34 Months Until Freedom!
In 36 Months Until Freedom we discussed that it was actually 35 months until we hope to start our first step-down into retirement, so we are jumping ahead to 34 months until freedom with this blog. Here are our expenses and investments for February 2017. It’s clear at this point that barring any major changes in our income or expenses that we will be able to achieve our investment goals in 34 more months as long as we take things month by month and do everything possible to hit the high bars we have set for ourselves. Let’s start off by looking at our expenses for February.
February 2017 Expenditures
First, let’s start off with the “Miscellaneous” category. WHAT… THE… HELL!? Why is this expense category so high this month? The answer is Kristen’s new found need to purchase vitamins, supplements, shakes, and some clothes including a new winter jacket. Since we don’t typically buy that many clothes and didn’t feel like categorizing the shakes and supplements as “groceries” we added them to miscellaneous. Ouch!
On the bright side, our travel category this month was $467.88 which is pretty good since we got a 10-day trip to Northern Germany included in that. However, it should be noted that last month we spent $1,400 on our plane tickets, so those are not included in this month’s travel expenses, and that our travel expenses this month were actually $500 higher, but Rory’s mom reimbursed us the $500 for her portion of the bus and airline expenses of the trip so we simplified and just deducted that from this month’s travel expenses which in the end accurately represents our overall travel expenses when you put January and February together. Now… We struggled with how to categorize what is a “travel” expense, and what should count towards another category such as “groceries” or “restaraunts” etc. We decided that EVERYTHING we spent while on vacation should be applied to travel expenses so it most accurately represents our lifestyle. Eating out, and hotel rooms were included in travel expenses.
Just below our travel expenses we have “restaurants” and that represents the one time we ate Thai food at home last month. The insurance category includes our revolving $75 for Kristen’s car, and the remainder is an additional insurance we paid for the year to “schedule” an item which was not specifically covered under our home owner’s insurance (Kristen’s engagement ring) which was previously covered under our rental insurance. Lastly, “household utilities” this month seems high, but includes 3 months of electric bills, so this should stabilize to a more reasonable number starting this next month.
February 2017 Investments
|02/06/2017 (Index Fund)||$4,000.00|
|February (Kristen’s 403B)||$1,500.00|
|February (Rory’s 403B)||$335.79|
Pretty straight forward this month. Kristen hit her goal of $1,500 contributed to her 403B which keeps her on track for hitting her limited max of $18,000 for the year of personal contributions. Rory worked his two shifts at the hospital and contributed his max allowed contribution to his 403B (84%) squirreling away $335.79 towards his retirement, and we hit our goal of putting $4,000 of after tax income towards purchasing index funds through Vanguard. The only thing of note is that we are hoping this month is our last month that Rory can’t contribute towards his 401K due to his company switching investment companies. We have a long time to play catch up in order to hit $18,000 for the year for him as well, but it will feel good to see those retirement numbers go up.
We also can report that as of the time we write this, our portfolios are performing quite well. Of the $24,000 we have invested between the $11,000 in Rory’s Roth IRA, and $13,000 in our Index funds, we have an investment return of $1,538.95! Of course, the market has performed quite well for the past few months and is at a historic high and on a historic run, but seeing that kind of return on such a small portfolio as an example demonstrates the power of investments. The market will go up and the market will go down over the years as it always does, but we are living in the moment of the ups and enjoying seeing our money work for us.
We Can Do Better!
We can always do better! This month was a little costly for us with our trip to Germany, but we managed to keep our expenses VERY low in our opinion because of a few fortunate things which we covered in the blog Bavarian Beer, Brätwurst, and Northern Germany. We haven’t identified any specific changes we want to make in this next month, but will continue to strive towards being frugal and keeping our investment schedule. Maybe we will have our taxes done and will have good things to report? This month will let us know.