April 2015 Financial Update

In April, we spent quite a bit of money.  We are ramping up for our seven week summer trip to Mexico which led to many expenses in excess of our routine monthly spending.  As a result, our income of $2,125 didn’t quite keep up with our $4,549 of expenditures in April.  In spite of that shortfall, our net worth climbed another $30,000 primarily due to investment returns.

 

Income

After receiving over $2,600 investment income in the last few days of March, we had a very light month in April with only $135 of dividends and interest.  June will be our next big month of dividends since our funds pay out at the end of each quarter.

Blog income, shown as “other income” in the chart, dipped to a very low $286 in April after a smashing $2,274 in March.  This is mostly due to the timing of receiving a few payments that will likely appear in the first few days of May.  I have a feeling May and June will be very very good months for Root of Good income.

Freelance writing income was zero, however a check showed up on May 1 for $250 (which will be included in the May financial update).

I expect to make around $600-800 per month over the long term from blogging and freelance writing, and I only made about half of that in April.  However I’m still exceeding the $600-800 monthly target on average for the year.

The “deposits” income includes $63 for some stuff I sold on ebay and cash back rebates from the two online shopping portals I use.

I recently started using Ebates, and I’m very happy with it so far.  I only received $3 in cash from them last month because I just started using them.  Ebates pays out more quickly than Mr. Rebates and I like the site design a little better.  When you sign up through this link and make a qualifying $25 purchase through Ebates, you’ll get a $10 gift card.  I got a $10 Walmart gift card very quickly after making my first purchase.

Mr. Rebates paid me $48 for various shopping I completed over the last several months (including $40 for cruise tickets!). You can sign up for Mr. Rebates through Root of Good and get a bonus $5.00 to get your savings started.  You can check out both shopping portals, but I would lean toward recommending Ebates if you only want to pick one.

april-2015-income

If you’re interested in tracking your income and expenses like I do, then check out Personal Capital (it’s free!).  All of our savings and spending accounts (including checking, money market, and five credit cards) are all linked and updated in real time through Personal Capital.  We have accounts all over the place, and Personal Capital makes it really easy to check on everything at one time.

Personal Capital is also a solid tool for investment management.  Keeping track of our entire investment portfolio takes two clicks.  If you haven’t signed up for the free Personal Capital service, check it out today (review here).

 

Expenses

Now let’s look at April expenses:

april-2015-expenses

At $4,549 for April, we exceeded our target of $2,700 per month (1/12th of our $32,400 per year early retirement budget) by almost $2,000.  That’s mostly due to abnormally large travel expenses and prepaying some utilities to meet the spending requirements on credit cards (to get massive sign up bonuses).

In April, we spent $1,587 on lodging for our big trip to Mexico this summer.  We projected the total cost for the seven week trip at $7,000 to $8,000 (full trip budget).  So far, we are doing a good job managing the costs without sacrificing quality.  We budgeted $3,000 for lodging but managed to come in at about half that for our six weeks of apartment rentals (thanks to AirBnB and VRBO!).  I’m excited about the places we are renting.  All of them have two bedrooms (or more).  One place has a pool while another place has two kitchens and multiple lushly gardened patios with skyline views of the city.  For an average of $36 per night.

Our utilities came in at $1,342 for the month.  I had to make some last minute charges to meet the minimum spending requirements on a pair of Chase British Airways cards to get another 100,000 BA Avios points (= how we fly for free).  I prepaid almost $900 on our electricity bill and $300 on our water bill to hit the $2,000 per card spending requirement.  That means I won’t have to pay another electricity bill until the end of the summer.  Check out all of the current credit card deals if you want to cash in on free travel too!

Grocery expenses were slightly below average, and that’s partly because of the gift card I purchased last month so I could in essence use a credit card at Aldi.  Otherwise, we continued our trend of cooking almost all meals at home and eating incredibly awesome food.  Dining out was $17 (and so low it didn’t even make it onto the summary chart of expenses) which includes a few cups of Starbucks for Mrs. Root of Good at work, a super mega sized slushee at the gas station for the kids, and take out pizzas for the family.

 

Marathon thrift shopping

Marathon thrift shopping

Summer is coming and our kids are growing.  Time for some new clothes.  And shoes for all that walking we’ll be doing in Mexico.  We spent $97 at the thrift store on:

  • 4 skirts
  • 4 shorts
  • 6 pair of pants
  • 10 shirts
  • 1 sweater
  • 2 pair of dress shoes
  • 2 pair of sandals
  • 1 pair of running shoes
  • 1 belt

Right after we finished checking out, the friendly cashier casually said “oh, you guys should have come in next week.  Everything in the store will be half off.  You could have saved $50”.  Lucky for us, everything was already 85-90% off regular retail prices, so I don’t lament the “loss” of that $50 we could have saved.

Mrs. Root of Good picked up some Steve Madden fancy shoes (I wish I could be more specific; no, I don’t) and black boots.  We noticed one pair of jeans and the sweater were both from Banana Republic.  The $100 original price tag when the jeans were new on the shelf didn’t dissuade us from cropping off the legs and converting the pricey apparel into capri shorts (we paid $3).  After the thrift store, we went to Walmart ($29) to finish the clothes purchasing for the next several months.

Our cars needed a lot of attention in April.  We try to keep auto costs low, and DIY is a part of that strategy when the task isn’t too daunting.  A routine brake pad and rotor replacement resulted in $90 for parts and free labor at a friend’s house.  A check engine light on my Civic led me to a faulty oxygen sensor.  Which led me to the cracked exhaust manifold the oxygen sensor is mounted in.  The exhaust manifold is regrettably attached to the catalytic converter.  Over 10 years ago, the mechanic warned me about the rusted exhaust manifold and said it would crack eventually.  It did, but I got a good extra 10 years out of it first.

The auto shop quoted $1,100 for a repair but I decided to DIY instead using the same parts they use at the shop.  I picked up a $277 exhaust manifold/catalytic converter after lots of research.  I skipped the cheapo $150-200 manifold/cats because the reviews were pretty sketchy (one of the few instances I’m willing to pay up for quality).  I also snagged two new oxygen sensors at $29 each.  Between the brake job and the exhaust manifold replacement, I’ll be saving roughly $800 over the auto shop’s rates.  I’m getting the same or equivalent parts at half the price the shop charges, and along with the help of a friend, I’m not paying the $98 per hour for labor.

Our gas expense of $310 is artificially high for the month.  I picked up $300 worth of Exxon Mobil gas gift cards for $270 off of Ebay (plus another $10 worth of cash back/rewards through Ebates and ebay bucks).  These gift cards will probably last us through September since Mrs. Root of Good won’t be working (and commuting a long way) for the next three months due to a paid sabbatical.

There’s something about spring that makes our family buy lots of electronics.  Last spring and the spring before that we bought new laptops.  This year we were in the market for new tablets.  After looking around and trying to balance performance, weight, versatility, ease of use, and cost, we went with the Kindle Fire HD 7 (4th generation, 2014 edition).  It’s last year’s model and we picked up two on ebay for $70 each.  They look almost brand new, and we saved about 50% versus the $127-143 sale price at Amazon for the 16 GB options we purchased.

After a few days of the kids playing on them non-stop, I’m pretty sure they get a strong endorsement from the eight to ten year old demographic.  The device feels sturdy.  The screen looks amazing, and it’s easy to use (a slightly customized Android interface).  We liked them so much that we bought a third one on ebay for $65.  Mrs. Root of Good says it’s for our three year old son, but we’ll see who ends up using it the most.  The Amazon interface worked seamlessly with my existing Amazon account and didn’t require me to add a new electronic ecosystem to our household (the reason I have avoided Apple stuff so far).

Since we’ll be packing these in our bookbags on our seven week trip to Mexico, weight is critical.  The Fire HD 7’s weigh just under 12 ounces, and even with the charger and cable the weight stays under a pound.  Not bad for a Netflix/youtube player, an e-reader, a gaming machine, and a videochatting device that cost $70.

april-2015-expenses-ytd

At $10,445 year to date spending, we still managed to stay a few hundred dollars under our $10,800 budgeted for the first four months of 2015.  Which is amazing since around half of our expensive summer trip is already paid for, and I have over $1,000 sitting in prepaid utility accounts and gift cards.  Our spending for the year as a whole should still be roughly within our budget.

 

Net Worth: $1,533,000 (+$30,000)

By the close of April, we were still proud members of the $1.5 Millionaire Club.  It’s a precarious position since a $10,000+ daily fluctuation in net worth happens often enough.  The last two days of April led to a $20,000 net worth drop after our NW temporarily peaked at $1.553 million.

Hey, it comes and goes.  No reason to worry since we only plan on spending a small fraction of that net worth in the next few years.

april-2015-net-worth

I’m not really confident that these net worth gains are permanent.  I’m mentally discounting the $1.5 million net worth down to $1.4 or $1.3 million so that if (when?) it drops, there won’t be any tears shed.  If we suddenly lost $200,000 over the next month, we would still be spending less than 3% of our portfolio each year, which is easily within the 4% rule’s safe withdrawal rate.

I don’t think we’ll ever run out of money in early retirement because we have the flexibility to earn a little bit of money or spend a little less (weekend trips around home versus seven weeks in Mexico for example).

 

 

Was April as kind to you as it was to me?  Any big changes for the better (or worse) in your finances?

 

 

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57 comments

  • April marks the peak in spending for us with taxes, remodel, and one time expenses largely behind us. Even with an elevated spending level we have averaged a monthly increase of of $5,700/month in Net Worth.

    We ended 2014 with a net worth of $181,364 and as of 4-30-15 we stand at $204,209. Starting in May we should see increases around $8,000/month, which would put us above our goal. Our goal this year is to increase net worth by $69,000.

    This goal was done conservatively and does not account for any market appreciation (which is not guaranteed) and also doesn’t account for extra investments made outside of our pre-tax accounts.

    So if all works in our favor we could see an increase of $100K+.

    Cheers!

  • ROG,

    April was an awesome month for me on the net worth side, but passive income just barely crossed the $1,000 mark thanks to an option premium. Technically the option income in not passive, but it entered my savings account so I’ll count it.

    Great job managing the expenses. Do you find that it has been easier to cut expenses since you left the work force?

    • Definitely easier to cut expenses while not working. The DIY auto stuff is a great example. I would have taken the cars to the shop no questions asked while working. For one thing, I didn’t have the time or energy to DIY, and we also needed 2 working cars since Mrs. RoG’s commute is long and I needed my car to drive for work trips pretty often.

      Hunting deals is easier now. Careful grocery shopping and cooking at home means spending almost nothing on restaurants and spending less on groceries. And there are all of the direct savings from not working like no gas for the commute, no work clothes, no lunches out at work, no child care, etc.

  • I’m consistently amazed by how strategic you are as a consumer. If we ever take up more of an interest in travel, I think I will have to copy your ways.

    Your wife’s Steve Madden shoes are peep toe pumps, and they are super cute- two thumbs up!

    • She said they don’t quite fit right so maybe you can have them. 🙂 We’re only out a few bucks I think.

      • They are super cute! Heels take a few tries to break in, I’ll give your wife a chance first, but if you are getting rid of them, I’ll take them off your hands if they are the right size.

        • She’s planning on doing something heel-related to see if they stay on her feet better. But if it doesn’t work out, I’ll let you know. 🙂

  • Outstanding job as usual. I also am a proponent of prepaying when it works to ones advantage, like buying lots of gift cards at Kroger’s to get the 6% AmEx cash on grocery purchases and gas points from Kroger’s themselves. We eventually use them all, whether retail (e.g. Lowe’s and Amazon) or restaurants.

    I also have the time to do more DIY since retiring. Felt for awhile there that I was working just to pay others to do things that I could do myself. For example, I have to repair the stone patio that runs virtually the length of the house, then clean completely, and seal, which I will be starting today. When I am all done I have no doubt it would have cost me at least $1000-1500 since it is labor intensive. My list is extensive of other jobs that need doing as well, and all will save me $. Great feeling when they are done, my friend, and you know you did it yourself.

    • Good to see I’m not the only one working the system a bit. 🙂

      Yes, the DIY does feel good once you get the job done right. It’s also a good learning experience and makes the 2nd time around much easier to do.

  • Justin we are very similar in the fact we research the crap out of something before making a purchase or traveling or anything really. Look how much money you saved by doing a little googling!

    When I log onto Personal Capital it looks like April was a terrible month, but the main reason is I need to spend $4k in 3 months on my new Chase Sapphire Preferred card to get the bonus. Therefore I used my card to purchase items for friends and family members (they reimbursed me of course). I’ve read about the Target Redcard, but there isn’t a Target near me and I like to KISS so that is a little out of my comfort zone.

    • That was my reaction when I logged in at the end of the month and saw many thousands of dollars of expenses above what we usually spend. Then I remembered prepaying all those utilities back on April 1-2, and the fact that I just paid for six weeks of rental housing for our vacation. Funny how you “forget” about spending money after only a few weeks, but that’s why it’s so important to intentionally take a look at spending every once in a while to make sure it’s not growing out of hand. At least reviewing the #’s helps kick me in the pants to focus on spending if it’s going crazy.

  • Vawt @ Early Retirement Ahead

    I enjoy how you pull up expenses to get credit card rewards, I need to do that as well. A lot of oru spending is at Costco, I want to convert that so I need to get some AMEX gift cards.

    Vacations have such a different feeling when there is not a credit card bill waiting for you when you get home! Or at least it is just some food and entertainment and not the hotel, rental car, flight, etc. Getting those expense pulled up lowers my stress level for sure.

    My net worth went up in April more due to hefty retirement contributions than from market returns.

    • I’m curious if we’ll have the “oh no! The vacation is over?!!?” moments at the end of Week 7 of the vacation. Luckily we have the cash (and miles/pts) to cover the whole trip, and most of it other than food and incidentals will be paid for already by the time we depart, so there’s no debt hangover after we get back. Who knows, we might love it so much we decide to move to Mexico!

  • We also see large swings in our spending at times, especially as we track our spending on a monthly basis also. When you average it out for the year, I think your expenditures still look great! We had set out a challenge to reduce our spending in April and onwards. We did incredibly well in April – reduced our YTD monthly average by $2,000! It did help that we did not travel and were (finally) done with paying medical bills related to last year’s pregnancy and birth. Now we just have to keep it up and see how we fare in the coming months.

    • On average, I think we’ll be fine for the year, and I know every year we have certain months where spending is way above average. As long as we know why it’s above average (prepaying expenses for travel or utilities or whatever, or just big lumpy once per year expenses), then we can plan for them and just include it in the annual spending plan/budget.

  • That looks like an amazing thrift store haul! Nicely done! And, that’s great you were able to come in under budget on lodging for Mexico. It’s exciting you’re already ramping up for the trip!

    • I’m a little sad about not saving that extra $50 at the thrift store, but happy that we saved probably $600 over retail prices. So we saved $600 instead of $650. It sounds better that way.

      And yes, getting the lodging at half off is awesome because it gives us a license to be more flexible with spending once we are on the trip.

  • You have made managing your finances into an art. Great to see how you leverage all the available options to limit expenses and live a full life.

    We are doing pretty good (but it can always be better!) last month, we even had negative expenses due to the sale of the motorcycle. Our net worth is all over the place due to the exchange rates, but at least there is an upward trend.

    • We try. I figure if I can save money in one place, I can spend it somewhere else later. You never know when a buck (or a million) will come in handy.

  • I’m excited about your trip and I’m not even going. Glad you are enjoying FIRE. Your stache is bigger than mine but I’m FIRE as a single with paid off house and car so I’m not hurting. Your blog income inspires me. My blog has yet to break even but I see the traffic climbing week after week.

    • Glad to provide a little vicarious excitement, FV. 🙂

      Keep up the work on the blog and enjoy the weekly and monthly growth. I saw your article on Aldi. Glad someone let you in on the awesomeness that is Aldi. So much delicious, cheap and sometimes healthy food.

  • April was overall decent, but I’m moving to a new town shortly so i have some related expenses that blew my budget this month. However, my net worth almost tripled the last 18 months and doubled the last 12 months! Not bad for someone who’s barely been in the work force for 2 years 🙂

    • Ah, the joys of just starting out and doubling your NW in a year. 🙂 Hopefully you can keep up the momentum. We experienced a doubling of net worth for a few years in a row as the markets recovered in 2009 and thereafter. It certainly kept us motivated watching the savings grow almost overnight.

  • Looking good guys. I’m planning to get a tablet sometime this year too. It should really help with those long plane trips. Hey, how would you feel if your net worth drop say $500k? Would you be able to handle that kind of drop? I’m just wondering. Do you have some kind of safeguard for a huge stock market correction? We can probably handle it, but it’d be depressing when that happens.

    • Good question. I’m not really sure. I imagine there would be some worry. But we would still have $900k left after the crash (which would be a 36% crash in my case). It could happen (or 2 years of 20% crashes each year). In fact, it probably will happen at least once in the next several decades. But our portfolio might also hit $2 million or more before the crash happens.

      I know I wouldn’t worry too much for the first year or two since we have cash on hand to cover about the next 2 years of living expenses (plus dividends from the taxable account). If the crash happened tomorrow and the market stayed low until this time next year, we would probably opt for a cheap vacation next summer. Eventually I might try to pick up a little extra freelance work or focus some minimal effort on bringing in a little cash.

      • Thanks for your answer. It’s great that you have enough cash to cover 2 years of expense. Our cash position isn’t that large. It’s only enough to cover 6 months because I don’t like having a huge cash position. Maybe I should build up our cash position a bit while I’m worried about a crash.

  • Love your idea of discounting your investment values in your mind — we need to do that. We had a pretty huge income tax bill in April, along with some unanticipated rental property expenses, and we still gained $10K in net worth, purely because of this overinflated market. So while it’s nice to see the numbers climb, we’re getting some legit bubble anxiety. Think your discount idea is a good solution. Thanks!

    • I wish I knew if it was overinflated for sure. It feels that way, but I think everyone felt that way in 1997 and there were still a few more years of rocket fuel in that market. But I know any crash can start right now and we can see a 10% drop before anyone realizes it’s a 10% drop (and not just a couple % fluctuation along the path upward).

  • What’s the $1588 listed as Paychecks/Salary?

    • Mrs. Root of Good is still working (for 2 more days). But her paycheck will continue at least 3 more months while she’s on her sabbatical, and probably for a little while after that.

  • I have never used eBates. Joined it using your referral link. Didn’t spend a lot of time on the website but the website didn’t leave a very strong first impression on me.

    I do most of shopping through Walmart. I have a Discover credit card and they have a similar shopping link. When I buy stuff from Walmart using Discover link, Discover provide me 5% cash back where as they are providing 2% cashback only!

    Have you ever used Discover shopping portal? I think, every credit card company has it.

    • I don’t use Discover cards, but I’ve heard about their awesome cash back portals! Many places give 5-10% cash back through their portal apparently. You’re probably better served there vs. ebates/mrrebates, unless discover doesn’t have the particular merchant you’re shopping at. I just love getting 1-10% back on everything I buy online. 🙂

      I’ve used other credit card portals (Chase UR and Worldpoints on my Fidelity Amex) and wasn’t impressed as they never seemed to properly report my transactions, and their % cashback was no better than mrrebates/ebates on average. Mrrebates and ebates seem to work much better, and I found out from Mrrebates you are supposed to turn your adblock software off when you click through the portal.

  • I am really interested to hear on your trip how your use of AirBNB went. My wife and I are thinking about taking a trip to Europe and possibly using it to cut down on costs. I think it would be a great thing, but having never used it we are still trying to assess the pros and cons vs. using a hotel. Congrats on the continued upward growth of your net worth.

    • We used airbnb last year in Canada. One place was nice but basic and very affordable. The next place was a nightmare. A couple lessons we learned was to be wary if a place looks too good to be true and to not rent the absolute cheapest place you can find if you don’t want to risk it being very basic.

      I’ll have the full details on the places we are staying. 2 were through VRBO, 2 through Airbnb.

  • Nice job on the shopping at the Thrift Store!

    Looks like you have got this trip planned our really well so far. Good score on getting those gift cards on the cheap through ebay too! How do you verify the gift cards you’re buying are legit? Just buy from a trusted seller?

    • I have bought gift cards from private ebay sellers in the past without a problem. But this time around we bought from one of the big gift card sellers. The different big GC sellers occasionally run $10 off deals.

  • Wow, way to go!

    I get paid in the middle of the month, so we still have a few days left in this budget cycle. We may have a little left over thanks to my overestimating the cost of some items. Or something will pop out of the woodwork. Either way, we didn’t exceed spending, so that’s something.

    I don’t have nearly that much in retirement (I was on disability in my 20s, and my husband is on disability now). But I still try to avoid looking at the balance most of the time. I get too freaked when the numbers go up and down. When I do accidentally see it, I just try to remind myself that it’s cyclical and that the market usually rights itself.

  • Difficult to imagine a millionaire buying clothes from a thrift store (TS)!!! 🙂

    It could be a cultural thing but somehow we could not appreciate the value in buying clothes from thrift store. Primarily

    (1) It takes enormous time to find good quality clothes in thrift store
    (2) Use them for a month or so and it start showing that the clothes are old

    I can still understand buying kid clothes from TS because kids grow so fast that we end up changing their wardrobe very frequently but why adult clothes? I don’t know about you but when we buy a cloth it last with us for almost ever.

    After reading this post, I again discussed with my wife whether we should be using TS but our conclusion was no – TS are not for us.

    Would love to hear your views on this? Might end up learning something 🙂

    • Shopping at the thrift store is merely one weapon in our thrift arsenal. Any clothes that aren’t stained or ripped or absolutely hideous are a pretty good value when you’re paying $0.50 to $3.00 per article, so the value is unquestionable. I always inspect brand new stuff I buy at retail prices (quality control doesn’t always catch all the imperfections), and it’s not a lot different at the thrift store.

      Some stuff is brand new with tags still on, other stuff appears to be new or very lightly used at worst, and then some other stuff is obviously used but still in good condition. I guess our thrift shop tosses out the really worn out stuff since we don’t see it on the racks.

      Your concern about it taking a lot of time is somewhat reasonable. I hate wasting time too. And I hate clothes shopping in general. 🙂 On our last trip, I wanted to get a couple new casual polo or button up shirts (they were all $3 or less). I selected 4 based on them looking brand new and a nice style or design or pattern. It turns out none fit perfectly (too big or too small or the shirt “bunched up” between the buttons and showed my belly while sitting down) so I didn’t buy any of the shirts. At a retail store, I could go back to the rack and try out the next bigger/smaller size but can’t do that at the TS. My kill ratio when shopping at the retail clothing store is close to 50% (if I find 4 shirts I like, I’ll end up buying 2 of them). So I wasted some time finding and trying on clothes without any success.

      However the kids and Mrs. RoG found tons of really nice stuff. And it didn’t take any longer than shopping at a clothing store. In fact, there are hundreds or thousands of different styles of outfits, so finding the perfect ones is easier than visiting multiple retail stores. Mrs. RoG found a pair of boots for $10 that she couldn’t find for less than $160 at retail and that was after a couple hours of visiting every store in the mall. So YMMV when it comes to the time saving factor. I personally think regular retail stores are easier to shop than thrift stores, but I’m a guy and not that picky about style (as long as it’s comfortable and fits reasonably well). But spending an extra hour or so to save many hundreds of dollars makes it totally worth it.

      As for your comment on clothes looking old after a month, that hasn’t been a problem. We tend to get higher priced (and maybe higher quality) stuff from the TS than regular stores (like the multiple Banana Republic items this time around). For kid clothes, they usually outgrow them before wearing them out. For adults, it seems like a similar story. The fashion goes out of style before the clothing wears out (jean jackets, anyone?).

      Should you shop at thrift stores? Why not give it a try one afternoon? They vary greatly in terms of selection and quality, so it might pay to look online for a good local thrift shop and go there.

  • As always, I really enjoy reading your posting. 30K higher than last month is like a dream comes true to me. I don’t think you will ever run out of money if you plan it like that. Keep up the great work!

  • Justin – I used your website link to sign on to Personal Capital and now I understand how/why you use it:it’s way less buggy than MINT. I’ve only been using it a few hours and I truly like PC much, much better.

    Is there a way to get Personal Capital to add in the appraised value of one’s home when it calculates Net Worth? My Net Worth is way lower without it and it kinda bums me out. Or, is this the way net worth SHOULD be calculated and i was just being “sweet-talked” by MINT?

    • Thanks, glad you like it. It has been a great help for me over the last year or two that I have used it.

      To add in your house, click on “Link” to add more accounts. At the bottom of the link page that pops up, there’s a button for “add home value” in the lower left corner. I added mine as a static value, but you can also add in the home value based on the Zillow estimate if you want to get fancy.

      The question of “should you include home value in net worth” is up to you. I do. Personal Capital shows the total NW and also shows the “investments” total on the main dashboard summary page. The investment total is the number you want to focus on to build a portfolio you can live off of, but paying attention to net worth is important since houses are still worth something and NW reflects reductions in liabilities each month as you repay debt. Two different but important metrics.

      • Done! I didn’t see the button at the bottom of the “Add Account” pop-up box.

        I immediately noticed in PC how my taxes and monthly mortgage bill makes my SPENDING circle look very different from yours. 🙁

        Is PC the only financial analysis tool you personally use? I use TurboTax for annual state and fed taxes. I’m considering trying YNAB to see if i can get any finer focus on what I’m spending monthly. I welcome any tips or suggestions you have along those lines.

        Thanks for your monthly postings, I’m paying careful attention, especially the visits to the thrift shop!

        • I’m glad it worked out for you!

          PC is the main online tool I use. I play around with turbotax occasionally but use old fashioned pen and paper (well, fillable pdf forms and searchable pdf instructions) for actual tax prep.

          I’ve heard good stuff about YNAB. Supposedly PC is getting budgeting features soon for all platforms, and they already have them for the iphone/ipad app and apple watch (no android or web-based budgeting yet).

  • Good job on the increase in Net Worth and prepaying all those bills. IT seems like your very detailed with getting all the bonuses / discounts to help you with your yearly budget costs and points advantages. Were you like this before you retired or is this a new you because of the newly found time?

  • I’m so excited you guys are going to Mexico. I’ve been a couple times and loved it. I really like your income reports. Keep on pushing through and your income will pop back up in no time. Love your thrift shop purchases too. What a bargain. Although I probably would have been annoyed if the sales lady told me about that sale lol. But who knows you may not have been able to find your items during the sale and you guys got good prices regardless. Keep up the great work!

    • After I lamented the loss of that $50, I then thought the same thing as you. The store might have been swamped with customers with long lines in the dressing room. Or we might not have found as many outfits or shoes.

  • Are the Kindle’s the Kids Edition? We got a Kids Edition Kindle for our 4 year old at Christmas. Great warranty, but the tablet is sturdy and we haven’t had to use it yet. The only downside: the “FreeTime” software only works well when it has a wireless internet signal. We took the tablet on our cruise in February and were surprised and aggravated that our 4 year old couldn’t watch “her shows” that we’d downloaded to the tablet because it couldn’t call back to the mothership to verify she had access. In the end we logged into the parent account which has full rights, but requires more parental supervision.

    • We bought the regular editions (not Kids Edition). They have the kindle Freetime available for download so we might end up trying it out but haven’t yet. So far ours have worked out pretty well in off line mode the few times I’ve taken it away from wifi. Kids are loving them so far and making use of netflix, games, writing apps, drawing, coloring book (for the 3 year old). I’ve downloaded a few e-books for me but I’m not sure if I can retrieve any of the tablets from my kids! 🙂

      I turned off “in app purchases” so they can’t waste money that way. I haven’t figured out a way to make it a requirement to put in a password before paying real money for apps but wish there was a way. I guess I’ll dispute any accidental purchases, and they have a way to unpurchase stuff if you catch it soon after buying something.

      The biggest problem for the 3 year old is clicking on an ad and then the app or game going away and being led to a website or the app store.

  • I love reading your posts! You are one of the bloggers who has inspired me to publicize my net worth. I hope I can get up to your level someday. Please dont stop writing, I like reading the posts.

  • Thanks for the traveling tips! Amazing, will try to do this.

    I apologize in advance if this has been asked but does your net worth also include real estate?

    • Yes, NW includes the house. It’s on the books at $140k and there is a $27k mortgage on it still (to be paid within 2 years). So a net of $113k of home equity. I usually do quick mental math of “total NW minus $100k” to figure out what we have in our investment portfolio after looking at the NW headline number in PC.

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