On the path to financial independence: May 2017

May was a tranquil month at the BITA household. For once our possessions did not demand repairs or replacements, nor did our dependents require medical attention to body, mind or tooth. There were no birthdays or anniversaries. A month of financial bliss!


This month we did nearly all our vegetable and fruit shopping at our local farmer’s market. They set up shop in the neighborhood every Wednesday from May to September. Toddler BITA delights in the samples, while we delight in the sun and the music that accompanies our shopping (every week they have local musicians doing their thing. The quality is extremely variable, but overall more good than not). Toddler BITA tried her first shaved ice this month and declared it to be good.

financial independence progress may 2017

Toddler BITA received a membership to the Children’s Discovery Museum as a birthday present from her grandparents. We’ve made good use of the gift so far – she visited three times in May! Other May family outings included getting take out burgers from In-n-Out and having a picnic dinner at our local park. We also discovered a new park not too far away complete with a lake, ducks and geese.

We spent plenty of time with friends too – a visit to a beach, a hike, a picnic at a park, hosting dinner encasa twice, being invited out for dinner a couple of times and meeting friends for lunch out at a restaurant once. For one of the dinners we hosted I cooked squid ink paella with prawns. It was yum, even if I do say so myself.


The blog had a good month too. I wrote guest posts for 1500days and for budgetsaresexy. The post on budgetsaresexy got picked up and featured by Business Insider, CNBC and MSN. I’m practically famous now. If the comments on the MSN feature were any indication, I am famous for being an idiot. To quote one of the many gems on there: If you have no idea what you spent them on, your a blithering idiot,”. Oh the irony of that ‘your’.


And I solemnly swear that I will never pollute your inbox with emails that say "your" when I actually mean "you're".

And on that happy note, on to the numbers.

Adding Cash to the Financial Independence Stash

This month we added $32,731.99 to our Stash.

  • Mr. BITA’s 401k was maxed out in January, so that is why you only see contributions to my 401k and my company match.
  • As is usual, we shoveled more cash into the Stash through Mr. BITA’s mega backdoor Roth.
  • I got a small bonus in one of my May paychecks because I had two invention reports approved by my company for submission to the U.S. patent office. We get a small bonus when that happens, a larger one when the patent is actually filed, and another large one when the patent is granted. The entire process takes years though.
  • May was a big month for company stock. Mr. BITA  had RSUs vest and I received stock via the ESPP program. For the curious, I’ve written before about how my ESPP works. The ESPP grant happened on the last day of May. On the 1st of June I sold my company stock, and when the payout hits our account, it will be distributed into our various Vanguard holdings.

financial independence progress may 2017

In an attempt not to be outdone, the market grew our Stash by an amazing $22,546.14.

financial independence progress may 2017


The Financial Independence Plan vs. Reality

Our plan for 2017 calls for us to add a total of $160,000 to our stash this year. How are we doing so far?

YTD we have saved and invested: $133,780.68
YTD market growth: $101,577.60

To meet our goals for this year we have to save another $26,220 before the end of the year. That gives us a target of $3,745 a month for the rest of the year. In Dec 2016, when I revised our savings goal for 2017 and upped the ante from $120,000 to $160,000, the boldness of our new target terrified me. Now, as it turns out, I wasn’t nearly bold enough. We’ve received larger bonuses and grants than we expected. Our company stock has done better that I predicted. We’ve spent less than I had guessed. Overall, I have to say that I’m glad that I don’t make my money by foretelling the future. If I did, I would be a pauper. I’m now secretly hoping we hit $200,000 in savings in 2017. I’m not going to call it a goal though. If I do, I’ll just end up being wrong again.


As usual, I’ll end this monthly update with the Stairway to Heaven. In a moment of crazy artistic inspiration, this month I gave myself some hair:

1310 days to go!

Financial independence status: Ahead of the plan.


30 thoughts on “On the path to financial independence: May 2017”

  1. That are amazing numbers… Adding 160k or 200k to you stash is no small deal.

    In Belgium, those kind of numbers would put you in the 1 pct or less earners…
    This kinda answers my question: why do more US people get sooner to FI.

    I hope you can smash your unspoken 200k goal.

    1. Thank you. The numbers seem unreal to me – there are days when I can’t believe that we actually make these sums of money. It feels weird. Good weird, but weird.

  2. If it makes you feel better, a guy I was casually dating ended things after I revealed my FI plans. He’s sure I’m going to fail and doesn’t want to have to pick up the slack. Now more than ever I’m determined to succeed! Don’t worry about the commenters…. They obviously don’t know much! Those are always a cesspool or trolls and idiots.

    1. What a class act. Ugh. Good riddance. I really, really, really hope you run into him again, say about ten years from now, and ever so classily rub his nose in his loss.

  3. Ah yes the uncertainty of stock bonuses and such. When I had them, I didn’t make total $ savings goals for the year. I made projections, but not goals. My goals looked like: 1) save X% of monthly salary and 2) save 100% of bonuses. Those goals became really easy to hit with time as it became second nature 😉

    1. We’re stashing away close to 100% of our bonuses too. We kept $500 of Mr. BITA’s last bonus for fun money (spent over 3 months), and the rest went right into savings. They did not pass Go. They did, over time, collect way more than $200 : )

  4. Congratulations on the fantastic month!

    You’re making amazing progress and behind it I see a combination of smart and hard work and using some pretty sophisticated tools.

    If anyone out there is thinking, “oh, easy for them, must be nice” my response would be that none of these things are particularly difficult, but it’s evident Mrs. and Mr. BITA have stacked a lot of powerful tools and are using them with ease now that they’re familiar with them.

    Evidence of Hard & Smart Work:
    Invention Reports
    Great writing on the blog
    Great networking to get your writing out there and visible (1500days, budgets are sexy, Business Insider, MSN, CNBC!)

    Tools being used:
    401k frontloading (maxed in January!)
    Mega Backdoor Roth

    Bravo Mrs. and Mr. BITA

    1. This made me blush. It is a good thing that my immense brownness handily hides the tell tale pink spots. You are way too kind Mr. MEL.

      While I wish we could take credit for the salaries we earn (because oh boy do I _love_ taking credit for things), the truth is we happen to work jobs that the market has currently decided are worth a lot of money. I’m immensely grateful and I’m trying to do my bit to make sure we fully capitalize on our good fortune.

  5. I especially like the long pony tail on the Stairway to Heaven graph.

    Our company stock has been doing well lately, so my ESPP and RSU shares are nice to look at. Not killing it like your company stock, but I’ll take the increase. Also, I used to get nice bonuses on patent filings and grants until Megacorp bought our company. Now co-inventors get to share a box of animal crackers.

    I feel your pain regarding Fuzzy BITA. Our previous dog would always eat grass and then proceed to promptly vomit on the carpet. We had to invest in a carpet cleaner. I miss her though 🙁

    Always enjoy the humor in your posts and glad to hear that you are famous now.

    1. I found it harder to draw that pony tail than to save $30k, so I much appreciate your appreciation of my meager skills.

      “Now co-inventors get to share a box of animal crackers.” Hahahahahah. But really, that sucks.

      We hire folks to come and shampoo our carpets once a year, thanks to Fuzzy BITA. This time we got lucky that he chose to deposit his little gift on the tile floor. Normally he much prefers the carpet.

    1. I suck big turkey eggs at the eyelashes stuff, so I’m lucky that thus far I haven’t had to rely on them. My first guest post with Mr. 1500 – he invited me to post and I about fell off my chair. The second one, he asked on his site for someone to write a post because he wasn’t going to get to it that week, and I jumped on it. With J$ and budgetsaresexy things played out differently. J$ asked for volunteers to write fintech reviews for Rockstar Finance (his sister site). I wrote one, and the second review I wrote was supposed to run on budgetsaresexy. That week the person who was supposed to write a review for Rockstar dropped out, so J$ asked if he could run my review to fill the empty slot. Since budgetsaresexy is a much bigger site that rockstar finance w.r.t. traffic, he volunteered to make it up to me my giving me a guest post slot on budgetsaresexy.

  6. Farmers Markets are an awesome gem. The closest one for us is a 20 minute drive so we don’t end up going as often as we would like.

    Great job with your continued savings and contributions. Keep it up.

    1. We’re lucky that ours is a 10 minute walk away, and on a Wednesday evening.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

  7. Absolutely amazed by your ability to save such large sums. My husband and I can only hope to bring home 200k over a 4-5 year period before taxes/insurance, which more than half goes to our expenses. We’re in the wrong line of work for sure. Anyway, great job reaching and exceeding your goals. You’ll definitely hit and move your target further as the year continues. Loved the guest post, too!

    1. Thank you. At the risk of sound falsely modest and extremely irritating – our ability to save these sums isn’t really amazing. I mean the absolute numbers are really good, but if you consider it as a % of our income, we’re about average for the FIRE crowd in terms of savings rate. We aren’t really killing it at saving, we are just doing a decent job of saving a fair bit of very generous salaries. The numbers are more a function of our perceived value in the market than they are of any amazing ability on our parts.

  8. “You’re” savings are amazing this month, bwahahaha! That was a hilariously ironic comment, lost I’m sure, on the author.

    I’m excited that around Canyon Lake, there are a lot of farmers markets that we will eventually get to go to. Around here, they like to hold them on weekdays from 11-2 or some other inconvenient time if “your” employed. Okay, that was the last one, I swear. 🙂

    My RSU’s are very appreciated but I feel like my company’s stock is a bit undervalued, so I’m just holding them for now. It would be nice to sell them and re-invest elsewhere but I feel like they could be worth more… Good job on the invention report and bonus!

    Even though we got Zoe’s stomach issues resolved, thank goodness, it wasn’t before she left a nice parting gift of a spit covered green grass ball on our rug. Sigh…

    1. The worst part? That ‘your’ in the MSN comment bugged me more than being called a blithering idiot because I’m one of those people to whom grammatical errors sound like nails on a chalkboard.

      A Farmers market in the middle of a weekday? How very annoying.

      On the rug? Ugh. We got lucky this time – Fuzzy BITA chose tile. He normally does his level best to hack up the contents of his stomach on the carpeted areas of our house.

  9. Wow way to almost be at your year’s goal already! Seems like you’ve got things very calculated out, I’ll have to take a look at your 2017 plan after this. Don’t worry about the haters, you’re helping a lot of people with your writing and their biggest achievement is probably some nasty comment that took them a whole day to think of. I’m still trying to build up the courage to start guest posting, so good for you!

    1. Thank you Matt. The first ten times I was called an idiot I laughed. After a while, if I’m being honest, it did start to grate a bit. Luckily I had the good sense to stop reading, walk away and comfort myself by looking at my site stats instead : ).

  10. Your blog must have done awesome with all those features! And yes, the comments are ridiculous – aren’t they?!! Looks like you had an awesome month. I love to see how your progress is accelerating without making big lifestyle changes.

    1. It did! I’m going to struggle with watching my traffic sink back down to ‘normal’ levels again. I’ve developed a whole new level of appreciation for the thoughtful and supportive comments on my site after experiencing the cesspool of MSN.

  11. Yup, the bonus bonanza and stock options will sure make some of the folks down at Valley Forge happy and of course you and your family even happier. Well, quite giddy actually. Well done and keep it up. It ain’t long coming round, I can tell you!!

    1. Mr. PIE! Its been a while! Thank you. While our bonuses have been good, they haven’t quite risen to your level (40-something % of gross if I remember right) just yet. I can hardly wait for these last 3 and a half years to go by.

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