My savings rate and expenses – August update

Hi and welcome to another monthly savings rate update.

I had a pretty awesome vacation in August so I knew my savings rate wouldn’t be anything to write home about but the main expenses(airbnb, plane tickets, car rental) for that trip actually fell into September as I didn’t cut my girlfriend a check until then.

That’ll serve to make this month slightly better although all of the trip expenses that weren’t listed above occurred here and I had some other one-time expenses like my car and rental insurance in August as well.

Let’s take a look at my gross income breakdown for August.

gross income savings rate august 2017 Continue reading “My savings rate and expenses – August update”

My savings rate and expenses – July update

I’m back from vacation and taking a quick looking at my savings rate in July. I had a rough month in June and knew that my August wouldn’t be great either due to the vacation and some other expenses so I tried to hunker down and spend less in July.

I was glad to see that spending less actually wasn’t all that hard. I’m lucky to be a home body which certainly helps with expenses so the fiancee and I spent more time at home versus going out and I’m hoping that showed in the savings rate for the month.

We certainly didn’t just stay in all the time, still going out and doing stuff every once in a while and enjoying ourselves but I was certainly aiming for a number that was a good deal higher than June’s poor savings rate.

Let’s take a look at the gross income breakdown for July. Continue reading “My savings rate and expenses – July update”

My savings rate and expenses – June update

May was pretty mediocre when it came to my savings rate. I was expecting June to put me back on the right track as it was a three paycheck month but that didn’t quite work out for me.

Getting married is expensive. I have a separate post around the cost of engagement rings and marriage that I’ll eventually get around to writing but my recent engagement really sent the savings rate for this month into a tailspin.

June’s expenses ended up being nearly double my average monthly expenses which naturally won’t do great things for a savings rate.

It was all money well spent though as my fiancee and I found a beautiful engagement ring that she loved and ordered it and put down the first payment for a quaint little wedding venue that we both loved.

We’ve also been house hunting pretty aggressively these last few weeks and have an offer out on a house right now after missing out on our first offer. That means I had additional savings flowing into a future down payment expense that I know is coming in the near term(within the next 12 months at least).

All in all, this three month paycheck month wasn’t quite what I expected it to be but it was due to a lot of one time expenses that I’m not too concerned about and see as valuable.

Let’s take a look at the gross income breakdown for June. Continue reading “My savings rate and expenses – June update”

My savings rate and expenses – May update

Health expenses are really easy to underestimate and I think that’s one of the biggest worries I’ll have whenever I actually make the decision to quit the work force.

It’s not just the insurance premiums that will be a bother but also the deductibles you have to meet before coverage kicks in. Both are sure to rise quite a bit by the time I’m ready to retire and losing those employer contributions towards my premiums will certainly send my healthcare related expenses soaring.

The problem with healthcare expenses is that they’re so difficult to predict. I can tell what my premiums will be for this year and I can tell what my maximum out of pocket expenses will be for the year but predicting actual costs which will likely fall between that premium only and premium + out of pocket max level is a total crap shoot.

I can’t even began to think about where to start figuring out what sort of premiums I’ll be looking at by the time I’m 40+ and whether or not I’ll even be able to get insurance at that point.

The timing of the payments is another question mark as well making it difficult to accurately budget for them on a month to month basis. I had some health care bills in May for doctor visits that happened months ago and my fiancee has some bills still coming in for an accident that happened ages ago.

I’m not sure exactly what I’m trying to say here besides healthcare kinda sucks and is the biggest question mark in early retirement for me.

My main annoyance with healthcare when you have a high deductible plan is that it’s really hard to gauge the actual costs of something when you visit a doctor or have some tests done especially since you often get billed multiple times for one visit. I’ve had situations where I’ve had a test done and gotten three bills for it, the test, the doctor who administered the test and then the reading of the test. I work in insurance and I’m still confused or annoyed by half the stuff that I see on my insurance bill.

I’m lucky enough to have the extra cash to cover my deductibles whenever I need to have something done or when I want to visit a doctor but I feel for those who are struggling to get by and can’t even afford to use their benefits because they have a massive deductible they have to hit.

I guess one positive thing from my perspective about having SOME expenses any given year is that it gives a more realistic picture of what my budget will actually be when I retire. I can easily see a 10k bump in yearly expenses after retirement for a single person if one doesn’t properly account for the premium and deductibles and has some new medical problems. Even now with my medical premiums being partially covered by my employer, I can still be dealing with a 5k bill for premiums and deductibles once the year is done.

The best I can do at this point is max out my HSA, take care of myself and get as prepared as I can be for whatever comes around when I’m ready to quit work. Hopefully my fiancee(wife at that point) will still want to work and I can jump on her insurance plan! It’s always better to get some form of subsidization than pay full boat.

If anything this year made me realize that I probably need to up my expected costs for healthcare quite a bit in my retirement plan.

If you read my last update, you know that April for me was a mediocre savings month as I had some travel costs for my awesome trip to Nasvhille and May is no different but it’s healthcare costs that are the culprit this month! It’s not a surprise as I knew they were coming having visited some doctors in the past few months but the surprise was the actual cost of the trips.

I hadn’t planned on all these medical expenses when I set my goals for the year so I’ll probably be lagging a bit in those areas but it is a good wake up call to have early in the retirement planning years versus realizing it much later when it’s harder to adjust for it.

Let’s take a look at the gross income breakdown for May. Continue reading “My savings rate and expenses – May update”

Life!

It’s rather interesting how quickly your life plans can change and I came to realize that in a big way this weekend.

My girlfriend and I went for a walk and took the long way to the grocery store afterwards to enjoy some of the views of our beautiful state and also to get a gym(Pokemon Go – we’re nerds).

On the way there, my girlfriend noticed an open house sign on a cute little road in a nice neighborhood and we decided to stop by to take a look.

We had talked about home ownership in the past and I’ve talked about it being in my future on this blog as well but I always thought that future was pretty far off. I love the comfort and low stress of apartment living. My apartment is in a nice area in an excellent town that’s about halfway between each of our places of employment so the convenience is there as well. It’s expensive but brand new and efficient and safe and I was expecting to stay there for at least another year. My lease is up in September and the plan so far was to renew.

We’re super picky and both assumed it’d take us forever to find a house when we seriously start looking and do note that we weren’t even looking at this point.

The little blue house with the open house sign was just something to do to kill time on a Sunday afternoon. We’re both big fans of the HGTV home shows(even if they’re staged) and enjoy looking at open houses from time to time to get an idea of what’s out there on the market for when we actually start looking and that’s why we stopped and decided to take a gander.

We pulled over, I checked Zillow to see if the open house was still in progress as it was later in the afternoon and there were no cars in front and saw that we still had about 10 minutes left before it was all done.

The area is cute, one we drive by quite a bit although it’s in a town I hadn’t really considered too seriously as a potential area for purchase due to the high taxes and generally high prices. Still, it was worth looking and this house fit our budget even if the taxes were a bit higher in this town than the surrounding areas. Plus, we weren’t seriously considering being home owners at the time anyway so what did it matter?

We walked into the house, met the nice listing agent and pretty much fell in love with the place.

Continue reading “Life!”

My savings rate and expenses – April update

April was a fun month and included my trip to Nashville which ended up being an absolute blast even if the weather didn’t cooperate every day. There’s a lot of cool stuff to see there and a lot of good food to eat and I highly recommend a visit for a few days.

The March expense update had the first part of the costs for that trip and included the tickets, lodging and car rental but April has the second part which includes some of the entertainment costs, additional travel expenses and the food. I’m a guy that likes some fine dining so whenever I get out to someplace that has some of that, I make sure to visit all the great restaurants in that area which can be costly.

It certainly hit my savings rate this month but the memories I made during the trip were totally worth it and I’ll remember the experiences and meals for a long time to come. I haven’t done a lot of traveling in the past few years one of my goals this year was to change that. I’ve also got another trip to Denver planned towards the end of the year that includes a little day trip north to see the total solar eclipse!

I’m super excited about that trip and am glad I took the trip to Nashville even if it hits my savings rate for these last two months.

Let’s take a look at the gross income breakdown for April.
Continue reading “My savings rate and expenses – April update”

My savings rate and expenses – March update

March is always a weird month for me as it’s the month I usually get my taxes done. The goal is to shoot for a $0 refund but that’s nearly impossible and sometimes you completely miss the mark due to unknowns like stock sales and bonuses(which get taxed at a much higher rate).

This year, I missed the mark which means I got a decent sized refund this month.
The refund essentially means that my expenses in 2016 were too high and my savings rate was higher that I had calculated it.
Still, it’d be a huge task to go back and recalculate everything there which means I’m left with my second option; to look at it as additional income in 2017 and move on. It’s not the most correct way to do it but it is the easiest and I’m always a fan of that.
I wasn’t expecting March to be the highest of months as I had some known expenses here but the refund certainly changes that expectation.
Let’s take a look at the gross income breakdown for March.

Continue reading “My savings rate and expenses – March update”