Financial Update Nov 2016

Another month, another update. A few anomalous expenditures for November 2016 to point out:

  • $1k for new tires & brakes for car. Cars are expensive. I didn’t fully appreciate it until tracking my spending on this blog.
  • $1k for home gym.
    • I convinced my wife to cancel our YMCA membership ($80/mo) as a result. Break even on gym is about a year. I detest recurring expenditures.
  • $350 in medical expenditures. Dental work & 3-mo supply of asthma medicine ($150) for daughter.

With unusually high spending this month, I might have to change the name of the blog to

It’s really an interesting thing tracking one’s spending in a regimented manner. Any time I make a purchase, I realize it will show up on this blog and it makes me think twice about it. With the November spending binge out of my system, hopefully our monthly spending can drop down to a more reasonable $3500 next month.

(If you’re on an RSS reader, unfortunately you may have to visit the site to see the financial update image below.)


  1. Don’t lend money to friends/family.
  2. I lazily approximate home value using Yodlee’s embedded SmartZip estimator.
  3. I have a 15Y mortgage; which results in a faster rate of repayment. The true cost of the mortgage should exclude repayment of principal, which I show above.
  4. $15 internet and $0 cell phones as described here.
  5. All expenditures at Costco & Walmart are classified as “Food at home” for simplicity (even if it’s laundry detergent, clothing, etc).
  6. I prefer Vanguard funds but my employer offers Fidelity instead. Also, Fidelity mutual funds work better at my Saturna HSA.
  7. Nobody knows the perfect asset allocation. Just pick one and run with it. Use a target date retirement fund as a benchmark if you want some guidance (link).
  8. My low portfolio expense ratio is the primary reason why I don’t hold target-date funds, which have expense ratios anywhere from 0.16% to 0.75%. I can achieve a much lower expense ratio on my own due to Admiral shares, etc. And it’s not hard. Plus, a DIY portfolio allows one to tax-loss-harvest more easily.
  9. The only other administrative cost not captured by my expense ratios is a $19/year administrative fee for my HSA at Saturna Capital.

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