After a two-month hiatus, I’m back. Work and running have kept me busy, but now that I’m a bit more settled, I’m aiming to start posting again.
Fall is here and Austin is finally starting to cool down after the hottest summer in history (and the driest in 113 years).
In September, I went for 22 runs, covering 89.25 miles in 12:53:36. Running has become part of my daily routine and it has given me something to look forward to every day.
On October 1st, I managed to run a 21-minute 5K (6:45 per mile pace)—a two-and-a-half minute improvement since June—and I’m now turning my focus to the 10K, which I’m aiming to run in sub-44 minutes by the end of the year.
As far as finances, in July, I restarted my automatic investment. Every Friday, Vanguard takes my money and buys me shares of VTSAX, a sort of weekly celebration and gift to my future self.
This is good advice that I have no trouble in giving, but have had much trouble in following, especially during the past year as recession fears led me to stop investing and hold cash instead.
By not investing, I missed out on the ~28% increase in the stock market since it bottomed in October of last year.
After this massive rally, the stock market is now on the downturn—the 28% surge from October 2022 to July 2023 has been followed by an 8% decline.
All the “experts” have been consistently and laughably wrong throughout this year (as always) so it’s anyone’s guess whether the market will keep falling or climb back to the previous highs.
Regardless, I’ll continue to run and automatically invest every Friday. 💪
In terms of numbers, our total expenses in June were $4,604.36 and my net worth decreased by $30,835 to $872,630.1
Here’s how the numbers broke down:
Our mortgage payment was $3,363.61. This breaks down into $1,515.70 for principal, $437.32 for interest, and $1,410.59 for escrow.
As I’ve mentioned in previous updates, our monthly escrow is higher this year as the escrow wasn’t set high enough to cover the property tax last year.
We’re technically getting an interest-free loan as the lender paid the property taxes in full at the end of 2022 and we’re paying them back throughout 2023. Small win.
One thing I’m looking forward to is Texas’ November 7th election where we’ll get the chance to approve the property tax relief bill passed in July, which should save us around $1,000 on our property taxes.
We have $219,443 to go until we’re mortgage free.
We spent $97.80 on insurance, $50.31 on gas, $57.94 for an oil change, and $11.24 for a jug of coolant.
For insurance, we’ve been with Nationwide since February after switching from Progressive. The switch saved us $106 on our home insurance and around $180 on our car insurance due to bundling discounts.
We’re on Nationwide’s SmartMiles program—their pay-per-mile insurance—since we don’t drive much. We pay a fixed monthly fee of $74.40 and $0.058 per mile driven.
Our utilities include electricity, natural gas, internet, water, sewer, and trash.
Our electricity bill was $71.88 for 562 kWh.3
This is likely our peak usage for the year. With the temperature starting to come down, our monthly usage should soon fall into the 100 to 200 kWh range.
Our natural gas bill was $27.21 for 3 CCF.4
Our house uses natural gas for the stove, water heater, and heating. Our usage is in line with last year and should stay at this level until November when the colder weather returns.
Our internet bill was $65.33 for the cheapest plan (300 Mbps) offered by Spectrum since they’re the only provider in our area. It looks like fiber is being installed in our neighborhood so we’ll hopefully have some alternate options before our contract renews in January.
Finally, our water, sewer, and trash bill from the city was $86.76. This breaks down into $36.94 for water (2,256 gallons), $29.04 for sewer, and $15.50 for trash, plus taxes.5
Our water usage has been higher over the past few months as we’ve gotten almost no rain and so have had to use the sprinklers to water the lawn.
We spent $254.31 on groceries, which broke down into $138.36 at Costco, $82.05 at Aldi, and $33.90 at Walmart.
This is higher than our typical ~$200 spend as we took advantage of some good deals at Costco to stock up.
At Costco, we got a 15-pound bag of quinoa ($24.99), six 16-pack Chobani yogurt cups ($8.99 each), two bags of almonds, two bags of walnuts, two bags of pumpkin seeds, and a bag of hemp seeds.
At Aldi, we got our fresh produce and eggs, and at Walmart, we got frozen fruit and frozen veggies.
The $180.87 Fun bucks were mostly spent when two of our best friends visited us for the weekend.
The Fun bucks were spent getting food at Walmart ($19.29), HEB ($73.89), and Costco ($51.38) as well as on eating out a couple of times ($36.31).
As I’ve mentioned in previous updates, my wife has an Etsy shop that yields a small profit.
This month, we spent $10.66 on envelopes.
Most of the spending in this category came from getting our car towed. It cost $263.42 to get the car back from the lot.
It was my first time getting towed and I do not recommend it—towing lots are where dreams go to die. The people are mean and the place is dreary.
At Costco, we got a Ninja blender for $54.11 for my wife’s birthday and made a return that got us $11.99.
Finally, our monthly installment for our umbrella insurance from Nationwide was $18.61 and we bought toothbrushes and travel-sized toothpaste at Walmart for $2.29.
I started my first full-time job in August of 2017 and started tracking my net worth that December. This first entry came in at $19,054.64.
As of September 2023, my net worth is at $872,630, a decrease of $30,835 from last month as the stock market had a decline.
September was our highest spending month of the year and the first month we exceeded $4,500.
Barring any surprises, though, we should be around the $4,000 to $4,200 mark for the rest of the year.
In a departure from June’s update, we are once again investing on a consistent basis rather than holding cash.
My fear of an incoming recession led us to stockpile more cash than we should have and so we’ll slowly dollar-cost average our way into the stock market over the upcoming months to reduce our cash reserve.
My goals for October are to publish two posts and to start my 10K training plan.
I hope September was good to you and that October is even
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My wife and I track expenses together but our net worth separately. Our finances are combined for the most part, but we’ve always tracked our net worth separately and never bothered to combine our tracking. ↩
Part of the reason for the car insurance increase seems to be an increase in risky driving since the pandemic. The fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled in 2014 was 0.99. This spiked to 1.32 in 2022. ↩
The cost was $0.115 per kWH plus a fixed fee of $4.23 and taxes. ↩
The cost was $1.125 per CCF plus a fixed fee of $21.60 and taxes. ↩
The cost of water is $0.005 per gallon plus a fixed fee of $25.48. Sewer costs $0.006 per gallon plus a fixed fee of $25.31.
The water charge uses the monthly consumption while the sewer charge is based on the average winter usage, that is, the average water consumption during the winter months of November, December, January, and February.
This means our sewer fee will be the same until April 2024 by which time we’ll have established a new average winter usage. ↩