33 Months Until Freedom!
AHHHHHH…. Tax Season… Every small business owner’s favorite time of the year! NOT! The past few months have been a struggle to find time to do anything other than work, we intended on finishing this blog a few weeks ago to keep our schedule, but have not found the time to get it done in a timely fashion. Heck, Kristen and I haven’t had a single full day off together since we were in Germany in January!
March 2017 Expenditures
Wow! An expensive month. Truth be told, we are a little embarrassed by it. It feels like we have fallen into that trap of the less time we have, the more we spend. Our travel expense was much higher, but we managed to fit in some separate, but fun trips last month. Kristen took a 6 day trip to the Florida Keys with her nurse friends, and because she was with a group of people who don’t exactly travel the same was as we do (They weren’t willing to entertain the idea of a hostel) the trip was more expense than it otherwise would have been. Kristen also got the chance to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend a conference with my sister for 4 days. And I got a chance to spend 3 days in the North Maine Woods in a rustic cabin with old friends, fishing through three feet of ice during the day, and drinking some beer at night. When it’s all said, we feel like we got a lot of value out of that $1,400. Gas, Groceries, and Restaurants categories all were a bit of an increase this month. The short story is that at Rory’s business we have made a shift in accounting (based on some identified problems during tax season) and have shifted both Rory’s car payment (starting next month) and gas payments to our personal expenses, the logic being adding a mileage reimbursement to ourselves is actually a drastically superior way to reimburse ourselves (projected to be about $1,200 a month or more) and as part of doing it this way, is actually a TAX FREE way of doing so. Time will tell, and we will keep you posted, and one day will write a few blogs about what we have learned from started 2 businesses, and all our side hustles. Our groceries and restaurant categories increased due to either being on vacation, or extremely busy, and thus, due to poor planning, and lack of meal prep, a need to buy groceries or eat out on the run during our 16 hour days. Not good. As a plus to this, we anticipate seeing a decrease in our household utilities category moving forward, both due to the seasonal nature of spring being here (less need for lighting, heating etc.) AND because we have cut the cord with our cable company, leaving us ENTIRELY without internet (sort of) and we will discuss that in a future blog as well. This should save us $60/month or so.
February 2017 Investments
|March (Index Fund)||$0|
|March (Kristen’s 403B)||$1,500.00|
|March (Rory’s 403B)||$381.25|
Next month we will explain in detail (since it falls under April technically) but we did not hit our goal of investing $4000 in our index fund. In preparation from what our accountant was telling us, we did not want to be short for tax season, so we saved our money in anticipation of needing to pay in a significant amount of additional taxes. You’ll see next month during 32 Months To Freedom! but we are glad we saved our money because the federal government went so deep into our pockets, we’re pretty sure they took our pocket lint too! On the plus side, we managed to increase Rory’s 403B contribution by about $40. How? Rory found an accounting error on behalf of the hospital, that was shorting him 30 minutes of pay every shift! If he can maintain his 2 shifts a month (which is going to be hard due to how busy he is with his business) than we can expect about the same each month moving forward.
The only other thing of note with investments for March was our movement of our index investment funds from VTSMX to VTSAX. The difference? Well, they are the exact same fund, except for VTSAX are the “admiral” shares, which have an expense ratio of .05% instead of the .16% that VTSMX carries. We needed a minimum of $10,000 in funds before we could purchase VTSAX, compared to the $3,000 needed with VTSMX, which is why we started with VTSMX and ultimately wanted to own and hold VTSAX with its 3x cheaper expense ratio.
We Can Do Better!
We can always do better! This month was costly, both in our “laziness” and “poor planning” expenses in groceries and restaurants, and we really need to do what we can do to improve these moving forward. We also felt like we spent a lot in our travel and expenses category, but looking at what we got in exchange for it, can’t say we would change that. We know it’s our biggest expense category throughout the year, but it also brings us the most happiness through having experiences, so we don’t intend on changing that. One area that we need to improve next month is not necessarily financial, but personal. We don’t have much time off. We work really hard, and always seem to take on more work, which is just what we do, but we need to also spend time together and make the time to not work. That may bring us a little less income (maybe) but should improve the quality of our lives as we are constantly seeking to strike a balance between earning money for early retirement, and still enjoying the next 33 months.
We have some housekeeping questions. We realized that we have not been posting our monthly income, or our “net worth” and wonder if that is helpful to others. We had intended on making yearly reports on such, but could be doing it monthly. Is it helpful to do so? And we have heard from some folks that the conversion of our excel to WordPress of our expenses and investments don’t show up on here? It seems to work for us, but please let us know if others are having this problem and we will figure out something else moving forward so it can be viewed.