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Monthly Financial Snapshot: October 2018

Well, October was an interesting month.

The markets panicked a bit this month, dropping about 7.4% in the US and 8.5% internationally. The headlines tell me that this was the biggest monthly drop in 7 years. But honestly, I wasn't paying that much attention while it was happening. These things happen from time to time, and it's part of the deal with owning stocks: higher risk in exchange for the potential of higher returns. If this didn't happen every so often (ie, stocks were less risky), then prices would be higher, which would cause future returns to drop. While it may be disheartening to watch one's net worth drop so quickly, it's important to remember that in the long run none of this will matter that much. I remember that in late summer 2015 there were similar drops in the market, and again in early 2016, and it took until summer of 2016 for the market to recover to its prior level. At the time, it may have appeared discouraging, but since that time the marke…

Monthly Financial Snapshot: September 2018

Another month has come and gone.
This month I have tried to refocus myself towards being more productive with how I use my time and how I organize my tasks. I noticed that I go through this kind of phase about once a year, but I want to do better at holding myself accountable and forming better habits in order to reach my goals.
One of the things that I noticed is that I am very good at maintaining my financial habits without too much thought or effort. Part of it is because I have made correct choices in the past and set up so many things to run automatically, but another part of it is because (at least for me) the concept of money is very abstract, so I don't have to fight against primal urges as one might with other aspects of life (like eating healthy and exercising). Because money is an abstract thing I feel that it is more under control of the logical, planning side of my mind, so I usually end up making the right choices without too much struggle. 
I recently read (listene…

Monthly Financial Snapshot: August 2018

Had a lot of work commitments the first week of September, so apologies for the late post.
August was a lot of fun, in part due to two FI community meetups I attended in Minnesota as well as one in the Chicago area. As simple as it is to live a FI-compatible lifestyle once you have the basics down, it's still fun to meet others who are pursuing a similar goal. The Minnesota meetup / CampFI were highlights for me, as they allowed me to meet a lot of my FI blogger heroes face-to-face, which is a pretty rare opportunity. Plus, I got to meet a bunch of other really interesting and friendly people (at all three meetups) whose internet presence may not be nearly as strong. It's really refreshing to be able to spend hours talking about money saving tips, travel hacking, side hustles, and other efficiencies that speed up the path to FI.
Slight tangent here: one of the things that kind of annoys me about the FIRE community is that there seems to be a lot of groupthink that everyone sh…

Monthly Financial Snapshot: July 2018

CategoryJul-18CommentsRent$768.75$750 for rent, paid via PlastiqInternet$55.92Internet is kind of expensive.Cell Phone$0.00Already paid for 1 year of service through MintSIM. = $15.51 / month!Natural Gas$19.72Little below average.Electricity$24.79Below average. I switched providers recently because they offered a low intro rate. Will cancel in a month or two when the rate changes again.Water$35.25Below averageGroceries$124.21Below average, due to work travelCar Insurance$0.00I pay every 6 months in April and October. Gasoline$95.55Above average, due to work travelCar Expenses$0.00Nothing this month.Health$48.44Heavily subsidized, high-deductible health plans through my work. Includes health and dental. Also monthly gym membership.Other