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.
October 2021 Net Worth
October tends to usher in festival season in our country, and central VA seems to be no different. There’s something about changing seasons that makes people want to get out and celebrate. We took full advantage this year.
We kicked off October with the Virginia State Fair. This was very similar to “The Big E” that I’ve described in previous years; basically a giant agricultural-focused festival with livestock, carnival rides, and tons of food/beer. The kids love goats and ice cream, so the fair was a resounding success.
The following weekend I volunteered to work at the Richmond Folk Festival. The RFF is a large, free concert event hosted on the James River waterfront and featuring many multi-cultural artists and activities. My volunteer day started off with some rain, but eventually cleared up. It was fun to help keep the event free, and get to see some great music at the same time. Plus I got a free shirt out of the arrangement!
The following week, Mrs. BF’s cousin and her boyfriend came to stay with us for about 10 days. These were the same family we visited in Sweden back in 2019. They came to celebrate our daughter’s 4th birthday (!!!), keep us company, and take some of the parental load off our shoulders for a while.
During their visit, I got to play tour guide and show them our new home. We did lots of hiking, saw the sites, hit up some parks and museums, and sampled the great food the city has to offer. Honestly, I was excited they were here because it gave me an excuse to get out and get to know the city better.
We finished off their visit by going to a night event at a large downtown park/preserve. They outfit much of the park and Japanese gardens with colorful lights and let people roam around at night (top image). It was a lot more fun than it sounds, and the kids loved playing in the dark.
We missed out on the quintessential pumpkin picking / harvest festival event, but I think we packed enough excitement into this month. We had amazing weather all month long, and I have to say this was one of my favorite so far in our new home.
After a 3% drop last month, we came roaring back in October and hit a new net worth high. The markets recovered from their September swoon (aka 5% COLLAPSE according to the pundits), and we got an additional boost from the re-inflation of crypto assets.
Spending and Not Spending
|Utilities||$258||electric, internet, trash, gas|
|Medical||$219||Covid test, contacts|
|Shopping / Misc.||$205|
|Clothing||$213||cold weather outfitting|
|Total||$7,315||minus the donation|
Food: I’ve been talking/complaining about our food spending all year. This was another high month for groceries ($760), but this could be partly explained by the fact that we had visitors for almost 2 weeks and we only ordered takeout once during this period. The other explanation is that we’ve experienced inflation in food prices and the size of our family over the past couple years. Our overall food budget (groceries and takeout) looks to be roughly $9,000 a year, which I guess could be worse. This technically works out to $2.05 per person per meal, so I guess I’ll stop complaining.
Entertainment: we had some fun in October. We rented a Disney princess-themed bouncy castle for our daughter’s birthday ($185) and invited over all the neighborhood kids. In reality, the adults logged more hours in the bouncy house, and I’ve never felt so old as I did the next morning with back/hip pain. We also spent some money in the city eating fancy foods and enjoying other urban amenities.
Givewell Donation: I’m excited to say that, with our October donation, we’ve officially sent $5,000 to Givewell.org this year. I’ve never donated more than a couple hundred bucks in a calendar year, so I feel really fortunate to be able to do this. By directing funds to areas of greatest impact, it’s estimated that our donations in 2021 saved 1-2 lives. Read this post to learn more about Effective Altruism.
Income and Investing
We earned our normal W2 incomes in October, plus $600 from the IRS in the form of child tax credits. I’m watching with great interest to see how much of Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ plan makes it into its final form. Childcare is by far our greatest expense, and childcare affordability is out of reach for many low and medium-income families.
I forgot to mention that I started investing in my company’s Employee Stock Purchase Plan again in September. The ESPP has always been a part of my investing strategy, and I’ve earned $2,000-3,000 per year essentially risk-free by taking advantage of the plan. I stopped contributing in late 2020 because I thought I was going to separate from my employer, but resumed the program again after my position was made permanent this summer.
Here’s our current mix of investments.
We still haven’t finalized our home purchase plans, so I’ll update once we sign some paperwork. Hopefully it happens in November, but we’ll see.
How was your October? Did you get outside and enjoy the fall foliage? Make it to any harvest festivals? Let me know in the comments.