Monthly Financial Snapshot: December 2019

Since I posted my November update only a couple of weeks ago, I feel like I don’t have much news to write about. I have the entire week off as a company holiday, so I’m using this time to relax and recharge.

I did a better job this month at cutting down on food spending by routinely preparing work lunch for myself at home. Compared to last month, my combined restaurant and grocery spending is about 33% lower, saving me about $200. I’ll see what other expenses I can cut next month in order to further pare down my spending.

I did some more traveling this month. I went to Beppu, Oita with my girlfriend one weekend for her birthday. I got our flights using a mixture of United miles and travel credit from one of my cards. The night at our resort was paid with my annual free night certificate from my IHG card ($49 annual fee). Unfortunately, this year is the last year that I can use the certificate at any IHG property, and going forward I will be restricted to properties under 40,000 points only. Seeing as this property regularly lists for over $600 / night (it was just over $1,000 per night at the time I booked!), I’d say this was a good way to close out the unrestricted night era. Finally, my girlfriend and I also visited Tokyo Disneyland one weekend. It’s a fairly short trip from where we live, but since I had an unused Hyatt free night award, I booked a night at the new Hyatt Place Tokyo Bay. Although it isn’t one of the “official” Disney hotels, it is still a great location for anyone visiting the resort area, with shuttle buses to and from the resort, as well as free buffet breakfast. I’m happy that Hyatt has priced it as a Category 4 so that I can continue to use my annual free night award at this property (hopefully they won’t upgrade it to a higher category) in the future.

Here’s a summary of my expenses for this month:

CategoryDecember 2019Comments
Rent$910.49Normal monthly rent
Internet$30.43Cheap internet compared to the US
Cell Phone$0.00Payment will post early next month due to new year holiday
Natural Gas$21.64A little less than what I used to pay in the US
Electricity$24.12About even with what I used to pay in the US
Water$33.93About equal to 1 month's usage in the US
Groceries$264.42About $100 more than my typical grocery budget in the US
Transport$41.30Not too bad
Health$151.47Health insurance
Other$0.00Nothing to see here
Necessary$1,477.80Only a little bit higher than what I used to pay in the US
Restaurants$140.99Much lower this month, due to packing lunches
Entertainment$49.59Saw Rise of Skywalker with girlfriend
Shopping$565.58Got myself a NAS for storing my data
Travel/Parking$281.14CC fee + weekend trip with girlfriend
Gifts/Donations$19.96Souvenir for coworkers
Software/Games$99.00Lifetime upgrade for my feed reader of choice (Feedly)
Business$0.00Nothing this month.
Other$0.00Nothing this month.
Discretionary$1,156.26Not terrible, but I can do better
Total Expenses$2,634.06Not terrible, but I can do better
Gross Income$4,894.10Salary + Q4 dividends
Taxes$288.77Pension (SS equivalent) + unemployment insurance
Net Income$4,605.33Pretty good, although dividends made this artificially high
Savings$1,971.27Not too bad, but dividends helped a lot here
Savings Rate42.80%Not too bad, but dividends helped a lot here
Net Worth $325,852.62Good gains from the market helped to finish the year at an all-time high!

Projected time to FI (assuming 6% growth and 4% withdrawal rate): 5 years, 11 months.

Happy New Year! 明けましておめでとうございます!

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