By: Revanche

2017: Our year in review

January 3, 2018


2017 highlights


The good

  • My day job income increased a little, PiC’s increased a bit more. I’m annoyed that I’m still behind in our secret race but excited to hit an earnings milestone this year, and overall, no matter who’s winning, we both win with increases.
  • Unlike last year, we did end up with a jumbo loan for a new place, five years ahead of schedule. We’re safe and love our new home, so I’m going to call this as a good thing.
  • We maxed out PiC’s 401(k), my IRA, his IRA, and made big contributions to JB’s 529.
  • We increased our official deductible charitable giving by 50% but it’s still low. This is a work in progress.

The bad

  • I planned to recoup our savings after last year’s large lump of unexpected expenses but months of renovations on the surprise place were a long season in our year.
  • I know it’s unreasonable to be annoyed given our housing market but I truly hate that we had to take personal loans to make it happen. They were paid back within a week of selling our old place but needing help like that makes me feel like I still don’t have our shit together. I’m supposed to have alllll our shit together!
  • Seamus had several difficult health episodes. We ultimately got through them but it was rough going at the time.


I loved Maggie’s year-end review, so I’m trying that format out here. What do you think?

  • I didn’t get sick for most of the year! Then I did.
  • We were hit with a veritable monsoon of losses. In our circles, we lost 3 parents, a friend committed suicide, another friend died of surgical complications.


  • I briefly toured the California legal system to get a restraining order and, completing derailing all my plans for the year, we decided to move this year.



  • House shopping: We made our Must Haves list for the house.
  • House shopping: Looked at many house listings, made a couple offers that were totally outmatched. Where do these people get their money?? We’re speculating that it’s family money.


  • House shopping: Looked at many house listings, made a couple more offers, realized that we are absolutely going to have to pay at least 10% over list price.
  • I had thoughts about contentment and happiness which still hold.
  • Ironically, that was followed up with revelations about Dad and his terrible decision making.



  • Renovations commence – I’m impressed and scared at the same time. Demolition happens fast.
  • We had visitors at what could have been the Worst Possible Time but they are such fantastic people, their visit unexpectedly eased a very difficult time for all. We’re still so grateful for that.
  • I had to come to terms with Dad’s betrayal. I’m still struggling to comprehend it.






This was a month of cleaning house (metaphorically – the new place is still a MESS. My office is an embarrassing maze.)


  • I guest posted for Claudia at Two Cup House. In hindsight, this was a mistake. It came after a sustained crunch period at home and work so the post wasn’t nearly as good as it should have been.
  • We installed our security system and I was treated to recorded sightings of the Neighborhood Skunk, Ghost cat, and the neighbor’s dog coming over to find us when we were away for the day.
  • We spent an extended holiday with family and friends which was nice to manage without feeling rushed to race from one gathering to another, since I still had to work, but also it was too long so it became totally overwhelming and draining for me. I needed days to recover from all the people time.


Plan for 2017

  1. {Money} Save 30% of our income, PLUS max out PiC’s 401(k), my IRA, an IRA for him.
    No, Yes, Yes, Yes!
  2. {Money} Organize our retirement funding for tax and income efficiency.
  3. {Money} As part of the above, research the backdoor ROTH IRA and decide when would be best for us to do one. I think I’ll need our CPA’s help running some numbers for this.
    Rolling this over to 2018.
  4. {Money} Decide if we’re going to hoard more cash (investing it) or pay down more mortgage, then do it.
    Rolling this over to 2018.
  5. {Life} Mail hand-written letter to one of JuggerBaby’s surrogate grandparents every month. We always send hand-written thank you cards to the loving surrogate aunts and uncles who think of zir or send lovely thoughtful gifts but I’d like to be more proactive in this area, and sharing a bit of life in a more meaningful regular way instead of reacting to their generosity or hoping we can visit.
    Mostly yes. Some months I did a weekly letter, to make up for the months I just couldn’t manage it.
  6. {Life} Prepare one New Baby Care Package to send to an expectant mother friend per month. The first half of the year is spoken for! This is a hobby though sometimes I think it’d be a fun job.
    I sent out 5 baby care packages but some of them were not the expected mothers. I am hoping for them to be recipients next year!
  7. {Life} travel will definitely be happening this year, that’s not a question. The open questions are: how much of it can I travel hack and will we enjoy it all? I’ll be setting up a travel calendar to address these questions.
    We did some serious travel this year but it hardly feels like that all happened in the same year. This underlined my feelings that I don’t elevate experiences over things. I can’t remember half our experiences if we are overbooked!


  • TOTAL MONEY – Our Net Worth: +11.53%.ย  Our balance of cash:real estate:investment ratios shifted drastically to 15:30:55. When you’re expecting a recession, having so much cash in investments feels risky but I could find a reason to feel nervous about any majority ratio whether it’s cash (eroding value) or real estate (non-liquid vehicles) so this is one of many times I’m going to ignore my feelings and keep on with aggressive saving and investing.
  • DIVIDENDS – I started publishing our updates on a April / July / October schedule to avoid publishing all reports in the first half of January which is BOR-ING. This update only includes dividends paid in 2017: $2,445.95 after $13.95 in fees.
  • SIDE MONEY$3,262.47 was earned from random surveys, Swagbucks, Mr. Rebates, and ebates. $345.00 was earned from Craigslist sales making a total of $3,607.47 in alternate income. This was a serious bump, built on momentum from earlier years.
  • BLOG MONEY$662.79 was earned by the blog which goes toward expenses (hosting, FinCon2017, etc). It’s a LONG way from paying me for my time.

:: What were your bests/worsts of 2017? How’d you do this year with spending and saving your money? Did you remember to make time for life?ย 


10 Responses to “2017: Our year in review”

  1. Wow, what a year!

    I’m really glad I had the opportunity to meet you briefly in Dallas! Good luck in 2018!

  2. Linda says:

    Your side money figure looks very good. Do you feel that you’re getting a good payback on the time you spend on it? I get tempted to sign up for things like Swagbucks, but I’ve held off because it doesn’t seem like it would be a good payback for my time. But I am looking for ways to increase my income, so maybe I should reconsider? I’m just not sure.

    Despite it being an expensive year, a simple review of my expenses and income shows that I’ve spent less than than I took in, so that’s good. Also, I expect to get at least another $1,800 back in the next month or two from the surgery center, insurance company, and IRS. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Linda recently posted…Money talk: finances as an older single womanMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I rarely spend much time on any of my earnings programs, they’re just 5 or 10 minute segments built into my week, and they add up slowly, but they do add up! So I think it’s worth it. The only reason I earn this much is because I’ve kept at it for years without worrying much about it, and I’m always willing to consider doing a few things to earn a bit extra without commitment. It adds up ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Matt says:

    Wow – that is a busy year and a very productive one. I really like the format you used here!! Seeing your post makes me think I really don’t do a good job of planning and of reviewing at the end of the year. Do you also review and adjust your plans throughout the year?

    Hope 2018 is equally good to you.
    Matt recently posted…Pressing the reset button!My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks – I have Maggie to thank for the new format because I loved hers so much!

      We definitely adjusted. I only planned about 1/12th of this year’s events, if that much, at the start of the year, these were all new plans put in place as of mid-January in response to a horrible neighbor!

  4. Happy new year!
    Liz@ChiefMomOfficer recently posted…Iโ€™m Boring, And I Like It That WayMy Profile

  5. GYM says:

    What a year!

    That’s some serious cash from swagbucks and ebates! And your dividend income is great too!

    Here’s to a great 2018 ๐Ÿ™‚

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