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.
January 2021 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.
One of the reasons we chose to pack up and move to Virginia in December was the climate. I’ve endured 37 New England winters to date, and I wasn’t really looking forward to another one. That’s not to say it’s especially bad in Connecticut, but I’m not really a fan of cold weather, and weeks of staying mostly indoors gets to me by February.
So I must say, I’m feeling pretty good about our move thus far. In the last 2 weeks, our area in CT has gotten roughly 25 inches of snow, spread out among multiple snow storms. Here in VA, we’ve also had a little bit of snow, but we’ve also had multiple 60 degree days in between.
Now that I’m working from home, it’s essential that I get outside and do something physical every day. I’ve been taking to walking the neighborhoods where we live, and the weather has been very accommodating. So far, the weather has been living up to my expectations.
Our son had his first birthday this week. What a crazy first year of life he’s had; can’t wait to tell him about it. Viruses, lockdowns, insurrections, oh my!
Incredibly, we’ve hit another net worth high this month. That’s at least the 7th or 8th new high in the past year. As I’ve said before, the market’s effect on our net worth far exceeds the effect of our contributions each month. Hell, a 10% move will overshadow all of our contributions in a given year. As long as it’s a positive move, I won’t complain.
Spending and Not Spending
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As I mentioned in my post on our 2020 spending breakdown, childcare is the bulk of our costs. This year, it should be close to 45% of our total spend, which is ridiculous. Even if we sought out the cheapest option for full-time daycare, we’d still be looking at $25,000+ per year. I don’t know how people do it.
I’m also beginning to worry about our food budget. This is the second month in a row that our grocery bill topped $600. From 2015-2019 we were in the $300/month range. Either the kids are eating a hole in our budget, or we’re losing our frugal edge. I guess we’ll see if things settle down next month.
In addition to our spending, we made another $500 donation to GiveWell.org. I mentioned last month that we’ve decided to start making regular donations to a cause that can have the greatest impact. Barring any major disruptions to our lives, I plan to continue making these monthly donations for as long as we can.
Income and Investing
Mrs. BF’s new job is a little different from her last in that she’s now paid hourly, and so her income is a little less regular. On the plus side, she’s earning roughly 30% more now. The trade-off is that she has to work 12 hour shifts and rotating weekends, so it’s not a great longterm solution.
I continue to draw a paycheck for being a remote chemist. It’s been pretty nice so far, and I’ve settled into a groove with my new role, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it may not last. Our new VP has been shaking up the organizational structure a lot lately, so I’m not really sure what the future holds for me. Thankfully I don’t really need to stay employed.
We’ve been dumping some of our excess cash from last month’s house sale into our investment account. I’m going to keep at least $100,000 in cash for our eventual (imminent?) home purchase, and then I’ll figure out what to do with the excess after that transaction is complete. It’s not like we could be earning much with it anyway (in savings).
That sums up our January. Did you turn a new page in 2021, or is it more of the same old 2020 bullshit? Let me know in the comments.