Net Worth Update – September 2021

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.

September 2021 Net Worth

via Personal Capital


More than any other month, September is a nostalgic time for me. We’ve started to feel that evening chill in the air, which is quite welcome after our first central Virginia summer. It’s back-to-school season, and exciting to see the baseball schedule wind down as football starts up. But there’s one thing that always reminds me it’s fall, more than any other sign – allergies.

I’ve had seasonal allergies since as long as I can remember. Specifically, fall allergies. When I look back fondly on the 38-odd Septembers I’ve seen, I can vividly recall the feeling of absolute misery. Sneezing, runny nose, sinus headaches, and an inability to sleep. I would spend these weeks every year in a drug-induced haze: Nyquil to Dayquil to Nyquil. Repeat. A visit from Allegra, Claritin, and Zyrtec, with no discernible benefit.

foxy friends

So when I read that Richmond was the #2 worst locale for allergies in the US, I was a little apprehensive. (Ironically, New Haven is also in the top 10. Am I a masochist?) Will I now have spring and fall allergies? Will my September misery last until October? Or will I just die?

Well I’ve got some good news. Miraculously, I’ve made it through the month of September with minimal allergy discomfort. I sneezed a handful of times and had a really minor stuffy nose for a day or two, but I basically skirted the season altogether. Holy shit, this is amazing. Who’d have guessed that moving to a worse place for allergies would be my cure?

In other news, we had a brief Labor Day weekend get-together with my family in Amish Country, PA. We picked an Airbnb that was roughly half-way between VA and CT, and it was actually pretty fun. The kids got to visit with their grandparents, we saw a lot of people driving horse-drawn carriages, and we absolutely loaded up on cheap local produce from Amish farm stands.

Month-Over-Month Comparison

Well the markets dropped by a few percent in September, and so did our investment accounts. It’s funny watching the business news media shit a brick over 1% moves to the downside, but I guess that’s how they keep peoples’ attention. Let me know when the VIX gets back over 30.

Spending and Not Spending

Utilities$438electric, water, internet, trash, gas
Student Loan$0
Medical$179child-sized Covid tests
Shopping / Misc.$865New phone
Entertainment$186Birthday bouncy house booked
Travel$334Labor Day trip
Total$7,649minus the donation
fancy dog portraits on new phone

Shopping: last year my wife lost her company-issued mobile phone when she separated from her job, and I had to get her a replacement. I chose to buy a refurbished iPhone from eBay for $250, and it malfunctioned from day one. This month it gasped its last breath. So rather than repeat last year’s mistake, I bit the bullet and got a new iPhone to the tune of $600. We’ve averaged 4-5 years of use for new models, so I guess it’s not that bad.

Food: after last month’s $1,000 combined food bill, we came in under $600 for groceries and take-out in September. I think we just happened to stock up more than normal in August. Good to see the trend smooth out over time.

Medical: I started to write a full-blown rant on childcare and Covid, but I retracted it before hitting publish. Everyone’s dealing with their own problems, and our problems are really minor in comparison to others. But I will leave you with this: we’ve spent over $600 on Covid tests for our kids in 2021, and I’ve lost 7-8 days of work due to runny noses. Hopefully this winter won’t be more of the same, but I’m not overly optimistic.

Income and Investing

We earned our normal W2 incomes in September, plus $600 from the government for baby-making. Mrs. BF received a $3,000 check from a family trust that pays out sporadically, so that’s cool. I also came in 2nd place in my fantasy baseball league, with a $275 payout. Beer money!

Investments-wise, I transferred some money into our Wealthfront account and also made one more crypto investment. I wanted to get my Bitcoin allocation up to a ’round’ number. Of course, you can’t tell that we upped our investments, because the market dropped about 5% in September.

Here’s our current mix of investments.

I had promised an update on our housing situation, but I don’t want to post anything until we’ve signed a contract, so I must delay once more. I’m hoping to have a purchase agreement (and an explanatory post!) later in October.


How was your September? Enjoying the cooler weather? Dealing with seasonal allergies? Hit up any county fairs? Let me know in the comments.

10 thoughts on “Net Worth Update – September 2021”

  1. what is 40 feet long and has 40 teeth? the line for fried dough at the country fair! i sort of feel your pain on this covid childcare stuff. my friend’s kid has had a couple of 10 day quarantines back to back in a school year not a month old yet. i have no idea who’s staying home with him. well done on the fantasy baseball. i’m off to a rough start on the football so far. those allergies are tough. i am thankful mine largely went away in adulthood. they were horrific when i was a teenager.

    • yeah, I’m starting to wonder if my allergies are just getting better as I get older- the only benefit of aging?? Either way, it’s a welcome change. I quit fantasy football a couple years ago, it was too hard to keep track of with the weekly injuries and the fact that the life cycle of an NFL superstar is often just a year or two.

  2. Thankfully I don’t suffer from allergies! My spending-more-and-more-time-outdoors plan would have taken a serious hit if that were to be case. Spouse on the other hand, is on 365-days Zyrtec cover, with benadryl thrown in for good measure, this time of the year.

    Fantasy football, now this is more my cup of tea!

  3. That’s cool about the allergies. Sometimes it just takes moving or adding some years. We’re going through the same covid testing and missing days of work/school here. I guess I’m lucky I can get “free” tests through my healthcare. I hadn’t thought about what it would be like to have to pay for the testing. Hope that eases up for you.

    • Hey Noel! I can report that things have not eased up. Kids were out 2 more days this week, which brings me up to 6 days of missed work since the beginning of September. Really annoying, but I guess there isn’t much I can do besides continue to burn my PTO. Oh well, hopefully once the little one turns 2 he will get sick less often.

  4. Really glad to hear your allergy issues have cleared up. I also think it is great that you publish a running record of your net worth as a model for others and to show what it takes. My question to you is what will it take for people making less than $30,000 annually to aspire to the FIRE movement? What incremental steps should they take? I think the FIRE movement is interesting but intimidating for someone who can’t afford to save significant portions of their income annually.

    • Thanks for the comment Allen. Yikes, that’s a tough question. Many people would say something like, “you can work toward FIRE at any income level” and technically I guess they’re right. But honestly, it’s really hard to build significant wealth if you’re earning minimum wage. Many would argue that’s not enough to live on, let alone save anything. In my own case, I didn’t earn a lot early on in my career, and I was only able to save $5,000-8,000 per year until I hit 30 and my pay began to accelerate. I guess you just have to start small and try to boost your earnings as you go along. It doesn’t happen overnight.


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