The Time in the Market savings rate report – January 2018 – winter hibernation, Netflix and adult coloring books

[This post about winter hibernation may contain affiliate links at no cost to you]

Winter is not my favorite season. Cold weather, icy roads and snow fill the forecasts and going outside becomes a drag. It’s very easy these day to fall into a state of winter hibernation. Winter, in my mind, is a season for staying in and I actually like that part of it.

I’m an introverted person and staying in to read, watch Netflix or write is right up my alley. I might not like the weather but I don’t mind the fact that it forces me to stay in more often. The fact that I’m likely spending less money by not going out doesn’t hurt either.

Thankfully, this doesn’t mean we become hermits that never go out, hiss at the sight of the sun and have no social interaction. We still go to work, still take walks when the weather allows it and still see friends and family. However, on snowy weekends with stinging frigid wind, it’s certainly much easier to just say, “eh, let’s stay in today.” Even when we do go out and see friends, half the time we’re staying at their place and playing board games since who wants to go out in this weather?

As with most people, weekends are an easy time to spend money and staying in helps keep that at bay. The best part is that we’re not unhappy when we have to stay in any given weekend. We are those types of people. The wide variety of entertainment provided by services like Hulu, Netflix or Prime Video means you can do a lot of things at home at a fraction of the cost. I’ve been making huge use of Overdrive to read a lot of books lately. It’s not just investing books but also a ton of fiction.

There’s been some fluff like the YA series, The Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson is one of my favorite authors but Steelheart and the latter books in the series were a bit dull. I do recommend a lot of his other work like Mistborn and Way of Kings. I’ve also been re-reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, another great author. I recommend that book but be prepared for a lot of weirdness.

That’s one of the things I love about winter even if the weather sucks. Staying in often allows me to read a ton and there’s really nothing better than curling up in bed and reading a bit before or just after waking up in the morning.

My fiancee luckily is cut from the same cloth. She actually prefers staying in more than I do and reads at a ridiculous clip often going through a few books every week. Than god Overdrive exists to satiate her thirst for audio books because those are expensive. I know I’m talking about Overdrive a lot but seriously check it out because it’s an awesome resource if you like reading or listen to books.

One of things she loves to do to wind down in color and the recent influx of adult coloring books has been great for that. She’s an artistic type and sometimes designs her own pages to color like the one below. If anyone likes coloring then you can check out the item below in full size on this new page I created.

coloring page

It’s great that she can do that but sometimes it’s much easier to just color sheets from a book. I always try to keep an eye out for books she might enjoy. Recently I saw a lady coloring one at a doctor’s appointment. The book caught my eye because it seemed high quality and the patterns were cool. I spent some time online looking for it and bought it for her as a gift. It’s always nice to give gifts especially when they’re well received. One has to remember that a gift doesn’t have to be expensive as long as it’s well thought out.

I know winter isn’t the favorite season for many people. That’s why little things like that help make an otherwise drab season a more enjoyable one. Winter seems a lot easier now with the bevy of entertainment options you can have at home. There’s entirely too much good television to watch between the three subscription services and it’s very easy to fill the free time with something like reading, writing or other forms of entertainment.

Reading books borrowed via overdrive and staying in means we’re spending less on entertainment and food which should mean good things for the savings rate.

We’re starting the year this month so I’m hoping to see good results. As a comparison, last year started with a 26.4% gross savings rate and a 34.1% savings rate. Continue reading “The Time in the Market savings rate report – January 2018 – winter hibernation, Netflix and adult coloring books”


Rising mortgage rates, mortgage payments and home prices

Rising mortgage rates are on my mind as a potential home buyer. When we first started looking for a home last year, rates were below 4%. Since then, they’ve risen to an average of 4.25% as of last week and have continued to rise this week.

This doesn’t mean that rates will continue to rise. Rates have a tendency to move up and down rather quickly as evidenced by the graph below. Recent fed actions have taken the rates higher.

average mortgage rates

The possibility exists that this doesn’t change anytime soon if the solid economic news is any indication.

Mortgage rates are loosely tied to the 10 yr treasury rate and that has been creeping up. That’s mainly driven by recent fed actions. They’ve taken a policy of raising the short-term fed funds rate and have begun unwinding their bond portfolio. The end of quantitative easing in the form of tightening has sent the rates up.

Rates going up are usually a sign of a good economy and may seem like great news but often those rates can have a negative impact on a variety of things. The recent volatility in the stock market has shown that the market isn’t sure what to make of the rising rates. A solid economy is good but it may turn around if rates keep rising and demand for goods drops. The problem is that rising rates especially without corresponding income increases lead to higher payments.

Higher payments are not great news for anyone looking to buy a home. That’s also potentially not great news for anyone looking to sell a home.

There are two direct impacts of rising interest rates. Mortgage rates drive your monthly payment. That means even small bumps in interest rates can mean a big increase in the lifetime cost of the loan. The second impact is that higher rates may mean lower home prices for those looking to sell their home.

It’s important to put these rates in a historical context. A 4.25% average rate is still well below historical averages. Still, rising mortgage rates will impact your home search. The affordability and home values might change and it’s important to keep that in mind.

I wanted to take a look at where a mortgage payment might go if this trend continues or if it reverses. At the same time, I wanted to see the impact this may have to home prices if this is the new normal. Continue reading “Rising mortgage rates, mortgage payments and home prices”

Time in the Market’s 2017 Year in Review Extravaganza

2017 has passed on, it is no more, it has ceased to be so it’s time FOR THE 2017 YEAR IN REVIEW EXTRAVAGANZA. 

What makes this an EXTRAVAGANZA? Will there be fireworks and fried dough? No, there won’t but there will be graphs and things like that and those are just as good; some might say better.

Thanks for the support bear friend.

Since I’m a resourceful chap, I kept track of my portfolio, dividends and expenses on a monthly basis. Now that the year is over and the December data is in, I can take take that data and compile it into a yearly view.

Don’t get too excited yet because there’s more than just that. I’ll also take some of this data and break it out into quarterly views and even calculate my portfolio performance for the year. Now we’re talking; it’s a party and everyone here is excited!

Let’s take a look at my portfolio first. Continue reading “Time in the Market’s 2017 Year in Review Extravaganza”

The Time in the Market expense and savings report – December 2017 – the uncle Dave told me to save edition

It’s savings rate time and this one is the final update for 2017. MLK day means I have the day off and spent the time writing a silly intro to this post. After all, what else would I do with this post series?

You’re probably asking yourself “who this uncle Dave is and why is he telling him to save?”

I answer, “I know right. mind your own damn business uncle Dave. It’s colder than Hoth out here and you’re busting me about savings.”

I’ve already talked about getting my butt in gear when I did my Q3 review. It was clear from that that I was behind my goals so I don’t need uncle Dave all up in my grill!

“I already know I need to save Uncle Dave!”

Now you’re probably thinking, “this is a weird start to a post about savings rates and expenses.

You’re right and also, I was kidding about being mad about uncle Dave’s comments.

He’s totally right, I should save a lot – well at least he would be if he existed because the plot twist here is that I made him up. There is no uncle Dave and he certainly didn’t tell me to save.

Now you’re probably thinking(if you haven’t closed the page yet because you think I’m an idiot), “holy crap, what a plot twist, I didn’t see that coming”.

Or maybe you did, you’re a smart cookie after all. I was just testing you to make sure you don’t trust everything you read on the internet. People do lie on the internet or so I’ve been told.

For being on the ball and not falling on my lies and the many lies on the internet, you get this reward.

You can print that out and put it on your wall as a testament of your ability to not fall for lies on the internet. You can also tell others of your success and they’ll look at you like you’re weird but they’re just jealous because they don’t have a reward.

Now that the test is over, it’s time to see if I rocked it as well. I’m talking about hitting my savings rate goals in the last month of the year. Since I did my Q3 review and saw that I was a few % below my 40% goal, I have hit 39.8% in October and 54.6% in November. That means that 40% goal is within reach if I can do well here so let’s see how the cookie crumbled.  Continue reading “The Time in the Market expense and savings report – December 2017 – the uncle Dave told me to save edition”

The Time in the Market expense report – November 2017

Happy Holidays, it’s almost time for Christmas and the roads outside look like an ice skating rink after a night of sleet and freezing rain; that means it’s the perfect time to look at my savings rate and expenses for last month!

I’m not looking forward to walking my dog in a few hours and will have to make sure to put on my ice cleats before going out. Still, I suppose I shouldn’t complain – it could look like this!

ice storm

One of the takeaways from my Q3 goal review was that I was behind on my savings rate.

It was already well into October when I wrote that so there wasn’t much I could do to impact that month. That means that if I want to hit my bronze goals in the savings rate area, I needed to buckle down and become a frugal Joe for November and December.

Who’s frugal Joe? It’s a guy that’s frugal and the goal for November and December was to emulate him and get that savings rate as close to 50% as possible.

October turned out pretty decent with a 39.8% savings rate which was above my Q3 total but still below my 40% target for the year. That means that November and December will really have to pick up the slack if I’m to hit my goals this year so let’s see how things turned out in November.

One thing to note is that I wanted to change up this month’s report a bit so I’m trying one of those newfangled Sankey diagrams that everyone is in love with these days when looking at my expenses and savings rate.  Continue reading “The Time in the Market expense report – November 2017”