September Budget Review
Monthly Review: September 2018
From time to time there comes a month where I know I have a chance to keep my expenses really low and hit some crazy number. The problem is, something almost always comes along and derails those projections. Well I’m happy to say I finally guessed right for once. Not only is it the first time I’ve ever spent less than $1,000 for the month but it’s also the first month I’ve ever been financially independent with a total expense of $945.
Why am I saying I was financially independent this month? Because according to the 4% rule made famous by the Trinity Study, my $290k net worth can sustain an annual spending of $11,600. This is all based on averages of market returns, averages of inflation and room for error based on ups and downs. Not trying to bog down in the math on a monthly recap but just to make sure we’re clear… Net worth*4% = Amount you have to spend per year without working. Hopefully the calculation and image below make it crystal clear.
290000*.004 = $11,600 or $966.66 per month
“Only spent $945 this month, must have sucked” - Reasonable Observation
So what kind of pathetic life did I manage to live this month at such a low price point? How much of my younger days did I give away in the hopes of retiring early? Maybe after we discuss me going to a Mississippi State football game, CampFi, FinCon, Outdoor Fest, Top Golf, purchasing a flight to Austin, and a slew of concerts to include Willie Nelson, Brantley Gilbert, Kid Rock, Sturgill Simpson, and Nathaniel Rateliff…maybe just maybe I can convince you that you don’t have to either live your life or save for retirement. Let’s just do both!
Just plain ole paychecks. I always think about not writing anything here but it feels weird not to have subtext
Umm did I forget to type a 1 or 2 before that $945? I triple checked and that’s indeed the right amount, and lucky for you, I always spill my guts on every detail so stick around and see what in the world happened.
Going Out: $133.32
I mean that’s not bad but it also doesn’t seem right for a month where the entire expenses was only $945. Side note: I’ve had people in certain mustache forums destroy me because my going out budget is always more than my grocery bill. What is wrong with people? Tangent over… So where did I spend the money?
The first $26 went towards eating out with family and friends back in my old college town for the opening football game of the season. Man I miss the prices for drinks back home. Then we had a nice meetup at a new outdoor beer garden setup by Castle Island Brewery which hit for $19. Had a meetup with fellow finance blogger Cody from Fly2Fi that got me for $10.70. Would have been more but he didn’t want to split nachos with me.
1.5 Star Pizza Joints Have My Heart
We also had a group of us get some to-go pizza from a place with 1.5 stars but that I actually really enjoy for $7 a person. Then I had some drinks to pick up for the Kid Rock & Brantley gilbert show for $10. We then had a FinCon craft beer swap for $23 and finally I caught up with a hometown friend who is now in Orlando for $27.
Man I feel exhausted just typing that. This is only the going out food I actually had to pay for. I have a few more thanks to USAA sponsoring me to some events and the Priority Pass I get from my Amex platinum card for getting free food at most airports. Some highlights of the USAA event was the trip to Top Golf which was catered along with catering breakfast and lunch. Now you know I found me a to-go box and took away some extra lunch for dinner that night.
Haters will say it’s fake…and I can’t blame them. I totally understand how absurd this is, even for someone who averages ~$65 per month on groceries. After last month’s debacle where I was told that my food was covered by my renters insurance due to my house fire and later found out that it wasn’t so I buckled down this month. I’m still living in the hotel and free breakfast every day and most days I also pack some up for lunch. This hotel in particular has a light meal Monday-Thursday that I also take advantage of.
What Groceries Do You Buy For $5?
So what groceries did I buy for $5.56? Well I got found some great cuts of pork sirloin at the local grocery store in the managers special area for $1.25/lb. I grilled those up and cooked a few pounds of sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot to help add a little something to those light afternoon meals.
I was also fed well at CampFi, resourcefully got through all of FinCon without purchasing food, and made sure I hit up the all the Priority Pass meal options when I was traveling. Pro-tip: When you’re traveling and you know you may have to navigate a few meals where reasonably priced food isn’t available, pack protein bars to get you through. You can see the free Salmon plate, Veggie burger, and chicken strip plate I got for free at some restaurants that are now part of the Priority Pass collection.
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
This month was PACKED with events even though almost none of it will show up in the spreadsheet. Almost everything here was paid for in a different month. As I mentioned at the beginning, I went to a college football game, CampFi, FinCon, two awesome concerts, and this really cool event in the Catskills Mountains called Outdoor Fest.
Somehow I didn’t get a single picture of us down at the game and the season hasn’t been too kind to my Mississippi state bulldogs, so maybe it’s best that I don’t have any memories from it. But we did get a win and it was great being back on campus.
Annual Nerd Meetup
I talked some about CampFI in the last roundup and even wrote an entire article to help you see if you should go so I’ll leave it at that. The financial meetups didn’t end there this month. There was also the incredible annual meetup of money nerds called FinCon. This year it all went down in Orlando hence the giant flamingo below.
FinCon allows you to meet your idols and realize what genuine and down to earth people they are. Sharing brewery recommendations with the Mad Fientist or discussing the lastest on the Mr. Mustache headquarters from Mr. Mustache himself. The connections you make here are about so much more than growing your blog, you meet legitimate lifelong friends.
Willie Nelson | Stugil Simpson | Kid Rock | Brantley Gilbert
While finance meetups might not be your thing, it is much more likely you have a love for live music like me. Getting to see a legend in Willie Nelson, an amazing artist in Sturgill Simpson, and some other fun artists in Brantley Gilbert and Kid Rock.
Nothing too exciting here. Just a $13.80 haircut and a Monster energy drink I bought to get me through a class.
I’ve still got a few giftcards for gas left from my churning days but I got stuck out and needed gas once this month. In other news, I’m starting to take the bus to work a good bit more. Really excited to figure that out because the bike could be rough in the Boston Winter.
Big Picture: Net Worth Increase $9,292 to $290,520
I think comparing this month to my article about last month’s spending is another great example of why we should focus on our spending and not the net worth increase month to month. Yes, I love data so I’m going to show it and talk about it but it’s still not the best measuring stick. I say this because last month my net worth increase went up $3k more than this month even though I spent almost $2k more. The fact is, last month brought me better returns in the market. The other fact is that we can’t control our returns so it can give us false hope and undue disappointment.
Moral of the story? Get your spending under control and the rest is beyond simple. Being a saver will be worth more to you than any investment strategy, degree, and don’t even get me started on the MLM schemes. If you’re struggling with your spending in a particular area, please reach out and ask for help and we’ll figure something out!