We spent $8,573 in November which is much higher than usual. The big jump is because we paid our property taxes ($4,183), without which we spent $4,390, or just a bit above average. For major events in November we hosted my family for a week at Thanksgiving! It was a tons of fun and our related spending got a bit out of hand. Anything we spent on Thanksgiving and the surrounding festivities I categorized as “Entertainment”. November was also the first month in recent memory where we didn’t take a trip. Waaaaahhhhmmmmppps!
Let’s take a closer look at expenses
Home – $4,405: Our property tax payments in November really drove this category. Since our mortgage is paid off we are responsible for remitting our tax payments all at once (as opposed to having an escrow account with a mortgage provider). This year I actually made the payment with a credit card so I could meet the minimum spend requirements and collect the large signup bonus. Of course I paid the card off immediately 🙂 Credit card bonuses are the best!
Entertainment – $1,573: this is astronomical compared to normal. We hosted my family for a week at Thanksgiving and really went all out. I included all related food, activities, gifts, etc. in this category. I like to keep costs that are related to specific events separate from what I consider our daily living categories like “Food”. This allows me to maintain a good understanding of what our actual grocery costs are and make the data comparable over time.
Travel – $1,018: this has to be some kind of record low. We took zero trips in November! Sad day. We still spent money on Travel because we booked hotel, airfare, and entertainment for a trip my wife is going on next year. We also spent $237 on “Points Game”. This includes the annual fee on one of our credit cards as well as the fees associated with paying our property taxes by credit card. A 1.85% convenience fee was charged, which I’m putting here because we’ll use the bonus points gained from it to save on travel in the future.
Merchandise – $707: Gifts and beauty products are really driving this category. Makeup is seriously so expensive.
Food – $612: This was pretty hard to measure for November. Our grocery costs are way down because I included Thanksgiving food in “Entertainment”. We’ve been steady eating leftovers the past two weeks which is really driving down our grocery bill. I also included dining out while my family was here as “Entertainment”. I think this is similar to categorizing dining out while on vacation as “Travel”. I’m not trying to lie about how much we eat out, just trying to get a good picture of how much we actually eat out while home. At the end of the year I usually take a look at our dining out spending across all categories.
Vehicle – $139: small cars are so cheap! We pay our car insurance every 6 months and don’t have car loans.
Other Services – $104: this is low because we doubled up our cable/internet bill last month; it’s just a timing difference. Our cell phone bill is the same as it ever is.
Waiting To Be Zapped – $15: I finally brought the spending on the website back down to earth. I was getting a little carried away and needed to reset. I’ll talk in detail about the site and it’s November performance in a separate post. Spoiler alert: I made my first $1 in revenue!
I like to update an annual estimate of our expenses every month. This helps me get a good picture of how our spending is trending. Our projected annual total crept up after November. This is because our property taxes were slightly higher than expected and Thanksgiving drove our other spending up. Our projected annual is pretty well locked in now that only December remains.
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Our net worth climbed $22,590 in November! Seems like every month is a new record high for us. Our net worth was bolstered by $14,061 of unrealized market gains. We also saw a Zillow bump of $700 in our estimated home value, but I tend to think rising home prices are not a good thing.
The remaining $7,829 in net worth growth came from our actual savings and a timing issue. We paid a $2,700 credit card balance at the end of the month, causing the liability to drop to $0, but the money was still showing in our bank on 11/30. This means our net worth is overstated about $2,700. This will wash out in next month’s report, but it’s making November look even rosier than it really was.
I like to look at the increase in just our investments. This is the more useful information as it shows money we’ll actually access in the future (unlike home equity).
Our portfolio jumped $20,675 in November. Wow wee wee wah! $6,614 are contributions to our investment accounts. The remaining $14,061 is growth in our investments. The stock market has been on a riotous tear through 2017. This is all great on paper, but since we’re still in the accumulation phase it means investments are getting more expensive to buy.
Of our $6,614 in contributions $5,487 came from us directly and $1,127 from company matching contributions. Gotta love free money.
Income & Savings Rate
As I’ve mentioned before, all of our income comes from our jobs (we have no side hustles). My wife and I both have professional jobs and have been somewhat successful, leading to very nice salaries. We don’t particularly care for these jobs though, so we’re trying to take advantage of the surplus they create by saving. This way if we ever get zapped we will have the financial flexibility to leave our careers. A 50% savings rate is sort of our unofficial goal and we missed it in November, but I don’t feel too discouraged. We paid $4,200 in property taxes which is money we otherwise would have saved. For the year we’re still slightly over 50%.
November was yet another strong month for our financials. The market continues to rise making us look pretty good on paper. I can’t help but worry a correction is coming soon and our net worth will plummet. Of course that would mean stocks go on sale for us, which would be a good thing.
November was something of a tough month for me personally. Not in any tangible way, just psychologically. Work is really wearing me down (it’s my busiest time of year) and I experienced the post-vacation blues in a big way when my family left. I wrote more about it here, but needless to say, I am feeling some extra motivation to keep the finances tight and move on from this career phase of life.
Well that’s all for November. I hope you’re invested and participating in this historic bull market. As always, drive small used cars and live in a small house.