I’m going to start logging our monthly household spending, now that we completed 3 months of early retirement. We track our spending pre-retirement and have some idea of our monthly spending, but it would be good to see the actual numbers, now that we have a somewhat different lifestyle.
Our journey to FIRE is short, 1 year and 8 months in total. My husband went back to work after his parental leave. He came home and started talking about early retirement blog that he discovered. That was October 2017. I was excited because I’ve been reading those blogs that he mentioned since I graduated from college. GE Miller from 20Somethingfinance.com helped me pay off my student loan debt quickly. I’m always a firm believer of FI, but never thought that I would trigger early retirement, until I did at age 33. My husband is 37. Our last day of W2 employment was July 1, 2019.
Retiring to something
We don’t hate our jobs. There are a lot of good things about it. My husband met most of his friends in Seattle as an Intern at Microsoft. He stayed at this company until he retired. I was happy at work and was in management position when I left. The year before my retirement was one of the best years. I produced more than I thought, being a working mom. But we know that we are missing the best (or the worst?) years of our first kid. Life move to a completely different direction when he was born. Add another factor that he was born prematurely. We know that we want to spend more time with our son while he actually ask for us. We are now both full time parents, which takes a TON of time and honestly, harder than our previous jobs.
A Very Short Planning
There are pros and cons of short time frame to FIRE. I’ve never read a blog with a shorter timeline as ours. The number 1 pro is that it is short, we’re really just trying to be conservative with our FI number, but we could have retired that same day. The cons, which I discovered a month before retirement, there’s more to early retirement than just a number. Retirement is a significant milestone, mostly done at 60s. There are some data suggesting that folks that retired early actually have a shorter life span. I know some individuals that retired only to go back to work after a year. My hope is that it is not me, but if it is, I’m ok with that. Aside from being a full time parent, and growing our family, I don’t really have a plan. I’m taking this time to slow down, getting to know myself and practicing self care.
Our September Spending: $5,600.33
Our biggest expense, as we expected is healthcare. We are in COBRA until the end of the year and it cost $1,387.24 / month. Talk about a very expensive healthcare. I am also pregnant with kiddo #2, and pay for OB visits, labs, ultrasounds and weekly shots. I’m on a high risk pregnancy, so I’m taking weekly shots and have biweekly ultra sound. I also see my OB every two weeks. My insurance is separate from MBP and my husband, since I already covered my deductible and it would be cheaper to have mine solo.
Annual / Semi Annual expenses
September also hit some annual and semi-annual expenses. I prepaid MBP’s preschool tuition, paid our car insurance for the next 6 months and my husband pay his hockey league fee. We cash flow this expenses and also expect that there will always be one time expense almost every month. It would be interesting to see our average expense after a year.
Food is surprisingly cheap! It’s probably because we are planning our meals, started doing groceries at WINCO and Costco. We haven’t found a decent restaurant near the area. We used to go out or have take outs often. It will be nice if this is consistent, but will probably go up.
We don’t set a monthly budget. We have some target on our annual spending so we don’t spend more than the 4% rule. However, if we find that we need more, then we will most likely go back to work.
We track our spending and net worth using Personal Capital. We use credit cards every time we can in combination of Chase Sapphire for travel and dining, Amazon Prime Card for Amazon purchases and Fidelity Investments Credit Card for everything else.
I highly recommend using some sort of tracking mechanism to track your spending. Credit cards are good to use if you can pay it off every month.
And here’s our expenses for the month of September
|Health Insurance||801||Cobra for MBP and my husband. Mine was logged in August, but should be an additional 586.24|
|Hockey||759.35||My husband plays ice hockey and this is the fee for the season|
|Groceries||548.17||Surprisingly not bad|
|Preschool Tuition||526.5||Annual tuiition for MBP's preschool|
|529 College Fund||400||Monthly transfer to MBP's 529 College Fund|
|Service & Parts||323.43||Our prius had a flat tire and we changed two tires. Also includes the change oil|
|Auto Insurance||317.26||6 month insurance for our Prius and VW Jetta|
|Veterinary||194||Annual exam for our furbaby dog|
|Doctor||187.81||Monthly fee for my OB in addition to insurance cost|
|Shopping||140.77||??? This consist of 8 transactions. 4 from Amazon, 2 from Costco, 1 from Walmart and 1 from TJ Maxx. I'm sure Amazon and Costco aren't categorized properly.|
|Utilities||123.39||Electric, Gas and Sewer Bill|
|HOA Dues||68.25||Monthly HOA Fee|
|Gas & Fuel||61.19||Gas|
|Subscription||60||Our Costco membership renewal|
|Restaurants||92.61||Fair Food + a take out|
|Gift||31.99||Gift to our neighbor kid and nephew|
|Coffee Shops||22.68||Starbucks Gift Card refill + brewed coffee|
|Household Supplies||20.75||These are the household supplies from Costco|
|Pet Food & Supplies||20.38||Treats for our spoiled dog|
|Charity||20||Boy scout knocked on our door, selling popcorn. We didn't buy the popcorn but gave them $20 for donation|
|Home Improvement||19.65||Items in Lowes|
|Cell Phone||18.24||Really cheap cell plan for 2 lines through Xfinity Mobile|
|Parking||0.5||Street Parking in Seattle|
|Add Insurance that was logged in August||5600.33|