% of income was saved.

Those months are over and I hope you all had positive cashflow!

Dividend Family Guy


  1. DFG -

    Hopefully these utility saving methods will pay off and nice work on the firewood, may need to invest in a chainsaw myself.



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