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.
July 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.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s already August. The month of July went by extremely fast. Which is ironic, because July has 31 days, and some of the longest days of the year (in daylight hours). That is, of course, if you’re in the northern hemisphere. Sorry, Aussies.
One thing I do recollect from July- it was hot. Like stupid hot. I actually plotted the daily high temperatures in CT to show you how bad it was here.
The daily temperatures hovered between 85 and 90F most of the month, and touched 100. With the constant 60-70% humidity we’ve had, it was pretty miserable. Which makes me enjoy the central AC we installed in May that much more. It felt wonderful to be able to get away from the hot, sticky environment. And be able to sleep at night!
Also, our solar panel system had plenty of sun to convert into energy.
Amazingly enough, the last two months have been among the lowest electricity usage during our four years in this house. I guess the central AC is that more efficient at cooling the house than our previous attempts using undersized window units.
Scouting Geoarbitrage Sites, Part 2
As detailed in my April update, we visited Richmond, VA as one of our potential landing spots if we decide to take advantage of geoarbitrage. We had a favorable impression of RVA, and decided to keep it on the list.
As we continue to vet the location, we planned another trip to the southern VA region for July. This time, we’d spend most of our time in the Tidewater / Virginia Beach area. Mrs. BF again used her Continuing Medical Education (CME) stipend to fund the majority of the trip.
We spent a couple days on the beach (VB, to the locals) and about 24 hours back in Richmond. Mrs. BF met with recruiters from the VCU Medical System about job opportunities, while Baby BF and I ate cookies and found the best playgrounds on the beach. Productivity all around.
Part of the reason of visiting VB is that I’ve always lived less than 20 minutes from the beach, and more than half of my life I could see the water from my window. Although I don’t take advantage of my proximity to the water as much as I should, it feels weird to move somewhere that would be considered “inland.” Virginia Beach would be our nearest destination for the true beach experience.
Although we didn’t have nearly enough time in Richmond this trip, we did get to experience RVA during the hottest time of the year. This was a goal of mine, since I wanted to know how hot it really gets there. My finding: the heat is not worse than CT!
In fact, I’ve been tracking daily temperatures and relative humidity (hence the above chart) and come to this conclusion: most days it’s roughly 5 degrees hotter in Richmond, but the humidity is 10% higher in CT. I would take a few more degrees with less humidity any day.
All in all, we had a nice trip to VA. Baby BF got her first exposure to southern charm, and we managed to keep our sanity while traveling with a manipulative toddler.
Now let’s break down the costs for the money nerds.
Virginia Beach Trip Cost Breakdown
|Airfare||$0||JFK > ORF – 28,880 Chase UR points|
|Lodging||$0||JFK, 1 night – Hotels.com credit|
Virginia Beach 3 nights, – $0 (CME stipend)
Richmond, 1 night – 17,500 Marriott points
|Transportation||$37||Parking at JFK – (0 (CME stipend)|
Car rental – $0 (Venture reward points)
Gas – $37
|Food||$261||restaurants and groceries|
We managed to pull off another cheap vacation, with the total cost coming in around $300. This was accomplished mostly through travel hacking, as we combined Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Capital One Venture Rewards credits, Marriott Bonvoy points, and a Hotels.com free night credit.
Also, we were able to pay for the VB Airbnb (~$670) using Mrs. BF’s conference stipend, with a little money left over to cover parking at the airport. Essentially, we only had to pay for our food, drinks and entertainment. Not bad.
We eked out another all-time high for our net worth this month. This coincides with the market hitting fresh highs, and the Fed (inexplicably) cutting interest rates at the same time.
Spending and Not Spending
|Shopping / Misc.||$322|
|Entertainment / Discretionary||$705|
|Home Maintenance / Improvement||$379|
Groceries – massive Costco run this month.
Entertainment / Discretionary – a lot of random expenses in here. A couple parties, a couple sets of tickets to upcoming shows, a couple nights out with friends visiting from afar. And I finally bought a pair of wireless headphones that I had patiently watched (via camelcamelcamel) for a year.
Home Maintenance / Improvement – the damn lawnmower broke again! I have to be the only person on earth that pays for lawn service and also pays for (seemingly) monthly repairs on a lawnmower. FML.
We also had a number of semi-annual bills, such as car insurance and property tax, making this a more-expensive-than-normal month.
Income and Investing
We earned our paychecks and collected rental income on the Basement Bungalow in July.
Additionally, we sold a few more things on eBay and Craigslist which earned us another $600. That puts us up over $2,300 net profit in 2019 on junk that was just wasting space in our house.
I shifted some cash from my brokerage account over to our new Ally Savings account so it could earn a few bucks there, hence the negative after-tax performance this month.
We haven’t been investing any after-tax money in the last couple months since we are still building up the cash / opportunity fund. I’m not sure at what point I will start redirecting some money back into our brokerage accounts, but probably not until I can get our savings balance into the 5 digit range.
That’s it for our July net worth update. How’s your summer going? Is it hot as balls where you live? Does your lawnmower keep breaking? Let me know in the comments section. Cheers!