October saw Alaska’s first snow (which then quickly melted and the fog rolled in for a perfect foggy, 40-degree Halloween). Also in October, we celebrated PFD day, Alaska day, and went to #FinCon17 (a non-Twitter recap coming Wednesday).
Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (Also feel free to read my more in-depth review of Personal Capital.)
Our mortgage is now at $36,520. Still plugging away. I actually think we may still be able to get this below $30k in the next two months… time will tell (fingers crossed for high t-shirt sales for Christmas!).
Investments are now at $177,500. I haven’t paid attention at all this month to money really and now looking at the month’s numbers, I’m really very happy with where we’re at right now. We’ve done some pretty great things with our money lately and we have great things planned. These markets certainly aren’t going to last forever, but we’re flying high while they are! We’re also still clawing our way with $500,000, but with each increase in investments, the momentum increases and that is fun to watch!
If you look at our 2017 financial goals in the next section, you’ll see that we’re failing on most of our goals. This is because of 2 things: 1) I’m really bad at multitasking my money. If I’m focused on paying down the mortgage (which I am right now), I’m terrible at also wrestling up money to put in investments. It’s a weakness. But that’s part of why I’m trying to pay off the house so aggressively. I know myself. I know I will be a better saver when the mortgage is gone. 2) We found a new priority for our money – Europe 2018 with the family. Sure it delays our early retirement, but that’s part of why we’re on the slow route to early retirement. We’re here for the kids now. And we don’t want to give that up. This is the “why” in our lives.
For our savings percentage, we track the percentage of our pre-tax (or gross) income and the extra payments put toward the mortgage are included in the amount saved. Savings percentage for August – 32%. Not our best, but you know I think this is a weird metric. And when you consider that the average savings rate is 3-5%, we’re doing bonkers well! 🙂
2017 Financial Goal Update:
- Earn $25,000 – ($22,305.78/$25,000) – Doing really well on this goal. Selling shirts has helped.
- Mortgage Balance below $30,000 – (Currently at $36,520 – $6,520 more to go – WOO HOO! – Think we’ll make it?)
- Max out Mr. T’s 401k – This is set up already and if nothing changes, he should automatically max it out this year for the first time! Yay for automatic payments!
- Put $5500 into My Roth IRA – $0 progress so far.
- $2500 in other investments – $0 progress so far.
- $200,000 Investment Balance by the end of the year – Only $23k to go! These crazy markets! (again, I don’t really count on market-based goals because I have no control.)
Notable Expenses This Month: The Story Our Money Tells:
These are expenses that tell an interesting story. A peek into our lives through our pocketbook:
- $497.91 – 3 Nights at FinCon at the Sheraton in Dallas.
- $30 – Pho with friends in Dallas.
- $18.91 – Yarn and fabric for my daughter’s Lego Elf costume.
- $7.99 – Darth Vader mask for my 3-year-old who wants to be Darth Vader when he grows up (but also for Halloween).
- $54.99 – My awesome business cards for FinCon (yes, they have a moose on them).
- $280 – Two months of piano lessons for the two girls.
- $70 – One month of swimming lessons for Lui.
- $50.84 – So much ointment and band-aids for Lui after getting warts removed from his foot. So. Gross.
EXTRA INCOME (anything that doesn’t come from our jobs/my freelance work):
- $810.78 – Selling shirts online (as reported in the Great Merch Challenge).
- $5,500 – The PFD! – This all went to buying plane tickets and AirBNBs, but it’s still exciting to get money just for living here and being able to put it toward something awesome like a 27-day trip to Europe with my family!
These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:
- Said from my cousin: “I enjoy reading your blog, but it’s like reading about a tribe in Africa.” Apparently we PF geeks aren’t super relate-able to everyone. 🙂
- “A business that doesn’t sell anything is closed.” – Nicole Walters, #FinCon17 – she told us that we bloggers that make no money just have an expensive hobby. Yes. Yes I do.
- “If you find money under a rock, pick it up.” – Chris Guillebeau, #FinCon17 (I got to meet him and he signed his new book – I totally fan-girled and now have a hilarious picture of me looking way too excited next to him!)