June 2018 Financial Update – Bahamas Edition

We’re living it up in the Bahamas on vacation right now! I’m taking a break from the waves, sun, and sand to provide the regular monthly financial/life update. At this point we are half way through our one month stay.  Although there isn’t much to do here beyond swim in the ocean, play in the pool, and walk along the canals and marshland, we’re having a good time. We brought lots of books and the wifi and air conditioning are top notch!

Did our finances have a nice month too?  In June, we did well from a cash flow perspective with income from investments and the blog exceeding our expenditures. Income was $8,867 while expenses were only $3,554.  The stock market wasn’t very kind to us in June, so our net worth dropped by $16,000 to $2,038,000.  There’s still enough money in the investment accounts to keep me smiling in the Bahamas!

Let’s look at the details!



Investment income totaled $6,439 in June.  Our equity mutual funds and ETFs pay dividends quarterly in March, June, September, and December, which means this month’s dividends are higher than non-quarter end months.  More on our dividend income.

Blog income, shown as “other income” in the chart, remained about the same as May at $2,402 in June.  Income in 2018 has been lower than in 2017 so far. Fortunately I don’t rely on the blog income for living expenses with over $1.8 million in our investment portfolio.

My early retirement lifestyle consulting income (“consulting”) dropped to $0 in June! Perfect timing for a slowdown since I’m on vacation most of the month.  I had a few prospects contact me near the end of June so it looks like July will be busier with consulting.


End of year fun volunteering at the kid’s elementary school for field day. Mr and Mrs Root of Good squared off (I won 5 out of 6 matches).


Deposit income of $26 came from the Ebates.com and Mrrebates.com online shopping portals (some of which was earned from you readers signing up through these links).  If you sign up for Ebates through this link and make a qualifying $25 purchase through Ebates, you’ll get a $10 gift card.  We continue to accumulate cash back from lots of different online retailers for travel bookings, gift cards, and general merchandise purchases.

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).



Now let’s take a look at June expenses:

In total, we spent $3,554 during June which is a couple hundred dollars above our target spending of $3,333 per month (or $40,000 per year).  Top expenses included prepaying utilities, car and home insurance, and quarterly estimated taxes.

Detailed breakdown of spending:

Utilities – $1,136:

I needed to spend a bunch of money to meet the spending requirements for a credit card sign up bonus. So I prepaid $1,136 on my water and electricity bills. That means we won’t have to pay those bills for about six months.

In the meantime, I’m now the proud new owner of 35,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points (which we will redeem for about seven to fourteen free hotel nights).  More credit card offers.


What we do some days: stare at wildlife in the back yard. Here is a great blue heron and two roseate spoonbills (rarely seen as far north as North Carolina).



Insurance – $858:

Our home insurance policy was $598 for the year with a million dollars of liability coverage and a $2,500 deductible on the structure coverage.  Auto policy is $260 for six months for both drivers with $500,000 liability coverage and no comprehensive or collision (it’s an old minivan).  We have insurance with Farm Bureau.


I checked under the rainbow and there was no pot of gold to cover our house insurance bill.


Taxes – $600:

Quarterly estimated taxes due June 15.


Travel – $498:

We aren’t spending a whole lot in the Bahamas. We got the five plane tickets for free using Southwest and Chase points. The two bedroom oceanfront condo was about $2,300 through airbnb. We paid for the condo several months ago.

We rented a car for one day at a cost of $55 and used that to make a big grocery run, go out to eat twice ($35 each time), and do some sightseeing including touring the Bahamian Brewery ($20 for five tour tickets plus unlimited tasting for the two adults). Groceries made up the remainder of the $498 travel expenditure.


Still eating some good stuff here in the Bahamas. Brought a few packets of butter chicken curry paste and made this treat.


Bahamian stir fry: find the freshest and least expensive veggies and cuts of meat and let them get to know one another in a frying pan with the help of soy sauce, pepper, and garlic. 


I wised up and packed some taco seasoning on this trip. No more going taco free for a month or two! Also made a huge batch of pico de gallo. And spiced it with a ghost pepper. Those things are HOT!


First time trying uni – the yellow stuff. I caught some live sea urchins while snorkeling in front of our condo. Probably the last time I’ll eat uni (sea urchin gonads favored in Japan, especially on sushi).


At the time of writing, we still have just under two weeks left in the Bahamas and probably won’t have to spend a whole lot more while we are here. Perhaps a few more grocery items and a trip or two down the beach to the seafood shacks where fried conch fritters are $5 for 20 and the cracked conch trays are $9.

Cracked conch (left) and conch fritters (right) – Bahamian specialties.


The main attractions here are free. The beach is about 30 seconds away from our back door and we spend at least a few hours there almost every day.  Even closer is the condo’s swimming pool. A trail starts at the rear of our property and allows for a beautiful walk along the canal.  In the canal we have seen tons of tropical fish, jellyfish, and an eagle ray.


Just another day in paradise. Half a mile of beach and rarely are more than 1-2 people on it.



Clothing – $264:

Mega super duper epic marathon clothes shopping event before we left for the Bahamas. New swimsuits for everyone in the family. Summer attire for the ladies. Three pairs of goggles (for swimming/snorkeling, not strictly for fashion).

Swim time!


Restaurants – $68:

Father’s day celebration on my side of the family was $58 at the Chinese restaurant (our treat!). I spent $9 on lunch with a friend at Chili’s.

And finally, $1 for a burger and fries at Five Guys after an $8 discount using the Chase Pay app.  Mrs. Root of Good and I split the meal but it was more than enough food.


Groceries (in Raleigh) – $59:

We focused on our annual “eat all the food in the fridge, freezer, and pantry” in preparation for being gone to the Bahamas for a month.  That means we didn’t buy many groceries each week which kept our grocery spending very low.

The groceries we purchased in the Bahamas are recorded as “travel” expenses.

Papaya salad and steak (in Raleigh)


Pad thai cooked before we left. I’m missing the Asian staples in my pantry at home.


Fajita bowl back in Raleigh.


Gas – $49:

We bought gas in March. We bought gas again in June. Nice to go three months between fill ups! We have a lot of daily driving to summer camps in July and August so this tank might not last three months.


Cable/Satellite – $14:

$14.99 per month for 30 mbit/second download speeds and 4 mbit/second upload speeds with no data caps.  We qualify for a special rate package for “low income” households with children.


Internet makes this little guy strong and smart. Look at all those awards from Kindergarten graduation!


Home Maintenance – $3:

$3 of gas for the lawn mower.  I rode my bike to the neighborhood gas station once again. How weird is it to buy gas while riding a bike?


Entertainment – $1:

Bought a $1 code on Ebay for Minecraft PC edition.

Free entertainment: pre-Bahamas Monopoly game


Note on Health Insurance and Utilities

  • Health insurance premiums don’t show up this month because we prepaid the premiums in January and February for the whole year.  If paid monthly, premiums would be $40 per month thanks to very generous Affordable Care Act subsidies that we receive due to our low ~$40,000 per year Adjusted Gross Income.
  • Utilities are typically paid in lump sums in order to fulfill the terms of sign up bonus offers on credit cards.  We still have over $1,000 worth of positive balances on our electric and water accounts.


Did you know hummingbirds land and pose for photos?


Total Spending in 2018

Throughout the first half of 2018, we spent $15,256.  That’s $4,700 less than the $20,000 budgeted for half a year of our $40,000 early retirement budget.

If we continue this rate of spending, we’ll wrap up 2018 about $9,000 to $10,000 under budget. I don’t foresee a lot of major expenses during the remainder of 2018. Our taxes are mostly paid. Utilities and healthcare are prepaid for most of the rest of the year. Home insurance is already paid for the year.

Travel spending will ramp up in the last half of 2018 into early 2019 as we finalize payments on two week long cruises and we ramp up planning for summer 2019’s big adventure.  Nothing is set in stone but we are leaning toward central and eastern Europe for two months.


Mommy and baby deer in the back yard.


Monthly Expense Summary for 2018:


Summary of annual spending from all years of early retirement:



Net Worth: $2,038,000 (-$16,000)

We are treading water here in the Root of Good household. We ended 2017 with a net worth of $2,037,000 and here we are six months later with only $1,000 more on our balance sheet. After a ridiculously fast run up where we saw our net worth jump a half million dollars in two years, I think it’s okay to take a breather for a year.

After a strong start to the month, the stock market gods really frowned on us the latter half of June. The good news for those still working: you’re investing more money every month at lower share prices!


The Bahamas: not a bad way to spend a month when it’s really really hot in North Carolina.


That wraps up another monthly edition of “What’s Root of Good Up To?”. Until next time!


How is your summer going so far? Enjoying the heat yet?  


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  1. Wow! Whenever I picture the Bahamas in my mind I see a tourist trap covered with an endless sea of people on the beach, that’s amazing that the place is empty! Sounds like a great vacation!

    1. There are tourist trap areas. We chose not to go there. When we had the rental car, we didn’t even go to the tourist places. Had a private tour at the Brewery just because no cruise ships were in. Whole tasting room to ourselves with a private bartender 🙂

      Of course we intentionally chose this place because of the quietness. The main downside is the lack of tourist amenities nearby. It’s a long walk to the liquor store, grocery store. The handful of restaurants within walking distance serve basically the same thing – conch in various forms, fried fish, and hamburgers with fries. Gonna try Domino’s pizza delivery in a few days for a b-day celebration just for some variety 🙂

  2. So jealous of your insurance cost! I just paid $1,600 for the year, it include my three kids aged 22, 20 & 17. The last one, being a boy, is costing a fortune. I guess you are not there yet:) And I have a used Mazda.
    I expected the beach to be more busy, which island are you staying in?
    Great summary as usual.

    1. $1600 for the year isn’t bad at all! I figured with kids it would be significantly higher. I guess I’ll find out soon 🙁

      We’re on Grand Bahama Island in Freeport, but several miles from Lucaya and the tourist areas.

  3. Heh… “good news for those still working” is a thin silver lining, compared to y’all who are already living the life. 😉 But thanks for thinking of us! Intellectually I realize it’s best if the market is down while buying and high when selling, but that dopamine hit when our holdings are at all-time highs is hard to balance against the need to buy low.

    In the end, with saving for retirement, I guess it doesn’t matter too much; to mutilate a quote from my favorite ’80s movie, the only losing move is not to play.

    Thanks for posting the update! It’s nice to see things are going well.

    1. I’m pulling for you guys to get a correction for a bit. I wouldn’t mind a breather either and I might shift some from bonds back into stocks at that point 🙂 Let’s just hope it’s not another 2007-2009 market or less severe but more prolonged recession.

  4. How do you do to pay electricity bills in Advance? Georgia power doesn’t let me do it I guess.
    Also, how do you cancel these credit cards once you’ve used the points. Don’t tell me you keep all these cards active after that….

    1. For electric, we have Duke Progress Energy. It’s an option in their bill pay. We pay a small fee ($2.50 I think??) to use a credit card so I usually do a big lump sum on that account that will last many months.

      Most of the credit cards I cancel within the first year to avoid the annual fee upon renewal for year 2. I have a lot of credit cards but I don’t keep all of them 🙂

      1. This may be a stupid question, but do you have to use the rewards before you cancel your credit card?

        1. Depends on the card. If the points are kept at the credit card company then you do have to use them or transfer them to another card’s account at the same credit card company if possible (like Chase Ultimate Reward points) or keep at least 1 card open at that credit card company (Amex Membership Rewards, and maybe Citi Thank You pts). But if it’s an airline miles or hotel points card, then your miles or hotel points get transferred to the respective airline/hotel loyalty program and you can keep them after you cancel the card.

  5. very interesting justin. what is your total blog income so far
    As with annual expense sumamry report upto month if you can post annual income upto month it will be ore interesting

  6. Jealous of your awesome beach vacation! I could use a beach month right about now 🙂

    For how the market has been this year staying flat through the first half sounds pretty nice!

    1. It’s funny how there has been so much fretting over the market and economic news yet we’re still roughly flat in most market indices. Lots of noise day to day but the big picture trends aren’t bad at all.

  7. Thanks for coming out of the water long enough to give us an update! Sometimes having almost nothing to do on vacation is a good thing for a while. It gives you a chance to think and reset a little. The food pics always look great. Good move riding your bike to get gas. Maybe they’ll think you are broke and give you some free gas 🙂 As long as you dont start pushing your grocery cart home from Aldi and leaving it out front of you house, I think you’ll be ok 😉 Hot here in NJ with the heatwave also. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  8. Very nice trip; glad you are maxing the credit card rewards. Doing the same myself to the tune of thousands and thousands of $ every year, mostly in cash. Life is good.

    After 30 years my wife is willing to try a cruise again (had a horrible bout of motion sickness that lasted the whole week back in 1987 but will try the wrist bands, Bonine and Dramamine to see if she can handle it now). Will do a Carnival cruise out of New Orleans, one of our favorite towns to visit. Staying there three nights will hopefully get her calm before boarding. And since Kroger’s sells Carnival gift cards I can hammer that for 6% cashback on my AmEx, and capture a huge amount of gas points as well during the 4x points sale that Kroger’s is currently running.

    Stay thirsty, my friend. A good excuse for imbibing on your current vacation.

    1. Enjoy your cruise! Mrs. Root of Good and one of our kids gets horrible sea sickness. They take the “less drowsy” version of Dramamine and it does the trick in general. Walmart carries a generic version for a buck or two per box, or do what we did and buy a 100 count bottle from amazon for $7-8 or so. And tell your wife to take it BEFORE she gets motion sickness and take 2nd one if she starts to feel it coming on. Taking it at night seems to help with the drowsiness too (you sleep off the drowsiness but the motion sickness part still works I guess??).

      1. yep, or in a pinch any ole 1st gen antihistamine will do. like justin said, generics with the same active ingredient work just as well…they’re regulated! (unlike supplements…i’m talking to you healthnuts… 🙂 )

  9. The biggest draw of early retirement to me is the ability to take the one month long trip. I don’t want to quit my job forever, but the idea of a longer sabbatical is certainly tempting. And a stock market drop isn’t too concerning while you have yet to have to touch that nest egg of yours 😉

  10. That looks like paradise! The conch from the seafood shack look super tasty and not bad in price! Def will put this one on the list for when I’m FI :D.

    1. It is the definition of paradise here! And that conch was good and very reasonably priced. The seafood shack looks SUPER shady though. 100% hole in the wall kind of place 🙂

  11. Never had conch before but deep fried anything sounds yummy! Was it like calamari? I agree with you on the uni thing. It’s probably the most overrated food. It tastes like slimy oceans even at the freshest places. Maybe a hint of sweetness if it’s high grade but still not worth $7 a pop. Glad you got it for ‘free’

  12. What’s the weather like in the Bahamas now comparing to NC? Is it humid there? Temperature? Any breeze? I know that heat in that state. High 90’s for weeks is bad indeed.
    It looks pretty, but since I’m not a beach person I’m not that tempted to go to the Bahamas or Caribbean. However, the rest of my family (esp. kids) wants to go there, but I’m not sure we can get any deals for the winter break.

    How did you find the cable deal for the ‘low income’? What’s the process to qualify for it? We’ll probably never qualify, but I’m curious how people discover such deals and what the process like in getting them.

    You mention substantial dividend income, is it from the old 401k’s that were moved to an IRA or is it from Roth IRA’s combined with taxable accounts or a combination of all? Do you reinvest all divvies or use them? Can you remind what you did with your 401k’s once you both retired: left at the ex-employers’ 401k administrators, rolled into Traditional IRA’s? Did you perform any Roth IRA’s ladders?

    Sorry to bother with so many questions. I didn’t intend to spoil your lazy vacation LOL, but i’d love to learn.

    1. Weather: the news says it’s in the mid to upper 80’s as a high and high 70’s as a low most days. Humidity is high. Doesn’t feel that bad, perhaps because we’re right on the ocean and get great breezes. A lot cooler than North Carolina this time of year in my opinion.

      Internet for low income = below 55k for a family of 5 I think. Had to call the internet company (Spectrum) to get the details and pre-qualify, then fill out a short form and mail it in. They make it hard if you currently have service with them. Have to have no existing service with them for 30+ days before they will accept you into the program. Fortunately we were gone for 2 months to Europe last year when we disconnected the internet completely. Then established “new” service on the $14.99/mo plan.

      As for investments: We spend all dividends that come from the taxable account (that was $3,000 this quarter alone). Dividends in retirement accounts get automatically reinvested.

      I left the investments in Mrs. Root of Good’s 401k and my 457. I rolled my 401k into Vanguard IRA.

      We’re working on a roth ladder doing conversions each year but it’s smaller than I anticipated doing due to higher than expected income from my blog. More on my Roth IRA conversion ladder strategy.

  13. Hi Justin, long time reader, first time commenter. Do you track all your monthly spending, no matter how minute? Did this help get you to FI? And how?

    Thanks. I always enjoy your travel dispatches & hope summer’s treating you well.

    1. Yes and no. For the first 5-6 years of working toward FIRE I didn’t track spending. Instead I focused on auto-investing which left me cash poor and feeling the artificial scarcity. The sign that we were spending too much was the checking account balance dropping below $3000 (about what we need to survive for a month and pay bills on time).

      Then as I got closer to FIRE I figured I needed to track what we were spending so I could fine tune our FIRE number. I set up a spreadsheet and tracked virtually every dollar including a buck or two small cash purchases here and there. That led to two things – first, we knew how much we were spending which led to a more accurate target portfolio size. Second, we realized we were spending a lot of money in some categories and didn’t get that much value out of it. So we kind of eased into a natural way of saving more money by cutting some spending.

      Now that I’m FIREd and we seem to be running a nice surplus year after year, I realize tracking every penny takes a ton more effort than tracking 99% of our spending. If I have a small cash transaction I usually don’t worry about recording it. Those are rare at home in Raleigh because essentially everywhere accepts credit cards. While traveling, I don’t track those $1, $2, $5 etc transactions in detail, but rather I’ll code a $200 ATM withdrawal as “travel” and just spend the cash down. One small problem is right now in the Bahamas. They accept USDs everywhere so I brought a small supply of cash from home. I’ve spent a few bucks on tips, a few bucks on gas for the rental car, and $15 on the cracked conch/conch fritter meal at the seafood shack on the beach. Those didn’t hit the Personal Capital tracking because they were all cash transactions and I didn’t take any money out of an ATM. So I’m “off” by about $25 on travel spending but that’s probably the most egregious deviation from tracking I’ll have all year! Basically rounding error. And we do a great job tracking the other 99% of spending.

  14. Looks like you are having a great time in the Bahamas!

    It’s 93 degrees (at 3pm) here in Raleigh so not too bad. I spent some time in Las Vegas last month. It was over 110 degrees for a few days! Won’t be complaining about the heat here for a while. Plus I grew up in South America so I can handle some heat 🙂 the cold is what really gets me.

    We have to have a meet up when you are back. It’s been a while. I’d love to hear about Camp FI and catch up in general!

    1. I feel like we’ve had this discussion re: hot and cold before 🙂 I remember you came to the US and had tennis practice in February or something and it was almost freezing outside and were shocked that anyone would do stuff outside in that weather. For us, that’s almost perfect tennis weather – won’t even break a sweat! 93 degrees in Raleigh with the humidity is very uncomfortable for me. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks and the weather is something I’m not looking forward to. Fortunately it’ll start cooling off within 6 weeks or so of our return.

      Definitely up for a meetup when we get back at some point. Might have to be inside if it’s July/August time frame or I’ll die. 🙂 There’s a ChooseFI Raleigh group on FB that has scheduled a few meetups too. The Triangle on FIRE group doesn’t seem to be as active any more and I think there’s a lot of overlap there.

      1. We have indeed. Nice memory! Definitely had some not so good times practicing in 40ish-degree weather. Now that I have been in the U.S. for many years, I can tolerate the winters much better 🙂

        A meetup was just rescheduled in the Triangle on FIRE group because it rained too much this past weekend. And the Choose FI group is going to be due for another meetup soon so hopefully the timing will work.

  15. The Bahama’s look great, and your spending looks even better! Impressive numbers as usual RoG!

    Unfortunately we’ve yet to see any real heat here in the PNW. Maybe our hottest day was 80F? Oh, and no humidity. Most of the summer so far has been in the low 70’s. That’s summer in the PNW.

    On top of that, I came down with a summer cold! 🙁

    1. That sounds like a very nice ideal summer for me. Temps mostly in the 70s and low humidity. That’s the kind of place we usually escape to for the summer 🙂

      Sorry to hear about the cold. At least you have all the time in the world to recuperate. That’s one of the joys of early retirement – I used to get super stressed when I had to miss work due to illness since I’d have to reschedule all kinds of stuff, catch up on emails, etc. Now it’s like hey no biggie, rest, get fluids, take it easy and give it a few days (hopefully).

  16. That beach is beautiful. Hubby and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in St Thomas, USVI last month where we honeymooned 25 years ago. The water is amazingly beautiful and a real treat to be in. The rest of the island…not so much. Your insurance premiums make me cry. We pay more for auto insurance in one month than you pay for homeowner’s and auto combined for 6 months!! Leaving Florida would be our only way to reduce this huge budget drain. But, we do love our beaches and the under 25’s will be off our insurance soon enough! Our HO premium will still be triple what you pay though. All kids in college/university right now (another whole story about budget drain there!). Enjoy the rest of your vacation! The kids grow up so fast.

    1. We’ve been to St Thomas a time or two on cruises (including on our honeymoon 14 years ago!). Agreed about the nice beaches and so-so remainder of the island. Seems like that’s the story in just about every port of call in the Caribbean. Freeport Bahamas is no different either. We came here for the beaches and water and that has been the highlight of our trip.

      Sorry to hear about the FL auto insurance. I’ve heard it’s crazy down there, but at least part of your craziness will go away soon as the kids age out of the expensive brackets. We’re about to enter the “kids driving” in a couple of years so I know we’ll be missing these days of $500/yr auto premiums 🙂

  17. Another great month, Justin!

    June, July, and August are big months here at our house because our beach rental generates most of its income during this time. A good year should mean an increase of $25k to the net worth figures.

    With me still working we’re bringing in about $9K per month more than we need since reaching FI. I’d love to say that means our net worth is going up $9k per month but truthfully it’s more like $7.5-8k because, well, the extra cash is making us lazy.

    I started another goal in our after-tax Betterment account to get a snowbird property at some point. With our rental throwing off cash and my work still generating a good clip we’ve already saved $18k against that goal. It’s truly amazing how fast the money comes in once you’re FI and still working.

    Meanwhile, we’re spending most of our time at our community pool. Membership for the year is just $444 and when you divide it by person-hours spent at the pool for our household of 7 it is just so freaking cheap. I’d say we spend less than $0.50/person-hour to hang out with our neighborhood friends and have a huge community we love.

    We’re thinking about trying to take a trip to Iceland in August. We’ll see if it works out… More timing than anything at this point.

    1. That sounds awesome! Glad to hear your FI plans are met and being exceeded as we speak! I like the idea of the community pool. We don’t have one in the neighborhood but there are a few nearby neighborhoods that open their memberships up publicly for similar prices. However in spite of us spending a month at the beach, we’re not really “beach” or “pool” people if that makes sense. 🙂 Don’t really like being out in the sun all day so we typically go out in the morning and evenings. So for pool time at home we stick with the super cheap multi-visit pool passes that end up costing us a couple bucks per pool visit (so about the same per hour, per person rates as you assuming we spend a few hrs at the pool).

    2. Hi Fred, I enjoyed perusing your family’s blog after reading your comment here. Have you ever written up the economics of your beach condo purchase from a FI perspective? This is something I’ve considered over the years, but I hear such a variety of opinions about whether they are a total money-suck or a great long-term investment. I realize they can be either, depending on the individual property and choices made. Thanks.

  18. Glad you’re having an awesome time in the Bahamas! The food, especially the Pad Thai looks great and l know it’s thanks to the Mrs :-). How nice to be away from the crowds in the middle of summer. We decided to stay at home in Valencia for the summer after being away for the past month in Prague and Athens. It’s hot in the city, but at least we have a beach…what a difference from Seville! Keep having fun!

    1. You’re wrong about the pad thai. I’m the pad thai master in our house! I did get a little training from Mrs. RoG though 😉

      Enjoy Valencia! Hope to make it there some day. Just had some neighbors from home visiting Valencia and posting some good pics from there!

  19. Great job keep the expense low while on vacation. Our Iceland vacation was ridiculously expensive. We had a great time, but I think I’m going to stick with cheap countries from now on. There are plenty of cheap places to visit. I’ll save the expensive places for when we’re old and rich.
    Good idea bringing taco seasoning. We took a packet to Iceland, but the other family’s kid doesn’t like taco so we didn’t make any… I know that’s inconceivable to you. 😀

    1. Doesn’t like tacos? What’s next? People that don’t like oxygen in their air? Don’t like bathing in water? Insanity!

      I’m with you on visiting the cheap or average cost countries first. It’s a big world and there’s so much to see out there. And I like feeling “rich” when the prices are low. Makes it easy not to worry about spending money on everything when you’re living on a budget (granted, a decent sized budget 🙂 ).

      1. Justin I see that you have stuck onto visiting inexpensive places during europe trip. Do you think visiting places like paris , venice, belgium would have been more expensive?

        1. We visited Milan, Venice, Munich, and Amsterdam. All were on the more expensive side for lodging and food was more expensive there too. There are ways to economize, but it’s not really possible to spend $50/nt on lodging in Amsterdam like we did in Prague for example (it was actually 3 times more expensive!).

          And Bahamas are on the more expensive side too. Groceries are the most expensive of anywhere I’ve visited in the entire world. Rental cars are pricey. Fortunately, we rented lodging for a month so we got half off the normal rate ($82/nt vs $160/nt). And flights here are USD$600 (though we got them free with points). Almost as expensive as buying flights to Europe from the East Coast USA.

          So in general, yes, we would spend more if we vacationed in higher cost of living areas. However we’re doing that already. That said, I imagine we couldn’t spend 2 months in Iceland or Paris and stay within our $10,000 per year travel budget! At least not if we ever left the apartment and ate more than rice and beans.

  20. Wow, all that food looks delicious! Love the beach scenery too! Very brave of you to eat the sea urchin. I’ve had it in Japan before and it always tasted weird to me. Does it taste better when you had to dive for them yourself?

    1. I don’t have any baseline to compare it to since this is the first time trying it. Just not something I’d choose to eat. It tastes exactly like you would expect sea urchin gonads to taste. Not great.

  21. You mentioned two of my favorite things, SPG points and hummingbirds! I’ll love earning SPG points until August when the earn rate is devalued. That’ll be a sad day. Then I’ll just have hummingbirds. I have several flowering plants that they seem to love. We’ve even had nests which are so cute. The nest is about the size of a chicken egg so you can image how small the hummingbird eggs are.

  22. Bahamas look very nice. Never been there but I probably will someday.
    Also, a reminder , you are supposed to let your wife win some of the athletic competitions ( e.g. school field day).

  23. What I’ve been waiting for all month! Of course the market flatlines right when I join; still can’t believe that growth you saw in two years. Did not disappoint on the food pics. Glad to see babyROG finally seems longer than his sisters’ hair (hehe). Your descriptions for each category are soooo good, it’s the perfect amount of text and white space. For that 30 extra years of sun you have on the rest of us, remember to use sunscreen! 2 TBSP every 2 hours! Don’t be that guy with the permanent speckled red v poking through his golf shirt… j/k.

    1. 2 tablespoons every 2 hrs? I’ve never measured it that way before! We tend to avoid mid-day sun and go out mostly in the late afternoon/evening when the sun is already fairly low. I wouldn’t last long in the middle of the day, though when I do go out then, I make sure to put PLENTY of sunscreen on. So far so good on the burn – only felt a slight bit on the top of my head in spite of lathering it up periodically during the day.

    1. Thanks, we love the yard too. Looking out the window is a pastime 🙂

      The only utility that charges a fee for using a credit card is the electric company (Duke Energy). They charge $2 or so. I usually charge $600-800 at a time so that’s well under a 1% fee and I’m earning way more than that!

  24. It’s nice to read how minimalism has simplified the way of living. Great insights learned through the blog. Cheers!

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