Here We Go Again! – May 2018 Income, Expense, and Net Worth Update

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Welcome to…holy moly, it’s already June!? Half of 2018 is gone! I was almost on time. Only 6 days late to report this time you guys! Yaaaaay.

Past Reports

You can check out the other reports here if you wanted to…you voyeuristic kitty cat :3

Jan 2018 – Income Report & Budget Breakdown

Feb 2018 – Expense Report & Financial Update

March to April 2018 Budget & Financial Update Featuring…Our Readers!

Income

Both our incomes for May were inflated by timing and seasons.

SourceMayNotes:
Mr. Hippo$9,118.81*Fatter because of an extra paycheck and 1 week of overtime.

*Retirement contributions are already taken out.
Me$3,600.26*Not including blog income ($1500).

Mr. Hippo

Hubby received 3 paychecks this month, on top of that, he was compensated for a week of overtime at work. My husband is a great provider even though sometimes it doesn’t seem like it on paper. He is the one sheltering us from taxes (that’s his own fault though :p). He is the one that keeps us insured. He is the one who floods our retirement accounts and HSAs diligently to the tune of a $5k every month. I know it’s hard to see your take home get rained down so kudos to the all the hardworking family breadwinners out there ❤

Me

I do the living and housing costs typically (or that’s what I’m thinking, I don’t think he sees it that way.) Now that our rental is gone, we should be spending about or less than $3,000 a month so as long as I keep above that number, save some money for my other projects, then save ALL of his paychecks so his sacrifices (symbolically) aren’t all for nothing.

I made $3,600 this month from side hustling on Airbnb and pet sitting on Rover. That doesn’t include blogging income which is another $1,500. I chose to not include it officially because…I don’t know…maybe I should but there’s a bit of an imposter syndrome going on. Also, the math is hard to track. I am only tracking Mediavine which is the lion share of income anyway, plus they make it so easy. I had some Airbnb, Rover, and ThredUP credits but I’m not sure how to quantify those.

Ms. Olivia (Birds of a FIRE) is right, my monetization skills do suck.

Kudos to her for having the guts to tell me that and continuing to PESTER (lol jk, I love her) me to grasp the potential. But right now…I can’t even grasp $1,500. That’s like 185 carne asada burritos. My legs just twitched from the excitement.

Related: Step by Step Guide on Starting a Blog

If someone asked me where I wanted to go with this website – I have no idea. But then again if you asked me a year ago, I would have said the same thing = I have no idea.

So…you know…you don’t need to know what you’re doing to be OK in life. Just look at me…

The other thing is…if I wanted to hard sell something…it’s not going to be with a blog called FRUGAL genes. I would take it to MoneysCrap.com and hustle sell you a Ferrari with 15% interest rate and then sell you annuities while I’m at it.

(Caroline claims it’s MoneyScrap.com but I think she’s lying, it’s too perfect of a flaw.)

I try to do a side hustle breakdown report every month for my subscribers! Although my reports are kind of boring…you can still subscribe here and get extra content from me free.

Expenses

Salmon nigiri at home
Salmon nigiri at home

It looks like we spent a lot of money but we didn’t! Don’t give up on meeee. I am still behind on spending for my Capital One Venture card ($3,000 within the first 3 months).

My mom came to visit us for 2 weeks so food expenses are slightly higher than usual and my productivity went to the dump. We both cooked up quite a storm though.

CategoryBudgeted ($3,000/m)May
Groceries$365$377.41
Dining Out$300$205.62
Transportation$25$10.00
Personal Care$100$168.96
Entertainment$100$245.80
Home Maintenance$150$51.07
Misc. Expenses$100$285.17
Pets$50$33.71
Vacation + Travel$50$0
Mobile (AT&T)$35$33.98
Internet$60$59.99
Utilites$350$482.19
Mortgage, Insurance, Taxes$1,315$1,315
Spending Total$1,953
Grand Total + Mortgage$3,284.39

Food – $377

Deceptive! We did stay under budget. I pay all my transactions with credit cards but my mom kept giving me cash for her personal items even though I told her I sincerely didn’t care. I took $20 in cash from her once to appease her and said no more.

This blogging thing is great for curbing spending. We got a Costco membership during their Groupon promotionI bought a pound of gouda cheese for $7.99 but I couldn’t make myself spare $10 for mochi ice cream. I was afraid of going over our grocery budget and having to report to the whole wide Internet that I failed as a human being. Stupid huh?

But those concerns were beans compare to the actual (deceptively) expensive things we did this month.

Dining Out – $200

Well, this is deceptive because I felt like we spent MORE. $200 isn’t a lot for how much we dined out in May, just look at our pic heavy Sunday diaries for a reference! It’s foodporn town! I doubled checked our budget sheet to see if we missed a meal.

Transportation – $10

I reloaded my bus card! I love how our transportation costs are always near 0.

Related: 5 Big Reasons Why We Choose to Live Without a Car

Personal Care – $168

Deceptive! I purchased a new pair of glasses from BonLook (OK quality, cute styles) and my card was charged fully. I didn’t use any coupons because it would have worked out to be the same and I rather get free shipping. I’m only on the hook for $35 thanks to insurance but that will be reimbursed later.

Oh, I also bought some pearl Goody hair pins from Amazon. They’re soooo cute and they work like magic on long hair! It’s not as good as the real Goody spin pins but the real Goody pins don’t have pearls attached. I already have some of these pearl pins but I wanted more in a bigger size pearl.

Entertainment – $240

Deceptive! $200 of that was for my new Chromebook. It’s a secret project expense but I use it for leisurely stuff like watching Netflix so we decided to be fairer to put it under “entertainment.” The rest was entertainment was bowling + shopping trip with our friends.

Home Maintenance – $51

house-foil-ugly
Our cheapo solution to the bird problem 🙂

I can go into a whole post about this experiement later but we purchased a birdhouse online for the homeless woodpecker that has been pecking at our house. Shipping issues made it almost 4 weeks way too late. Meanwhile the bird started drilling more holes in our house. We put up double foil in every corner of our home before we could get an appointment with bird people. We bought wood epoxy to fill the holes said woodpecker drilled. (Well that was the plan at least if we didn’t fail like cowards). Wood epoxy is basically putty glue…but for wood. Then just plaster and paint over it like normal. Sounds easy but we had to hire a pro eventually. But the cheapo foil worked…we just weren’t keen on keeping that way until bird season was over every year.

Related: DIY or Pro? A list of our home fixes and projects

Misc. Expenses – $285

gardening scallions home
Test growing until I get a hang of things.

Gardening pots and supplies = Fun!

Passport renewals = Ugh! Not fun.

Seriously I can go for an hour rant. Renewing your passport is an example of government convulsion at it’s finest.

How has no one tried to revolutionize this stupid draconian process? This is both annoying and expensive.

(Edit, there’s an app that’s trying to do this according to Business Insider.)

We both paid $110 each to mail it in. It’s a month long process to get it approved and another month to send it back to us. We can’t go out of the country (not even a day trip to Vancouver.) We can pay another $80 each on top of the $110 each to speed things up but why the hell would I tip someone that is price gouging me.

We can’t even pay online. They make us send separate physical checks. It’s like the 1950s or something.

If the passport photos are not good, they take your money and mail you an expired old passport in return a month later. But no worries! You can try again for another $110 and add $80 on if you’re in a hurry now.

Oh and did I mention for “professional” passport photos that it’s $15 each at most places? For two small prints of 2×2 at Walgreens, which normally should cost $0.25 cents, becomes $15 per person!

I hate every single person involved in the process. If anyone you know works in that office branch, give them a middle finger from me the next time you see them.

(By the way…I feel so adult complaining about this. :D)

Pets – $34

This month we replenished poop bags, dog food, and got her some treats that she really likes. It’s supposed to be closer to $50 but we had some Amazon gift cards to use up, we have a tendency to hoard Bing search rewards. All in all, pretty good this month.

Related: 5 Frugal Dog Things We Don’t Do

Vacation + Travel – $0

We’re so wild and crazy with our crazy millionaire jet-set to Morroco lives.

Mobile (AT&T) – $34

So I looked into Ting and their plans are about the same plan I get with AT&T for pretty much the same price. Boo 🙁 I looked into RedPocket too which seems to be cheaper by $10 but I’m not sure about their call and mobile quality.

I’m still undecided. But I know a mobile plan for just me seems high at $34. I’m paying $400 for my phone PLAN every year? There’s something so wrong with that…

I recieve 1GB of data a month and I use at the most 1/2 of that. I’m not even using my money’s worth. My husband’s phone is on his employer’s plan and my dad’s flip phone is free, he’s still on my mom’s plan.

Internet – $60

We’re back to paying for Internet (at least on paper.) It’s reimbursed later via hubby’s employer.

Utilities – $482

Our gas stove was on a lot this month with my mom trying to cook everything. We have a freezer full of dumplings. Electricity and water are billed every 2 months. Seattle water is expensive (I prefer expensive over Flint water though). For a house full of Airbnb guests near 100% occupancy rates, $482 isn’t too bad. Our water bill gets really bad during summer. A lot of guests take showers. For most of May, our house had about 9-10 people (including 4 of us) living and sleeping in it! Townhouses are designed for it thankfully and everyone’s out sight seeing or sleeping in their rooms.

Mortgage, Insurance, Taxes – $1,315

We sold our rental property (more on that below) so now we’re back to this boring number. We paid off 60% of our house so the mortgage itself is affordable at $800-ish per month but tack on property tax and insurance afterward and it doesn’t look so cheap anymore…

We Sold Our Rental! 🏡 

house rental sell

We got the rental for $540K in 2016 and we sold it now for $610K.

* To clarify, we underestimated the worth before by using the county assessment tax report from 2017 instead of market value just like with our primary residence right now.

That’s almost a 13% jump in just 2 years. That’s the Seattle real estate market right now and we’re not even the front runner of that appreciation. Some homes in Ballard are +17% YOY.

To be honest, we expected more than $610K so I was a little disappointed. I thought we would get at least $5k more than that and maybe even to $630K if there is a bidding war. It’s a charming property.

We had several parties interested but only one made an actual offer on the offer date. It was because a few other properties just like ours nearby got on the market a few days before our offer date. There was another property similar to us that had their review date right before ours. It squished us in the middle and we were everybody’s “back up” plan. Sigh, what bad luck – it blew out our momentum and made us nervous. Now in this market, there’s NO reason for sellers to be nervous. But we were betting on “uniqueness” or our gameplan went out the window. Our realtor told us to hold ground but I just wanted it over with…

house rental sell

So in the end, we only had one pair of buyers put in a bid. The good thing is they came hard and they waived everything. Everything! When we signed the papers, it was like we pretty much closed. They agreed to our special terms and notes. Communication was smooth.

If they walked away, they would need to pay us $60k in earnest money alone. Real estate man…

The funny thing is…they were the only offer on the table actually so they didn’t even need to waive every single contingency. It’s such a hard game for buyers in a seller’s market like Seattle. Everyone is doing the offer review dates to drum up anticipation and keeping a poker face.

I don’t think it’s healthy. There’s too much supply in the pipeline. I dug around for the data in the University of Washington’s website and got nervous about the numbers of new condos and apartments opening in 2019 – 2022. I think in that genre, we’re in hypersupply, even though it doesn’t affect homes that much, I still pivoted. I’m bullish long-term but…hey we’re not going to be living in Seattle longterm so it was a no-brainer.

Related: Why We Sold Our Airbnb Rental Property (And Should You?)

The sale made $70K before fees, that’s good for only 2 years of holding! But…haha…real estate fees are…to quote my husband, “this is a total scam.” The realtors did their work, I’ll pay them, it’s not like I didn’t know how much they would cost. What I hate is how Seattle can charge $11k to record a transfer of property. It’s like the passport thing all over again.

$11,000 to write down who now owns this new place. What is this bullshit?

Anyway, I think we pulled away clean with a little over +$10K (not including the small home repairs and upgrades here and there.)

I’m not going to complain about that. Most of the time when people sell before 5 years is up, they lose some money. Thanks to Seattle (who am I kidding…thanks to the presence of AMAZON) we’re out nothing and we got some chump change for all of our troubles.

Things do feel lighter and less stressful without a rental to deal and the unfriendly local laws that come with it. I see no longterm game in Seattle, especially with our plans. 2 years ago, my husband wasn’t on board with leaving Seattle but now seeing how things are going – the homeless issue, the city’s incompetence, the overspending, crazy taxes, and the financial “what the fuck are they doing with all that money then??” question raised by most of our friends…basically hubby’s like “yeah, let’s move when we can.”

We totally want to stay inside Washington, but there are more places in Washington than Seattle to enjoy the nature and beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Net Worth Update

 AprilMayNotes% Change
Total$1.18m$1.33m+12%
Brokerage$756,255$995,666*So close, again, it's deja vu.
*Includes $30k in emergency fund.
+31.65%
Real Estate$431,210$342,539*Asset subtract mortgage.
*We're underestimating house using county tax reports from last year instead of market value.
-20.5%

This actually made my Hippo dance. We’re so close to the 7 figure mark, againOur millionaire mark in November of last year wasn’t as exciting as this. This is more exciting because becoming an accredited investor (someone with $1 million or more) opens up some diversifying opportunities. After we hit seven figures, we will look deeper into real estate crowdfunding and go from there. Carefully. I know, I know. Like the doc says: “a high income or net worth does not make one a sophisticated investor.” Don’t worry, I’ll let my detail oriented and light-footed husband command this.

Between you and me…I don’t have good gut feelings about investments outside of the SEC. Not until we have like….$5 million or more. Due diligence is required and it’s both my brain or my instinct that’s screaming…”You two don’t know what you’re doing. A fool and his money are soon parted.”

Not to toot my own horn but I’ve always been pretty good smelling when people are selling me bullshit in real life. Really good, even though it may not seem like it. I have never been scammed before and boy has some people tried. People at mall kiosks…phone store clerks…some people trying to sell me some multi-level-marketing / Herbalife crap. I’m too nice to say anything though…I stand there and pretend like I care until they’re done and I walk away. I wish I could just scream…”DO I LOOK GULLIBLE TO YOU” but then again I probably do from my appearance.

So basically, add together the teeny profit from the sale + our downpayment + regular savings in May = our $200k drop into our brokerage. We put $120k into US domestic stock and $80k into international and emerging markets. We also moved $2,500 of our current $30k emergency fund into more i-bonds at my request. I think it’s a good way to go even if you can’t touch it for a year. Who doesn’t want emergency cash to paces with inflation?

OK the end, that was the update for May 🙂 thanks for reading this nonsense!



59 thoughts on “Here We Go Again! – May 2018 Income, Expense, and Net Worth Update”

  • You guys are killinng it! As far as separation between income and expenses lol….Very impressive Lily. At this rate, you will probably hit that 2Mil mark in no time… with your current expenses would that be Fat Fire LOL.

    Also $1,500 a month in blogging income is nothing to snuff at, tell Olivia you are just pacing yourself…. you’ll be up to 5 figures in no time. Congrats again Lily, well deserved 😉

    • Aw thanks 🙂 no I need Olivia to me what to do haha.

      I think our expenses will be a little higher in 10 years and we’ll get crazier with spending as we age since compounding interest can’t help much. I’m just taking advantage of the seasons in life.

  • That’s like 185 carne asada burritos

    Mmmmm. My guess is 185 burritos weighs more than you do but it could be close.

    I renewed my passport back in Dec. and yes the forms kinda suck but they got it to me in 3 weeks. Maybe they just like me or maybe I slipped a bribe in and forgot. And congrats on selling the rental! Yes, realtors seem to make a killing for simply breathing and calling themselves realtors….

    • Noooooooo, oh my god why Mrs. FF?! They dug a hole in the same place and we put the birdhouse there. We even have a bird feeder now! D:

  • Congrats on selling your rental at a profit! I am getting really fed up with mine and trying to figure out what my next step should be.
    And $1,500 in blog income??? You rock it! Just promise you are not going to insert pop up ads all over your blog, PLEASE.
    Hmm, maybe I should try to sell s**t at crazy interest rates! May help my blog numbers:)
    Caroline recently posted…Blog Report : The Walk Of Shame!

    • Haha fed up is a fitting word. Are you thinking of selling?

      My blog income isn’t consistent, it’s gonna be half that in June because of the summer slowness. Ohhh well 🙂 I hate pop ups so promise!!

  • I selfishly want Lily to make more money so she has golden handcuffs to her blog and won’t stop writing amusing posts :P. You’ll be at five figures in no time, woman! It seems a bunch of my favorite older pf/fire bloggers stop writing as much after a few years :(. By then I guess it really is passive income by then.

    Please teach us your frugal sushi/poke/Asian food ways. Why is seaweed salad like $8 a pound?!

    Mr. Tako, I thought you were rolling in the dough! Your content is so good and the layout design is so nice.
    Olivia recently posted…6 Common Things You’re Doing WRONG With Your 401k and How To Fix It For Free!

    • “older pf/fire bloggers”
      Nooooooo way, who? Where? DM me the name!

      Seaweed salad should be at the most $3.50 a lb. It’s $2.50 a lb here. Where are you shopping?? I can post some recipes! 🙂 Mr. Tako has nicer recipes though hahaha.

  • Lol burritos, what an amateur. Chicken nuggets, now we’re talking! 😂😂😂

    Damn, those number sure are rocketing! It’s pretty interesting to see the numbers US vs. UK. US seems easier to sky rocket your net worth because of a higher base salary, but you’ll be damned when you have to paid for a lot of amenities.

  • Congratulations on the big net worth jump.

    Yes being an accredited investor opens up a ton of investing opportunities. This past year everything outside of my maxing my retirement accounts (401k, IRA, HSA) has gone into private syndication in multifamily commercial apartments. I have a post I am going to be putting out in a couple of months detailing my actual breakdown of passive income from this “alternative investment”. So far it has been a great way to get passive income/real estate exposure without being a landlord.

  • I’ve been waiting for this post this whole month! I was super excited to see how the house sale went and how you crushed the frugal spending again. And I wasn’t disappointed hehe.

    I think your food budget last month was still pretty awesome for the whole family. I had family visiting two weeks ago, and we bought a bunch of stuff. I don’t even want to tally up all the expenses @[email protected]

    It’s great to see your net worth jump. And the blog income too? Woot woo! Congrats! xoxo

    • I thought this month was a bit expensive haha. I don’t know why everybody thinks it’s frugal…my food budget was barely under.

      I miss your food expense reports!! DC is just more expensive and so is Costco.

      You’ll beat my blog income soon, you have a larger readership base in general.

  • Great job! Don’t forget to put some money aside for taxes. You guys made a ton of money this year and will pay a ton of taxes in April.
    Where are you guys looking in WA? More rural area? Seems like most bigger cities have problems. Vancouver is pretty nice. It’s close to OR so you can go shopping and avoid sales tax.
    I think you should put the blog income here. $1,500 is significant. That’s a lot of income. The ads aren’t that intrusive so it’s good. Keep hustling!
    Joe recently posted…May 2018 Goals and Financial Update

    • I know, we owed $5k on top of the taxes we prepaid last year. I think we’re expecting less under the new tax bill though. We want to either stay in Washington or go to a smaller city in California so we can be near family.

      Nah my blog income isn’t consistent, $1500 is a fluke, I need to work on my sad Pinterest game.

  • $11k transfer tax is absolute bullshit! if we ever sell our house my hope is that we only need one more real estate transaction ever until we’re toast. i might want to build one place in our lifetime with looking ahead to crippled up golden years us with all the old people access stuff, etc. i have a realtor friend who’s getting rich.
    freddy smidlap recently posted…Guest Post on FI Me Outa Here

  • Costco does passport photos! $5 for 2 standard size photos, and $10 for non-standard (eg visa) photos. The Walgreens people get really confused if you ask them for anything non-standard.

    And yeah, bureaucracy sucks. They’re probably nicer to citizens, too. I once had to mail a form to one of the gov agencies for non-citizens, and they made a mistake processing it, and didn’t return it for 5 months.
    Jess recently posted…Expenses after Co-Habitating

    • Totally only found out about the Costco passport photos after we got our membership (after we already mailed in the passports). We DIY it and took selfies on a white bed sheet…because we were too stubborn to pay $15. I think it will be OK, we look terrible in it but who doesn’t look meh in their passport photos.

      I’ve noticed that my entire life! They see my name and automatically tells me I need so and so forms etc. Pffftt.

    • I told her yesterday I wish I could buy a bird version of her so that bird could sit on my shoulders and chirp positive motivation all day 😀

  • Congrats on finally selling the rental! Definitely a bummer that you didn’t get as much as you wanted but hey that’s yesterday’s problem haha. Like AF I got my passport renewed end of last year and it only took 2-3 weeks to get it back, which was pretty surprising to me! Hopefully next month you’ll cross the seven figure mark in the brokerage!!
    Young FIRE Knight recently posted…Overcoming The Fear Of Travel Hacking

    • 3 weeks isn’t bad. It’s been 2 weeks for us already. On the website they said about 1-2 months. I was not hopeful because we DIY our own headshots. I’m hoping they process them even if they’re DIY or I’ll throw a fit. I wish we could have atleast paid that $400 with a credit card. Argh!

  • Another great month.🙌 Every so often I wake up to a wood pecker drilling holes in my house. It gives me anxiety like nothing else. The passport thing sounds like a total rip-off. Some day when I FIRE I will have to go through that painful process. 🤢
    Shawn @ tTheSmartFi recently posted…May Wrap Up

  • Big congrats to you. Getting to where you are now at this stage in your lives is impressive. Keep it going and you’ll get to that $5 million mark. But then you’ll start targeting 10. It is hard to draw a line in the sand as it gets more fun as the number goes up. I have dean my line a few times but every time I get to it, for some odd reason it goes up again 🙂
    The CFO recently posted…Executive presence: How to have it, how to project it and how to use it.

    • Oh noooo, I have a feeling you’re right. It takes a lot to walk away from money. IDK how some FIRE people do it but kudos to them. It’s enough when it’s enough.

    • Totally, we both didn’t see it coming – I don’t know why…we knew the ballparks but just didn’t put it together. I couldn’t even look when clicking the confirm on dropping the monies haha……..

  • Hi Lily, I’m curious how your net worth increased by ~$240k when real estate decreased by just ~$90k. I thought most of the increase in net worth was due to freeing up the down payment and the small profit of ~$10k? Was your sold property previously under-reported by $150k?

    • Yes we were understating it by a lotttt. Like more than $100k (just like with our primary residence which we are estimating by at least $110k). We just take last year’s county tax estimates as the safe measure, it doesn’t include everything, I think it’s just land and structure(?) but none of the additions. We also had regular savings of $20k and then my husband got some refresher RSU in brokerage (about another $20k).

  • Wait, what!?! $15 for passport photos alone! It should be $15 for the photos and the passport! That is highway robbery. My passport expired last year but have no plans to travel abroad right now so I’ll delay the passport renewal charges as long as I can.
    Sorry that Ting couldn’t get you a lower wireless rate but if your paying $35/month with AT&T you should stay with him as long as you can. That’s a good rate for one of the well known wireless companies.
    Kris recently posted…Expense Chronicles – May 2018

  • You had me at $1500 blog income!!!

    Haha! Don’t feel imposter syndrome, you’ve made it! Now you need a pin for it!!! It will go viral on Pinterest. You should include it in your income!
    I hope I can achieve the Mediavine status within another year. Then my life would be complete.

    The sign me up for the newsletter is ‘checked off’ but I haven’t been getting your newsletters? 🙁
    GYM recently posted…Vegas, Baby: Traversing Las Vegas with a Baby

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