Sunday, September 29, 2013

300,000 pageviews update

I just logged into Google stats for my site to find out that I’ve reached a small milestone in the history of Since its beginning (January 7, 2012), this site has now received over 300,000 pageviews!
I am constantly reading, learning, and applying different ways to improve our financial situation.  I want to show you how earning a middle class salary can lead to financial freedom, true wealth and happiness.

I’d like to also use this opportunity to give a big thanks to my wonderful wife, Jen.  She was the one who first suggested that I write and publish my thoughts for others to read.  She is my number one editor-in-chief, and helps me proofread all my material to make sure there are no spelling typos, grammatical mistakes, or factual errors.

As a part time blogger, it’s pretty exciting to see that my ramblings are being read online (my own page views are not counted).  I’m just living my life and trying to share my ideas with the world whenever I get a chance.  This site has kept me accountable in my own lifestyle.  Here is an update on some of the ways we are staying financially fit:

Cutting out frivolous spending
Tracking our finances has helped us decide what we could be cutting back on.  We are very mindful now of purchasing consumer products or goods that don't retain their value.  Each year, I used to upgrade to every single new palm pilot, digital camera, and cell phone – not because the new model was considerably better, just because it was new and I “had” to have it.  Buying all those consumer products really didn’t improve my life or happiness significantly. 

We have stopped going to Starbucks regularly and now get our coffee for free at work, or at home with our Keurig machine.  You would be surprised at how quickly your money slips away from you at $4 per latte.  

Reducing our bills
Most people think that monthly bills are unavoidable or non-negotiable.  We have quit subscribing to satellite television (happily paid an early termination fee to do so).  I found a new barber (my wife) and now get my haircuts for free.  After we bought a garment steamer, we completely stopped going to the dry cleaners.  We have saved money on our auto insurance simply by calling around.  Making simple changes to our energy consumption has killed our electric bill.  Our last electricity bill was less than $20, and this is taking into account that we have 4 individuals (me, my wife, and our 2 roommates) living in our 2600 square foot home. 

There is still plenty of room to cut back on our monthly bills.  For example, our water bill runs between $80 to $90 a month, a bit high in my opinion.  

Cutting down on fuel consumption
At one point, we were spending around $200 to $300 a month on fuel.  Then we started carpooling to work and running errands by car only when they were along the way of our drive.  I started riding my bike to the office 2 days a week.  By decreasing the amount of unnecessary driving we used to do, we have cut our fuel expenses by over 50%, with our 3-month average fuel spending now at $105 a month. 

Eating out less, eating healthier
We’ve completely stopped eating out for lunch during the workweek unless it’s for a company meeting.  We have stopped eating out for dinner everyday and only dine out on special occasions or when we hang out with friends.  Cutting back on processed and fatty foods has helped to increase our savings rate and also has the coincidental benefit of helping us lose weight and stay healthy.  We are very focused on eating a whole-food and mostly plant-based diet like the one Forks over Knives advocates. Thank goodness my wife enjoys cooking!    

Optimizing spending on rewards credit cards
We have done a lot more traveling over the past year and intend to do more in the near future.  We always make purchases with our rewards credit cards to earn points and miles.  Then we travel for nearly free. If the credit card companies want to reward our responsible use of credit with free airline tickets, hotel rooms, and cash back, who are we to say no?  Along the way, we have made sure to avoid credit card debt.

Earning more with our money by investing
While it’s been great to save 40% of our income, leaving it in a low interest savings account isn’t going to take us far.  We are currently investing around $2,000 a month into stocks and bonds in our Roth IRAs, 401Ks, and taxable accounts.  All of our investments are in low cost index funds.  Because we aren’t looking to draw from most of these investments anytime soon, we have an asset allocation of around 90% (70% domestic / 30% international) 
stocks and 10% bonds.  When the stock markets dip, that doesn’t worry us.  It just means that we get to purchase more fund shares for our money. 

In 2 years, we’ve gone from having a $0 worth of investments to a portfolio net worth over $67,000: 
Screenshot taken today from our account.
I am not including our home real estate equity, as I don’t consider my own home as an investment.

Always striving for more
This post isn’t trying to be some sort of online brag.  In fact, I’m actually a bit ashamed to share our investment portfolio number with you.  At ages 32 (me) and 29 (wife), I think we are still financially lagging and have a lot of catching up to do.  I have plenty of people to look up to for inspiration. 
You’d be surprised how young the average Boglehead was when they reached $100K net worth (many did this by age 29).   

Of course reaching a high net worth at a young age depends on so many factors including: years working, student loans, income, savings rate, stock market valuations, and any gifts or inheritances. 

I’m more impressed by a person’s savings rate than their income.  Jacob of Early Retirement Extreme and his wife have been living on $14,000 a year. 
Mr. Money Mustache and his wife saved 66% of their income for less than 10 years, and then retired at the age of 30. 

I know plenty of “rich” people who are still struggling financially.  It’s not just about how much money you make – it’s also about how much money you keep.

We practice what I preach
If I tell everyone that I believe in index fund investing, you won’t see me give stock advice about the latest “hot” stock you need to purchase.  If I tell everyone I want to bike to work two times a week, I better back that up.
I’ve been working in my career for about 4 years now, and I would say I pretty much squandered away the first 2 years of my income on buying electronics, eating out, splurging on clothing, alcohol, and a whole bunch of other crap.  I was “pushing even" financially.

Our journey continues
Now we are on a path towards financial freedom.  We’ve paid off all debts except for our mortgage, which we refinanced from 30 years down to 19 years.  This site is about sharing our journey.  Your emails and comments give me the motivation to continue writing informative articles.  

Thank you,



  1. "You would be surprised at how quickly your money slips away from you at $4 per latte." I couldn't possibly agree more.

    You're doing great. From the looks of it you're a good bit more frugal than me. I guess we both have some slimming down to do. Keep it up.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement. We both still have a journey ahead of us but I know we'll get there!


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