2019 Semi-Annual Recap

The 2019 semi-annual recap is here! With June 2019 behind us, it’s time to review our data. Twice a year I survey what has happened with my finances and use that information to drive my goals. Or, perhaps, adjust them. I think you can sometimes be so data-focused that you miss the forest for the trees.

Review of Goals

Quickly, let’s take a glance at our goals up to this point. Keep in mind these goals were just to get us started. When these were created, the intent was to get us collecting information, so we can use it later.

Income Goals and Metrics

  • Reach a consistent income from investments of $150 per month, by the end of the year.

Cost of Living Goals and Metrics

  • Reduce the monthly expense of “Dining Out” to not exceed $150 per month.
  • Track grocery costs and establish a monthly baseline for future measurements.

Balance Sheet

  • Track monthly savings rate.
  • Attain a savings rate of at least 25%
  • Save $2,000 per month

With these in mind, let’s look at our averages and trends over the past 6 months.

Review of Income

Once we average that data and put into a more visual format, a disturbing fact presents itself. Our income diversity is poor.

It’s in my best interest to diversify my income streams. Not only for more freedom in my life but security as well. Clearly, there is a need to grow income sources other my day job. I know over the next couple of years, I’ll have to find new ways to earn income. Let’s move away from that problem and talk about progress.

    Reach a consistent income from investments of $150 per month, by the end of the year.

The great news is it does appear that have met our investment goal of $150 per month for 2019. I did a disservice to myself by using the word “consistent” in the wording of this goal.
Really, I should have written “average”. I’m making an executive decision and crossing that goal off the list. We’ll set the new milestone of average $200 per month from investments.

Review of Expenses

From the start, I knew that our food costs were a big unknown. Our initial goals really reflected that. We’ve been successful by actually tracking our food costs, and we can see that in the table below. We now have a baseline, so we can mark that goal complete. Now that we see what “normal” looks like, we can try to improve. For our food costs, let’s try to reduce our total food costs by 5%, or average less $654 per month.

I have never once been successful in reducing my dining out expenses to be under $150. I have been making an effort, but it doesn’t seem to show up on paper. I’m going to scale that back a bit to set myself up for success. Let’s adjust it to Reduce the monthly expense of “Dining Out” to not exceed $200 per month.

Review of our Balance Sheet

Our intent is to save and invest. We try to grow income and reduce expenses to make that possible. Just like the other categories, we threw out some basic goals to get started in the beginning. First, we wanted to just track our monthly savings. I think it’s fair to say we’ve done that. Second, and possibly the most important goal, was to set a savings rate goal. Specifically, we wanted to attain a 25% savings rate. How did it go?

We have tracked our monthly savings rate and will continue to do so. So, that’s one marked off the list. Also, setting the savings rate at 25% was probably a good start. It got me in the habit of figuring out the savings rate and thinking about choosing how to spend versus saving for investments. I think we should bump the goal up to average a 30% savings rate.

While we did save $2,000 per month just once, I think we should keep this goal where it is. The more that our investments grow, the easier this will become. Because of compounding, it’s just a question of time and consistency.

Review of our Updated Goals

The 2019 semi-annual recap is a tool to condition me to think about decisions differently and motivate me to improve. After all, data drives decisions. I’m pleased with what we’ve done in this first 6 months, and I’m looking forward to the see the results at the end of the year.

Here is what our new goals look like. All in all, this was a very productive 2019 semi-annual recap!

Income Goals and Metrics

  • Reach an average income from investments of $200 per month.

Cost of Living Goals and Metrics

  • Reduce the monthly expense of “Dining Out” to not exceed $200 per month.
  • Keep our average food costs under $654 per month

Balance Sheet

  • Attain a savings rate of at least 30%
  • Save $2,000 per month

Here is the updated Goals page.

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Dustin

Author of firein10.com Tracking my goal of achieving financial independence in 10 years.

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