Brewery and games for a frugal night out

Financial Year (No Wait, Beer!) in Review

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Yum, beer, that’s much more fun to think about than our financial year in review! So, you might as well have a beer in hand as we review 2017, adjust our asset allocation, determine if we’ve maxed out all of our tax advantaged accounts, and set goals for the year ahead!

2017 Drinking Financial Goals

Setting goals helps us live intentionally and guides our decision making. Also, taking the time to sit down as a team and write out SMART goals strengthens our marriage. If you haven’t taken the time to lay out goals for your future, I highly encourage you to take the time and write down some things you would like to accomplish.

I like to write my goals on a google document so I have access to it on my phone and computer. Whenever I am overwhelmed by a choice or big change I review my document and see if it aligns with my long and short term goals.

We started the year with a few financial goals:

Homebrewing to save money and an excuse to get together with friends
Look at that tasty beer on the stove!
  1. Max out all tax advantaged accounts (401k, 457, 403b, IRA style accounts)
  2. Build up a cash emergency fund in high yield savings account
  3. Find better jobs
  4. Start Blog
  5. Reduce our spending
  6. Replace roof on house
  7. Build up side hustle income
  8. Stretch Goal – Set up Post-Tax Investing Account

And a few beer related goals:

  1. Brew more beer!
  2. Get equipment to have nitro beer (and coffee) on tap at home
  3. Visit MANY new breweries
  4. Claim a local brewery as our stomping grounds
  5. Discover new favorite beers
  6. Convince Mr. Kiwi that sour beers are awesome

2017 Financial Goals Review

Max out all tax advantaged accounts

Check! Wow, our take home pay was low this year!

Related: Mad Fientist post on why you should consider setting this goal too! Annual financial review

Build up a cash emergency fund

Yay, we can sleep well knowing that if grad school doesn’t work out, we have some breathing room.

Related: Why you should consider having a cash emergency fund, even with a high savings rate.

Find better jobs

Well, one of us quit their job! So halfway there!

Related: Frugalwoods guide to figuring out what you want to do with your life!

Start Blog

Woo! Started in May and still going strong! (Thanks to everyone who has, read, commented, emailed, shared, and made my day a little brighter!)

Related: If you want to start a blog, let me know! If you sign up through my Bluehost affiliate link, I’ll help you get it up and running!

Reduce our spending

Check! $10,000 less spent in 2017 than 2016! Check out our monthly spending reports to see where our money goes.

Related: I offer one-on-one budget coaching if you want help to reduce your spending! And see my post from eight personal finance experts on how they reduced their spending for ideas!

Replace roof on house

Not replaced, but repaired! Applying for grad schools had us considering a cross country move, so we decided to hold off on the replacement. Now that we know where we’ll be in 2018, it is planned for next year! Anyone want to come over and roof? I’ll provide the beer 🙂

Related: Frugal DIY Home Improvements you Should Consider Tackling

Build up side hustle income

Hmm, well, we tried out a few, have churned a few credit cards, and are selling our stuff slowly on Craigslist. Definitely room for improvement here!

Related: See how this Airbnb host netted $7,000 and see the options I’ve considered/tried out

Stretch Goal – Set up Post-Tax Investing Account

We didn’t quite make this goal, there’s always next year 🙂 Money isn’t everything!

2017 Beer Goals Review

Brew more beer!

DIY Keg-orator Using the college dorm fridge
DIY Keg-orator Using the college dorm fridge

Check! Every two months or so we brew a batch. We use it as a great excuse to get together with friends, teach them how to brew, and work on drinking the current kegs.

Mr. Kiwi was lead brewer for four batches and Mrs. Kiwi for two batches.

Favorite homebrew of 2017: Gingerbread Grog

Get equipment to have nitro beer (and coffee) on tap at home

Check! And it is as good as it sounds, even if it was a wee bit expensive to set up!

Visit MANY new breweries

Check, two new breweries visited last week and a brand new one opening 10 minutes from our house this week! I don’t know how many we visited, but my favorite new (to me) breweries included:

Annual financial review
Will travel for beer


  • Harmony Hall – Grand Rapids, MI
  • Southern Tier Brewing Company – Lakewood, NY
  • Hilton Head Brewing Company – Hilton Head, SC
  • Fetch Brewery – Whitehall, MI
  • Function Brewing – Bloomington, IN

*Note: These are breweries, not beer, many of these visits were long overdue. And I may have been giggly and giddy approaching the breweries!

Claim a local brewery as our stomping grounds

FAIL – we are still frugally reluctant to join a mug club

Discover new favorite beers

Check!!! Some of my favorites of 2017:

Convince Mr. Kiwi that sour beers are awesome

Fail, but there is always next year! Just like that illusive taxable brokerage account!

Annual Beer Money Tasks

Beer Maintenance!

Our kegorator has space for two corny kegs, so the goal is to always have two beers (or one beer and one coffee) flowing! While we could ensure this by measuring and tracking the glasses we pour, that seems excessive. Thankfully beer ages well, so the goal is to always have one beer aging in a keg, to replace the next empty vessel.

Annual financial review
If you see people playing games at a brewery, it may be us!

Honestly, we aren’t heavy drinkers, so we typically invite friends over when we are ready for some variety! Who knew drinking a couple pints could be so helpful!?!

At the end of every year we inventory our equipment and determine if there’s any gear we should request for the holidays! If people insist on giving us gifts, we at least want gifts we will use!

And of course at the end of the year we inventory our beer on hand and bring variety packs to share at holiday parties!

Money Maintenance :/

Inevitably hoarding our money requires that we manage it (a little). Here’s our simple plan:

Connecting with friends and family helps is healthy and frugal
Managing your money, with the help of beer?
  • January: set goals for the year ahead!


  • September: Review automated 401k/457/403b contributions and ensure all accounts will be maxed out and meet employer match requirements (do little math, set it, forget it)
  • September: Review YTD federal, state, and local tax withholding and adjust. Confirm that the underpayment penalty will be avoided (pay at least 100% of last year’s tax liability). Confirm that we are not overpaying our taxes and will be owed a significant refund.


  • December:  Adjust our holdings to align with our asset allocation
  • December: Review emergency fund savings and transfer extra money to taxable brokerage account
  • December : Review annual giving and contribute a little extra!
  • End of December:  Up 401k/457/403b contributions to front load accounts starting with the first paycheck in January
  • By Tax Day 2018 – confirm IRAs have been funded for 2017

Taking the time to manage your money a couple times per year helps to save time and increase your financial confidence. We automate all of our monthly bills and pay our credit cards off in full every month!

Ending 2017 Strong (Imperial Strong)

Michigan Tech Cold Brew Coffee on Nitro DIY
Tasty cold brew coffee on nitro! **Not beer***

2017 ended strong with me discovering a new favorite beer! Southern Tier Brewing Company makes many of my favorite beers (maybe it’s the yeast?), and I was able to try their Cinnamon Roll Ale. I have to say, I was nervous since it’s an imperial, and those are frequently too strong for me! But much like my nearly 100% stock asset allocation, taking a risk paid off. (Thanks stocks for soaring! I’m not so optimistic about the future…)

Sometimes you have to be bold, go against convention, and drink a cold super cinnamony beverage. Then buy $45 worth of it in growler and bottle form. (So, that’s where all our money goes!)

The stock market has been going gangbusters and our investments are growing faster than I’d ever dreamed. But our frugal household has our investing strategy laid out, so I rarely pay attention to the stock market.

At some point in our lives (I think I know better than to try to predict when) a downward swing will take place, but that’s why we have a plan! Thanks Simple Path to Wealth!

2018 Goals

We are excited for 2018, even though our household earnings will suffer a steep decline. Mr. Kiwi is going back to school, and I’m considering a mini-retirement or seeking out a different (and likely lower paying) job. (There’s more than one path to FIRE.)

By defining your:

You will be able to adjust course when life takes you down a different path.

Annual financial review
New beer!

We are hesitant to set an early retirement date, since so much of the future is unknown. The beauty of seeking FIRE is that it gives you options to break from the norm. Tying ourselves to a strict FI date would be a surefire way to guarantee our misery. Just like limiting our beer budget to only fund cases of Bud Light would make us stop drinking.

Our 2018 is up in the air, but we have a few goals:

  1. Don’t touch our non emergency fund savings
  2. Mrs. Kiwi:  Find contentment or quit your job!
  3. Mr. Kiwi:  Find a way to manage those headaches! And get straight As 🙂
  4. Live on graduate student stipend
  5. Fund tax advantaged accounts
  6. Attend FinCon 2018!
  7. Convince Mr. Kiwi that Jolly Pumpkin sour beers are the most delicious thing ever
  8. Find a new favorite beer!
  9. Clone a homebrew version of Cinnamon Roll
  10. Get Southern Tier and Jolly Pumpkin to sponsor this blog
  11. Lose weight
  12. Eat healthy
  13. Grow more of our own food
  14. Love life
  15. Strengthen relationships
  16. Give back

Thanks frugal pack for joining us on the journey! 2017 was full of ups and downs, crazy stock market surges, and plenty of personal growth. I’m excited to see where 2018 takes us all! Maybe I’ll be drinking at a brewery near you soon!

Hmm, now that I drank all that beer, I’d say it’s time to incorporate some frugal healthy habits for the new year!

What’s your favorite beer of the year? How do you manage money at the end of the year? Cheers to wrapping up 2017!

9 comments on “Financial Year (No Wait, Beer!) in Review”

  1. Reply

    I loved your goals recap! It’s really hard to admit when you don’t quite make it, but there’s always next year!

  2. The one mug club we’d honestly consider joining is a good 2.5+ hours from home, so we’ve avoided that expense as well 😉 If you ever visit the northwest, let me know first so I can point you in the right (beer) direction!

    Roof repair versus replacement makes sense in a lot of situations. Just make sure you keep on regular maintenance and hopefully it will last you a while longer.

  3. Reply

    Did I just read a beer post on a personal finance website, or a personal finance post on a beer website? I’m confused!?


    Great goals, I’m sure you’ll nail them all!

  4. Reply

    It sounds like you did a pretty good job getting drunk..uhh, I mean reaching most of the goals that you set for yourself this year. There were a few misses but overall you did grrrrreat and I like the goals for 2018 too. I gotta get thinking about my goals for next year too.

  5. Pingback: 12/27 Hump Day Heat: Bloggers Sizzling Up The Week! - DEFINED SIGHT

  6. Reply

    Any plans to start a brewery when you retire? Gingerbread beer sounds awesome!

    If you can please hack the cost to make beer :). I would love to do it, but my newfound frugal muscle is straining haha. Hope you had a great holiday!

    1. Reply

      Opening a brewery isn’t in our plans, but we may be interested in investing in one or working at one! So, if you are ready to open in a decade, hit me up, I may have some spare change!

      I will definitely be writing up a post about the cost of brewing beer in 2018! The large up front cost was tough to stomach, and we don’t save that much money. But it’s a hobby that pays for itself at this point, which is a win!

  7. Reply

    Found you through the Defined Sight weekly roundup. I hate beer, but I really like y’all. I feel you on the side hustle income. Such lofty goals at the beginning of the year, not much extra cash at the end of it. I’m sure you’ll figure out the right gigs to make the money flow.

    A $10K reduction in spending is impressive. I’ll be digging through your blog for how you did it. Also best of luck in grad school. What kind of program?

    1. Reply

      Thanks! The research is environmental engineering focused on drinking water quality. And yes, I think this year will have a lot more focus on hustles that actually interest me!

      And I’ll forgive you on the distaste for beer!

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