November Budget Breakdown (That sweet $200k Milestone!!!)
Monthly Review: November 2017
First things first Sherpa fam, I finally hit the big 2-0-0. That's $200,000 in net-worth! A few people have asked me how much faster the second $100k was and unfortunately I don't have a $0 net-worth starting point. I can say that the speed seemed to pick up about 50% which is mostly due to pay raises and a little to do with compounding interest. With my fit of joy behind us, let's dive in and see how the rest of the finances for the month unfolded including a dance with disaster involving Blue Apron.
My standard take home pay from the Air Force. Still not making a penny off the blog but luckily I like y'all, so I'll keep writing for charity.
The total this month was $2,237.75,. Considering the circumstances, I was pretty happy with that. I knocked out most of my Christmas shopping this month. I also bought the Air BnB stay for my mission trip to Mexico. I got the plane tickets too but I was able to use my credit card points to score those. After slipping slightly under 70% savings rate last month, I'm came in at 71% and at 69.85% for the year.
Going Out: $194.67
This category involves any food I didn’t cook myself or any alcohol purchase. Really only one big trip this month down to Austin, TX, but it was mostly spent away from the city. Around $52 was food and the remaining $142 was for drinks. Most of the eating out cost was an epic food tour that me and couple guys did across Boston. We hit up Indian, Southern, Italian, and Chinese in the same day. The cost was pretty minimal because we split things along the way but it's an experience I highly suggest. Drink expenses were a little high again but with friendsgiving parties and local Austin Breweries... that'll happen.
If you continue to check in monthly, this is going to be a trend I can promise you. If I have a super power, it's probably cooking almost all of my meals for a month under $70. The star of the show this month was a giant thing of pasta that I made that had some on-sale noodles, marked down organic turkey cutlets ($1.49/lb), white & red sauce, artichoke hearts (thank you old roommate!), kale, and tomatoes. It was literally enough for lunch and dinner for an entire week. I have my standard 2-3 scrambled egg & sausage sandwich every morning. For friendsgiving and a work potluck I made deviled eggs. I already had the mayo and mustard so $1.50 for 2 dozen eggs plus a $1.50 jar of sweet relish was all I needed. My biggest suggestion with shopping is go into the store with an open mind and not a specific list. Yes you'll need a protein and some vegetables, but let the sales dictate which ones you choose.
Bills, can’t live with them, can’t live without them. This category includes rent ($775), Cell Phone ($85), Car Insurance ($83.21), and utilities ($45). My rent is super low living in the Boston area. I do have roommates but I honestly don’t feel like there’s anything else I need in a home except for maybe a covered parking spot. Gas and electricity came in at $77 but that gets divided by three. Water and trash are included so the only other thing I pay is internet ($20). Some of my frugal friends may hate to see me pay so much for a cell phone but that includes the device payment (I’m a sucker for technology) and unlimited data (soooo nice for us road warriors).
I have zero problem that I spend over 20% of my budget on travel. If it's something I really want to do that seems memorable I'm going to do it. This category will include any events, trips, or travel expenses. This month I bought tickets to our work Christmas party ($55 boat cruise!), some random transportation costs, 2 tickets to the Josh Abbott Band concert, and my 8-day Air BnB stay for the mission trip in March. But wait there's more! I also purchased a 4-day pass to Universal Studios in Orlando ($180). I can't overstate how excited I am to ride that dang Hogwarts Express.
Christmas Presents: $360.75
Knocked out a big portion of my Christmas this month which is a great feeling. One brother, Sister, Mom, Dad, Girlfriend, and Norma (my sponsor kid from Mexico) are mostly taken care of. One more brother and possibly a couple small things left to go. Unfortunately I can't spell out exactly what I bought in case of the slim chance one of them read my blog.
Miscellaneous & Blue Apron Fiasco: $46.14
This category is those random purchases that sneak up on me and I think plague most people. $10.84 was for household goods, $5 was for a sweet Josh Abbott koozie, and the other $30 was due to pure stupidity. So I was trying to make a Blue Apron order for my mom with this awesome discount I found but it meant opening up a new account. Well I had already reactivated my old account before I realized that and went to setup the Christmas order for Mom in Mississippi. Then on Nov 20th I get an email saying I had a Blue Apron shipment was on it's way to New York and it would be delivered Nov 21....uh-oh! Well I sent a large box of perishable food to NYC with no-one there to even pick it up. To make matters worse, the credit card on file didn't look familiar but said my name was on the card. I could just picture my credit score plummeting over some rotten shrimp pasta. Luckily some searching through my Gmail with the few details I had led me to an old debit card that I never use. The charge: $30, the balance in the account: $34.59....bullet dodged. Got that all straightened out and my credit score lived to fight another day.
Fairly self-explanatory category. I have a 24 mile round trip commute in my 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid. I do very little driving on the weekend and it was parked completely one week.
Big Picture: Net Worth Increase $10,002 to $208,056
Wow! One of the best increases I've ever had. It has very little to do with what I did this month and everything to do with a cornerstone of buy-and-hold investing. Never try to time the top...ever. The reason I had such a large increase is mostly thanks to my investment portfolio earning $4,509. It was able to grow that much because back in early 2015 I finally decided to bite the bullet and invest, even though many were saying the stock market was topped out after complete recovery from the great recession back in 2009. Just a few short months after I began investing, my $35k portfolio took a $4k loss in one month. I was freaking out, but I ran back to study after study about weathering the storms of investing and I stuck with it. Man were those people wrong about the top. As long as inflation exists, you're losing money when you pack everything away in a savings account so please start investing as soon as you get that emergency fund in check.
The beloved spreadsheet gives you detailed information and lots of nice data points but sometimes you just want the zoomed out view of where you stand. For that I highly recommend the tool below from Mad Fientist. This is my actual data. The numbers are based on assumptions that you can adjust to fit your investment style or the ammount of risk you want to build in. You'll notice I had a jump in expenses around January 2017 which is from relocating to Boston from Colorado Springs. That may look bad but what's not shown is the income increase from the move that far outweighted the expenses.
I do not make any guarantee or other promise as to any results that may be obtained from this content. No one should make any investment decision without first consulting his or her own financial adviser and conducting his or her own research and due diligence. Saving-Sherpa.com disclaims any and all liability in the event any information, commentary, analysis, opinions, advice and/or recommendations prove to be inaccurate, incomplete or unreliable, or result in any investment or other losses.