This week we’ll do my monthly finance update. As this will be the first one of the year, I’ll also include a much more detailed account of my goals for the year, going forwards I hope to do the goals as part of a my December updates.
First, total expenses:
We’ll start with the two elephants in the room. My housing spending and grocery bill for the month.
For housing I needed to include a month’s rent as a deposit on top of a full month’s rent. Next month my rent will be prorated, after that I expect this category to be about half of this amount.
As for groceries, I didn’t really separate out other spending from groceries, so most of that bill is not for food, hindsight’s 20/20 isn’t it. But this month I needed things like dishes and tables. I didn’t even have a skillet or a pot to cook in. So I needed a lot of other things outside of groceries. I expect this value to settle somewhere around 200-400 a month. We’ll see when I’m mostly buying groceries.
For gas/utilities, I only have expenses to gas up my car while moving this month. I had no utility payment this month. I expect this number to be lower, although I do need to do some maintenance work on my car this month. We’ll see how this shakes out, but I walk to work and only drive to the grocery store. I expect this value to be about the same with my utility payments.
Finally, my other expenses, just the cost of the U-haul that I rented when moving. We’ll see how this changes, but I expect this to be $100 or less a month. This category will mostly be my “luxury” spending going forwards (i.e. New pots/plants, tools, forging supplies, 3D printer supplies).
That totals to: $4413. That’s a lot! But, I expect this to go down next month, especially my grocery and housing sections. I’m aiming for somewhere around $2,000-$2,500.
Now for my income. I made: $9,295.
Most of this came in the form of payouts from my previous position. I expect to make significantly less next month. I do not include investment income in the totals.
All of this was put into my savings to make sure I had enough money to move. Although I already had enough. I also expect most of February’s income to be saved so that I can expand my emergency fund to match the changes in my expenses.
My total account values as of the close of market January 31st are:
Taxable Investments: 64,546
Retirement accounts (Roth/401k): 38,703
Long Term Debt: 0
Here’s a graph of my net worth at for each of these updates going back to my “About post”. I use this to track long term trends in my net worth.
I don’t have much to say on the graph this month as it only has two data points to draw lines between. I’m hoping once I have 12+ months of data it’ll be more interesting and we’ll be able to look at long term trends in my savings.
Now we’ll talk about goals for the year and provide an update. I’m planning to, in the future, just give a quick update on each goal. For the first post of this type for 2023, I’m going to include more of a description.
Short-term (1-3 months)
- Build an emergency fund of $12,000
The move I just made took up quite a bit of my funds, so I need to rebuild my emergency savings. I anticipate about $2,000 in expenses every month, and I want to have 6+ months of expenses in savings. To do so I plan to put a hold on my non-retirement account savings until this fund is rebuilt.
- Workout 5+ days a week
I want to maintain my health, so I need to workout regularly. Currently I plan to do calisthenics, weight training, and walk or bike for an hour.
I plan to do calisthenics every day. I’m aiming to build up to 100 reps or 5 minutes of each workout I do in this category, depending on the type of workout.
My plan for weights is to do a muscle group a day (I.E. arms on Monday, back on Tuesday, ect.). Once I have a better understanding of where I’m at weight-wise and what weighted exercises I’ll be doing, I’ll create a table with goals. But currently the goal is 3 sets of 10 reps or 3 sets at 1 minute each. The last week of January I started doing this and I’m out of shape compared to where I used to be. It’ll take a bit to get back into the swing of things but I hope sometime before the end of February to have more concrete long and short term goals.
For the walking/biking, I think it’s fairly self explanatory. I’ll expand this with more goals. At the moment it’s just been too icy for me to get out and walk at a good pace. This may have to be offset with something else such as a gym membership in the winters. I know I get discounts at a local gym through my benefits so I may need to look into this more to see what kind of discount it would be and how feasible it is. It may also let me do some other workouts I don’t yet have the equipment for at home (incline benches and pull-up bars being the most apparent equipment that I’m missing). However the only issue I see with this is that I’d really only need the gym a few months a year. Maybe this is just something that I don’t do in the winters. Another option may be one of those desk bike things you can buy or a stand for my bike so I can do the workouts in my garage. But I’d need to do more research into either of those options to see how feasible they’ll be.
Medium term goals (3-9 months)
- Repair my forge
My forge needs some repairs, namely to be relined. I plan to do this sometime over the spring/summer when it’s warm. To do this I’ll need to get the insulating materials; kaowool and a refractory cement. Then I just need to do the work. I don’t anticipate too many problems here.
- Enroll in a Spanish course
I’m trying to learn Spanish. At the moment I’m working through the Rosetta Stone course, a gift I got for my birthday. I’m just waiting until I’m more settled in my new role before I enroll in formal classes. The issues I anticipate are: finding an affordable class and finding a class that will work around my work schedule. For the former issue, I plan to audit the course, which should lower my costs. This is assuming that auditing would allow me to take subsequent classes through an audit as well (I originally looked at taking some Spanish courses at a local state community college before I moved and found that if I, for instance, audited Spanish I, I would not be able to audit Spanish II), if auditing is cost prohibitive I’ll see if some form of community education is more feasible. For the latter, the solution may be online classes. If both of these prove to be insurmountable, I can continue my semi-structured Spanish learning I’ve been doing and/or expand it.
- Try and reduce one category of expenses
I figure in a few months I’ll have enough data to draw from to be able to pick an expense category and try and lower the expenses there. Even if it proves to be unsustainable long-term, it should be a good exercise. This will probably be a repeating goal every year.
- Repair my 3D printers
Both of my 3D printers require some minor repairs or maintenance. I just need to get some parts for that. I’ll also need to get level table(s). I’m putting that out there as a medium term goal. This might get moved based on my finances (I won’t start to order the parts until my emergency fund is topped off) and part lead time.
- Expand my Potted Garden
This year I’d like to add: tomatoes, tea plants, peppers, and citrus plants to my potted garden. For tomatoes I will add indeterminate tomatoes over the summer. I’m still looking between cherry and regular. For the tea plant, this will be a subsequent attempt after many failed ones. I think I can be more successful this time. For the peppers I want to grow at the very least New Mexico Chiles. I have the seeds and just need to sprout them. For the citrus plants I want to grow an orange tree and a grapefruit tree. These will mostly be spring/summer projects. I may add other plants over the year, but this is the goal.
Long term (9-12 months)
- Reach a net worth of 150,000
This is the number I expect to reach this year if I am able to save like I anticipate. This does not include stock market gains/losses. I think it’s good to have a saving goal even if I can’t control how the stock market will affect it. These shorter term savings goals will also serve as small victories on the path to FI.
- Obtain proficiency in Spanish verb conjugation.
I currently know the basics of how verbs work in Spanish. At least in the present tense. I do not have proficiency or know present progressive (-ing verbs -hablando -escribiendo, I do not know the irregular verb conjugation yet), future, or past tenses. I want to learn and obtain proficiency in these by the end of the year. Sooner if possible.
- Set new workout goals.
Ideally by the end of the year I’ll have reached my current workout goals. This will be when I assess where I’m at and set the goals for the next year.
Longer term ( >12 months)
- Reach FI
I should probably do an entirely separate post on my plan to reach FI. But it is still a longer term goal.
- Expand my Engineering skills
This is a continuous goal. I should always be striving to learn new or improve existing engineering skills. Be that taking more classes or just what I learn through my job.
- Obtain some degree of fluency in Spanish
This is what I’m currently doing to learn and practice Spanish. I expect this goal will change as my program for continuing to learn Spanish. Listening in Spanish is a weak point for me but I’ve found watching Spanish TV while trying to figure out what is going on and what is being said helps there. Then I rewatch the episode with English subtitles to see how I did and what I was wrong about. I’ve found myself doing better at this. Once I get further along I plan to include Spanish podcasts in these exercises. Another weak point is vocabulary, Rosetta Stone has been helping with this.
- Maintain 401k/Roth contributions
I already max out my Roth IRA and my 401k. So this is a continuous goal to just maintain the status quo, every December/January I plan to update my contributions so that I hit the max for the coming year.
- Increase savings rate
Whether this is because of a change in spending or an increase in compensation from work, a continuous goal to always be increasing my savings rate will serve as a good reminder. Right now, I don’t know what my savings rate will be due to changes in life circumstances, but I’m aiming for 66-75% a month or more.
- Expand body weight and cardio workouts to 7 days a week
As the body weight workouts (and cardio) aren’t as hard on the body as the weight workouts, I want to eventually expand them to 7 days a week, with the weekend cardio being longer (2+ hours). First I want to get back to a baseline 5 days a week and then I’ll expand these options. This might become a shorter term goal if/when I complete the earlier workout goal.
Something of note I saw when looking all these over, is that very few of them are financial goals. Over the past year or so I’ve done a good job, I think, in meeting those initial goals (increase savings, max out retirement accounts) now it is just maintaining and improving these statuses. I guess another goal I could add would be something about continuing/improving this blog. But other than to continue writing posts, I don’t have anything concrete to focus on just yet.
When I update this list I’ll call that out with a system like this for things added that way new goals get the same treatment of what it is and a written plan, no matter how tentative. Going forwards it’ll probably just be a table with an update on how each goal is going (form TBD).
That’s it for this month. We’ll have another of these posts in early March.