Monthly Financial Snapshot: August 2017

Not a whole lot particularly stands out this month in my spending. The only real thing of note is the somewhat higher travel spending. This was partly due to taking a weekend trip to Minneapolis for the GoCurryCracker FI meetup. I spent about $100 on the roundtrip flight and used points for hotels rooms, so the trip itself was fairly cheap. While I'm traveling, I also include any restaurant spending in the travel because I consider restaurants to be part of the trip, and because I rarely eat at restaurants when not traveling, I want to track them separately. So the whole trip ended up costing only about $183.42 (but who's counting?).

If that's the case, then what explains the rest of the travel spending? The answer is that I also include all extra costs associated with earning points or cash for future travel. So, $95 of it is my annual fee on my new BA card. In addition, Chase had a promotion in August where you could receive 10 Chase points per dollar spent on for purchases up to $250 when using Chase Pay to checkout. Naturally, I took advantage of the promotion to purchase Visa Gift Cards, which are almost as good as cash. Because of this, I only counted the activation fees for the cards, which was $10.82. I also purchased a discounted $50 gift card for $40, which I will definitely use on my next trip to Japan. Finally, I came across a deal with an Irish newspaper which offered 18,000 BA miles for buying a year's digital subscription for 160 euros. At current exchange rates, that came out to 1.05 cents per mile, so of course I bought it. I value BA miles conservatively at about 1.7 cents each, so I expect to profit about $117 from that transaction once I spend those points. Unfortunately, as of yesterday that offer has been cut down to 9,000 BA miles, so it is not nearly as lucrative. Just goes to show how if you see a good deal, you need to grab it before it is gone.

Anyway, here's my spending for the month:

Aug-17 Comments
Rent $768.75 $750 for rent + $18.75 Plastiq fees
Internet $55.92 Internet is kind of expensive.
Cell Phone $0.00 Zero thanks to MintSIM!
Natural Gas $17.93 Lower than normal, probably because I didn't cook much this month. Also used less hot water.
Electricity $59.61 Double billed this month. Both months about average.
Water $35.04 Less than average this month, because I was gone for half of last month.
Groceries $120.07 Below average this month. Have been eating more plants and less meat, so cost went down a bit.
Car Insurance $0.00 I pay every 6 months in April and October.
Gasoline $83.44
Did a weekend trip to Minneapolis, so had an extra 150 miles of driving. Also, started going to the gym, so that effectively increases my commute by about 40%.
Car Expenses $0.00 Nothing to see here, move along
Health $97.44 Heavily subsidized, high-deductible health plans through my work. Includes health and dental. Also joined a gym, so this includes sign up fees.
Other $0.00 Nothing to see here, move along
Necessary $1,238.20 Overall about average.
Restaurants $15.63 Had 2 meals with a coworker and a coffee.
Entertainment $9.99 Netflix
Shopping $198.82 About average. Got some workout clothes and a gym bag.
Travel/Parking $526.32
Weekend trip to Minneapolis for a FI meetup! Includes plane ticket, parking, food, and public transport. Also includes an annual fee of my newest card, as well as some mile/point purchases.
Gifts/Donations $21.95 Donation to my favorite Youtube channel plus a gift
Software/Games $4.24 Bought a podcast app for my iPad, thinking that I would use it at the gym.
Business $2.12 Inventory
Other $0.00 Nothing to see here, move along
Discretionary $779.07 Bit lower than average, despite my weekend trip.
Total Expenses $2,017.27 A bit lower than average overall.
Gross Income $10,062.00 3 paychecks this month and business income
401(k) Match $292.08 My company matches 3% of gross salary
Taxes $2,679.64 Federal + state income tax + payroll taxes.
Net Income $7,674.44 A bit above average. As expected due to a 3 paycheck month.
Savings $5,657.17 What I didn't spend this month. Currently about half going to my 401k.
Savings Rate 73.71% Savings / Net Income. Better than average this month.
Net Worth $170,781.05 Broke $170k on the last day of the month!
Projected time to FI (assuming 6% growth and 4% withdrawal rate): 6 years, 7 months!

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