Monthly Financial Independence Report – Jan 2021

Good day All! Welcome to my first monthly report in 2021. I bet you thought there would be no more monthly reports. SURPRISE! I’m feeling a wee bit motivated financially speaking. This is SOMETHING!

If you’ve read my monthIy reports in the past, I’ve made some key changes for 2021 that align more with what I want to track. If you have never read my monthly reports, feel free to skip the key changes section, unless you are super bored and want some unnessary context and maybe a cheesy joke or two.


  • I’m no longer calling this a FIRE report. Because, I’m not really going to Retire Early unless the lotto pool pans out. 55 is my goal which many may not consider “early”. Even then, I’ll probably do some part time gig. SO I changed the name to the “Financial Independence” report! Unfortunately my blog is already called T on FIRE, so i probabably won’t change it to T on FI. Just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
  • In the past, I reported FAMILY savings. Now I will report my own savings only. This is to better reflect how I’m doing personally with my goals, since Hubs has that ‘ole pension to fall back on when he retires whereas I do not. NOTE: Expenses are still FAMILY expenses, because we need to track all the dollars doing all the things to keep everybody in line. Well, let’s be real here. I do. hahah.
  • Groceries have notoriously been high (over 1k) on the regular for my 3-person family. For 2021, I’m breaking this lumped together category into Food, home supplies, and toiletries. This will give us a better picture on where the $ is going and things we can do to reduce spending.
  • Tanya’s allowance is no longer included in expenses, because I rarely spend any of it. Most of it gets invested in my retirement accounts or tax free savings accounts. I’ll note spending when it happens.


  • I debated long and hard about whether to include mortgage principal payments in my savings numbers. I even asked smart people for their opinions in the ChooseFI Canada Facebook Group. If you’re Canadian, and enjoy the ChooseFI podcast among others, I strongly recommend it. There’s also an American version if you are so inclined. I read various theories on why you should or shouldn’t. In conclusion, I decided not to count mortgage principal payments as savings even though it’s valid and legit to do so. Mainly because I wanted savings to be my own on the report – if I counted mortgage principal payments, I’d need to divide it up. This way, I can see what independent savings I’m doing on my own, and track that progress!

Monthly Report for January

Savings of T

$229. $180 on an eBay sale, $49 from UserTesting.

Extra Income Beyond my Day Job

$80. Sold some cloth diapers (yes, my kid is 7 years old), and some decor items on Facebook Marketplace.

T’s Family Expenses

Category Jan-21 Relevant Notes of Notey-ness
Mortgage Interest 453 New mortgage rate coming in Feb 2021!
Mortgage Principal 664 The total paid will be the same for both categories together, but interest will be lower and principal will be higher. Hurray!
Property Tax ($3600 Annually – May 2021) 0
Home Insurance ($2100 Annually – May 2021) 0
Home Supplies 37 This NEW category includes things like paper products and cleaning supplies.
Home Maintenance, Repairs, Renos 5
Heat (Wood & Propane – supplements electric heat) 0
Mobile Phones (2 Phones on Public Mobile) 83
Electric ($247 Equalized) 668 Had to pay out at the end of the year due to a shortfall, paid Dec & Jan in Jan.
Internet, Home phone, TV 99 Increased to a bundle which was cheaper than just internet
Bank Fees 3 We’re getting there. We’re almost to zero.
Water (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct) 259
Fuel for 2 cars 208
Car Repairs, Maintenance, Registrations, Licenses 90
Parking for Hubs 127 It went up. I need to find cheaper parking.
Auto Insurance for 2 cars 100
Groceries 895
Dining Out – Family 0
Health (Prescriptions, Vitamins, Dental, Eye care, other medical costs) 53 This will go up BIG TIME next month due to a medical issue πŸ™
Fitness, Sports 13
Toiletries 8 This NEW category includes things like shampoo, soap, razors, makeup and deoderant.
Childcare 300
Life Insurance for 2 adults 156 If one of us pops off early, the other could go FI. Don’t get any ideas, Hubs.
Memberships & Subscriptions 34
Haircuts 0
Clothing 75 Hubs forgot we were doing an essentials only month.
School supplies, Education 0
Pet Fund 78 Umm, pets are expensive.
Charitable Giving 0
Gifts & Holidays 0
Business Transactions 47
Vacation 0
Allowance – M 42 Hubs buying stuff for M. Should it come out of Hub’s allowance?
Allowance – I 186
Allowance – T 0
Entertainment – Family 0
Lotto Pool 0
Alcohol 0
Total Spending 4682


Looking back through the months since I started on the path to financial independence, this has been one of the best we’ve ever had in terms of expenses. As noted in my last blog post, we did a 34-day reset challenge where we were tasked to ONLY purchase necessities. That challenge kept things like alcohol and dining out at zero. We had a few missteps but really not bad at all.

I am very happy with my personal savings for the month. This will go up again in February. According to my financial plan, I need to save and invest $1200 / month consistently in order to  reach FI by 55. Soooo time to take action! I’d love to try to make more side hustle income to make up the extra dollars to save. This would help minimize any further squeeze on the budget.

Thanks for reading the monthly report, let me know what you think of the new monthly report format and what other information you would like to see!

If you have made it this far, AND by popular demand, here’s a cute kitten pic to get you through the rest of the day. You’re welcome.

kitten picWinter Sun and Warm Fur


12 Replies to “Monthly Financial Independence Report – Jan 2021”

  1. Hi T,
    Great to see you’re back at it. I’m with you on the FI vs FIRE mentality. I usually just reference FI.
    Great job on the expenses! I find your list gives me a lot to look at and review of my own stuff and what I can reduce.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Sterling! I’m certainly not the most frugal of FI-ers, but with a husband and kid it’s the best I can do right now. I am still going to keep trying to optimize, expensive parking is in my sights at the moment. Good luck with your review.

  2. As the others said – 55 is still a great age to retire… Better late than never! My mom is approaching 60 and even with a pension coming up still will have a difficult time retiring comfortably so good for you! My husband and I also did the 34-day reset challenge so I’ll have to check out your other blog post! And thanks for the kitty pic! 😻

    1. Thanks for saying so, Celene. A few folks have indicated that 55 is early so I’m sticking with it – although, I don’t intend to FULLY retire, we’ll see what I can find for a part time gig. Best of luck to your mom.

    1. Thanks GYM! I appreciate the support. I do remember the Freedom 55 ads! I just didn’t think it was really *that* early…haha! Maybe if I really hustle I can shave off a year or two πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks Jordan! It’s good to have so much confirmation that “Freedom 55” in the FI world is still valid. I just wish I had started aiming for FI much earlier…but I can’t think like that I suppose until I get my time machine built.

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