2017 Fab 5 Articles
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I hope you all are having a wonderful end to 2017. Mr. Kiwi is enjoying his month off before starting the new job! And I’m enjoying taking a week off staycation to relax, recharge, and spend time with family/friends.
2017 has been a weird year, filled with lots of personal growth, and lots of fails too! I’m still working on overcoming fear, stepping out of my comfort zone, and getting healthier. We enjoyed a luxuriously frugal year and spent $10,000 less than last year, without feeling deprivation! I have a feeling 2018 will be a bit more spendy as we are in the market for a new computer, renovated master bathroom, and new roof (okay, that roof is a maybe, it was on the list for this year and didn’t happen).
I’m a big fan of New Years’ resolutions, so I’m setting mine now! Mr. Kiwi does not enjoy them quite as much 🙂 . I hope you all are setting goals for 2018 and reflecting on 2017 with encouragement, forgiveness, and gratitude (or not, if that’s not your cup of tea/pint of beer).
Most Popular Articles of 2017
To close out the year, I wanted to share the top five articles (blog posts?) of 2017 from Kiwi And Keweenaw!
Everyone loves giving and receiving gifts, right? Well, at least the people that come over from pinterest do! It was fun sharing many of the items that enable us to live the frugal life.
Since fully embracing frugality we:
- DIY our finances with the help of the Simple Path to Wealth
- Brew our own beer and cold brew coffee
- Find free activities for date night
- Play more board games and (mostly) stopped buying new ones
- Use our library a bunch
Much of the gift guide was for free things or experiences!
We mostly eat vegetables, so you can eat healthy for less :). We don’t buy groceries with added sugar and avoid processed foods, since they make Mr. Kiwi’s headache worse. We also fill up on whole grains, beans, nuts, and fruits to round out our grocery budget.
While we grow some of our food, we mostly buy it from the grocery store (by a VERY large margin). So our frugal garden hardly accounts for this spending cut. We are mindful while grocery shopping and eat vegan at home (except for honey). And hey, in 2016, we weren’t vegan at home, that’s been our big change for 2017, and we don’t plan on going back! (Seriously, it has been so easy and tasty. This is one resolution that was simple to stick to.)
It’s easy to rattle off stats and tell you that I reduced my spending by $10,000. But this post shares many of the ways we actually achieved our spending cuts. We did not move, get rid of any cars, or sacrifice our happiness. Hey, we still have most of our friends ;).
I also got the help of some awesome bloggers who are on the way to or have already achieved financial independence, early retirement (FIRE). You can learn more about their stories by checking our their blogs:
One of the main ways we’ve cut our spending over the past few years has been by reducing the number of miles we put on our cars. This equals less maintenance and gas, with the added perk of the cars lasting longer!
One of our goals for 2018 is to become a one car household! Neither of our cars are worth too much on the used market, but we’d still love to sell one! The savings will come from:
- Not having to pay for car insurance
- No registration fees
- Putting more miles on our bikes!
This post was featured on the Sunday Best by Physician on FIRE, as he also talked about reducing driving and his electric bike commuting. To help reach our one car household goal, we bought an electric bike kit! And Mr. Kiwi is planning on using it as his commuting vehicle for 2018!
Tracking our spending is the thing that has made financial independence, early retirement feel like a real and achievable goal. Budgets were too much work for me, and I never got the hang of deciding how much is a reasonable amount of money to spend.
Instead of stressing about how much money to put in each budget category, we started tracking our monthly spending using Personal Capital. This made us think a bit more about each purchase. Plus, at the end of the month, we could easily review our spending to see how it aligns with our values.
October was our lowest spending month of the year (maybe that’s why it was the most popular post) with only $1,783 spent. (That includes our $950 mortgage, insurance, and property tax bills!)
I’ve enjoyed the transparency of sharing these numbers with all of you readers! And if any of you want one-on-one spending coaching, hit me up (details here)! I’m offering discounts for the first few clients!
Bonus – 6. Frugality: Spend Less By Enjoying More
Okay, okay, I know I said five and I could have just changed the number to six instead of including a bonus! But hey, it’s my blog, and thanks for making it all the way to the end! I really enjoyed my number six most popular post of the year!
We’ve slashed our spending without sacrificing, and instead, growing our happiness. I hate the glorification of wealth and stuff accumulation! And I love that so many people are pushing to embrace frugality and increase their financial security.
We can all be better environmentalists by doing one easy(?) thing: buy fewer things. And while those cork yoga mats look super cool, I’m just as content using my 8 year old yoga mat gifted to me by a friend.
That’s All Folks!
There it is, my most popular SIX articles of 2017! I hope you enjoyed them, and check back in 2018 for much better content (at least in my opinion), to learn about upping your savings rate, reducing your environmental impact, growing more of your own food, spending less money at the grocery store, and all things frugal!
Plus, we’ll have a student in the house, so dumpster diving will be socially acceptable again! (Oh wait, maybe it never is…Shucks, who cares about socially acceptable anyways!?!)
Which of those was your favorite? Any articles you want to read for 2018?