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Friday, 18 September 2020

August 2020 Update

 The days are getting longer and it's pretty wonderful. We even got to go camping at the end of the month

August is another month of the days getting longer. We tipped over to double digits for daylight hours and it's making me so keen for FIRE. Sitting inside looking at this nice weather is frustrating.

In August I made a bit of a change to my finance planning - each month I'm now going to round up my 'spending' on my investment properties ($1,100 for the original, and $750 for the new one). This roundup is going into my offset account for the mortgage so that I'm ready to cover the costs of big maintenance items. I really should have started this earlier - as shown by the shock of having to spend $5,000 repairing the air conditioner at the start of this year. I knew it was coming, but I didn't put money aside for it.

I'm also still looking for a car for our new puppy-parent life. We've booked puppy in for two sets of puppy preschool, and I've already reached out to obedience and agility clubs. While this might be an expensive way to have a dog - we could just have a couch potato with no need for classes - it's not what I want from a dog. I want a pal I can do sports with - just not the energiser bunny that we had a trial with earlier this year! Couch potato in the house, adventure pal in the streets. That said, I'm pleasantly surprised by the costs. Puppy preschool isn't the cheapest ($20 a class on average) but the agility and obedience clubs are both less than $100 for an annual membership. 

Lastly, Mr. FIRE and I are looking at combining finances - just a bit. We've made it six years living together with completely separate bank accounts, but due to our COVID lifestyle changes, and now getting a puppy we've completely changed spending habits. It used to be that we both did groceries while we were out and about - now Mr. FIRE does most of the spending, and I make a point to do a big shop once a month to share the spending. On the flip side, I buy all the puppy supplies, because... online shopping ๐Ÿ˜… We're planning to get a shared spending account to even things up a bit.

Goals For 2020

Goal #1: 50% Savings

I have a confession to make: I'm a FIRE blogger and my savings rate sucks.

At the end of The Year of Investing in 2018, my savings rate was sitting comfortably at 55%. At the start of 2020, it was a weenie 35%.

Getting my 3-year average savings rate to 50% is going to be next to impossible, but I'm going to track it for interest. The actual goal is for this 12month period to sit comfortably above 50%.

August Rate:  59% 
2020 Average: 41%  
Three-Year Average: 37%  
I think this is about where to average will stay for the rest of the year. With the purchase of puppy and a car coming up we're not going to magically drag the savings rate up. I'm going to repeat this goal next year just so I can keep tracking it and see what impact puppy and car truly have.

Goal #2 Reduce Average Spending by 10%

Having two investments has gotten expensive, and my spending has been creep-creep-creeping. From an average $3,500 spending back in 2018, now I'm sitting at $4,800 at the start of 2020.

The goal is to reduce my average spend by 10% from January.

August Spend: $4,112.21
2020 Average Spend: $4,356.52
Goal Spend: $4,378.30 (or less)

And we made it! I've got a couple of big spend months coming up with buying a car and a puppy, which I think will tip us over the top, unfortunately. I'm not super concerned about this, it's been a strange year. Purchasing a car and a puppy are things we've planned into our lives for a long time.


Here's what I spent in August, which includes the save-to-spend amounts.  

12 Month Average
Home$700$875$943.30 (no change)
Under Budget. Just the rent, easy days.
Investment Property 1$1,100$1,145.83$1,170.65 (up $31.73)
Under Budget. Paid the water bill, and tucked $87.92 away for future repairs and maintenance. Something I should have started doing a long time ago.  
Home turned IP2$750$1,000$1,048.28 (up $8.30)
Under Budget. Mortgage and $188.06 for future repairs and maintenance.
Personal Bills$127.26$127.33$127.26 (no change)
Under Budget. 
Groceries$103.45$190$203.12 (down $10.34)
Under Budget. So, I didn't really shop this month. My mum bought us a kilo of coffee beans, which means I didn't need to go to the central markets for beans, so I didn't leave so house, so Mr. FIRE did all the shopping.
$150$135.75 (up $24.48)
Over Budget. A bit of saving for the puppy, a large bit of buying an exercise pen so that we can contain her when we can't supervise and hopefully cut down on potty accidents and teething destruction.
Roller Derby$137.50$175$158.36 (down $3.14)
Under Budget. Still not travelling, still paying dues and saving for new gear. We are doing a rural tour in early October though, pandemic pending of course.
Travelling$100$122.50$16.67 (down $6.25)
Under Budget. Again, not going anywhere. Just putting aside money for future travels and puppy.
Comfort Food$0$40$36.24 (down $35.71)
Under Budget. We went back into stronger restrictions for half of August, so we couldn't really have people over. I'm not sure why we didn't go out, just never occurred to us.
Other$794$187.00$279.16 (up $48.07)
Over Budget. We bought a couch! We've been complaining for a couple of years now that we could barely fit both humans and the cat on the couch. My friend was selling their couch and ottoman set, and now both humans can stretch out and still leave space for the cat. It'll be crowded again when pup comes home though - good thing cat has claimed the ottoman as her own!  
Total$4,112.21$3,987.67$4,211.28 (up $57.14)
Total ex. Donations$4,112.21
$4,118.78 (up $57.14)
Over Budget. with only 2 out of 10 categories over! The couch was a big blowout spend that I'd been planning for, but forgot to actually save for ๐Ÿ˜› outside of that both investment properties recorded higher than actual spends because I've started putting money aside for maintenance. Arguably I should have done this a long time ago but... live and learn.

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