2017 was a mixed bag of feelings. Between the joys of travel (a post on my trip to Japan in April is coming soon…), a new job, and starting this blog in June, the year was also mixed in with some sadness. The passing of my girlfriend’s father at 65 particularly stands out as a moment that kickstarted me on starting this blog.
From a financial perspective, 2017 was a good year with some great milestones:
- Increased annual savings rate from 54.89% to 62.42%. Using Networthify’s FIRE calculator, that means I could conceivably FIRE in 8 years assuming a 5% return on my portfolio.
- Increased net worth by $41,662.67 from $104,243.13 to $145,905.80
- Increased passive income (interest and dividends) by $540.09, from $2127.21 to $2706.16
- Reduced annual spending by from $31,014.69 to $30,390.64. For as small of a decrease that is, I’m very pleased. Anytime you can decrease your spending, especially living in the increasingly expensive downtown Toronto, you’re good! What did that look like?
2017 – My Spending
|Car||$4,273.00||Please don’t guilt me.|
|Cash||$143.40||Who uses cash?|
|Clothing||$437.12||This will go up in 2018.|
|Coffee||$214.72||Switching to tea in 2018.|
|Professional||$236.28||Networking lunches and the like.|
|Fitness||$729.97||This will decrease in 2018 as I’m switching gyms|
|Restaurants||$2,189.63||Ouch! Not proud of it.|
|Gifts||$1,016.46||Nephews keep increasing these costs.|
|Grooming||$260.08||Haircuts are expensive in Toronto.|
|Medical||$15.17||This will increase in 2018 as my benefit plan has changed.|
|Phone||$542.40||Bare bones plan!|
|Rent||$10,251.00||Who said living in Toronto had to be expensive?|
|Transit||$213.00||Will increase in 2018 as I am now taking the train for 7 minutes to work.|
|Travel||$5,109.71||Increased by $1000 over 2017, but worth it.|
|Japan (3 weeks)||$3,690.81|
|Rhode Island/ Boston/ Cape Cod||$1,418.90|
|TOTAL minus “Optional” spending, such as travel, education, and charity||$24,097.83|
The “barebones” figure of $24097.83 is even lower than I expected for living in downtown Toronto. Averaged over 12 months, that means if I really cut back I could live on $2008.15 a month. Imagine if I got rid of my car!
Living in downtown Toronto on the Cheap-ish in 2017 – How I did it.
#1: I still live with a roommate.
Sure, we have minor disagreements on cleanliness, but it’s an arrangement that’s working out well for the both of us. Plus, he pays more because he wanted the bigger room.
#2: I try and keep entertained with all the free/cheap things in the City.
Parks. Movies on discount Tuesdays. Free outdoor culture activities. Museum library passes. Toronto is full of cheap and free things with a little effort.
#3: I don’t upscale my life very much.
Despite moving into a higher income bracket, I still don’t purchase drinks when I go out to eat. I still drink mostly water at home, I walk almost everywhere, and all the furniture in my room is mostly taken off the side of curbs.
2018 is going to be much of the same. I anticipate I will probably start spending more money on clothing (overdue for some major shopping of work attire) and transit (commuting to work now), but I’m hoping I can keep next year in line with this year.
My point of pride continues to be keeping costs low while increasing my savings rate.
I hope 2017 has been kind to you and best of luck in 2018!