Where have you been? Did you die? (And what happened in 2019…)

I last sat at this desk, pumping out a blog about my spending, seeking some odd validation of how good I was at saving money. After I published that post, I sat back, exhausted. Was this blog making me happy? Do people even care?

I know some of you do. I’ve received kind messages since I self-instituted a cone of silence. People asking when I would post again, or if I had died. So no, I am not dead, I am still here.

So what happened? After someone who produced content so religiously for a couple of years, why did I fall off the face of the Earth?

Firstly: I got a new job. I probably wrote about this in late 2018, but this new job meant more responsibility and greater demands. It is not a job that follows me home, per se, but requires a great deal of mental energy at work to the point that when I get home, all I want to do is relax my brain and distract myself with cat videos on youtube.

Secondly: my partner and I moved in together. Miraculously, we have fit 3 people (myself, my partner, and my roommate) into our 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom Toronto apartment and gotten along well enough. However, our time together is valuable – she works odd hours, and every spare minute we try to spend together, even if that just means sitting quietly in the room together, reading.

Thirdly: my partner and I are getting married! Attempting to balance blogging with wedding planning is inherently difficult. I chose the latter and will probably post about all the joys and stresses of wedding planning once it’s done.

So life has chugged forward really amazingly for me and as that happened, this blog slipped a little.

For those who are interested in my financial health, I’ll share the Coles notes of what things have looked like:

The Stock Market has been a boon. So I am proceeding with caution.

Switching to purely index funds in 2018 was the best decision I ever made. My portfolio has gotten simpler and easier to manage, and we’ve hit all time highs across the S&P 500, the TSX, and international indices. My portfolio has historically been 75% equities, 25% bonds, but with marriage and the likelihood of purchasing a home, I am slowly re-allocating to a more traditional 60% equities, 40% bonds/fixed income. I still contribute on a regular basis, investing $2000 of my savings monthly.

2019 was my thriftiest year since I started working.

After spending over $33,590 in 2018, I hit an all-time low in spending in 2019, outlaying $30,066. The major areas of cutbacks were significantly less on clothes (my employer is all about casual wear) and every day coffee being eliminated (also thanks to work). My car also didn’t need as many repairs. Crazy how things can add up! Combined with my higher income thanks to the new job, my savings rate increased to 72%. My expenses living in downtown Toronto wound up looking like this.

Car $3,321.60 Cars are expensive. To insure it and have a place to put it costs almost $2500 alone.
Car Insurance $1,474.50  
Car Maintenance $277.48  
Car Parking $997.89  
Gas $571.73
Cash $101.00  Who uses cash?
Charity $0.00 I was especially uncharitable this year. I’m not proud of it, but I am saving for my first home.
Clothing $1091.60 No more suits required. But I did binge on 2 pairs of Allen Edmonds dress shoes and buy more casual clothes for work.
Coffee $0.00 This is now free at work!
Entertainment $2,116.85
Dating $1024.99  Living together means going out for dates less.
Friends $1,013.33  
Professional $78.53 Networking lunches and the like.
Fitness $363.95
Food $3,561.11
Groceries $1649.99 Spent more here.
Restaurants $1911.12 Spent more here.
Gifts $1592.42 Nephews and weddings keep increasing these costs.
Grooming $284.38  Haircuts.
Internet $161.21  
Laundry $51.48  I mooch from my parents a lot here.
Medical $190.97
Phone $663.40  This will increase disappear in 2020 as I have a corporate phone now.
Rent $10,602.56 Who said living in Toronto had to be expensive? 
Supplies $55.37  
Transit/Tolls $806.61
Travel $4328.27 We went to Scotland for 3 weeks.
Subscriptions $173.96  Wordpress, Spotify, Amazon Prime
TOTAL  $30,066.72  
TOTAL minus “Optional” spending, such as travel  $25,738.45

My net worth jumped over $100,000 in 2019!

Gains in the stock market, an extra thrift year, and the higher income had my net worth jump from $275,035 in December 2018 to $376,792 in December 2019. This shows that with concerted effort on obtaining higher employment, regular investing, and reducing lifestyle inflation can go a long way.

2020 will be the least thriftiest year, but the highest income earning year for me.

Bonuses at my company are paid out in February, so I’ll be receiving my first one ever this tax year. But even though I’ll be earning more, taxes will start to get more punitive. Add the wedding expenses to that, you’ve got the most expensive year on record coming up.

That’s all for now.

I’ll probably disappear again for a bit. Keep saving. Keep smart. À demain, folks.

Author: stretchingeverydollar

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

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