My January 2019 spending dropped below $2,000. Since I’ve settled back down in Portland my spending is back down to a normal level. The traveling back and forth to Spain and all of my medical board investigation stuff was financially draining.
I track all of my spending through YNAB – the best damn budgeting tool ever. I have no idea how I could have gotten my spending under control without. It was just 7 years ago when I was spending $17,000/month on average.
My biggest spending categories are groceries, entertainment, and housing. I’m retired so the ratio makes sense – we tend to spend more money on entertainment in retirement. Still, it can get out of control. Last month I spent nearly $1k on entertainment.
The rest of the categories are self-explanatory. I spent a lot on coffee only because I tip very generously, otherwise it’s just me lounging at my favorite coffee shop.
The work stuff is me spending money on tools for my business. I do end up writing off all of that against my income as a sole proprietor but it’s still important for me to track it. After all, if you spend it, even if you write it off against your income, it’s less money in your pocket.
January 2019 Spending – $1,845
The month was a usual month and I think this was a very sustainable spending rate for me. I had a lot more downtime since I don’t do much telemedicine these days and don’t travel.
Groceries – $433
I have a Whole Foods near me and a Fred Meyer, guess which one I shopped at more.
I still made the majority of my meals at home which is great. My dining-out spending was only $107 which was mostly healthy food on-the-go. If I was still working on accumulating wealth for early retirement my dining-out would have been $0.
Entertainment – $392
I cut back on alcohol a lot which was my biggest spending category. A lot of this spending was movies, eating out with friends, shooting pool with a buddy and the occasional food binge.
Housing – $292
My housing expenses is limited to HOA dues, property taxes, and property insurance. I pay the last 2 items once a year and the HOA’s are monthly.
Repairs and maintenance on a tiny condo like mine is really easy and something I can take care of myself. Otherwise, it’s good to set aside around 1% a year on average for this category based on the price of your home.
The reason I still budget even though I’m retired is because I need to make sure that I have enough money in my investments to cover my spending.
If I spend $1,845/month on average – or $22,000/year – then I need to look at my investment returns in order to figure out how much I need to invest.
Assuming that my investments can continuously net me 3% a year, I would need around $700k invested. Check. I’m well past that amount.
I use 3% to be excessively conservative. The actual value is closer to 4%. But this allows me a little wiggle room and should correct for any mathematical errors.
This rate is often referred to as a safe withdrawal rate which will be higher for me because I will be in the 0% capital gains territory.
I’m not planning on just living off of my investments in retirement. I enjoy earning money now that I’m retired because I don’t have to work for the man. I do what I like, on my own terms.
I earn money from consulting and selling my own products and on occasion from real estate. It’s fun and lucrative.
It seems that I’m averaging around $5,500/month of income every month. With a monthly spending <$2k I don’t have anything to worry about.
Did I mention SS? If I continue to spend only $2k/month then my social security income alone will cover this spending by the time I hit age 70.
This is my 3rd tier of income diversification.