Hey everyone! Summer is almost over. I told the kids there are only 3 weeks of summer left and they refuse to believe me. Hahaha! I’m so mean, but these last few weeks of summer is tough. We already finished all the summer projects, camps are all done, and it’s hard to arrange a play date. Truthfully, I can’t wait for school to start again. I took it very easy this summer and spent most of my time being a stay-at-home dad. It was great, but it was too much of a good thing. I’m ready to have my time back so I can blog and work out again. The first day of school is going to be so awesome.
On the financial side, we had a fantastic month.
- Our net worth increased a bit because the stock market went up.
- Mrs. RB40 got an extra paycheck. Oh man, I love those 3 paycheck months. My online income and our passive income were lower than usual so the extra paycheck came in handy.
- We didn’t spend much money. Junior and I took a road trip to see the Stonehenge Memorial at Maryhill. That was fun, but it was just a day trip.
- RB40Jr and I started a new side hustle. We collect Lime scooters and charge them overnight. Our neighborhood is full of these scooters. It’s easy to pick them up, ride home, charge, and drop them off in the morning. It’s basically free money so we can’t say no. We’ll use this money to pay for his new bike (used) and other activities. This will teach him that money doesn’t just come out of the ATM. If you want to buy something, you have to work for it. Oh, you can get a free ride from Lime if you’re a first-time rider; use my code “RIAWBCD”. You can also use the same code if you want to try being a Lime Juicer. I think you get a $90 bonus if you charge 90 scooters in 30 days. That’s a lot, though. I’m not going to meet that quota. We average about 2/day.
- Best of all, the sale finalized on our old condo! We didn’t get as much as we wanted, but at least it’s done. It was stuck on the market for 6 months. I was really stressed out about it. Whew!
All in all, we had a great month. The only worry I have left is our rental condo. It’s still on the market. I think I’ll have to rent this unit out for a year or two. The building next door is under construction and nobody wants to buy right now. Oh well, I can handle it. This unit is pretty low maintenance.
Okay, I’ll go over my goals first and then share the details of our net worth, cash flow, and savings.
Here is my goal scheduling spreadsheet. It works really well. Try it out if you have a problem with your New Year goals. The key is to update the spreadsheet at least once a month to track your progress. It’s really tough in the summer, though. RB40Jr is out of school and we’re enjoying the nice weather. I’m behind the pace in many of these goals. Oh well, we’ll just keep going and try to pick up the slack in the fall.
- Passive Income> $60,000.This one might be too ambitious. In 2018, we had $56,628 in passive income. This year we probably will have less than that. We’re consolidating our properties so the rental income will drop sharply. I’ll use the proceeds to invest in dividend stocks and real estate crowdfunding. Unfortunately, the process took much longer than I hoped. There is no way we can reach $60,000 this year. We’ll keep going, but I’m also looking forward to a fresh start in 2020.
- FI Ratio > 100%.This is my main goal for 2019. The FI ratio is passive income divided by expense. Once we reach 100% consistently, then we’ll be set to retire in style. Our passive income decreased this year, but our expense also dropped significantly. That’s why our FI ratio is 114%. That’s really good and we just need to keep at it.
- Save and invest > $100,000. Last year, we saved and invested $102,000! That was awesome and I hope to repeat it this year. However, it isn’t looking good. In 2018, my blog income was excellent, but it slowed down significantly this year. Consequently, it’s going to be very tough to save $100,000. So far, we saved and invested $53,290. That’s behind the pace, but it’s still really good. Our saving rate is 53% so far in 2019.
- Update Retire by 40. I need to clean up the menu, sign up with some new affiliate partners, and rework a few affiliate posts/pages. This isn’t that difficult, but I have to find the time to do it. Then I’ll hire someone to install a new theme. This kind of work is very tedious for me so I usually put it off. I’m having a really rough time with it this year. All my attention has been on selling our condos. Everything else comes second this year.
- Travel Hack 100,000 points. Yes! This one is done. Both of us signed up for the Capital One Savor card and received a $500 cash bonus each. This is a great card, don’t miss out. Click through on the banner below and see if you can find the right card for you.
- Consolidate down to 1 property. We sold a condo! Now, we just have one unit left on the market. It’s not looking good for that one, though. I think we’ll have to rent it out for a few years until the market turns around.
- Drop to 130 pounds. I rarely make a weight loss goal because it never worked before. However, I think I’ll be able to do it this year. I’m intermittent fasting* and plan to exercise 5 days per week. My weight was 129 pounds at the beginning of July. I’m taking the rest of the summer off and I won’t worry about it (not weighing myself). We’ll come back to this one later.
*Here is how I do intermittent fasting. I only eat from noon until 8 pm on the weekdays. This cuts down on the calories and I don’t miss breakfast much. I’m busy getting RB40Jr off to school on the weekdays anyway. Try intermittent fasting if you want to lose weight. It really works. If you can’t do it by yourself, I highly recommend Martin Dasko’s Intermittent Fasting Course. It was very helpful when I first started IF.
- Keep my happiness level at 8 or above. This is totally subjective. I’ll give myself a score at the end of the month and try to average about 8 this year. For July, I rate my happiness level at 9. I’m so happy to close on our old condo. Now, we can relax and enjoy the rest of the summer.
- Visit Chiang Mai for 6-10 weeks. Originally, I wanted to visit Thailand in July, but I changed it to November. We have some AA miles, but not enough for 3 round trips tickets. I think I’ll book one way with Chase and use AA miles to come home. What can go wrong?
Net Worth (+11.3% YTD)
I’ve been tracking our net worth since 2006 and it is very motivating to see the progress we’ve made. 2019 is turning out to be a fantastic year so far for the stock market. That’s unexpected, but I’m happy with it. However, I’m still very cautious so our net worth lags behind the S&P 500 quite a bit. VFINX is doing amazingly well this year and it gained 19% already. That’s insane! Anyway, I can’t complain because our net worth gained 11.3%. Can the market keep this up? I seriously doubt it, but who knows… I think we’re in for a wild ride for the rest of 2019. The Tariff Man just said he’ll slap a 10% tariff on everything from China on September 1st. Let’s see if he’ll go through it this time.
Here is a graph of our net worth on Personal Capital.
*Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your net worth and investment accounts. I log in almost every day to check on our accounts. It’s a great site for DIY investors.
2019 Passive Income ($26,772 YTD)
Here is a quick summary of our passive income. You can see all the details on my Passive Income page.
Generally, things look really good. The rental income is slower than last year, but that’s expected. We’re consolidating down to one property so our rental income will drop. But our cost of living is lower as well. Our FI ratio* tells me that it’s working as planned. It is looking great at 114%. However, we haven’t taken our annual vacation yet. We’re going to Thailand in November and that will reduce our FI ratio a bit. We’ll use miles and points so the trip should be relatively cheap.
FI ratio = passive income/expense
We got some cash infusion from the condo sale and I’ll invest it in real estate crowdfunding and dividend stocks. Our passive income should increase with these additional investments. However, I’m nervous about the economy so I’ll probably invest a little at a time. Having extra cash is a good thing when the economy is on shaky ground.
2019 Cash Flow
Our cash flow was great in July. Our income streams were solid and our spending was under control. Mrs. RB40 had 3 paychecks and that made up for my slow summer. We also didn’t spend too much money in July. The only bigger than normal expense was in the parent category. My parents went on a trip to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. I helped them out with hotels and spending money. All in all, we had a good month.
Here is the Sankey diagram for July. You can get a quick overview here and see the details below. The important point to note here is that my blog income and our passive income cover our spending. Mrs. RB40 could retire today if she wanted to.
Gross Income (target > $12,000/month)
For 2019, our gross income target is $12,000/month. We met this goal most of the time. In previous years, I tracked take-home income and it was all over the place due to the deductions. This year, I’ll track gross income. Last month, we grossed $15,732. That’s way higher than usual due to Mrs. RB40’s extra paycheck. I also started a new side hustle with RB40Jr. We collect Lime scooters and charge them up overnight. It doesn’t pay much, but it’s good to get some exercise.
- Mrs. RB40’s paychecks: $12,178. I love these 3 paycheck months.
- Blog Income: $2,377. July was a very slow month on the blog. Summer is rough. Lots of people are on vacation and nobody wants to think about money right now. I’m sure it’ll pick back up once school starts. You can read more details on my Blog Income page. RB40Jr is on the payroll now as model and photographer. The income will go straight into his Roth IRA. I’m excited to see how this experiment will turn out.
- Rental Income: $44. This is much lower than usual. I cleaned and stained the decks last month. Read more at the Rental Property Passive Income page.
- Dividend Income: $845. Our dividend income was slow last month. See more details at my Dividend Passive Income page.
- Real estate crowdfunding: $102. We also had a slow month here. I think next month will be better. Read more at my Real Estate Crowdfunding Passive Income page.
- Interest Income: $18.
- Side hustle: $168. Mrs. RB40 sold my old bike ($80) and 2 bar stools ($40.) We also made $48 from charging Lime scooters. Not bad.
Monthly Spending (target < $4,000/month)
For the rest of 2019, our monthly spending budget is $4,000/month. I decreased it from $5,000 per month. Our housing expense is significantly lower since we moved into our duplex. This helped a lot. In July, we spent $3,129. That’s fantastic for a family of 3. The only big expense was in the parent category. They went on vacation and I sent them some money to help out. You can see the detail below.
- Housing: $993. This category includes mortgage, HOA fees, property taxes, utilities, home improvement, and furnishing.
- Groceries: $376. Wow, this was way lower than average. I guess it’s just because of the timing. It’ll balance out by the end of the year. Normally, I try to keep it under $500. Check out what I cooked.
Mmmm… I love ceviche. The restaurants always give you such a tiny serving. At home, I made a big bowl of mahi mahi ceviche and everyone can eat as much as they want. I also made bagel and muffin pizzas to round out the meal.
Here is a poke bowl. I added edamame, salad greens, and gyoza. It turned out really well and it was very easy to make. The one on the right is Mrs. RB40’s cherry clafouti. It was awesome. The internet said this is a dessert, but we had it for breakfast.
We also ate out more than usual in July. On the left is a great burger from Boise Fry Company. I took RB40Jr after his soccer camp. On the right is an awesome shrimp po’boy from Muu-Muu’s. Their tagline is “comfort food from around the world.” It’s all in the execution and the kitchen pulled it off convincingly. We’ll be back to try the other items on the menu.
- Transportation: $48. I filled up twice in July. RB40Jr and I visited the Stonehedge Memorial at Maryhill. It was pretty cool.
- Cash: $0. We didn’t need to withdraw cash last month.
- Parent: $1,000. My parents went on a trip to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. I put $1,000 into their account to help out.
- Kid: $8. I took RB40Jr to the arcade and buffet lunch. We got one ticket from Groupon so we only had to pay for one lunch.
- Pet: $30.
- Bills: $154. Insurance (auto, home, term life, and umbrella).
- Health: $40.
- Travel: $122. Mrs. RB40 went on a business trip. She gets reimbursed for her meals. Travel hacking is a great way to reduce your travel expense.
- Clothing: $0.
- Entertainment: $266. We ate out a lot more than usual last month. We went to lunch with friends, ate out during a road trip, and tried a few new restaurants near our home. It was fun, but we probably need to cut back next month.
- Misc: $13. We got 2 bath mats.
I don’t count these as personal spending.
- Taxes and deductions: $2,911.
- 401k savings: $3,720. I contributed $1,500 to my 401k. RB40 contributed $2,220 to hers.
- Roth IRAs: $1,000. We contributed $500 each to our Roth IRAs.
- 529 College Savings plan: $0.
- Extra Savings: $4,972. This went into our saving account. It’s nice to have a little extra cushion.
We saved $53,290 so far in 2019. Our current saving rate is 53%. I’ll be very happy if we can maintain it above 50% this year. That’s a very good saving rate.
- Joe’s 401k: $14,500.
- Mrs. RB40’s401k: $11,050
- Roth IRAs: $7,000
- 529 College Savings: $2,865
- Extra savings: $17,875
YTD 2019 saving rate = 54%
July 2019 Wrap Up
All in all, we had a really good month. Our net worth increased due to the stock market. We already surpassed my target of +10% net worth in 2019. That’s perfect. Let’s hope the rest of 2019 will be relatively smooth. However, I’m very nervous about the stock market. How long can it keep rising?
On the cash flow side, everything worked just right. My blog income and our passive income were a bit low, but Mrs. RB40’s extra paycheck made up for it. Our expense was lower than usual too. Overall, we had a great month and were able to save a big chunk of change.
How about you? Did you have a good month? Are you making progress on your New Year goals?
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