Keeping Up With The FIRE Dreamers: My Personal Finance Report Card January 2019 – 28% Savings Rate

Keeping Up With The FIRE Dreamers: My Personal Finance Report Card January 2019 – 28% Savings Rate

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What Grade Do I Give Myself For January 2019?

It’s been a while since I did a report card on how my finances are going so here we go.

For my previous report cards I did an “enjoyment ratio.”

Tallying up which of my finances brought me joy and which didn’t.

I’ve stopped doing that because I got so used to doing it, I was becoming hyper aware of what purchases would most likely bring me joy or not.

So I started gravitating toward purchases which had a higher chance of bringing me joy.

It’s kind of like KonMari’ing your money to point where you know what purchases you will enjoy or not after acknowledging those that didn’t.

Because it’s called “personal finance” I will share with you some personal percentages, but I won’t get into specific numbers.

Mainly because I’m still shy with sharing what my numbers are.

And mainly because I don’t want you guys judging me on my brunch habits or fatFIRE lifestyle lol.

mille feuille crepe cake in San Francisco for January 2019
earl grey lavender mille feuille crepe cake. it looks better than tastes (which was very bland)
pad thai for January 2019
the best pad thai in Seattle

I give myself a B+ for January 2019.


Because savings rates were lower than what I would like, but I did the best I could after coming back from a trip to Thailand and moving back to New York from Seattle.

My January 2019 Savings Rate

sushi salmon sashimi in South Korea served on stones
salmon sashimi served on round stones

I had a savings rate of 28%.

While that is less than my 30% self-prescribed minimum, and way less than the 50% I am aiming for, it’s still better than the 10% savings rule suggested by the book, The Richest Man in Babylon.

If you haven’t read that book yet, I highly recommend it because it got me started on my FIRE journey.

I think it will give you a lot of value because it’s told in parables from the perspective of a wealthy citizen from ancient Babylonia, rather in a modern “how-to.”

When I was 20, I was lost and didn’t know what to do with my finances but knew I wanted to get out of the rat race.

That book really helped get my mind on the right track 🙂

Where My Savings Went for January 2019

topiko on top of sushi
some topiko on top of sushi

I wanted to see where my savings were going for the month so I categorized it by “amount” and “where it went.”

Ally Bank

pic of the best pho in Seattle
some of the best pho in Seattle

I’m working on building up my cash reserves to have enough to cover several months to several years worth of expenses if I don’t work.

Because I live with my parents to save on rent, costs are pretty minimal with regards to living expenses.

I also graduated college debt free after making some sacrifices, so I don’t have monthly student loans to pay.

I also paid off all my credit card debt in 2018 but that took a sizable chunk out of my savings and investments.

Okay, so what percentage of my savings went to Ally Bank and why?

23% of my savings went to Ally Bank.


Because they offer right now a 2.20% savings rate.

So for every $100 I put into my savings account, that’s $2.20 I get in a year of interest.

Isn’t that amazing?!

Imagine how much interest you’d be getting if you had $1,000, or $10,000, or more in your cash reserve chilling there.

That’s what I’m working on.

Building up my emergency cash reserve in Ally Bank, so at least it’s earning a nice interest while it’s unused.

To put it in perspective, my Key Bank savings account offers like 0.60% or less.

I think that’s the same, if not less, at Chase and Wells Fargo as well?

Correct me if I’m wrong.


shrimp bao with smack sauce, bulgogi bao, and chicken satay bao


What a shocker lol.

Considering how many people who have reached FIRE or striving for FIRE put their money in index funds, Vanguard isn’t a surprise.

Of my savings, I put 77% of it into Vanguard for January 2019.

My goal for 2019 is to work, save, and invest till the value of my Vanguard in this one year is at the same level or higher that I had “lost” on my business venture in Seattle.

So far, I’ve mapped out the projections for the rest of the year and so far so good.

I might not reach it, but it is definitely worth a shot.

Adding Them Up

lox bagel with avocado and micro greens for January 2019
organic avocado, micro greens, on a lox bagel

So I saved 28% of my after tax income for January 2019.

Of my 28% savings rate, I put 23% of it into Ally Bank, and 77% of it into Vanguard.


bingsu with matcha ice cream
cocoa bingsu with matcha ice cream

As I’m typing this up, February 2019 is already looking better because my income is a little more stable.

My life situation is also a little more stable because I’ve been back home longer and don’t have international trips planned (yet).

My goal for the next couple of months is to get a second part time job.

avocado pizza with micro greens picture for January 2019
avocado on pizza with microgreens. Made at home

With the after-tax income from my second job, I aim to increase my savings rate, because my expenses should, for the most part, stay the same.

I aim to work toward giving myself an A+ report card in the next couple of months. 

some good down to earth brunch
guess the place? (rhymes with IHOP)

Got to hustle but also remember paw pieng at the same time.

Paw pieng is the Thai art of living contently while striving for financial self-sufficiency.

It’s helping me stay calmer and more collected on my journey to FIRE.


Because it reminds me that I don’t have to kill myself to get where I want to be (FIRE).

I can do my thing, hustle, rest and relax, and still manage to go with the flow of the universe.

It reminds me to schedule in time to take deep breathes while I’m hustling, because I can sometimes forget.

Remember, before FIRE, contentment starts in the heart.

Resources Mentioned:

Get a Free Copy of My New Ebook “The 5 Powerful Habits For Financial Independence” 

I’ve woven together my Top 5 financial independence blog posts into a coherent story on how small habits can have a big impact on your journey to F.I.

Follow me on Twitter @Jack_thedreamer 

Seriously though, if you want to see all the fun threads and conversations we have, follow me on Twitter. It’s lit 👌

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January 2019 Pinterest graphic pin it!

Jack The Dreamer

I'm a dreamer. But you know what? All the best people are. And if you're one too, join the revolution! My blog is about being financially independent and working towards that goal each and every single day so that we can all start living the life we've always dreamed of! Jack the Dreamer, over and out!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Savvy History

    I’ve enjoyed your presence on Twitter. I’m glad I finally made it over to visit your blog!

    First of all, I love the idea of giving yourself a grade each month. That’s a unique and useful idea! Your jokes are fun too. Fatfire eating all the way! The food pictures are killing me though. I’m trying to lose weight after having a baby and now I feel the need to eat the rest of the day…

    1. Jack The Dreamer

      Haha aw! Thank you SO MUCH for your comment and for visiting! Glad you enjoyed the article lol. I was actually inspired by Angela @treadlightlyretireearly with her weekly frugal five update and food pictures lol. Can’t guarantee there’ll be any less in February’s report card lol 😂😅

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