In my real, unmasked life, it surprises people that my household expenses – less my hefty student loans, of course – could almost be maintained by two minimum wage workers.1 I suppose the shock is understandable, since we live pretty typical middle-class American lives – which means we make a lot of room for superfluous crap. And magnificently superfluous our year has been!
What we did this quarter…
Mrs. Vigilante and I have had an active few months. Most weekends, we’re doing household chores, but then following them up with family events or outings to a nearby winery with friends.
In a blasphemous breach of FIRE conduct, we even spent a Saturday at an amusement park with my parents, sister, and nieces, where The Vigilante was observed covertly doing yoga in long lines with my nine-year-old niece to stay sharp and nimble throughout the day. Never know when or where evil will strike.
Of course, The Vigilante was also observed sitting out while Mrs. Vigilante took the nine-year-old on all the scary, tall rides, because Mr. Vigilante and the four-year-old niece are scaredy cats.
In a nice reprieve from the previous day’s overspending and rabid crowds of teenagers, frustrated parents with small children, and constant reminders that eating healthy in a public space is nigh impossible, we took those same kids strawberry picking the next day. It was a cheap, budget-friendly way to grab several pounds of the world’s freshest strawberries to freeze for our entire summer’s use.2 These things are fantastic, and at the cost of only one day’s hard child labor!
On the completely free and non-consumerist side of things, I’ve been having a great time going to Bar Association volleyball after work once a week. Nothing makes you feel more like a superhero than playing sports with lawyers: We’re a competitive bunch, but not the most athletically inclined. Luckily, my regular weight training has kept me young!
Mrs. Vigilante and I also nearly finalized vacation plans for our fall trip to see friends and family in San Francisco, almost entirely on credit card points alone. But we still have some kinks to work out before we can guarantee our arrival time, and the trip itself might depend on whether we are traveling for two or two and a half.
You read that right – we’re trying to have a baby!3 Since babies can be sort of expensive – like a quarter million dollars, maybe (or maybe not) – we were holding off until late fall to begin trying. The idea was that the baby would likely be born late enough that I’d be beyond my 2019 raise, likely ensuring that we could continue to max out all of our pre-tax savings and still afford daycare for the baby. However, as my Twitter followers already know, I have had an opportunity to increase productivity such that I should get a much larger raise in 2018 than previously anticipated. Or, as we call it in the Vigilante Household: I’ll make BABY MONEY!
…and how our finances fared
One of our many financial goals for 2017 was to add a deck to our house and increase its resale value and – of course – value to us. Especially in terms of comfortable coffee time, which is going to be a common occurrence on this deck. But the expected lowest quote came in pretty high.
Luckily, my recently-retired Dad has agreed to come out and stay with us for a few days to help me build the deck, saving us about 2/3 of the anticipated cost and getting some exercise and family time in, to boot. I am in the privileged position of having a Dad who is the guy the contractors go to for help, and since it’s my house, you can bet we’re both going to put the utmost care into building it. I anticipate the end product will not only be 2/3 cheaper, but also 2/3 better!
I’ll go ahead and put this down as a tentative $4,000-5,000 gain over the course of this year!4
As for the results we’ve already seen: I deposited my mid-year bonus to my Simple IRA, earning a healthy boost there. Mrs. Vigilante continues to catch up to my savings by maxing her 457(b) account, our fastest-growing and most valuable investment.5 Overall, things are looking pretty good, and we’re fast approaching $0:
Vigilante Net Worth 2Q 2017
|Total Liabilities: $353,653.36|
As you can see, though, we’ve struggled to rebuild our Emergency Funds to our goal levels without reducing our pre-tax investments. But I do expect they’ll be refilled before the next quarterly update, since all our excess cash flow is going there now. And we have no plans to waste our money between now and next quarter’s post, unless you count San Francisco!9
If you want to help out with our Emergency Funds, you’re welcome to! I’ve developed a way that you can contribute to our financial well-being and look stylish at the same time! How, you ask? By succumbing to a shameless money grab, that’s how!10
All shirts come with full Vigilante membership benefits, like anonymous beer buying if I see you out at the bar wearing one! Actually, that’s about it…but it’s for a great cause, right? All proceeds go to Uncle Sam, then to my Emergency Funds, then to my student loan debt! Let’s tackle this national student loan crisis…together.
Bonus: We got an unexpected gift!
Out of the pity we endured for having only one small, 10-year-old TV in our living room was born a gift: a (very late but very large) birthday present for Mrs. Vigilante in the form of a 55” LG Smart TV! This relieves us of one small anticipated expense, as we planned to purchase a replacement for our aging TV sometime in the next two or three years, anyway.
Considering that the average age of all three TVs I have ever owned was about 20 years, our advancement from 1991 technology to a brand new $400 smart TV is actually kind of amazing, despite probably already being obsolete by the measures of the more peacock-feathering of social spenders out there!
- Mortgage interest and principle put us just a bit above these days.
- Well, whichever strawberries were actually edible as picked by a four-year-old.
- Talk about burying the lead, amiright? Shame on me, as a former journalism major!
- Depending, of course, on the cost of materials, unexpected issues, or medical expenses when my clumsy ass loses a finger cutting a post to size.
- It’s one-of-a-kind for us: She can contribute $18,000 annually, reducing her taxable income considerably, and let that money grow without capital gains tax indefinitely. She can also withdraw it without penalty upon leaving her employment with the state, paying only income tax to access her money. Awesome!
- I refinanced and skipped a payment due to the timing. I also refinanced about $1,500 too much by mistake, which I was refunded. The combination of factors means there's barely a change here, but it will start going down now with a lower interest rate!
- Things we count in our liquid net worth FIRE goal.
- Things we don't count in our liquid net worth FIRE goal.
- Which I do, since we’re technically in an emergency. But do as I say, not as I do!
- If the link doesn’t work, that’s only because Amazon merch periodically removes products that have no sales.
Which for my shirts is a result that is…expected.