February 2023 Progress Update

Rebuilding the blogging habit is full of stops and starts. Our whole life changed in 2020–including our financial numbers. We also reevaluated our goals. As a result, it has not been easy to find a new blogging rhythm. What this blog is about also feels changed. Early this year, though, we are spending time getting clear on our financial and life goals. I miss writing. Both about our wealth-building journey and how we are designing a meaningful life along the way. So, I am going to keep trying. Over the last three years I have learned more about productivity and time management. I want to apply those skills here. 

After that somewhat existential introduction, let’s dive into February. Our last monthly Progress Update is from way back in March 2021! The second month of 2023 was so much better than last year–when we were suffering through the recovery period for my broken ankle and ORIF surgery. One year later, it is hard not to compare where we are this year to what life was like last year. We celebrated Mr. Vine’s birthday with a group of friends at a newly-opened local restaurant. The cover photo for this post is the cheesecake I baked for him. We visited our rental property and caught up with friends across the state. We hosted one of our teenage nephews and his friend for a weekend. Our restaurant and grocery spending was somewhat high due to this socializing.

Even still, our spending settled into its fairly typical recent range. The market did not fare well in February, meaning that our investments were down. The bear market in 2022 has not been fun. We’ve now gone fifteen months without adding an additional $100,000 to our net worth. That’s the longest $100k dry spell we’ve experienced since we began tracking in 2017. Nonetheless, we keep investing, with the expectation that we will make rapid progress when the market perks up. 

Let’s take a look at the charts. It is obvious that buying a second property and fully renovating it has had a major impact on expenses. Those numbers have been quite erratic over the past couple of years. A big goal for this year is to stabilize expenses. The fluctuation has made it difficult for us to feel that our finances are under control. 

Even though the markets have felt as unstable as our expenses, that isn’t the case. Despite the tough conditions recently, our net worth continues to trend up and to the right–just the way we like it. Digging more deeply into the numbers, we’ve been largely flat for the past year. This is despite pouring around six figures into the market, which enabled us to finish 2022 with two commas intact. Thirty percent of millionaires were not so fortunate. 

Because I’ve been neglectful about blogging, we do not have February goals to review. So, let’s start fresh and set some March goals:

  • Checking account balance exceeds credit card balances
  • Finish first quarter “monthly miles” running challenge (I’m planning to run 3 miles per day in March)
  • Publish blog posts
  • Remove snow tires
  • Catch up on cleaning checklists

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