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Monthly Financial Snapshot: May 2017

You can also track my all-time progress on the aptly-named Current Progress page.

Crossed the $150k milestone this month. Was travelling for the first half of the month, so some of my ordinary expenses dropped while some my discretionaries went up. All in all, a pretty average month as far as spending goes.

May-17CommentsRent$765.00$750 for rent + $15 Plastiq feesInternet$60.92Internet is kind of expensive out here in the booniesCell Phone$0.00Still using up my prepaid credit.Natural Gas$28.22Slightly above normal, but pretty reasonableElectricity$50.41Two month's bills due to timingWater$40.94Little less than average since I was travellingGroceries$70.87About half of normal since I was travellingCar Insurance$0.00I pay every 6 months in April and October.Gasoline$42.08Little less than average since I was travellingCar Expenses$0.00Nothing to see here, move alongHealth Insurance$13.34Heavily subsidized, high-deductible plan through my work. Includes health and dental.Other$31.00

Monthly Financial Snapshot: April 2017

You can also track my all-time progress on the aptly-named Current Progress page.

Pretty good business progress this month. It's chugging along without too much additional effort at this point. Still not quite profitable yet, but it's getting there. At current rate, will break even sometime in September/October and with any luck will score some profits in Q4 to finish out the year.

In other news, hit 2 mini-milestones this month. The first is reaching $100k of savings from work. This represents after-tax money that I have earned from working which I funneled into savings instead of spending on current consumption. Because I want to minimize how much money gets wasted used for taxes, most of this money ends up in tax-advantaged accounts. So it's fitting that my second milestone achieved this month is reaching a balance of $100k in those accounts. Of course, not all of it is contributions, as unfortunately the government and my company limit how much I can contribute into thos…

Happy Churniversary, Part 2: Burning

What good are earning credit card rewards if you don't use them? Here's how I have used my points to save money on travel since I started earning them a year ago. Since I have focused mostly on earning points, I haven't had as many opportunities to spend them yet, so this post will be considerably shorter than Part 1.
Note that I don't count travel expenses covered by the Sapphire Reserve's $300 annual travel credit as a redemption as I view it more as a rebate of the $450 annual fee, making the card effectively $150 annually. In addition, the cash prices listed for flights were the prices at the time I booked my reward flights, and are based on a round-trip basis (flight price = round-trip price / 2) when possible. For various reasons, one-way fares are almost always significantly more expensive, so listing the round-trip price is a more fair comparison for calculating the value of points.
Also, you may notice that my redemptions listed here are all flights, even…

Monthly Financial Snapshot: March 2017

You can also track my all-time progress on the aptly-named Current Progress page.

Lot of progress this month due to fortuitous timing of paychecks (3 this month), the last of my overtime pay, business income, and a modest tax refund. The remainder of the year will likely look much more ordinary on the income side, so I will have to step up my business income and hope for the best in the markets if I want to keep up the pace from the last couple of months.

Mar-17CommentsRent$768.75$750 for rent + $18.75 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit cardInternet$60.92Internet is kind of expensive out here in the booniesCell Phone$32.88Average for this month.Natural Gas$35.07Higher than normal, likely due to the unusual amount of baking I did in February-March.Electricity$27.00About average for the monthWater$57.22Higher than normal, likely due to the unusual amount of baking I did in February-March.Groceries$189.65About average groceries for this month.Car Insurance$0.00I pay every 6 mon…

Happy Churniversary, Part 1: Earning

As part of my ongoing quest to optimize my finances, I took up credit card churning almost exactly one year ago today. Let's start from the very beginning (a very good place to start!) What is churning? In order to attract new customers, banks often offer lucrative sign-up bonuses to those who open up credit card accounts and then meet a minimum spending threshold on the new account within a few months of signing up. Depending on the card, these bonuses usually take the form of cash, airline miles, hotel points, or proprietary transferable points. If you are responsible with your spending and well-organized, it is possible to take advantage of these sign up offers to earn lots of rewards for funneling your ordinary expenses through a different credit card every few months. This practice is known as churning, because of the comparatively rapid pace that the churner acquires new cards over time. To many, it may sound like a hassle, but the rewards can be extremely valuable and shou…