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Monthly Status: October 2017

Another month has come and gone which means, it’s time for another monthly status. So let’s check on the numbers and see what they did over this past month.

First up, let’s look at our spending:

 

So we are still above our $39,000 12 month rolling target for spending.  While $1,500 feels like a lot to be over by, it is actually only over target by 4%.  Missing our target isn’t a big deal while we are working as we can always just work a little longer to make up for it.  When we no longer have earned income to fall back on however, it will become a much bigger deal.  So  it’s definitely better if we can get acclimated to sticking to a budget now while we still have that safety net.

Looking ahead, I don’t expect we will get under our target next month either because we will be paying quarterly property taxes. Also known as “rent for homeowners”.

If we focus in on last month’s spending we actually did really well. Of course, we also did really well in October of last year too so it still kept us over the 12 month rolling target. Let’s take a closer look at what we spent our money on:

 

  1. Food and Dining:  The biggest spending category of the month.  60% went to restaurant spending and the rest went to groceries.  In total we went a bit over what we usually do, so we will have to cut back on eating out at restaurants and replace it with more meals at home.
  2. Auto & Transport:  60% of this was parking at FI Girl’s work.  The rest was gas.  Not much room for improvement here until we stop working where we work.
  3. Shopping:  All of this was related to FI Girl’s hobby:  taking training classes.  When we stop working this cost should go down dramatically.

Those three categories alone make up 90% of October spending.

 

Now on to savings:

We are still on savings / investing “autopilot” and it continues to pay off.  According to Mint, we chopped off another month on our projected early retirement date.  We did this by maintaining our high savings rate (something we can control) with the investment principal growing (something we cannot control).  Our US S&P index is up 2.5% and our International ETF is up 1.1% for the month.  We are not letting ourselves get used to this growth as it’s entirely possible the markets can drop and make a correction at any time. (See our article titled “Big Fat Bubble“)

For this month’s status, I also want to show a “net” chart:  Net Worth. This chart adds up all of our investments, emergency savings and the value of our home and subtracts any debt we have.  We include the value of our home because we do plan to sell it and invest the profit to support our world travel plans:

So in creating this chart, I realized something that I would have otherwise missed.  We are in fact multi-millionaires by definition.  Last month we hit the $2,000,000 mark.

The first million took us 10 years to achieve but the second only took 5 years.  Hint:  money makes money. 

This is why it’s so important to not put off saving and investing.  The earlier you get in, the better.  We know the market is at a high but we continue to throw our monthly net savings into it, just as we always have.  If we were trying to time the market we would have converted everything into cash at the end of last year and missed out on S&P growing by over 20%.

Do we feel any different?  No.  Do we feel rich?  Certainly not. 

If I wasn’t writing this article, we wouldn’t have even noticed that we achieved this milestone.  Our spending has remained greatly unchanged for many years, so we haven’t fallen into the trap of “lifestyle inflation” that many others do.  Until we actually make changes in our life, it won’t feel real.  Right now it’s just as meaningful as points in a video game.  That’s the trick we have to play on ourselves to shoot even higher.

Check in again next month!

 

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4 Comments

  1. MR. WB

    Great job, FI Guy!
    It should be an amazing feeling having your net worth surpassing the $2kk mark!
    Really impressed with your low expenses, you sure deserve a few dinners out guilty free!

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • FI Guy

      Thanks Mr. WB. It feels great and honestly a bit surreal.

      We still think we could further optimize our spending a bit (e.g. By FI Girl cutting out some “wants”) but it’s not going to get us to our goal that much quicker at this point since we are nearing the end of our journey.

      And those dinners out sound great! I’ll have to check to see if there’s room in the budget ; )

      Reply
  2. Hippy

    Great work FI guy/girl. I don’t know if I am reading the saving amount right, but you are able to save 22k per month each? I have setup a goal to save around 50% of me and my wife combined saving but its a struggle to maintain this rate. Expenses pops up, so how are you guys able to keep (a fairly consistent) steady spending rate?

    Reply
    • FI Guy

      Welcome to our site and thanks for the kudos! Much appreciated.

      The 22K is the net change in our accounts for the month of October.  Most of it is due to our investment accounts growing because the S&P and International indexes we are invested in increased.  We target saving an average of $7,300 per person each month. This number includes money from our monthly income that we invest in before tax contributions to 401ks, HSAs and company employee matching but is less expenses.

      We mostly plan our spending in terms of an annual budget and we track monthly (annual budget / 12).  Our highest spend months can be triple our lowest spend months. We have found it easier (and less stressful) to take a longer term view. Annual seems to work best for us as we understand there are always going to be an ebb and flow.

      To give us a little wiggle room, we do have a misc. expenditure bucket that we bake in to our annual budget. This bucket is for those random unplanned expenses that might crop up. It’s not an exact science but we try to budget something for the unknowns.

      Our savings rate is currently approaching 80%, but we didn’t start that way. To get that high, we had to freeze our spending (in raw dollar terms) when we received raises / promotions / work side hustles over the years. We also have found it beneficial to divert any new / additional income to our investment accounts in an automated fashion (where possible) in order to eliminate a lot of the temptation to spend it. 

      Don’t get discouraged that you can’t always make your target, especially when those unexpected expenses pop up… the fact that you are tracking already puts you far ahead of where you would be if you were not. 

      Reply

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