2017: A Personal Finance Year in Review


2017 was a mixed bag of feelings. Between the joys of travel (a post on my trip to Japan in April is coming soon…), a new job, and starting this blog in June, the year was also mixed in with some sadness. The passing of my girlfriend’s father at 65 particularly stands out  as a moment that kickstarted me on starting this blog.

From a financial perspective, 2017 was a good year with some great milestones:

  • Increased annual savings rate from 54.89% to 62.42%. Using Networthify’s FIRE calculator, that means I could conceivably FIRE in 8 years assuming a 5% return on my portfolio.
  • Increased net worth by $41,662.67 from $104,243.13 to $145,905.80
  • Increased passive income (interest and dividends) by $540.09, from $2127.21 to $2706.16
  • Reduced annual spending by from $31,014.69 to $30,390.64. For as small of a decrease that is, I’m very pleased. Anytime you can decrease your spending, especially living in the increasingly expensive downtown Toronto, you’re good! What did that look like?

2017 – My Spending

Car $4,273.00 Please don’t guilt me.
Car Insurance $2,002.84  
Car Maintenance $536.02  
Car Parking $970.80  
Gas $763.34
Cash $143.40  Who uses cash?
Charity $200.00  
Clothing $437.12  This will go up in 2018.
Coffee $214.72  Switching to tea in 2018.
Education $983.10 Improv lessons
Entertainment $1,739.62
Dating $1008.77  
Friends $588.96  
Professional $236.28  Networking lunches and the like.
Fitness $729.97  This will decrease in 2018 as I’m switching gyms
Food $3,331.61
Groceries $1,141.98  
Restaurants $2,189.63  Ouch! Not proud of it.
Gifts $1,016.46 Nephews keep increasing these costs.
Grooming $260.08  Haircuts are expensive in Toronto.
Internet $264.68  
Laundry $76.27  
Medical $15.17  This will increase in 2018 as my benefit plan has changed.
Phone $542.40  Bare bones plan!
Rent $10,251.00 Who said living in Toronto had to be expensive? 
Supplies $407.05  
Transit $213.00  Will increase in 2018 as I am now taking the train for 7 minutes to work.
Travel $5,109.71  Increased by $1000 over 2017, but worth it.
Japan (3 weeks) $3,690.81  
Rhode Island/ Boston/ Cape Cod $1,418.90
Website $47.88  Hi!
TOTAL  $30,390.64  
TOTAL minus “Optional” spending, such as travel, education, and charity  $24,097.83

The “barebones” figure of $24097.83 is even lower than I expected for living in downtown Toronto. Averaged over 12 months, that means if I really cut back I could live on $2008.15 a month. Imagine if I got rid of my car!

Living in downtown Toronto on the Cheap-ish in 2017 – How I did it.

#1: I still live with a roommate.

Sure, we have minor disagreements on cleanliness, but it’s an arrangement that’s working out well for the both of us. Plus, he pays more because he wanted the bigger room.

#2: I try and keep entertained with all the free/cheap things in the City.

Parks. Movies on discount Tuesdays. Free outdoor culture activities. Museum library passes. Toronto is full of cheap and free things with a little effort.

#3: I don’t upscale my life very much.

Despite moving into a higher income bracket, I still don’t purchase drinks when I go out to eat. I still drink mostly water at home, I walk almost everywhere, and all the furniture in my room is mostly taken off the side of curbs.

2018 is going to be much of the same. I anticipate I will probably start spending more money on clothing (overdue for some major shopping of work attire) and transit (commuting to work now), but I’m hoping I can keep next year in line with this year.

My point of pride continues to be keeping costs low while increasing my savings rate.

I hope 2017 has been kind to you and best of luck in 2018!

Author: stretchingeverydollar

Starving artist to Debt Free MBA. Attempting to retire early.

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