Freehold FireworksIt feels like summer. The Delta variant may be causing trouble, but I’m glad we have options for local outdoor activities. We got to see some really nice fireworks around Independence Day at a local park. I like that there are good parks in our area here in central NJ. We visited a bunch of them this month.  We also went to the beach twice. We live about 30-40 minutes from a few decent Jersey Shore beaches. We’ve been trying to make use of that this summer. Finally, we hit the NJ Festival of Ballooning. Despite the pandemic, it’s been really fun.

July was another good month for us. Here’s how we did financially.

Monthly Spending and Income

JULY 2021 Spending

Primary Residence – Property Tax+Assoc. Fees $2446
Rental – Property Tax+Assoc. Fees $215
Internet $40
Cell Phone $70
Gas + Electric $124
Water/Sewer $0
Food (Groceries/Household) $834
Food (Eating Out) $461
Transportation [Gas] $144
Car Insurance $0
Life/Home/Umbrella Insurance $90
Health/Dental Insurance $122
Misc/Buffer [Beach, Netflix/Peacock, Prime Membership] $304
Total Monthly Spending $4,850

We paid quarterly property tax for our primary residence, along with association fees for both our properties. Utilities were pretty normal for this time of year. We kept our grocery/household expenses below $900 and our eating out expenses below $500. That’s actually pretty good for us. We used more gas than in previous months, but less than the $200 we budgeted per month.

Health insurance is still low this month, but it will jump in August. Because Mr. FD will be extending his freelance work until the end of the year, we updated our projected income with GetCovered NJ. Going forward, we can expect to spend close to $900 per month to insure our family of 4. I plan to write a separate post about that later. I’m a little sad that we don’t qualify for bigger subsidies. On the other hand, we don’t qualify because we’re doing well, and that’s a good thing. 

Some of the miscellaneous expenses included beach items. We paid about $60 for a beach cart, to lug all our gear around easier, and $20 for a beach umbrella. Also, it cost us $28 for admission onto the beach (2 adults + 2 kids) and about $10-12 for parking each time. It was worth it for us. Additionally, we paid about $5 for a Peacock subscription to stream more of the Olympics.  And… Amazon Prime. We pay it every year. Maybe one day we’ll drop it, but not this year.

JuLY 2021 InCOME

Rent $1,400
Child Tax Credit $500
Hobby Site $536
Mr. FD Freelance $10,055
Total Monthly Income $12,491

Mr. FireDesired worked a few more hours than usual in July, so he was able to bill more. We pay taxes quarterly, and we didn’t happen to pay any this month.  Those two factors padded our numbers on the income front. Also, we got a surprise $500 in our bank account in July due to Advance Child Tax Credits.  We’ll take it.


Solo 401k Contributions HSA Contributions
$4,240 $0

As usual, Mr. FD contributed to his Solo 401k, one of the benefits of working freelance.

Overall, by subtracting our expenses from our income plus 401k contributions, we’ve definitely saved this month.

July Savings: $12,491 – $4,850 + $4,240 + $0 = $11,881 in total

Spending and Savings Summary for the year

Here’s a summary of our spending and savings for this year.

  Spending Saving
January 2021 -$4,977 $6,259
February 2021 -$4,288 $3,632
March 2021 -$2,567 $11,802
April 2021 -$5,632 $1,591
May 2021 -$3,271 $9,888
June 2021 -$3,207 $9,880
July 2021 -$4,850 $11,881
TOTAL -$28,792 $54,933

Net Worth for the year

For net worth, here’s how we’ve been doing. I calculate net worth near the end of the month, but not always on the final day of the month. Most of our net worth increases or decreases are heavily dependent on the stock market. I’m also including our total FIRE assets, which is arguably more important.

Our net worth went up a little less than $40k this month, and our FIRE assets went up about the same. Year to date, our net worth is up more than $240k.  Not bad at all. That’s almost 5 years worth of expenses. One of our criteria for pulling the trigger on FIRE was having at least $2 million in net worth. It’s a bit surreal seeing our numbers go so far beyond that in so short a time frame.

  Net Worth FIRE Assets
January 2021 $2.15 M $1.55 M
February 2021 $2.18 M $1.59 M
March 2021 $2.23 M $1.63 M
April 2021 $2.29 M $1.69 M
May 2021 $2.32 M $1.72 M
June 2021 $2.36 M $1.76 M
July 2021 $2.40 M $1.80 M

FIRE Failure Indicators

I go back and forth about whether or not we’re actually FIRE’d. Today, I’m leaning more towards us being FIRE’d. Mr. FD still puts in a good number of hours per week. However, he’s made the transition to freelance.  He doesn’t have to work, and if his work place were to decide to cut hours on their freelancers, or if he decided himself to stop, then we’d probably be just fine.

In any case, here’s our quick sanity check. The good news is that we’re not failing at FIRE. 

  1. This month, we spent $4,850 and saved $11,881. At our current rate of spending, we’re on track to spend about $49,360 by the end of this year. We’re still good.
  2. If Mr. FD were to stop working today, we’d have a withdrawal rate close to 2.75%. Below is a simple table of withdrawal rates and how much that would amount to given our current FIRE assets. We want to keep our spending at or below 3%, so we’re good here too.
    Withdrawal Rate Withdrawal Amount
    4.00% $72,170
    3.75% $67,660
    3.50% $63,150
    3.25% $58,640
    3.00% $54,130
    2.75% $49,620

Happiness Indicators

On a scale of 1-10, how would we rate our happiness?

Mr. FireDesired is an 8. (Big surprise!) I’m not sure if I should keep including his rating because it doesn’t change much.

For myself, I’m about a 7.5. My Fall grad course is due to start in August. I’ve been resting up this summer, and I’m hopeful that I’ll do okay.  We’ll see. I’m continuing to run a 2-3 times a week. My current long run is up to 6 miles with a pace of about 14.6 minute miles (sigh). I’m chugging along with language learning.  I can’t complain. (I mean, I actually can complain but not in good conscience.) Also, I love watching the Olympics. Volleyball and gymnastics are my favorites, but diving, swimming, and martial arts have been great too.

As always, thanks for reading. I hope everyone is doing well!