2018: A Personal Finance Year in Review

This graph is somewhat misleading – you’ll see why.

2018 was a good year. If I had to sum it up into a top 3, it was 1) quitting the public sector and getting a new job, 2) traveling to BC, and 3) learning about  unintentional lifestyle inflation.

From a financial perspective, 2018 was a phenomenal year. Specifically:

  • Increased annual savings rate from 62.42% to 72.5%. Using Networthify’s FIRE calculator, that means I could now FIRE in 5.9 years assuming a 5% return on my portfolio.
  • Increased net worth by $67,664.66 from $145,905.80 to $214,801.35 in real dollars, though officially, if you take my defined pension contributions as a commuted value, my net worth is $275,035.45. Because calculating the commuted value was always too much of a hassle, I had always just valued my net worth relative to my pension contributions. The higher number with the commuted value will be used going forward.
  • Increased passive income (interest and dividends) by $1,450.09, from $2,706.16 to $4156.25
  • Annual spending increase from $30,390.64 to $33,590.99. I know, just over $3200 more spend, but I spoiled myself a bit with some nice things (like a winter coat!).

2018 – My Spending

Car $3,911.22 Please don’t guilt me. Know this amount decreased by almost $300 this year!
Car Insurance $1,610.32  
Car Maintenance $702.18  
Car Parking $980.25  
Gas $618.47
Cash $239.03  Who uses cash?
Charity $220.00  
Clothing $2,896.87  I said last year this would go up and it did. I blame the new suit and coat. They’re lovely though!
Coffee $190.45 Did not switch to tea like I said I would, but new job in November with free coffee means this line will get rolled into dining.
Education $1,027.99 Improv lessons & a French class.
Entertainment $2,425.45 Almost $700 higher versus last year.
Dating $1,317.93  
Friends $1,004.83  
Professional $102.69  Networking lunches and the like.
Fitness $430.70 This will decrease in 2019 since I have new corporate fitness benefits.
Food $3,481.97
Groceries $1,784.23 Spent more here.
Restaurants $1,697.74 Spend less here
Gifts $1,299.87 Nephews and weddings keep increasing these costs.
Grooming $375.55  Haircuts are expensive in Toronto.
Internet $232.60  
Laundry $94.57  I mooch from my parents a lot here.
Medical $372.57
Phone $245.88  This will increase substantially in 2019 as I used up all the account credits I had.
Rent $10,523.66 Who said living in Toronto had to be expensive? 
Supplies $358.93  
Transit/Tolls $900.80
Travel $4,306.94
BC (2 weeks) $3,071.87 Travelling within Canada is expensive! 
USA entertainment add-ons to speaking engagements $1,235.07 Many broadway shows in here.
Subscriptions $52.87  Wordpress and Spotify (started in December).
TOTAL  $33,590.99  
TOTAL minus “Optional” spending, such as travel, education, and charity  $28,036.06

The “barebones” figure of $28,036.06 means that I could live in downtown Toronto for just $2336.33 a month all in!

Financial Goals for 2019

#1: Lower Expenses.

This year felt like a bit of an anomaly with big ticket purchases: a new top of the line winter coat, a new set of business clothes when I started a new job in early 2018. I’m hoping that in my new job now, I can ease off the spending on clothing. I expect it will decrease substantially.

I also remain displeased with my dining budget. Almost $1700 eating out is a bit excessive, and the meal to blame is breakfast. Waking up just 30 minutes earlier will save me up to $5 a work day. Not chump change.

#2 Dedicate investments to index funds.

Markets were awful at the latter half of the year and looking at my performance as a stock picker, while I outperformed the TSX by 2%, the amount of effort I put into that minor outperformance on the relatively small sized Canadian allocation of my holdings was not worth it. I’ve slowly been selling all my Canadian listings with the intention of going into a TSX indexed solution.

S&P 500 and international indices I continues to dollar-cost average into.

#3 Remind myself of how I got here.

With a bigger paycheck these days, a lot of the time I’ll exude some frivolity on stupid items at a higher price when literally price checking would save a bundle over time.

I need to remember the extreme saver I once was and hold onto those core values and not forget them. Making more money and being surrounded by people who spend more than I do disincentivizes me sometimes, but I need to strike that balance.

What about you? How did you do in 2018?

What are your financial goals for 2019?


Author: stretchingeverydollar

Starving artist to Debt Free MBA. Attempting to retire early.

3 thoughts on “2018: A Personal Finance Year in Review”

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