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.
June 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.
Before our daughter was born in 2017, my wife and I had a pretty regular vacation schedule. We typically took 2 trips per year. One in the winter, to somewhere warm where we could escape the New England chill. And a second trip during the summer, which normally was domestic and more relaxing.
Since Baby BF was born, we haven’t taken a major vacation. Most of our trips have been long weekends to local destinations such as Vermont and Cape Cod.
So when Mrs. BF’s cousin enrolled in a graduate program in Sweden last year, we knew that we had to make a trip out there before she finished.
Enter the European Vacation.
Our intercontinental trip spanned 10 days, 3 countries and 5 different cities. The majority of our time was spent in southern Sweden, with a weekend trip to Belgium in the middle. We got to catch up with family, eat lots of food and drink local beers. And try to keep a 1.67-year-old baby entertained.
If you’re wondering, tired toddlers and 8 hour flights do not mix well.
I would categorize this trip as casual tourism. Our days were not jam-packed with hustle and bustle, constant activities, or seeing all of ‘the sites.’ Part of this was because it’s not easy to drag a 20-month-old kid around all day.
The other reason for the relaxed vibe of the trip is that it was more about seeing my wife’s cousin and her boyfriend. We make sure to visit each other at least once a year, either on the east coast (our home), west coast (they live in Seattle), or a neutral site. They were especially eager to see how our 87-week-old baby has grown up and matured since last year’s visit.
While in Sweden, we spent most of our time in Malmo. Malmo is the 3rd largest city in Sweden, and is just over the bridge from Copenhagen. I really enjoy European cities for their high density, cobblestone, relative lack of cars, and general ‘quaintness’.
A short ten minute walk could get us to a plethora of restaurants, cafes, historical sites, and parks. Borrowing or renting a bike expanded our range to the city limits. We took a ride down to the beach one day to enjoy the beautiful weather.
My only complaint would be that the sun never quite goes down. Between sunset and sunrise (roughly 10pm and 4am), it remains twilight and never gets fully dark. As you could imagine, this makes it more difficult to put a 609-day-old child to sleep. But we managed.
(I’m done making fun of how people enumerate their child’s age)
We also spent a long weekend in Brussels during the trip. We wanted our Swedish transplants to have their own ‘vacation’, and also to see more than one place during our time in Europe.
On a more selfish note, I wanted to visit Belgium because it is a Mecca for those that appreciate beer. I read an entire book on Belgian beers (not an affiliate link!) and was eager to find all the quaffs I can’t get on our side of the pond.
We made sure to check out the trio of pissing statues that embody the Brussels attitude. We ate some amazing pastries and waffles. I drank a bunch of beers from my favorite places in Flanders and Wallonia. And I made it to the Cantillon Brewery, which was on my bucket list!
We also made a short detour to Ghent, which was purported to be beautiful and worth seeing. I agree.
All-in-all, it was a really nice and enjoyable trip. I honestly was dreading this vacation because of how our daughter would handle it, but she was pretty amazing and had a great time. We’ll probably wait a couple more years before another international trip, but this was definitely worth it!
Because some of you freaks like numbers, I’ll break down the cost of our trip for you.
Europe Trip Cost Breakdown
|Airfare||$79||JFK > CPH – Chase UR points (104,981)|
$70 to add infant
CPH > BRU Chase UR points (23,987)
$9 to add infant
|Lodging||$151||Sweden Airbnb (2 nights) – $151|
Brussels Airbnb (3 nights) – Venture points
Sweden hotel (4 nights) – Venture points
|Transportation||$263||$186 parking at JFK :/|
$77 metro, train, bus etc…
|Food||$631||~$60 per day|
|Alcohol + |
|$130||Much beer sampling and some tourism|
|Gift||$56||Crap-load of Belgian chocolate|
In anticipation of this trip, I signed up for a Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card, and Mrs. BF signed up for a Capital One Venture card (no affiliate links!). We used the 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points and $500 Venture redemption reward to cover most of our airfare and hotels. We had some extra Chase UR points to cover the overage.
Ironically, the single biggest expense was parking at JFK airport for 10 days. HCOL area problems.
We also spent a good deal on food and drink, but this was part of the plan. Since we had saved so much money through point redemptions, we didn’t plan to limit our enjoyment of restaurants (and beer!). We cooked dinner 3 or 4 nights, and also treated our gracious hosts/tour guides a few times since they are still living the poor college kids life. We even bought them a microwave!
We are slowly rebuilding our cash cushion after dropping $17k on central air conditioning in May. And our equities rebounded strongly after a drop in May, primarily due to market volatility. This month, we hit another Net Worth all-time high!
Spending and Not Spending
This is what our spending looked like in June. Being out of the country for 10+ days saved us some money on food, but we more than made up for that with unexpected costs.
|Shopping / Misc.||$512|
|Entertainment / Discretionary||$192|
Transportation – I had to take my car in for regular maintenance, which cost $257. Kind of expensive to change my oil and tell me my brakes still work.
Shopping / Misc. – We bought another car seat, and a combination toaster oven / air fryer. I love the air fryer so much, I might even dedicate a post to kitchen appliances.
Home Improvement – we got whacked with home maintenance costs this month. There was an emergency septic pipe cleaning (literal shit storm), yearly maintenance plan for our furnace, and a couple months of lawn care costs. Never forget about all the ‘additional costs’ that go into owning a home. They suck.
Income and Investing
We collected our monthly W-2 paychecks, rental income, and a bit more cash from some time spent at the brewpub.
We had a new tenant move in to the Basement Bungalow this month, with a lot of first milestones. He’s our first man tenant, and our first non-travel nurse. He actually flies rich people from the East River to the Hamptons in a sea plane, which is pretty interesting. We’re going to take up his offer to fly us around one of these days. Also, he’s a medium-term resident, who will be here until the end of October. It will be nice to not have to find a new tenant in a month or so.
No news on the investing front. We’re still trying to rebuild our cash buffer, but we keep getting hit with BS expenses like the clogged shitter.
That’s was our June in a nutshell. Do you have any fun trips planned this summer? Do you feel like you’re always fixing your house? Let me know in the comments section. Cheers!