It’s hard to believe that summer is already coming to an end, but August has come and gone. We had a lot of fun last month, including waterskiing, kayaking and camping with friends. Our overall spending was below target, but a few categories were higher than we would have liked. We completely rocked the socks off of one spending category though… Let’s take a look at how we did! Summary chart courtesy of Personal Capital’s Free Budget Tracking Tool.
July numbers are in! Lots of camping and enjoyment of the summer weather over the past month. Summer offers so many budget-friendly opportunities to get outside and have fun. Hiking, hanging out at the beach, camping, biking, kayaking… The list goes on.
All of these factors helped our budget this month and we came in under target. Unnecessary discretionary funding remained pretty low throughout the month, which helped a lot. Summary chart courtesy of Personal Capital’s Free Budget Tracking Tool.
2017 has been a whirlwind – starting a new personal finance blog, tons of skiing throughout the winter, a diving trip to Belize, camping trips – oh yeah, and that pesky thing called “work” that consumes 45+ hours of our lives each week. Time to see how our year-to-date expenditures, January through June 2017, are tracking against our planned 2017 budget.
This is the first year I’ve tracked our expenses in such detail (I used to just lump together “credit card payments” as one expense item) and there is a lot of additional detailing to be had. That “miscellaneous” category still leaves a lot to be desired. Having the right online tools to automatically sort and summarize categories has really helped us see the biggest picture on where our money is going. We track everything using Personal Capital’s Free Budget Tracking Tool and I love that I can “drill in” to any category to see individual transactions, plus you can now add custom categories.
The first six months of 2017 were mostly on target, which is pretty impressive given the ghastly start to the year in January… Luckily, February, April, May and June were under budget and brought us closer to our projected monthly spending. Month-for-month, we were only $100, or about 2%, over each month.
June was a very busy month, which inadvertently helped our budget a little. Turns out that when you don’t have time to shop, you spend less money 🙂 Mr. Saverdink had an awesome 4-day work trip this month which contributed to a weeklong “spending freeze” – all of his expenses were covered while traveling and the absence from home meant lower groceries and gas for the week. I was swamped at my job for the first 3 weeks in June and didn’t even have time to go grocery shopping that week. Leaving the office at 8pm multiple nights in a row is no fun and I may or may not have eaten a chocolate bar for dinner one evening… By the time the weekend rolled around, Mr. Saverdink was exhausted from traveling and I was exhausted from working crazy hours, so we laid low and relaxed at home that weekend.
Despite the one-week spending reprieve, June spending totals were a bit higher than May, but still well within the normal realm. We did have some splurges in the home appliance and vacation department. Summary chart courtesy of Personal Capital’s Free Budget Tracking Tool.
May spending totals are in! It was another strong month for the Saverdink household finances. We came in under budget, which has helped even out our higher than average expenses earlier in the year. Personal Capital (where we track all of our income and expenses for free) revamped their interface this month and I’m definitely a fan of some of the new features. They now have a graph that compares the current month’s spending against the prior month’s spending. Nothing like a quick visual to get your spending back on track 🙂 My only complaint is that the tool truncates partial dollars instead of rounding up or down. The engineer in me really needs to account for that 78 cents in the summary roll-up!
Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Mr. Saverdink and I just returned from a fantastic long-weekend camping trip at Acadia National Park on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. We love Acadia for a number of reasons and try to visit at least once a year. Luckily for us, it’s only a 4.5-hour drive away. Coupled with the fact that we already own camping gear and sporting equipment, it makes for a very inexpensive vacation away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. On top of the gorgeous scenery and plethora of outdoor activities, the nearby town of Bar Harbor, Maine has a number of quaint stores, ice cream shops and microbreweries. Even though we’ve visited Acadia a number of times over the past decade, there is always something new to do and see.
We, Mr. and Mrs. Saverdink, are a pretty nondescript couple on the outside. We both have engineering degrees and have spent the past 10 years working standard Monday – Friday jobs. We own a moderately sized 3-bedroom house in a residential area. No kids, just two little cats. No fancy cars. We travel a few times a year (to some pretty awesome destinations!) and prefer to spend our free time hanging out with friends and exploring the great outdoors.
In 2016, we reached a major milestone. Our net worth hit $1 million dollars when we were only 32 years old. We’ve never benefited from a financial windfall and do not hold exceptionally high paying jobs. Slowly, but surely, we amassed almost a million dollars across our retirement, savings and investment accounts over our first 10 years as working professionals. Combined with $100k in equity in our house, we tip-toed over the millionaire net worth threshold and our savings have continued to grow.
What got us pointed in the right direction? Below are some of the major contributing factors that launched us on our journey towards financial independence and early retirement.
April was a fantastic month from both a financial and a traveling-to-new-places-and-having-lots-of-fun standpoint. We came in almost $2,000 under budget this month!
As an April Fool’s joke, we left Boston in the middle of a major snowstorm (gotta love New England!) and headed south for our much anticipated week-long scuba diving trip in Belize. This trip was pre-paid back in January, but a few additional travel expenses hit our back account in April. Core expenses remained low thanks to being away for 1/4 of the month and warmer temperatures resulted in lower heating costs. Spring was in full swing by the time returned to New England, so we hung up the skis and kicked off our summertime outdoors activities.
It’s hard to believe it’s May already. Even though this blog just came into existence in April, I want to keep us accountable for our monthly spending throughout the entire year. Our 2017 monthly budget is already planned, so let’s see how our first quarter spending compared.
Spoiler Alert: Winter 2017 was full of skiing, skiing and more skiing… until there wasn’t any more snow!
I think we’re all a little guilty of financial voyeurism. Who isn’t a little curious about how much our friends, coworkers, family members and neighbors earn? Although the more tantalizing topic may be how they choose to spend their money…
When we’ve told friends of our early retirement plans, the first question is always, “But how can you afford to retire 20 years early??” Well, we’re DINKs. We’re both engineers with high earning potential. We live a moderate cost of living area. We’re careful how we spend our money, but we still have a lot of fun.
Are you one of those super frugal couples that never spends money?
Absolutely not. Extreme frugality, while admirable, is simply not something we’re interested in as means of getting to financial independence faster. Life is about the journey, not the destination. If we eliminated all luxuries during our journey, it wouldn’t be a very enjoyable one. Our budget reflects a lifestyle of strategic frugality as we work towards early retirement. We splurge on experiences and goods that matter most to us, while conscientiously refraining from spending habits that hold less value to us (sorry, no fancy restaurants or $300 purses). Our yearly vacation budget is ridiculous, but traveling is one of our top priorities and we do a lot of research to stretch those vacation dollars as far as possible.