Budget January 2016 ~ Stock market craziness and home renovations

Published February 1, 2016   Posted in Budgets

Here is our first report on our 2016 budget. Ever since we decided that the path for us is out of the rat race and into an early retirement of our choosing, the Mr. and I have been keeping an eye on our finances and scaling down our spending. Neither one of us were complete clowns, but we certainly weren’t looking out for our future selves at anywhere near the level we want/need to be.

So in comes the budget. Budgets don’t work for everyone and in the future, it may not be necessary for us but, for now, it is the way we are buckling down and meeting the tough goals we’ve set for ourselves. Read more about how we budget here.

We are labeling January the month of stock market craziness and home renovations.

Why? The first one should be obvious. There was a little upswing on the last day of the month which helped our net worth a bit but boy-o-boy January was rough. We kept on business as usual though and are continuing to max out our 401ks. Stocks are on sale right?

As for the home renovations – Steve mentioned in an article last month we are moving up our move date (not our retirement dates, though Steve dreams about it). We are planning to sell our primary residence and move into our Airstream sometime in April rather than in the fall as originally planned. So now is the time when we do all sorts of small renovations on our home, things we like but never got around to doing, for the expressed purpose of selling it. Tough to swallow the extra cost and time associated with the upgrades, but if it helps our bottom line, in the end, it’s worth it!

On to the numbers!

  • Fixed Costs (Mortgages, HOA, Loans) $2558/ $2558
  • Full Time Costs (House renovations, RV costs) $2786/?? New category! I want to keep track of what we spend on the house and expenses specifically related to moving into our Airstream. This month we has both renovation costs and $1000+ for our grandfathered unlimited data plan from Verizon. Yes it was expensive but now we have unlimited data on the road. We’re canceling our cable/internet package with Comcast the day after the Superbowl and then the monthly cost is actually a bit less!
  • Utilities & Other Necessities (electricity, gas, water, cars, fuel, etc.) $746/$809
  • Groceries $410/ $350 We had people in town and decided it would be cheaper to host meals at our house rather than go out. It was as witnessed by our fun money below but it does mean we blew the budget on groceries.
  • Fun (Travel, Mr.’s fun money, Mrs.’s fun money, Mr.’s camera fund, gifts, restaurants)     $1032/ $1051. We managed to stay under even with people in town, $400 of repair work on Steve’s main laptop and other unexpected surprises.
  • Additional Income: $560 Payment for the Ridge along with our normal random assortment of checks, interest and other sundries that came in this month. Unexpected money is a plus! We reinvest all our dividends, etc. so those don’t get counted in this roundup.

Another great month on the books.

Now, let’s take a look at the money-shot numbers.

Total January 2016 income: $10,616

Total January 2016 expenses: $7,535

This means our total January 2016 Take Home Savings Rate came in at 29%. OUCH! Up front expenses suck.

And our January 2016 Total Savings Rate: 50% (includes maxing out our 401ks).

Our net worth: $692,620. Let’s see this number grow!

Our Personal Capital Net Worth Chart

We’re doing great! Just gotta keep on keeping on.

Another adventure awaits!

— Groceries: $410.22–

Fruits and Veggies: $257.59

Canned Goods: $33.19

Vegan ‘Meat’: $12.01

Meat, Seafood and Dairy: $35.66

Dry Goods: $72.37

Minus 60 cents from our bag credits. Gotta love a little extra savings 😉

We track our net worth using Personal Capital


21 responses to “Budget January 2016 ~ Stock market craziness and home renovations”

  1. E says:

    Just an idea. I believe without too much effort or time taken from joyous living, you guys can develop some kind of additional income stream, which us along the lines of your interests. This won’t be “work” but will bring in another easy $5000-$10,000 a month… Perhaps even in cash. I did this, and by accident, effortlessly, created income streams which will go on like an annuity for me Best E

    Ps, love this blog

    • Steve says:

      Thanks E – yup, I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens in the future. The more time that we spend on the road, the more we’ll be able to determine exactly how much we’ll be willing to take on as we go. It’ll be a fun process to go through, no doubt!

      • E says:

        Btw took your advice, read and bought audio. “Stop Acting Rich, Start Living Like a Real Millionaire”… Wow! So many really good people who could be peacefully happy and living great lives, are not. Because of their addictions to consumerism and low self worth, they’re not. That guy leasing the $900 a month BMW that he can’t really afford. Yes he can pay for… But that’s not affording something. I used to be him. I used to criticize him. Now I just feel sad for him. He’s in a rat race and on a treadmill… And he could be happy…. And eventually actually rich. Paradoxical.

        • Steve says:

          It’s true, so many of us have an opportunity to live much more satisfying lives outside of the demands of “stuff”. Before we decided to pursue the FIRE path, I wanted a BMW 750, bad. That was my “dream car” when I was able to…afford it.

          Needless to say, that isn’t my dream car any longer. In fact, I no longer even have a dream car, and it’s great!

          • E says:

            Lol …You’re awesome. I drove the “dream” cars once…. And I was very “important”… Lol. If you want to be in love with a gold digger girlfriend, who isn’t really in love with you, it’s a great way to get that. Now I sleep peacefully when I dream at night. Btw… I love my 2010 Corolla. Btw when I bought the Corolla, she left me and said “I’m sorry baby. But I just can’t ride in that car with you”… Lol. True story… Peace!!!!

          • Steve says:

            Woooooooow. Looks like that car was the best thing that ever could have happened to you. You got a cheap car and got RID of a cheap girlfriend! 🙂

  2. Send some before and after pics of the housing renno! Those are my favorites!


    • Steve says:

      Yup, I hear ya! Most of the changes are fairly small (like switching out brass door fixtures with brushed nickel). I have a couple pics in my article about moving up our move-out date. Switched out a couple of the bathroom fixtures and a new vanity. 🙂

  3. What part of the house are you renovating? Any Airstream hits yet?

    • Steve says:

      Hey Fervent – mainly just the doors and bathrooms. We also need to sand down the backyard iron fence cause it’s getting a bit rusty. New light fixtures here and there as well. It’s pretty simple stuff, but it takes some time.

      We have an Airstream picked out at nearby dealership. In about a month, we should have that bought, which will be a giant step towards our next lifestyle. 🙂

      • You guys are killing it from a net worth perspective. You are definitely in the top 1% or PAW’s as the Millionaire Next Door book would describe. Great job!

        Now onto that Airstream trailer: Is the plan still to buy used and do some work on your own to fix-up? We have a trip to Lake Pleasant in early March and would be great to have you there for a “shake down” trip.

        • Steve says:

          Thanks Bryan! Although the stock market took $26k away from us in January, we’re still hanging in there.

          The plan is definitely still to buy used, but not a fixer-upper. The plan is to move into the Airstream about a month after we make the purchase (which will be in early March), so we won’t have a lot of time to fix it up.

          We probably won’t be in the position to take the trailer out in early March, unfortunately. We plan to move in some time in early April at a camp site down here somewhere, but after that point, we should be more free to travel a bit, especially on the weekends because we won’t yet be retired. Selling our current home will be something that we’ll need to juggle during all this as well.

          Should be fun! 🙂

  4. John says:

    January was a tough month for the market, but it also presents us with some buying opportunities, either for new investments or rebalancing. Months like this are exactly why we have a written plan for investing…..to help us stay the course when the human temptation is to run for the hills!


    • Steve says:

      That is exactly right, John. We have good months and bad, and everything can’t just be rosy and bright. But with determination, we can definitely ride out these periods of negative growth fairly easily, and if we buy during them, we are setting ourselves up for greater profit potential in the future. All good things!

    • E says:

      Footnote friends: The “market” is overvalued by 40-50%. The climate is similar to 1929 and 2008 and other times too. Companies are “trading” in some cases at 30x or more of what they’re actually worth. In healthy times companies trade at no more than 15%. Frugality is sexy! It’s also sanity 101. Hyper consumerism will not hold up a casino mentality (sadly what Wall Street has become). Smart people are living within their means and below their means.

  5. Jack says:

    Understandable, but it’s always amazing to me that we always renovate and repair our homes before we sell them rather than while we’re living in them.

    I keep a home project list and aim to knock off one thing a year so that I get to enjoy the improvements while I’m still there. Most recently – double paned windows. Next on the list – replacing the front door / frame.

    • Steve says:

      It is interesting…and it always seems to happen. We tend to live with things while we’re in the house, but when it comes to getting maximum value, THEN we decide to upgrade some things. Good on you for not waiting before you sell your home!

  6. PK says:

    Really enjoyed coming across your site today. Curious though…and I do mean this in all sincerity…with a net worth of $692,000 (and THANK YOU for the transparency), and plans to retire this year…is it really possible to retire and live on only that? Maybe it’s somewhere in your blog, I’ll still be looking. But insight would be so appreciated!

    • Steve says:

      Hi PK – I completely understand your concern. When we retire, we will have north of $800,000 of net worth, so we will have more to work with. But, combined with our very low living expenses and our ability and willingness to be flexible and earn some dough here and there, we think that $800k or so will be a fine number for us. I’ll be sure to update everyone on the blog about how successful we are at keeping our net worth growing rather than shrinking! 🙂

  7. Oh my GOSH!!! I found out about your blog from my friend Bobby who runs Millennial Money Man (we went to high school together and both played in Drum Corps) and am so freaking excited to be reading about this. I feel like I need to give you and your wife a pretty intense virtual high-five.

    My husband and I are both in the same boat that you were in. We are rolling in the high-income-no-kids life, but luckily realized these careers aren’t fulfilling us in the long-term at all prior to running out and spending tons of money. I watched my parents go through a financial collapse from over-spending and “keeping up with the Jones’s”, and promised myself I’d never let that happen to me. I’m 26, my husband is 31. We make >$150k/year and live an apartment with two paid-off cars and student loan debt. We are budgeting like crazy.

    What is amazing to me is that we have been planning to move into an Airstream too, but couldn’t find anyone in this neck of the woods doing the same thing. Everyone here thinks we’re crazy. “Why aren’t you buying a house– having kids– blah blah blah”. “You deserve to treat yourself…”.

    The fact that you and your wife are doing this is such a breath of fresh air. We also have two rescue dogs, we are VEGAN, and we love to cook, hike, and camp. This seemed like the perfect option for us, but pulling the trigger has been a bit scary to even think of.

    Nevertheless, planning on having a custom vintage Airstream built starting next spring. We are saving the cash now. Any advice for loans for full-time RV livers? Or did y’all pay cash right away?

    Would LOVE to meet you both if you are ever in Texas. <3


    Paige Bombardier

    • Steve says:

      Wow! Super cool, Paige. I’m glad that we stumbled upon each other through Bobby’s blog. Sadly, I’m not surprised that so many people are encouraging you to…*ahem*, choose a more “standard” lifestyle of kids and homes, but good on you for staying true to your dreams. A custom vintage Airstream sounds absolutely awesome, too. Those suckers shine like nothing else out there…including NEWER Airstreams like ours (we have a 2005).

      We paid cash for ours, so unfortunately I can’t give you any tips or pointers regarding a loan. We had just sold BOTH of our homes and finally shed the mortgage payment (hopefully forever), so the last thing that we wanted to do was get ourselves right back into that situation with this.

      And yes, we’d love to meet up if we are ever in Texas! I know that we will be at some point, just not sure when yet. I’m sure we will find ourselves in the area eventually, especially during winter! 🙂

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