Man, this year has just flown by. I think there’s something about writing and reflecting regularly that makes you note how quick it goes by that you may not notice if you were just mindlessly going about your day job. This year (like the past several) has been a real blur.
Let’s check out how the first half of the year has gone.
No change from Q1. Definite win. We’re on track with a BIG WIN with our Automated Savings plan. I haven’t had to make any adjustments.
Roth is getting $500 per month with a limit $5,500
401k is set at a percentage that will max out by end of year – $18,000. I also receive a pretty significant match (not sharing) which makes this a pretty hefty number.
Automatic savings per month goes from my checking to savings without seeing it.
It’s not exactly savings, but my new job (started in Feb) provides stock grants twice a year as a percentage of base salary (which I’m not sharing). Those shares vest on a schedule each year. If I add those to our savings numbers, it looks ridiculously high.
Remember the hierarchy of savings.
Buy my First Rental Property.
Houston has become a hot market this year with prices jumping 50-100% in most popular (and less popular areas) which puts their run up well ahead of rent. I’m sure there are still deals out there, but they aren’t falling off trees. At this point it probably takes more time than I can manage to put together with a full time career and 2 side hustles. We’ve put this on hold for the moment.
I was aiming to come in below $4k / month.
Unfortunately, I’m clocking in between $4-5k each month. That’s not terrible for 2 people with a mortgage, but it’s not great. No car payments. No student loan bills. You would think we could get under that mark easier.
As I mentioned, a vacation, a few weddings out of town, a destination wedding in December hasn’t helped. Neither have 2 car repairs and a $700 emergency vet visit. But that’s all just really excuses for not being on the MMM / Frugalwood level. Remember those emergency funds folks.
HOWEVER, if you count our roommate money as an expense reduction versus income, we are getting under that $4k mark. I’ll let you be the judge.
We don’t prioritize the mortgage because the rates are so great, but I did use more Automated Principles to get some extra paydown. I put an extra $100 month toward principle as well as pay the mortgage every 2 weeks. This naturally creates an extra mortgage payment of principle each year.
It’s not the most mathematically sound decision for a 3.25% mortgage, but I like the diversification of my savings between stocks and some real estate. Plus I hate debt.
Zero new debt.
Track / Budget Better
I’m probably still not checking my numbers frequently enough, but I am using Personal Capital to go through everything periodically which I then export to a budget file in excel, which allows me to net out the roommate money and do any other analysis to see how we fell.
Expand the garden
We also bought about 15 herbs that we’ve planted in the beds with the trees. The hope is they just run wild, require no care or maintenance. I want them to provide us with medicinal properties, garnishes for food and drink and something to add to my salad. For the garden they’re meant to provide shade, mulch, and bug habitat.
In 2015, I’ve put out 58 posts and consistently put out content 2-3x per week.
My traffic still isn’t impressive (at all), but it’s going up (slow but steady).
In Q2 I’ve put a real focus on guest posts. As of now I’ve gotten material on Seeking Alpha, Business Insider and guest posts with Frugal Farmer, Modest Money, 1500 Days, with several other big ones coming up. This is a big win and I’ve been working really hard at it. Let’s hope we see some of that traffic stay sticky.
Explore Houston / Texas More
There are a whole lot of things on my list that we haven’t touched on at all. BUT, we did do a brewtour Saturday with friends and saw 3 I hadn’t been to before. We also spent a weekend in Galveston with friends, a place I’ve spent very little time, and last weekend we took a quick jaunt to the San Marcos river for some floating and fun.
I’d call this a decent start. We also have plans to visit San Antonio this year and do some wine tours which would make this a win.
Get to Know our Neighbors
Fail in Q1. To be decided in Q2. We have now met 3-4 young couples in the neighborhood that I’m trying quite hard to get all in the same house at the same time. We also met a wonderful older couple down the block that we enjoyed drinks with.
We’ve not put the effort in to meeting our immediate neighbors though, and the 2 sets we did know have moved. We’re now surrounded on all sides by strangers.
No excuses. We’ve just been abysmal on this.
Read 52 books
Honestly not sure if this is on track or not. I’ve had 2 week periods where I haven’t read anything, but others where I’ve hammered through several in a week. I need to do a count. I’m also a bit heavy on the fiction at the moment, which feels a bit like cheating since it’s so much easier and quicker to read. I’ll revisit this.
Check out our Books page.
How did your first half of the year go? I’d love to hear about your goals, successes and failures in the comments.
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