Another month in the books. We enjoyed two trips in June, one to visit friends and another to visit family. Getting away, even for a quick weekend, really helps break up the droll of everyday routine.
June also saw some prep spending for future fun – we booked flights and hotels for future trips and tickets for future local shows. We’re able to keep Travel costs low by using points & miles earned through credit card signup bonuses. Here’s an article on why that’s ok, and another on the greatest travel perk of all.
We’ve had a string of thrifty months, but June definitely broke that trend. We don’t intend/pretend to be especially frugal people. Our goal isn’t to make expenses as low as possible, but instead it’s to make sure the money that does go out is used on the right things for us.
Ostensibly, we want our spending to be on family, friends, and trips. Not on houses, cars, and things.
That’s enough of that filler talk, let’s look at the numbers.
Travel – $1,798: we spent 3 nights away on a super-fun-times friend trip. Hitting a big city with our friends is my favorite kind of travel. Tied for favorite, we did a quick weekend flight to catch-up with my family. I love my family, and really want to make these quick visits more frequent.
Entertainment – $1,271: Are you not entertained!? We sure better be. After two years of heavy jet-setting we’re beginning to rediscover where we live.
Food – $591: this is dead-on average food spend for us. I like this balance of eating at home vs dining out. Of note, our food spending while on a trip gets categorized as Travel spend, so really we do more eating out than this suggests.
Merchandise – $379: nothing to see here. We picked up gifts for our nephlings’ birthdays and upgraded a few clothing items.
Home – $372: I’ll probably say this during every monthly update forever but… having no mortgage is the best! Home Depot has replaced Wells Fargo as our biggest housing expense. Our maintenance is ridiculous this month because it includes 6 months of HOA fees.
Other Services – $198: Our prepaid DirectTV Now months ran their course so we’re shelling out for that now. They just announced a small bump in price to $40/month. I don’t think we’re getting that kind of value though, so I think we’ll drop it. Since cutting cable, we’ve been watching less t.v. and when we do it’s usually Netflix or Prime. Which is fine with me.
Vehicle – $93: a quiet month for cars. A hundred bucks is our typical gas outlay, boo to commuting but yay for small fuel-efficient cars! The recent trend in auto sales suggests frugality isn’t mainstream yet.
Waiting to be Zapped – $0: if anyone is reading this, you may have noticed I’ve chilled considerably on the website. Work has been worky and I’ve hit something of a lull in blog enthusiasm. The great thing about hobbies is that I can let my interest wax and wane and it doesn’t really matter. Current status: waning.
Our projected annual spending crept up in June. Entertainment was the biggest driver along with Home and Travel. I was really hoping to trend this lower during the summer months, but an uptick in fun spend has moved us closer to the $60k mark. The total includes $9,000 spent on a new (to us) car, which is why that category is so inflated.
For a look at our most recent full year’s worth of spending, check out our 2017 financial report.
June makes 4 consecutive months of saving at a greater than 70% rate! That’s so insane! Our spending was higher than the 3 previous months, but June was a 5 Friday month which means 5 paychecks for our household. My wife and I both work full-time desk-jockey jobs which are bad for the soul but great for the bank account. For some thoughts on what kind of jobs get paid, I wrote a post on how to be highly compensated. I’m not saying I’m big baller status or anything, but my wife and I both have steadily comfortable paychecks.
Year-to-date savings has fully recovered from the slow start to the year. We bought a car in January and suffered a 2% savings rate for the month. The recent string of >70% savings months has moved our total for the year to nearly 60%. That’s great!
Most of our biggest spending months come later in the year, Christmas travel and gifts along with annual property taxes are major December outlays. So while our savings rate is flourishing now, it will definitely come back down to earth later in the year.
Our net worth picked up $17,000 in June. Hooray us!
The jump is primarily owed to the $11,000 we saved during our 5 paycheck month. The remainder is mostly coming from an uptick in our home’s Zillow value. Personal Capital can integrate updates to the Zillow estimate of your home value, so we use that, but don’t let it fool you into thinking rising home prices are a good thing – especially if you’re a home owner.
Our investment balances are much more meaningful than Net Worth. As mentioned, net worth includes the Zillow value of our home, which isn’t something we plan on “spending” in the future.
Portfolio balance tells us how much we’ve socked away to use on future expenses. When we eventually leave our jobs, we’re going to need this to be a big enough number to cover our lifestyle. I track our progress toward Financial Independence quarterly. It isn’t our goal necessarily, but it’s nice to know how close we are.
We contributed $11,700 into our investments in June. If you refer back to the Savings section, you’ll see that it mirrors our take-home pay less expenses. All that means is we plugged all of our savings right into our investments.
Of the $11,700 in contributions, $10,500 came from us directly and the other $1,200 from employer matching contributions.
Our portfolio balance increased $16,000 in June. $11,700 came from contributions which means the remaining $4,300 is from market growth.
Portfolio balance does not include our house or checking accounts.
If you’re interested in tracking your Net Worth you need to check out Personal Capital. If you sign up through my link you’ll get super rich and so will I! It’s seriously a great tool and makes tracking your personal finances easy peasy – and best of all it’s free.
We closed out the first half of 2018 in good form. I’ll post a mid-year update here in the near future and you can also take a look at how waitingtobezapped the website is performing (spoiler: not well).
We are definitely in the “just plugging away” stage of our financial journey. Not a lot of exciting things happening. On the plus, we don’t have to make any great effort to hit our savings rates. We live in a small house and drive small used cars – that takes care of most of it.
Our spending is aligned with our values, not with a budget, so it never feels like we’re depriving ourselves. I go deeper into that idea in this anti-budgeting post.
Well that’s all I have for now. Keep on keepin’ on – and good luck on getting zapped.