2019 Financial Report

We’re doing our annual compilation a little early this year, since we’re flying to New York tomorrow at the crack of dawn to ring in the new year.

We’ve had a great financial year, with a current net worth of $462,553. That’s a $106,134 increase from last year, which was due to a combination of a high savings rate and solid investment performance. We finished the year with a savings rate of 65%.

Overall Spending

Our spending for the year was $19,163, compared to $18,414 in 2018, which averages to $1,596/month. There were a few notable increases, which will be laid out by category.

Our travel spending for the year was $9,776, compared to $9,815 in 2018. This included incidentals for our winter Vietnam trip, visiting Japan in the summer, a quick trip to Vegas for a wedding, our flights and accommodations for the New York/Philadelphia trip we leave for tomorrow, and several smaller trips to visit islands in the hopes of finding our forever-island.


We have officially crossed the five-figures-for-one-category barrier, as our housing costs were $10,149 for the year, compared to $9,987 in 2018, which averages $846/month. This is rent and insurance on a small studio in downtown Vancouver. We’re not expecting any huge changes to this in the two years we’re looking at until retirement.


Our food spending is one area that’s had a substantial increase this year, due to a combination of rising prices, complacency, and the discovery of various tasty new things for sale. We spent a total of $3,884, or $323/month on food, compared to $3,351 in 2018. The breakdown was 80% ($3,073) groceries, 12% ($449) snacks, 7% ($258) restaurants, and 2% ($63) Costco membership fee. Despite the increase, we still feel our average grocery spending of $256/month for two adults is quite reasonable.


This is one broad category! We spent $1,165, or $97/month, compared to $1,034 in 2018, on shopping, which was a lot of video games and electronics, a little bit of clothing, and a surprising amount of random items that decided to die on us this year – things like a new vacuum cleaner, etc.


Our monthly recurring bills continue to be low, unsurprisingly. We spent $1,153 on bills this year, or $96/month, compared to $1,026 in 2018.

Everything Else

The remainder of our spending was $2,784, or $232/month, compared to $3,014 in 2018. This was heavily skewed towards cat expenses ($868) as Anthony is now almost 16 years old, so his costs are increasing. More dental work and medical costs brought our health spending to $630, we spent $461 on personal care (basically haircuts and toiletries), $446 on transportation (public transit mostly), and $417 on entertainment.

Closing Comments

2019 was a great year financial-wise! This was Cel’s first year being self-employed for the whole period, and it went really well. It was nice having someone at home to take care of any issues, run errands, etc. We expect 2020 to be relatively similar, with no big changes in spending or lifestyle. As of now, we’re in the home stretch to retirement – just over two years away according to current projections. Of course, that could change depending on what happens.

We’re excited to see what 2020 brings!


  1. Are your investments still with wealthbar? Now that you have significant savings are you planing to do your own investing in ETFs to save on the 0.5% fees ? Or do you find the services they provide worth the half a percent? Love to get your perspective 🙂

    • Yes, we intend to stay with Wealthbar – they provide us with excellent services. And of course, our over-arching goal in life is to make all necessary-but-boring-stuff zero-effort and as automated as possible, so I don’t really see us switching from no-effort options to effort-requiring options for any of he things we’ve already worked out – that would be really counterproductive.

      • Thanks for the comment . I’m with Questrade and there doesn’t seem to be a way to put the investments on auto pilot. I have to login every month and manually invest and rebalance. So I recently opened a TFSA with wealthbar , I automatically put $500 a month into it . It’s nice that I litterly spent 3 mins and my investing is done until I cancel it. That’s a good feeling even if it does cost a little extra 🙂

  2. I, also, live a very frugal life. I am 59 years old, single and live in Australia. My friends are horrified that I am not “taking my finances seriously”. Do you have aamy words of advice to say to them? Even if I had more money I wouldn’t choose to live differently. Regards Lesley

  3. Hi,
    I only have almost 10k in rrsp and i am 26 yrs old plus some tfsa on etf with Tangerine and mutual fund with my bank. I didn’t know anything about investments before that’s why i just follow whatever my bank financial advisor was suggesting. Do you have different investment like tfsa, rrsp and personal? or do you have a single investment portfolio? I was thinking of moving my rrsp to an investment fund. Would you have any suggestion?

  4. I just saw the video with you guys on Exploring Alternatives, and decided to check out your site. I like that you spent so much for your cat. I haven’t been seeing a lot of real life frugal budget breakdowns with pet expenses. On another note, I would love to have your healthcare costs, that’s so cheap! I’m in the U.S. with good insurance and decent health, and can spend waayyyyy more than $630. Wish we had nationalized insurance here.

  5. Ok I looked at 2018 and I see the $19,163 is actually non-travel spending. Given the goal of $700k and a 4% SWR producing about $28k that is definitely a lean fire. In bad market years you may have to cut travel entirely, and in good years perhaps you can reduce the travel by targeting deals, off-season etc. Anyway congrats, sounds like a great goal and as we all know FI does not have to mean full ER.

  6. Thanks so much for the info on your YouTube video. It lead me here to your vlog. Im in my early 40’s just started saving for retirement and hope to see better days in Mexico 10 yrs from now. Im married and have no kids but jave no clue what to strive for monetarily. I do live frugally. I shop only at thrift stores dont use credit cards only cash have a partime job as a barista that will give me dollar matching thru Fidelity for the first 5% of my retirement savings. I also have a home paid off in a changing insecure neighborhood but needs repairs. Should I fix the house or work on getting an apartmenr and having a safer quality of life?

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