FI Adventure Month 12: 2019 Year End Review

Looking back on the first year of our FI adventure.

Written By: Collin

Well, December is upon us and we're in full on Christmas mode. We've decorated the tree and mantel and we've put out our small assortment of Christmas items around the house. The decorations bring me joy and even with all of the hustle and bustle I really do enjoy this time of year.

The holidays offer a wonderful chance to take a little time off, spend more time with the family, and reflect on your previous year.

For us, this was the first year of our Financial Independence Adventure. The first thing to note is that financially, this was a great year for us, our best ever since we've been married. And it's no doubt because of finally implementing all of the great advice from FIRE blogs like Mr. Money Mustache, Financial Samurai, and Mad Fientist.

We're dedicated to our new lifestyle now and although we still spend pretty freely on things we want, we're always trying to get better and build habits that will benefit us long term. The FIRE movement and the principals behind it really have been life changing for us.

Year In Review: November 2018 - November 2019

Net Worth: +31%

While our net worth is still in the negatives due to student loans, we are 31% less negative than we were before! This was roughly 50/50 a combination of increase our assets and decreasing our debts.

Average Savings Rate: 15%

While this is a fairly below average savings rate for the FI community, it's excellent for us because it's the most we've ever saved during a year. It is 12% more than 2017-2018. Also, this is money that is saved/invested after making student loan payments. Once we get those things finished our savings will be through the roof.

% of Income Donated: 9%

Donating and tithing to our church is very important to us. We try to live a generous life both with our finances and our time. There were some months that we gave away a lot more, and other months that we didn't give very much, but this was our average.

Student Loans Paid Off: 10% ($9,571 of principal)

We paid just over $9k towards the principal of my student loans. Again, while not spectacular, this is the most we've ever paid off during a year. Of course we paid a lot more than this during the year when you include interest. But we're in a good place to start paying more and more into my loans over the next year and I'm expecting the total to go down quite a bit more.

Biggest Spending Categories

If you've read any of my posts up until this point, you can probably guess my biggest spending categories. Student loans, food, and heath & fitness/doctor. One of these categories is paying debt, one is a necessity, but the third is the one we can influence the most. The food budget. We were still pretty high in my opinion. The biggest thing is that we just need to stop eating out so much. But I'm optimistic, even though we didn't make as much progress on decreasing out food spending as I'd like, we are still trending downward while still eating healthy nutritious food.


When I look back at the year from a non-financial perspective that's when I get super exciting about how we're living and what our future is going to look like. We've had a great year spending time with our family and having some good adventures. Alli and I are about to celebrate our 8th anniversary and our relationship has never been better. Our two kids are amazing and really blossoming into their personalities. And, both of our jobs are stable and we enjoy our work.

Overall it was a pretty good year and as per usual, I'm optimistic about the future.

Monthly Check In

November Savings Rate: -34% (ouch!)

November Debt Total: $94,462.97 ( ↓ 10% from when we started our FI adventure)

November % of FI: 3.7%

Oof, a -34% savings rate this month! The good news, is that this is mostly because we paid off roughly $2,300 extra in student loan debt and $1,600 in medical debt from an ER visit earlier in the year. It felt really good to clear a bunch of debt in one month. Without those two big expenses I think we probably broke even on our income due to buying some Christmas/birthday presents. December will probably be on the average side and then I'm looking forward to Janurary being a big savings rate month.