FIFoldPath

The journey to financial independence

Nov 6, 2020

Monthly Financial Snapshot: October 2020

What a surreal month it's been. Life goes on here in Tokyo, but there's been a lot of attention focused on the US election, as well as the resurgence in COVID-19 cases in the US and Europe. Election coverage here treats it mostly as spectacle, and doesn't really provide much analysis or opinion. However, since the US electoral college system is so bizarre, there's always a lot of explanation of how it works and why they need to focus the coverage on specific states. COVID-19 cases in Japan remain pretty stable (between 500 and 1000 daily new cases) thanks to...

Oct 3, 2020

Monthly Financial Snapshot: September 2020

Another month gone. Unfortunately, my laptop decided to fry itself a couple of weeks ago, so I no longer have a computer at home. I'm still deciding how to go about remedying this situation. I'm leaning toward building a desktop PC since I used my laptop at home 95% of the time, but I'm also going to attempt to pursue warranty claims on my laptop since it's been less than 2 years since I bought it and I'm eligible to pay for extended service. I'm waiting for my support contract to finish transferring to Japan before I can start the...

Sep 3, 2020

Monthly Financial Snapshot: August 2020

Not too much to report this month, again. I did notice that I'm spending more on food than in previous months. I've been eating more meals with my girlfriend recently so that's probably a contributing factor. The market has continued to relentlessly go up, despite the continuing deleterious economic effects of the COVID19 pandemic. As I write this, the US market is at an all-time high, despite an unemployment rate of about 10% (more than double what it was pre-pandemic), record-breaking GDP contraction (31.7% annualized), and earnings of most companies have been severely impacted. I've heard theories that some of...

Aug 5, 2020

Monthly Financial Snapshot: July 2020

Not too much to report this month, other than that this was my final transition month from my old company to my new one. I received my final paycheck from my previous company this month, as well as my first one from my new company. I have also returned to working in Tokyo rather than Nagoya, just in time for the 2nd wave of the Coronavirus. My current company isn't well-equipped for work from home, so for the time being I continue to commute into the Tokyo office. The office is fairly empty, however, so that somewhat reduces the risk...

Jul 6, 2020

Monthly Financial Snapshot: June 2020

So, I started a new job this month. My previous company was hit hard by the virus and our management essentially told us that the company is on track to run out of money by the end of the summer and that we should do our best to find other employment. I was fortunate enough to be able to receive another opportunity fairly quickly and that I was able to get started right away. The company is based in Nagoya, so that's where I've been for most of the last 3 weeks, but we are going to open a small...

Jun 1, 2020

Monthly Financial Snapshot: May 2020

Virus update: things are slowly starting to return to a more normal state over here. Japan's State of Emergency was lifted last week and I'm seeing masks on store shelves again. Many people continue to work from home and mask usage is near-universal. There's still a handful of cases detected each day (yesterday there were 35 for the whole country), but the effectiveness of contact tracing and quarantining the infected continues to reduce numbers. Despite continuing virus cases in the US (as well as probably premature statewide "re-openings" and now widespread civil unrest), the stock market continued to tick up....

May 2, 2020

Monthly Financial Snapshot: April 2020

Yet another month has come and gone. Financial highlights of the month included receiving a $1,200 stimulus deposit from the IRS, plus finally getting my IL state refund for 2019. In addition, the market recovered nicely in April (up 12.7% from the end of March), which helped restore much of my savings. Now I am back to where I was in September of last year, although with the economic uncertainty who knows how long it will last. In other news, it's been confirmed that Japan will be doing its own economic stimulus program by giving 100,000 yen to every legal...

Apr 4, 2020

Monthly Financial Snapshot: March 2020

Hey all. So the virus (and associated fear and panic) continues to spread. The market volatility in March was unprecedented, and there's a pretty good chance that the craziness will continue into the near future. So far I have refrained from making any large moves in the market, although I did move my cash savings from my money market account into a no-penalty CD at 1.75%. Not only did I manage to snag a decent interest rate before they dropped (the going rate for the same product is currently 1.55%), the bank also ran a promotion where they give an...

Mar 7, 2020

Monthly Financial Snapshot: February 2020

Yes, I missed last month's update, sorry. No, you can't get a refund. Last year, I switched this blog from Blogger to Wordpress, in order to experiment with wordpress hosting. As part of that, I paid for webhosting with Siteground. I had no issues with the quality of their service, but I wasn't a fan when I received the reminder email to renew my service for the price of $143.40 per year! I had originally signed up for $47.40 per year, but I guess they do that annoying thing where they raise the price of their service after the first...

Jan 1, 2020

Monthly Financial Snapshot: December 2019

Since I posted my November update only a couple of weeks ago, I feel like I don't have much news to write about. I have the entire week off as a company holiday, so I'm using this time to relax and recharge. I did a better job this month at cutting down on food spending by routinely preparing work lunch for myself at home. Compared to last month, my combined restaurant and grocery spending is about 33% lower, saving me about $200. I'll see what other expenses I can cut next month in order to further pare down my spending....

Dec 15, 2019

Monthly Financial Snapshot: November 2019

My first full month in Japan as a working resident is over. I discovered that unlike the US, most companies here pay only one paycheck per month. My company in particular pays out one paycheck per month but it covers the previous month's salary! As a result, I only got paid for my 1.5 weeks of work in October and I have to wait until late December to receive my pay for November! Unfortunately, I am still on the hook for a full month's worth of pension payments even though I only worked a little over a week. Also, unlike...

Nov 9, 2019

Monthly Financial Snapshot: October 2019

Well, it's finally done. I successfully moved to Japan. There are still a couple of things that I need to finish setting up before I would consider myself completely "settled", but I'm about 95% of the way there at this point. I've started my new job and I think I've been making good progress transitioning to my new career field given my limited prior professional experience until now. High moving expenses are an almost unavoidable aspect of moving internationally, and this month was no exception. The vast majority of my expenses are related to housing, as Japan requires large up-front...

Oct 4, 2019

Monthly Financial Snapshot: September 2019

Most of this month was spent visiting family and continuing to prepare for my move to Tokyo. My visa paperwork arrived mid-month, but I discovered that I needed to go to the consulate for my state of residence to get my visa, which necessitated a last-minute trip to Chicago. Fortunately, I was able to book flights using miles and I was able to stay with a friend for the week I spent there, so the trip ended up costing me less than $20 out of pocket (not including food and public transportation). So the last of my official paperwork has...

Sep 2, 2019

Monthly Financial Snapshot: August 2019

I spent most of this month getting rid of almost all of my possessions in preparation for my move. It was a little bit difficult parting with the things that I acquired over the past 4.5 years, but it was also relieving. Now that everything I own fits into two suitcases and a backpack, I don't feel tied down by my things like I did before. You don't really notice the mental load until it's gone, but it definitely feels nice. I also had to postpone my departure to Tokyo (and my work start date) by a month due to...

Aug 1, 2019

Monthly Financial Snapshot: July 2019

My final month in Japan has come to an end, but not without some exciting developments. During this month, I had another family member come to visit me during my final weeks in Japan, so I got to play tour guide showing her around Tokyo and the Kansai (Kyoto, Nara, Osaka) region. Because my bank and credit cards don't charge me fees for using the accounts outside of the US, I ended up paying most of her expenses on this trip, so they show up on my spending report for this month. It would have been too much work to...

Jul 1, 2019

Monthly Financial Snapshot: June 2019

Another month gone by in my 3 month stay in Japan. This month was pretty good on the spending front. Since I have already pre-paid my housing, most of my spending this month was food and transportation. A family member came to visit during the latter part of the month, so I did some extra traveling and restaurant-eating than I would have otherwise. Other than that, spending was pretty low-key for the month. On the investment side, I have been pleased with the performance of the Pinwheel Portfolio this month. Some slices (gold, US stocks) have performed very well (6%+...

Jun 5, 2019

Monthly Financial Snapshot: May 2019

My first full month in Japan is officially over. This month I've been mostly staying in business hotels (small, no-frills hotels that cater to budget-conscious business travelers). I try to maximize my savings by changing hotels every few days when rates predictably spike for weekends, booking through Hotels.com which gives a free night after every 10 stays (equivalent to 10% discount on all bookings) and buying Hotels.com gift cards at discounted prices (10-20% off, depending on what promotions are ongoing) and collecting cash rebates for the purchases (3-20%, depending on promotions). Using these techniques, I am able to average about...

May 4, 2019

Monthly Financial Snapshot: April 2019

There have been a few changes this month. For starters, I quit my job [cue gasps of shock and amazement]. By most typical measures, I had an excellent job situation: great salary and good benefits at a historically stable industry and company. However, over the last year or so, I had become increasingly pessimistic about the long-term viability of my industry, and had witnessed gradually worsening work conditions as a result of short-sighted cost-cutting and mismanagement. I also realized that I was no longer learning much of anything new, and if I wanted to change roles into a new position...

Apr 4, 2019

Monthly Financial Snapshot: March 2019

Another month has come and gone. We finished the busy overtime period at work, and I got to do some traveling to see family as well. February and March are always my busy months at work, and I'm glad that they are finally over. I'm also glad that I was able to take some time off after all of that to visit family. All in all, it was a pretty good month in terms of savings and spending. There's a lot of change coming this month, which I may or may not write more about in detail later. Stay tuned....

Mar 1, 2019

Monthly Financial Snapshot: February 2019

February is the shortest month by calendar days, but it's also the longest month for me in terms of hours spent working. In a typical month, I might spend approximately 168 hours working, but in February I worked 220 hours. That comes out to nearly an extra week's worth of work due to mandatory overtime! While I am paid at least straight time for most of the overtime, I still resent it because it's: MandatoryTakes over my life for 3-4 weeks every yearIsn't healthyLeads to poor productivity and poor decision-making I don't have much energy left to write more today,...

Feb 18, 2019

Market Independence: Why a High Savings Rate is Critical to FI Success

In the Financial Independence community, there's a lot of talk about one's savings rate (SR). People argue about how to calculate it, how to compare it, and the best ways to improve it. But, I don't think there's enough attention given to one of the best consequences of having a high SR: market independence. In other words, a high savings rate reduces market risk. I'll say that again: as your savings rate goes up, your ability to reach your financial goals in your desired timeframe depends less and less on the market's performance. Savings Rate Illustrated I made a graph...

Feb 13, 2019

The Five Stages of Tax Refund Enlightenment

Ah, tax season. It’s my favorite time of the year as it’s a great opportunity to assess my financial standing from the previous year, as well as plan ahead for the year ahead. Plus, it usually brings a cash infusion in the form of a tax refund! Who doesn’t like getting money, right? As I’ve progressed in my financial education, I’ve had changing views about the nature of the tax refund, and thus different behaviors as a result. I thought it would be interesting to summarize these stages and explore what behaviors result from them. I am not claiming that...

Feb 1, 2019

Monthly Financial Snapshot: January 2019

This was an interesting month.The stock markets seem to have regained their confidence this month and have rewarded investors accordingly. In January alone, the total US market returned about 8.7%, and the non-US market returned about 7.5%. Meanwhile, between October and December of last year, the total US market declined by 14.8% and the non-US market declined 12.6%. I believe that the last 4 months present a teachable moment for many novice (and/or not-so-novice) investors.As scary as it might have been to watch your assets drop 10-20% over the course of a few months, it's important to not overreact or...

Jan 13, 2019

Monthly Financial Snapshot: December 2018

Here's my final expense report for 2018. Highlights include a weekend trip to New York to visit family, and holiday gift shopping.After looking at my year as a whole, I decided to adjust how I account for my business spending. Previously, I had been recording all business expenses under its own category, but lumping in business income with the rest of my income. This had an effect of making my expenses look higher than they actually were, since the business expenses weren't being negated by the income it brought it. I decided to change my methods by offsetting business expenses...

Dec 17, 2018

Monthly Financial Snapshot: November 2018

CategoryNov-18CommentsRent$768.75$750 for rent, paid via PlastiqInternet$55.92Internet is kind of expensive.Cell Phone$0.00Nothing this month.Natural Gas$19.59Little below average.Electricity$21.64Below average for the month.Water$35.25Slightly above averageGroceries$106.39Less this month, due to travel.Car Insurance$0.00I pay every 6 months in April and October. Gasoline$50.81Less this month, due to travel.Car Expenses$1,104.55Did a bunch of maintenance since my car recently passed 100k miles. Not too bad considering all that was done.Health$38.34Heavily subsidized, high-deductible health plans through my work. Includes health and dental. Gym membership.Other$0.00Nothing this month.Necessary$2,201.24Above average, due to car maintenanceRestaurants$24.80Below average for the month.Entertainment$0.00Nothing for this month.Shopping$1,274.99New laptopTravel/Parking$957.36Visited family for Thanksgiving, plus trip to NYC in December.Gifts/Donations$6.56Thank-you flowersSoftware/Games$0.00Nothing...

Nov 2, 2018

Monthly Financial Snapshot: October 2018

Well, October was an interesting month.The markets panicked a bit this month, dropping about 7.4% in the US and 8.5% internationally. The headlines tell me that this was the biggest monthly drop in 7 years. But honestly, I wasn't paying that much attention while it was happening. These things happen from time to time, and it's part of the deal with owning stocks: higher risk in exchange for the potential of higher returns. If this didn't happen every so often (ie, stocks were less risky), then prices would be higher, which would cause future returns to drop. While it may...

Oct 1, 2018

Monthly Financial Snapshot: September 2018

Another month has come and gone.This month I have tried to refocus myself towards being more productive with how I use my time and how I organize my tasks. I noticed that I go through this kind of phase about once a year, but I want to do better at holding myself accountable and forming better habits in order to reach my goals.One of the things that I noticed is that I am very good at maintaining my financial habits without too much thought or effort. Part of it is because I have made correct choices in the past and...

Sep 8, 2018

Monthly Financial Snapshot: August 2018

Had a lot of work commitments the first week of September, so apologies for the late post.August was a lot of fun, in part due to two FI community meetups I attended in Minnesota as well as one in the Chicago area. As simple as it is to live a FI-compatible lifestyle once you have the basics down, it's still fun to meet others who are pursuing a similar goal. The Minnesota meetup / CampFI were highlights for me, as they allowed me to meet a lot of my FI blogger heroes face-to-face, which is a pretty rare opportunity. Plus,...

Aug 12, 2018

Monthly Financial Snapshot: July 2018

CategoryJul-18CommentsRent$768.75$750 for rent, paid via PlastiqInternet$55.92Internet is kind of expensive.Cell Phone$0.00Already paid for 1 year of service through MintSIM. = $15.51 / month!Natural Gas$19.72Little below average.Electricity$24.79Below average. I switched providers recently because they offered a low intro rate. Will cancel in a month or two when the rate changes again.Water$35.25Below averageGroceries$124.21Below average, due to work travelCar Insurance$0.00I pay every 6 months in April and October. Gasoline$95.55Above average, due to work travelCar Expenses$0.00Nothing this month.Health$48.44Heavily subsidized, high-deductible health plans through my work. Includes health and dental. Also monthly gym membership.Other$0.00Nothing this month.Necessary$1,172.63Somewhat below averageRestaurants$17.03A little above averageEntertainment$3.99Saw a movieShopping$142.92A little below...

Jul 22, 2018

Monthly Financial Snapshot: June 2018

Apologies for the late post.CategoryJun-18CommentsRent$762.50$750 for rent. No Plastiq fees this month thanks to referral.Internet$55.92Internet is kind of expensive.Cell Phone$0.00Already paid for 1 year of service through MintSIM. = $15.51 / month!Natural Gas$17.64Little below average.Electricity$19.45Below average. I switched providers recently because they offered a low intro rate. Will cancel in a month or two when the rate changes again.Water$29.91Below averageGroceries$174.46About average.Car Insurance$0.00I pay every 6 months in April and October. Gasoline$51.34Below average for the month.Car Expenses$0.00Nothing this month.Health$48.44Heavily subsidized, high-deductible health plans through my work. Includes health and dental. Also monthly gym membership.Other$0.00Nothing this month.Necessary$1,159.66Somewhat below averageRestaurants$48.00A little above averageEntertainment$3.99Saw...

Jun 3, 2018

Monthly Financial Snapshot: May 2018

CategoryMay-18CommentsRent$750.00$750 for rent. No Plastiq fees this month thanks to referral.Internet$55.92Internet is kind of expensive.Cell Phone$0.00Already paid for 1 year of service through MintSIM. = $15.51 / month!Natural Gas$52.46Paying for this month and last month.Electricity$21.29Below average. I switched providers recently because they offered a low intro rate. Will cancel in a month or two when the rate changes again.Water$34.01Slightly below average this month.Groceries$141.28Below average. I did some travelling this month, so less groceries at home. Ate less meat this month as well.Car Insurance$0.00I pay every 6 months in April and October. Gasoline$52.75Below average for the month. More time away =...

May 4, 2018

Monthly Financial Snapshot: April 2018

Please excuse the somewhat late posting, as I'm on vacation.This month was another somewhat high spending month, as I traveled once for family and once for personal vacation. My policy is to record all of my expenses incurred while traveling (including food) under "travel" rather than where they might otherwise be recorded if I incurred them while at home, so that I can better understand the financial impact of my trips and budget for them in the long-term. As a result, "travel" continues to be my largest budgetary line-item after my rent, even though I only travel a few times...

Apr 3, 2018

Monthly Financial Snapshot: March 2018

So I managed to make it through the busy part of the year alive and in one piece. Besides work, March was a pretty uneventful month, except for the markets. Market volatility seems to be here to stay, which has the potential to mess up the steady, even progress I had been enjoying up to this point. I still haven't lost enough in one month to outweigh the new contributions and thus cause a month-to-month decrease in Net Worth, but I'm sure that day isn't far off.I did manage to execute a rollover of my after-tax 401(k) sub-account, better known...

Mar 1, 2018

Monthly Financial Snapshot: February 2018

Well, it's that time of year again, when work takes over almost all my waking hours for about a month and I have almost no energy left for anything else. Highlights for this month included getting a stand mixer for my kitchen (more baked goodies = less depressing work environment), completing my tax return (first year filing with self-employment income) and receiving a fat refund (thanks to January's strategic tax move), and losing enough money in the market to offset almost all of my savings for the month. So it goes.CategoryFeb-18CommentsRent$768.75$750 for rent + $18.75 Plastiq feesInternet$55.92Internet is kind of...

Feb 2, 2018

Monthly Financial Snapshot: January 2018

January was a really strange month. I deliberately overpaid over $6k in federal income taxes on a credit card in order to trigger a 25k mile spending bonus and set myself up for another 25k mile bonus in another month or two. Since it's just about tax season, I'll be getting almost all of that back as a refund in a month or two, minus the 1.87% credit card fee. Totally worth it for the extra travel I'll get from it. Speaking of travel, I booked my annual trip to Japan this month using miles, hotel free night certificates, and...

Jan 5, 2018

Monthly Financial Snapshot: December 2017

Pretty good overall for the month, considering the accelerated spending I did on travel. I bought about $950 worth of hotels.com gift cards, some at a 15% discount, and some to earn 10x Chase points during the Chase Pay Best Buy promotion. I value the 8,000 points I earned from that at about $136, so not a bad return on investment there. Category Dec-17 Comments Rent $768.75 $750 for rent + $18.75 Plastiq fees Internet $55.92 Internet is kind of expensive. Cell Phone $0.00 Already paid for 1 year of service through MintSIM. = $15.51 / month! Natural Gas $19.71...

Dec 3, 2017

Monthly Financial Snapshot: November 2017

Not a whole lot happened this month. I had a work trip that was previously postponed due to a hurricane in September. Fortunately, some friends were visiting from out of town and it aligned nicely with my work travel plans, so I was able to meet them for dinner without going too far out of my way. Chase is also running some promotions with Walmart and Best Buy, which I will be using to get 10x rewards for gift card credit. Walmart will own my grocery shopping for the next couple of months, but at least it probably isn't that...

Nov 1, 2017

Monthly Financial Snapshot: October 2017

Another month gone! Maybe it's just the season, but time really seems to be flying by lately. Been very busy at work so the days and weeks have started to blur together. Nothing super exciting to report out for this month, other than the stock markets continuing their great performance for the year. It's weird having months where capital appreciation is actually more than how much I spent during that month. I guess that will be the norm once I am fully FI and the market isn't crashing. I sometimes find myself wondering how much longer the markets can keep...

Sep 30, 2017

Monthly Financial Snapshot: September 2017

Had some extra spending this month on travel due to my sister visiting me for a weekend, as well as purchasing plane tickets and airport parking for my annual trip to visit family. I paid cash for 2 of the 3 flights because I found a good deal on one of them and the second one wasn't really expensive enough to justify using points, as well as the lack of seat availability since it was the holiday season. I did redeem points for the 3rd flight because Southwest had a sale and thus had redemptions available for a good price....

Sep 2, 2017

Monthly Financial Snapshot: August 2017

Not a whole lot particularly stands out this month in my spending. The only real thing of note is the somewhat higher travel spending. This was partly due to taking a weekend trip to Minneapolis for the GoCurryCracker FI meetup. I spent about $100 on the roundtrip flight and used points for hotels rooms, so the trip itself was fairly cheap. While I'm traveling, I also include any restaurant spending in the travel because I consider restaurants to be part of the trip, and because I rarely eat at restaurants when not traveling, I want to track them separately. So...

Aug 1, 2017

Monthly Financial Snapshot: July 2017

This month was an interesting one because I spent about half of it away on work training. As a result, much of my normal expenses were reduced because the company was paying for my lodging and food. Well, technically I paid for it and I will be reimbursed sometime next month. No complaints from me because I still get to collect all the points and miles that come along with travel spending at no cost! Since I will get reimbursed, I don't include them in my spending reports because they are not representative of my normal expenses and including them...

Jul 1, 2017

Monthly Financial Snapshot: June 2017

This month was pretty stressful at work. A lot of emergent work, and therefore emergent overtime. But the market is still chugging along, so no complaints from me.  Jun-17 Comments Rent $765.00 $750 for rent + $15 Plastiq fees Internet $55.92 Internet is kind of expensive. But strangely, my phone company dropped their price without me asking for it. No complaints! Cell Phone $62.57 Last of my T-Mobile prepaid, and switching to Mint SIM for the next 3 months ($13.55/month!). If trial goes well, will stay with them permanently. Natural Gas $15.40 Lower than normal, probably due to less cooking...

Jun 1, 2017

Monthly Financial Snapshot: May 2017

Crossed the $150k milestone this month. Was travelling for the first half of the month, so some of my ordinary expenses dropped while some my discretionaries went up. All in all, a pretty average month as far as spending goes. May-17 Comments Rent $765.00 $750 for rent + $15 Plastiq fees Internet $60.92 Internet is kind of expensive out here in the boonies Cell Phone $0.00 Still using up my prepaid credit. Natural Gas $28.22 Slightly above normal, but pretty reasonable Electricity $50.41 Two month's bills due to timing Water $40.94 Little less than average since I was travelling Groceries...

Apr 30, 2017

Monthly Financial Snapshot: April 2017

Pretty good business progress this month. It's chugging along without too much additional effort at this point. Still not quite profitable yet, but it's getting there. At current rate, will break even sometime in September/October and with any luck will score some profits in Q4 to finish out the year. In other news, hit 2 mini-milestones this month. The first is reaching $100k of savings from work. This represents after-tax money that I have earned from working which I funneled into savings instead of spending on current consumption. Because I want to minimize how much money gets wasted used for...

Apr 20, 2017

Happy Churniversary, Part 2: Burning

What good are earning credit card rewards if you don't use them? Here's how I have used my points to save money on travel since I started earning them a year ago. Since I have focused mostly on earning points, I haven't had as many opportunities to spend them yet, so this post will be considerably shorter than Part 1.Note that I don't count travel expenses covered by the Sapphire Reserve's $300 annual travel credit as a redemption as I view it more as a rebate of the $450 annual fee, making the card effectively $150 annually. In addition, the...

Apr 1, 2017

Monthly Financial Snapshot: March 2017

Lot of progress this month due to fortuitous timing of paychecks (3 this month), the last of my overtime pay, business income, and a modest tax refund. The remainder of the year will likely look much more ordinary on the income side, so I will have to step up my business income and hope for the best in the markets if I want to keep up the pace from the last couple of months. Mar-17 Comments Rent $768.75 $750 for rent + $18.75 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit card Internet $60.92 Internet is kind of...

Mar 6, 2017

Happy Churniversary, Part 1: Earning

As part of my ongoing quest to optimize my finances, I took up credit card churning almost exactly one year ago today.Let's start from the very beginning (a very good place to start!)What is churning?In order to attract new customers, banks often offer lucrative sign-up bonuses to those who open up credit card accounts and then meet a minimum spending threshold on the new account within a few months of signing up. Depending on the card, these bonuses usually take the form of cash, airline miles, hotel points, or proprietary transferable points. If you are responsible with your spending and...

Mar 1, 2017

Monthly Financial Snapshot: February 2017

Obviously, a significant amount of progress this month, mostly due to my company's annual bonus getting paid out. Thanks to it, I was able to max out my Roth IRA for the year, as well as pay off the larger than average credit card bills from starting my business last month, all without having to touch my emergency fund. Those expenses also allowed me to earn my final batch of rewards from credit card sign-ups, some of which I will put to good use on my upcoming trip. Business income is starting to trickle in. I received my first payment...

Feb 1, 2017

Monthly Financial Snapshot: January 2017

Jan-17 Comments Rent $765.00 $750 for rent + $15 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit card Internet $60.92 Internet is kind of expensive out here in the boonies Cell Phone $132.88 Higher this month because I paid $100 upfront as part of acquiring inventory (a free phone) that I later sold. Natural Gas $31.26 About 50% more than my normal bill, due to it being winter. Electricity $0.00 Timing of payment cycles means this month's bill will be paid next month. Water $46.84 My actual water usage is only about $5, but my town tacks on...

Jan 2, 2017

End of Year Report 2016"

For whatever reason, Blogger isn't letting me make posts longer than a certain length in their post interface, so I will do my best to summarize the numbers while still keeping the post readable.Anyway, without further ado, here is my progress for 2016.IncomeOn the income side of things, I think I did pretty well this year. Income came entirely from my day job, so not a lot of surprises here. However, this was the first full year in which I could participate in my company's employee stock purchase plan, so that provided a decent boost to my regular salary.Total Net...

Jan 2, 2017

Monthly Financial Snapshot: December 2016

Dec-16 Comments Rent $765.00 $750 for rent + $15 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit card Internet $60.92 Internet is kind of expensive out here in the boonies Cell Phone $32.88 $30 + taxes/fees for 5 GB of 4G data through T-Mobile Natural Gas $19.15 Slightly higher than average gas bill, but still pretty low Electricity $27.13 Slightly lower bill than average Water $40.80 My actual water usage is only about $5, but my town tacks on so many fees that the bill comes to $40+ every month! :( Groceries $119.14 Below-average grocery bill due to...

Dec 1, 2016

Monthly Financial Snapshot: November 2016

Nov-16 Comments Rent $765.00 $750 for rent + $15 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit card Internet $60.92 Internet is kind of expensive out here in the boonies Cell Phone $32.88 $30 + taxes/fees for 5 GB of 4G data through T-Mobile Natural Gas $22.49 Slightly higher than average gas bill, but still pretty low Electricity $61.81 Two electric bills this month, due to bill cycle timing. Pretty average months though. Water $43.82 My actual water usage is only about $5, but my town tacks on so many fees that the bill comes to $40+ every...

Nov 28, 2016

My Utility Consumption

I spent some time today thinking about how much water and electricity I consume. Fortunately, my utility companies are more than happy to give me that data to play with.Here's what I found:The months listed on the x-axis are the months in which my billing period begins and the period goes until the middle of the following month (for example, May actually corresponds to the period 5/15 - 6/15).As one might expect, it tends to be a little higher in the summertime than the rest of the year, due to extra energy being used to keep my apartment cool. However,...

Nov 1, 2016

Monthly Financial Snapshot: October 2016

Oct-16 Comments Rent $765.00 $750 for rent + $15 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit card Internet $60.92 Internet is kind of expensive out here in the boonies Cell Phone $32.88 $30 + taxes/fees for 5 GB of 4G data through T-Mobile Natural Gas $0.00 No gas bill this month due to timing. Electricity $0.00 No electric bill this month due to timing. Water $42.48 My actual water usage is only about $5, but my town tacks on so many fees that the bill comes to $40+ every month! :( Groceries $187.72 About average grocery bill...

Oct 1, 2016

Monthly Financial Snapshot: September 2016

Sep-16 Comments Rent $765.00 $750 for rent + $15 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit card Internet $60.92 Internet is kind of expensive out here in the boonies Cell Phone $32.88 $30 + taxes/fees for 5 GB of 4G data through T-Mobile Natural Gas $18.38 About average gas use for the month. Electricity $62.54 Two months' worth due to billing timing. Water $40.51 My actual water usage is only about $5, but my town tacks on so many fees that the bill comes to $40+ every month! :( Groceries $119.64 My second-lowest grocery bill this year! I cook nearly...

Sep 16, 2016

Expenditures: Me vs. the Average Joe

I thought it would be interesting to compare my expenses against the "Average Joe", to see how different my lifestyle really is from the norm.It turns out that the Bureau of Labor Statistics collects data on this sort of thing every year as part of the Consumer Expenditure Survey. And, lucky for me, the most recent data sets for 2014-2015 were released only 2 weeks ago. So, I dug in.Since I am single, male, and between 25 and 34 years of age, that is the cohort that I will be comparing myself against. That data can be found in this...

Sep 13, 2016

Monthly Financial Snapshot: August 2016

Since this blog is new, here is my most recent financial snapshot. In the future, I will post these on the final day of every month. Aug-16 Comments Rent $765.00 $750 for rent + $15 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit card Internet $60.92 Internet is kind of expensive out here in the boonies Cell Phone $32.88 $30 + taxes/fees for 5 GB of 4G data through T-Mobile Natural Gas $37.87 Actually 2 months' worth of gas, due to billing timing Electricity $30.87 A little higher than average this month due to fan use Water $42.48...

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