Q2 2019 Expense Report โ€“ $5,900

April, May, and June were great months for us. The first half of April was really hectic for me because of the April 15 tax deadline. After that, I took some days off to relax and catch up on life. In May, we spent nearly three weeks in Colombia. It was great to see family and recharge. Back in North Carolina, we tried to spend as much time outside as possible with our little one. Without further introduction letโ€™s get into the numbers. Letโ€™s dig into some of the larger and more interesting items. Daycare: not surprisingly daycare continues to be … Read more…

Have We Reached Financial Independence Abroad?

As you may know from reading this blog, I track my income, expenses, and net worth at the end of every month. The process is rather simple: login to Personal Capital (free financial software) and input relevant data on my own spreadsheet. The end result looks something like this: Back in 2017, as a last step in the process of tracking my finances, I started using the Mad FIentist laboratory. The laboratory is a cool tool to graph your numbers, track your progress to financial independence (FI), and play with your assumptions. Most months, I just input my data, look … Read more…

Q1 2019 Expense Report – $6,950

The first three months of the year were great for us financially, and relatively quiet otherwise. We came back from spending new year’s eve in Florida, settled back into our routines, and tried to play outside with our little one as much as the weather allowed. Without further introduction let’s get into the numbers. The Numbers Letโ€™s dig into some of the larger and more interesting items. Daycare: not surprisingly daycare continues to be our biggest recurring expense. We remain grateful to have found a great place right across the street from our house as it saves us lots of … Read more…

How to Fly Internationally for Less Than $50

Would you like to get round trip international flights for under $50 for you and your family? If so, read on. That’s exactly what we did a few weeks ago. We’ll be traveling to Colombia in the summer ๐Ÿ™‚ . You see, my daughter is now over 2 years old, so she doesn’t fly for free anymore. This was the first international trip where we needed to purchase 3 tickets instead of 2. They grow up so fast. Luckily for us, we had a decent arsenal of travel miles and points from credit cards. For this particular trip we would … Read more…

2 Years of Home Ownership – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

A little over two years ago my wife and I purchased our first house. At the time, it was the biggest purchase of our lives so we gave it a lot of thought and analysis. In fact, I wrote an entire blog post about it. If you don’t want to read through the entire post, here is the TLDR: Don’t fall for the conventional wisdom that says buying a home is always better than renting. Do your own analysis keeping emotions aside. Your mortgage payment is not your only cost. Consider: repairs and maintenance, opportunity cost of having your money … Read more…

Q4 2018 Expense Report + Year End Update!

The last three months of 2018 were quite busy for us. As soon as tax season started winding down we took a trip to Texas to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. We enjoyed exploring around Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. We also attended a friend’s wedding in South Carolina, and traveled to Florida to receive the new year. Other than that, we enjoyed some fantastic weather (at least in October and November) in Raleigh spending time as a family. Let’s Dive Into the Q4 Numbers Not surprisingly, daycare was our largest expense at $698 per month. This is lower than usual for two reasons. First, we took a … Read more…

Can You Really Travel for Free Using Credit Cards? A Real Life Example

The short answer: yes, pretty much. The long answer: you can travel for free sometimes, and for pennies on the dollar regularly. But you have to have a strategy and be careful. I have been getting a lot of questions lately about my travels and my high savings rate. How can the two co-exist? When I came back to work from a family vacation to Texas, a co-worker asked me: “You flew there? You don’t have family in Texas?How can you pay for flights and hotels frequently and save a lot of money at the same time? All I can do is road trips to Boston, flying is too expensive. I also stay with family so we don’t pay for any hotels.” There is nothing wrong with road trips or with staying with family. I’m a big fan of both. However, … Read more…

Q3 2018 Expense Report – $7,751

July, August, and September were good for us this year. Summer is probably my favorite time of the year with the hot temperatures and longer days. One of the highlights of this quarter was attending FinCon 2018 in Orlando. I have thought about going to FinCon for a couple of years now, and this year I was fortunate to win a scholarship, so there was no excuse. Other than that we enjoyed a lot of outdoor time with our little one, including a couple of trips to the beach and some nearby lakes. The Numbers Letโ€™s dig into some of … Read more…

Q2 2018 Expense Report โ€“ $6,974

April, May, and June were great for us this year. I very much enjoy the rising temperatures and the extra day light that comes with spring. The highlight of this quarter was meeting up with my parents in Las Vegas for a couple of weeks of family fun. We also traveled to Jackson, MS for the baptism of our godson. We were very honored and exited when our friends J & K asked us to be godparents of their little one ๐Ÿ™‚ The Numbers Here is a summary of our expenses for April, May, and June, as well as the … Read more…

Is Rental Real Estate a Good Investment? A Real Life Case Study

Today we will be exploring something new here at Finance Clever: a real life case study on rental real estate. Thanks to my friend David for encouraging me to write this post and sharing all of his real estate information with me. Over the past several weeks, I have been digging through David’s tax returns, asking follow up questions, and crunching numbers to evaluate the performance of his rental properties. Before we dig into the numbers, here are a few words from David himself to put some context around this case study. David’s Introduction “My name is David and I … Read more…