Well, we just couldn’t wait until we got home, so we decided to do our year end report from beautiful Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It’s now 7:00 in the morning on New Year’s Day 2019.
Though our investments have been getting rattled around a bit, we finished the year with a solid net worth of $356,419. That’s a $38,447 increase from 2017! Our savings rate was a cool 64%.
Our spending has been basically in line with previous years, with one exception – I had some major dental work done. Our non-travel spending was $18,414, compared to $17,624 in 2017, which averages $1,534/month. We spent an additional $9,815 on travel, which was incidentals from our Vegas/Mexico trip last New Year’s, along with a summer Europe trip to England, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, and our flights and visas to Vietnam. We also did four shorter local trips on long weekends, which we expect to increase greatly in 2019 as we launch Project YIHAW! (Year of Island Hopping And Weighing) and set forth to explore the Gulf Islands.
Housing continues to be our largest expense, at $9,987 for the year, or $832/month ($9,702 in 2017). This includes rent and insurance on a small studio apartment. We’re not expecting any major changes in 2019.
We had a small drop in food spending this year, for a total of $3,351 ($3,522 in 2017), or $280/month. The breakdown was 81% ($2,699) groceries, 13% ($443) snacks, 4% ($145) restaurants, and 2% ($63) Costco membership. Our grocery spending of $225/month continues to be quite sufficient for two adults in Vancouver.
This one covers a lot! We spent $1,034 in 2018, or $86/month, compared to $1,007 in 2017. The breakdown was 55% ($568) electronics (skewed heavily towards my new Chromebook), 18% ($184) clothing, 12% ($123) digital items, and 15% ($158) miscellaneous.
We continue to have basic phone and internet plans, though Cel did finally decide to upgrade to a smartphone (still no data plan though!). We spent $1,026 on these in 2018, or $86/month, compared to $905 in 2017.
Finally, the remainder of our spending was $3,014, or $251/month, compared to $2,487 in 2017. This was heavily skewed towards dental work ($980), followed by pet care ($428), personal care ($398), transportation ($396), and entertainment ($352). There was no Idiot Tax paid in 2018, unlike 2017, where we accidentally bought the wrong non-refundable flights.
2018 was a great financial year. It was also a year of significant change on the professional front; I started a new business (freelance editing) and in the summer, I quit my job to do it full-time. My income next year will drop a bit, but it’s so much better for my quality of life.
Almost as importantly, this frees me from being confined to any one location. Though Steph still works a normal office job, once she’s done with that, we can in theory move anywhere and I can continue to work. And I do intend to continue working “post-retirement”, though likely to a lesser extent than my current full-time business.
So that means we’ll be in even better shape post-FIRE, as we don’t have to rely solely on passive income. We’ll have my self-employment income as well.
Here’s to 2019!