Welcome to my site. I am on a path to financial independence and want to guide the way for you as well. Follow along as I, a 27 yr old, take a regular salary and simple investing strategy to an early retirement.

October Budget Review

October Budget Review

Monthly Review: October 2018

This month was another very low spending month with some amazing trips. Unfortunately, despite my best saving efforts, the stock market was not going to allow my net-worth to increase. That’s part of the game though, and as long as you keep plugging away you’ll forget about these little blips.

This month has a lot mentioned: Free Harry Potter World, 10 day Hawaii vacation for $295, the new podcast I’ve started and much more.

I was all over the place this month. Maine, Florida, Alabama, and the home state of Massachusetts. Luckily, it was pretty much free due to most being work trips or the awesome trip to Acadia which only cost me some gas money.

But if you want to hear more about how I got this awesome campground for free… You’ll have to read on.

Income: $8902.70

This month I had inflated income because I had a few work trips where I get per diem but I never spend that. I always seek out hotels with free breakfast or if possible a Homewood Suites so that I can get breakfast and dinner. I’ve even been known to travel with Tupperware to pack up some extra for lunch.

I also had another big win.

I made my first sale as a financial coach!

I decided to price out my services at about half what everyone else I know does because I knew I’d be working out some kinks and I didn’t think it was fair to make them my Guinea pig without getting a discount.

It’s so fun watching them have their eyes opened to the habits and patterns they have now and their motivation to make a change. If you’re ever interested in getting some coaching yourself, please e-mail me at Justin@saving-sherpa.com.

Expenses: $1302.41

Not quite under $1k like last month but still a heck of an accomplishment. In reality that’s mostly because I was gone for work so much I didn’t have a chance to spend much and I was splitting my low rent with the lady friend again.

If you think I was living under a rock though, wait till you get to the travel section.

Going Out: $33.96

I totally understand this is going to sound nuts but I was just either gone for work or off the grid in Acadia national park. Not a lot of restaurants at the remote campsite I found.

I had a charge to McDonalds, a restaurant in Alabama called Wintzel’s, a slight charge at the priority pass restaurant called Remy’s after they gave me my $28 discount, a meal in bar harbor and finally a donut.


This is Leslie being very excited to eat something other than cold eggs. If you want to know why she was eating so many cold eggs, you’ll have to read the travel section. Man she’s a trooper.

Again, I only spent $33 on food I didn’t cook myself but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot of it. I always forage for food when I’m traveling, especially with my priority pass thanks to the American Express Platinum.

Below is a picture of the two meals I was able to get with my $28 worth of free food thanks to my priority pass. I get the priority pass membership thanks to my American Express Platinum card and it allows you to get into a network of lounges and restaurants at airports all over the world.

Some people will be tempted to use the full $28 on one meal or one meal and a drink but I always look at the menu to figure out a way to get food to go so I have something to eat after I get to my destination as well.

The conference I got sent to also had three meals a day provided which was fantastic. I’m not talking light sandwiches either. There was salmon, fancy desserts, drinks, you name it. I totally understand that not everyone will have these opportunities but there are also a lot of people who do have the chance and just don’t maximize it.

 Groceries: $13.37

Can you believe this is a 240% increase over last month haha. Now obviously having free breakfast everyday as well as light dinner four days a week at the hotel played a huge part in this. I also found some amazing steals at the grocery store. My favorite was the 5 avocados from the mark down section for $1.

I didn’t have to cook much but when I did I was whipping up some deliciousness via the Instant Pot. I also had some non-standard groceries like the some jugs of water for us to go spend a few days in nature.  

Bills: $501.82

Rent was kept ultra low this month ($387.50) because the lady friend stayed with me so we split. Round that out with Auto-Insurance, Cell phone bill, Spotify, and moviepass

Travel: $597.48

Another very busy month but most of the expenses here are actually prepaying future trips. I bought my tickets to FinCon 2019 ($210) which will take place in Washington D.C. and will be my 3rd one. If you love all things finance or want to meet your finance idols this is the place to be. I bought my tickets while attending this years, you’ll have to wait until early 2019 to buy yours.

I bought tickets to a live Christmas special of the Trailer Park Boys ($70). My dad and brother in law will be making the trek up to Boston to enjoy this one with me.

We had some tolls and stuff at an orchard on the way to Acadia ($14) and I feel like there’s one more thing…..


Yep me and Leslie are heading to Hawaii in late Jan. So far I’ve only purchased the flight and hotel. Now in my budget that will list for $295.90 because I used travel points for the other $300.

Also, the 10 nights of hotel stays were free thanks to using 380k Hilton points I acquired from living in the hotel thanks to that whole house fire situation. The good news is that I still have 2 million left!

Amazing Free Travel

I guess technically it cost me about $85 in gas, tolls and some goodies from the apple orchard / pumpkin patch but the grand majority of our trip to Acadia was free. Entry into Acadia National Park was free thanks to the annual pass that all active duty military can receive to gain free access to every national park.

It was the first weekend in October and the perfect time to see the leaves across New England in full fall mode.


Acadia has large rocky climbs, sandy beaches, amazing foliage and a really cool coastal view with little islands sprinkled in everywhere.


If you read my last post about how you are the X-Factor when it came to the 4% rule you may have even noticed my ocean side picture I used as the main image like the one below.

Nothing could beat our awesome little campsite though. It was beach front right on a public reservoir. I had heard about this website where you could go look for free camping and sure enough I found a spot fairly close to Acadia national park up around Bar Harbor, Maine.

We trekked our things in on about a 10 minute walk but nothing bad at all. There was easy parking for the truck and toilets up at the lot to use.

 If you want more information on free camping or this specific campground you can visit FreeCampsites.net and get all the info.

Oh and if you’re wondering how we ate for free while we were living it up in nature, it’s actually pretty simple. It was all about that gift that I’m going to miss so much, the free hotel breakfast.

I simply packed up enough food for the long weekend in bowls and put in the cooler full of ice. It got a little old by the end but for just doing a long weekend, it wasn’t too bad. We broke it up a little with eating out once, peanut butter and bananas.


Did I mention Free Harry Potter World?

I guess that paragraph header is clickbait in the sense of me trying to get you interested but it’s no fake news I can promise you. I was shocked to learn that the conference I got sent to had rented out all of Universal Studios one night and literally rolled out the red carpet.

I’m talking actual carpet, free drinks, free food, everything. Not just random free stuff either. You could get free butter beer or food at the Leaky Cauldron. And of course the rides were open.

I sadly didn’t really take any pictures of this event as crazy as that sounds but I did grab a gorgeous sunset on a lake outside of Orlando after one of the conference days with one of my buddies I grew up with.

 Miscellaneous: $77.49

This month had a couple random expenses and the start of my Christmas shopping but it had one interesting new development.

I’ve Have a Podcast!

Yes I had a little over $20 in expenses this month for the podcast but that can’t begin to explain the hard work we’re putting in to make this podcast professional and helpful to all our listeners.

The podcast is called The FI Show and it’s available wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. We always appreciate feedback and review.

Invisible Expense?

The best things in life are free right? But where do I talk about the things that never make the spreadsheet? This week I think it makes sense inside the “Misc” category. If you no my story you’ll know that in June of 2018 I had a house fire and have been displaced. That is all going to end on Nov 1st when we move into our new place!

 But won’t furnishing a new place be expensive? Well I’ve already taken care of the living room thanks to some desperate people needing to get furniture out of their house with no truck to do so. I scored us a mint condition set that includes a sofa, chair, and ottoman.

Gas:  $78.29

This month’s gas picture was a little weird but all worked out. I spent more than this on gas but realized someone had owed me for gas from a previous month so I adjusted here. I also barely drove most of the month as I’ve started taking the bus to work which saves me 24 miles per day but then we made the haul up to Maine.

The truck isn’t great on gas but it earns it’s keep with the craigslist grabs!

Big Picture: Net Worth Decrease $3,181 to $285,608

Man… Catch all these lucky breaks, spend so little money, earn extra money, and then your network drops $3k. That’s the blessing and the curse of the markets. Because I actually saved over $7k  that means my investments lost over $10k.

I can’t say it doesn’t sting at all but it’s a pain that doesn’t linger. I know that days like this will come. There will be several worse and many that are better. It’s an up and down situation that ultimately will follow an upward direction if you give it enough time.


4 Reasons Why You Are the 4% Rule X-Factor (and how my plans have changed)

4 Reasons Why You Are the 4% Rule X-Factor (and how my plans have changed)

September  Budget Review

September Budget Review