Each month, I share a net worth update for the Brewing FIRE household. This brief summary of our financial standing serves as a progress report on our journey to financial independence.
In addition to giving a snapshot of our net worth, I will take a brief look at our spending, saving, and investing activity for the month.
August 2019 Net Worth
We use Personal Capital to track our net worth. Personal Capital makes it easy to track all of our banking accounts, investing accounts, credit cards and loans all in one place. Personal Capital also has numerous other functions for analyzing your investment holdings, asset allocation and performance, as well as some great retirement planning tools.
As the summer winds down, I always feel the need to pack as much fun into the remaining days. I get this irrational feeling that “we didn’t do anything” while the weather was nice, and we squandered some opportunity.
Of course, this is not true. We had three vacations this summer, including a two week excursion through Europe. There were plenty of beach days, mini road trips, and patio parties. I crossed a number of breweries off my bucket list. And most importantly, we were able to relax and spend more time together as a family than we get to during the normal weekly grind.
August was especially productive in terms of doing fun and interesting things. Some stuff that happened:
- I finally got to see the Mountain Goats, and it was awesome.
- Baby BF got to spend some time with her great grandmother, who has been in CT for most of the summer.
- We did plenty of swimming, hiking, and biking.
- We added 6 baby chicks to our flock.
- I got to celebrate my birthday in style with a picnic at one of my favorite breweries.
Sick Dogs and Barren Fields
August wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns, unfortunately. Our four-legged compatriot, Percy, had a health scare that led to a night in the ER. What originally looked to be a stroke turned out to be a vestibular episode (think vertigo). He recovered after a few days, but lost his hearing as a result of the attack. We’re happy that he’s still with us, even if he can’t listen to instructions now. At least fireworks and thunder don’t bother him anymore!
Another ongoing issue that I haven’t talked about recently is the side yard. As mentioned in the March net worth update, the power company leveled the 2+ acres on the side of our yard. As part of the demolition, they promised to replace all trees with new plantings of our choice. We had planned a nice privacy row and an orchard. But after almost a year and dozens of phone calls, they haven’t returned to plant as promised.
Well, We found out last week that the company tasked to do the planting was fired, and there’s “no money left in the budget.” Who knows when this will get sorted out. But I can tell you this: hell hath no fury like my wife, pissed off about our little piece of nature getting fucked up. She will escalate this until it’s resolved, I’m sure of that. In the meantime, we have a nice grassy field to play on.
August saw a lot of market turmoil, mostly spurred on by China tweets and yield curve inversions. Amazingly, we hit a new high net worth among all this nonsense. This was mostly driven by an influx of reimbursement payments, which also served to bolster our cash cushion.
Spending and Not Spending
|Utilities||$63||solar power = $13 electric bill in August|
|Home Maintenance||$186||lawn care|
|Student Loan||$972||praying for PSLF in 2024|
|Medical||$691||ER and follow up for Percy|
|Shopping / Misc.||$192||baby chicks and supplies|
|Entertainment / Discretionary||$214||beers after softball, a concert, and supplies for a birthday picnic|
August was a relatively tame month for our spending. Mrs. BF has been reading a lot about pesticides lately, which has resulted in inflated grocery bills because we’re buying organic versions of the “dirty dozen” foods. The entertainment / discretionary spending is always higher in the summer, but it’s certainly been worth it.
Income and Investing
We earned our paychecks and collected rental income on the Basement Bungalow in August. I also worked down at the brewpub a couple days and picked up some side income there.
The biggest influx of cash came from some reimbursement payments we received this month. This includes approximately $3,500 in FSA reimbursement money for our dependent care account, and a $1,400 check to reimburse expenses for our two summer mini-vacations- I mean, Mrs. BF’s medical conferences.
We also listed a few more things on eBay and Craigslist. I sold my set of golf clubs that I haven’t used in 10 years for $75, and got rid of some glass carboys as well.
I’m happy to say that our cash balance has finally recovered after some major capital expenditures earlier in the year. We’re not too far off from our 2019 goal of $25,000 in savings.
We’re also thinking about whether it makes sense to refinance our mortgage. We can probably shave 0.5% off the interest rate, and even get cash out if we had a good use for it. Not sure what we’re going to do yet, but we’ll see how things go from here.
That’s it for our August net worth update. How was your August? Did you have $600 in vet bills? Are you thinking about refinancing? Let me know in the comments.