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 Let’s dig into some of … Read more…

Q2 2018 Expense Report – $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 πŸ™‚ 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…

Q1 2018 Expense Report – $6,511

The first three months of the year are usually a little too cold for me in North Carolina. This year we were lucky enough to go further south for a few of those days. Early in January we came back from New Orleans, a family trip we started around Christmas. Shortly after returning home, we headed back south to attend Camp FI Southeast in Florida. After Camp FI, we returned home and back to work. We continued to enjoy our time with our little one. She is an endless source of entertainment, challenges, and purpose πŸ™‚ The Numbers Here is … Read more…

Should you DIY or Hire a Pro?

Just this past week I found myself facing a dilemma you will likely face several times during your lifetime: when something needs to be done, should you do it yourself (DIY) or hire a pro? The story begins a few weeks ago when my daughter flushed a pair of scissors down the toilet. Shortly after, the toilet started getting clogged. At first we were able to unclog the toilet with a good ole plunger, but the clogging would occur again every time any solids were flushed down. After a lot of research some Google searches, I learned that the scissors … Read more…

Expenses Revealed! – Q4 2017

The last three months of 2017 were quite busy for us. We visited my sister in law who lives in Mexico. We started our trip in Mexico City and headed north through Queretaro, San Miguel de Allende, and Guanajuato. Throughout our journey, we stayed on some really cool Airbnb houses in Mexico (see picture below for the view from one of the back yards). If you are new to Airbnb, you can get $40 off from your first trip when you sign up through this link. Back in the U.S. we took a road trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains, … Read more…

A Basic Overview of the U.S. Tax System

The U.S. tax system is quite complex. From thousands of rules and regulations to nuanced and obscure provisions, our tax system can make even the sharpest tax professionals feel overwhelmed at times. Luckily for you, the amount of tax knowledge you need to have to achieve financial independence (FI) is very manageable. I have seen people of all professions, not just accountants, acquire and apply tax knowledge to successfully increase their wealth and their freedom. Before we dive in, note that we will be covering the U.S. federal income tax system for individuals. The state you live in will have … Read more…

Expenses Revealed! – Q3 2017

The third quarter of the year was a good one for us. We came back from Colombia where most of our family got to meet our daughter. She even got to meet her great great grandmother who is over 100 years old! Isn’t that crazy? (see 5-generation photo below). Another event to highlight is that we replaced one of our old cars, which as you will see put a dent in our savings rate this quarter. Other than that we enjoyed the hot summer weather of North Carolina, and had a blast seeing our little one grow up πŸ™‚ Without … Read more…

How to Replace a Car Without Breaking the Bank

If you track your expenses, you probably already know that cars are pretty expensive things to own. After you account for depreciation, gas, maintenance and repairs, property taxes, and everything else, you can easily be spending between $2,000 to $15,000 per year. I think we have done a decent job at optimizing our vehicle choices and even then each of our vehicles cost more than $2,000 per year. Use the links below if you want to see the breakdown of those costs for our own cars: Elisa’s car ($2,150 per year) Juan’s previous car ($2,216 per year) Back in September … Read more…

Expenses Revealed! – Q2 2017

The second quarter of 2017 flew by as the days got warmer and longer. I must say, spring is one of my favorite times of the year as I’m not a big fan of cold and short days (see Q1 expenses here). It was generally a quiet quarter though we had family visiting us in April, and we traveled to Colombia late in June. Let’s dive right into our expenses for the second quarter of the year. The table above summarizes our expenses for the first three month of the year from highest to lowest. Let’s explore the bigger and … Read more…