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Early Retirement Monthly Update: December

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Well, friends, it’s that time of the month again. We get to dive into another month of our early retirement income, spending, and life. December was an eventful month for us with the most travel we have done in early retirement up to this point. Has all the traveling broken our budget? Let’s find out below.

Early Retirement Update: Income


Early Retirement Update
Took longer to get the laptop set up on the train than it did to send out workout programs.

Two people decided that they wanted to get healthier & in better shape, so they bought our workout program. The good news is that the leg work (pun intended) on the program is largely completed, so it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to put together the correct program for the buyer. It’s a fun early retirement side hustle that netted us $20.

We are excited as well because we’ve just finished putting together our at-home workout that you can find here. Perfect for people too busy for the gym, or the frugal among us who don’t want a gym membership to stay in shape. On a related note, if you’re looking for other helpful health & nutrition suggestions be sure to check out our Health Resources page.

To wrap up the ‘work’ category, we’ve dipped our toe into the world of selling tradelines. There hasn’t been any money come in yet, as we won’t get paid until the entire process is completed. However, it takes us less than a couple of minutes to set-up the account. The thought of low effort work with high payouts makes us happier than a Kardashian at the plastic surgeon.

Work Total: $20

Rental Income

Rental Income
Duplex 1 $725
Condo $1,521.88
House & Apartment $590
Duplex 2 $1,100
Duplex 3 $1,100
Townhouse $1,000
Total $6,036.88

Another month of lower-income in early retirement due to our vacancy in the house in front of the apartment. The good news is that we found a new tenant, and her lease begins in January so that’s the end of that vacancy.

Also, we offered a discounted rate for a longer lease. This will get us on a better schedule when it comes to the tenant pool available if they decide to move.

Our Airbnb had another high month, although not as high as last month by a few dollars. Even though we had 100% occupancy this month, we had two guests, who smartly took advantage of the longer-term stay discounts.

If you’re interested in raking in some cash by hosting your own Airbnb, use our link and receive a $25 bonus after your first booking. Anything, from spare rooms & basements to dedicated properties & treehouses. Hell, we’ve even seen RV’s and a car parked in the driveway listed on there.

Early Retirement Misc Income

Our early retirement misc income category was pretty varied this month.

A whopping $45.01 of interest was accrued in our ‘high’ interest checking accounts. It seems that we receive an email twice a month lowering the interest rate we are earning. While we’ve started moving some money within the banks we already have, we still haven’t pulled the trigger on bank bonuses. It’s only a matter of time though.

Also, we earned $5 apiece for a PayPal referral to each other. Emily wanted to start reviewing books, but didn’t have a PayPal account to link and was tired of using mine. I shot her over a referral and she received $5 for opening an account and I earned $5 for the referral.

To top it off, I found a forgotten $217.78 in our PayPal account, which I promptly withdrew.

Total: $272.79

Total Income: $6,329.67

Early Retirement Update: Spending

This was our first full month outside of Cyprus since our early retirement in September. Our spending has changed during our travels, which is to be expected. However, did we go overboard? We’ll have to see.



We started our fourth month of early retirement at our house-sit in Munich, which is commonly known as the most expensive city in Germany.

Early Retirement Update
Day trip to Salzburg!

While in Munich, we took advantage of the great public transportation system, which set us back $101.35. This covered dozens of train rides, including a round trip to Salzburg, Vienna where we spent a day exploring.

Our next travel expense was our RyanAir flight from Malta to Toulouse in January. RyanAir is notorious for tacking on expenses. However, we are familiar with budget airlines and even have a budget airline survival guide. $48.44 for both tickets, and that was after splurging for the larger carry-on price.

It’ll be our first trip on RyanAir, so we will definitely let you know if it’s a must or bust.

Next up, we had our train from Munich to Budapest that we paid for in November. It was an uneventful trip, although in the future we will probably pay to reserve seats. There were only 3 stops, but at every stop, we were worried that someone had reserved our seats and would send us packing.


Early Retirement Update Budapest
Exploring in Budapest

In Budapest, we paid $40.48 for three weeks worth of tickets that included bus rides, tram rides, and metro rides. A small price to pay for independence to travel anywhere in the area without the reliance on a car. To top it off, we didn’t pay for all of it, as our $300 travel credit from our Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) covered $20.21 of these charges. This leaves us with a $20.27 charge.

If you’re interested in seeing the credit cards that we recommend, be sure to check our Travel Resources page.

Speaking of our travel credit from the CSR, we also had our $42.52 bus from Budapest to Vienna covered. This bus was as nice as any plane I’ve been on. Admittedly, we’re always in the cheap seats, so take that information with a grain of salt.

Back to the bus, it was fancy. No community tv’s with the same shit on loop, we’re talking tv’s in the headrests with movies, shows, games, sports, and more. Not to mention free wifi, charging stations, & free coffee or tea.

The CSR travel credit also covered our flights from Toulouse to London, London to Tirana, and Tirana back to Budapest. All of this will happen in February, but the charges of $177.15 went on this month and promptly got erased.


We also booked our Airbnb for the beginning of January in Vienna. We’ve only got a couple of days in Vienna as we are eagerly moving onto the warmer weather and brighter skies of Barcelona. Our two nights in Vienna set us back $145.12 but $39.85 of that was wiped out by the rest of our travel credit. Bringing us to $105.27

Travel Total: $275.33



Luckily, in Munich, we were a stone’s throw away from a Lidl. For those of you not in the know, Lidl is essentially Aldi. Cheap prices, and good food if you pick the right things. We were also around the corner from another local grocery store, Rewe. Have we mentioned how much we love walkable cities?

Anyway, we went a little crazy at the grocery stores. We made tacos, daily guacamole with nachos, mulled wine, regular wine, chili, stew, pizzas, and more. These varied ingredients came out to $90.55 in grocery charges.

While in Munich, we also met up with some great FI friends. First off was a second round of meeting up with our friend from CampFI. We went out and had some drinks, and ate at some weird German place. This came out to $30.33

Early Retirement Update Munich
Beers with the WOW’s

Next up, we met up with our friends behind Waffles on Wednesday. We had a good day of exploring and walking around Munich topped off with a nice dinner and more than a few embellishments from a couple of bars. We spent $33.53 on this night out.

Total: $154.41 


We continued our onslaught of Lidl in Budapest. However, Budapest, & Hungary in general, is much cheaper than Munich & Germany so our dollar went a lot further.

Similar to our time in Munich, we were house-sitting in Budapest. Having access to a kitchen has been incredibly helpful not only for our wallets but also for our waistlines. We just don’t enjoy eating out that much. Our grocery cost was $58.33 during our time in Budapest.

Szimpla Farmers Market Brunch Buffet
Round 1 of three at Szimpla Farmers Market Brunch Buffet

We did go out to eat a few times, though. One of these times was a killer buffet at a farmer’s market that came highly recommended. All told, we spent $53.90 in Budapest on restaurants.

Total: $112.23

Food Total: $266.64

Health & Fitness

We skipped out on the gym in Munich because the places were so damn expensive. Like $20 per visit per person expensive. Instead, we opted for at-home workouts. While we were in Munich, we had to pick up some vitamins which came out to $14.33.

Unlike Munich, we found some relatively affordable gyms in Budapest. One of which was home to a ton of American movie memorabilia. We splurged and got 20 visits (10 visits apiece) for $107.61. It was nice to get back in the gym and throw some weight around.

Early Retirement Update Budapest
American Flag Barbell & Captain America Plates at Flex Gym in Budapest

Since this is one of our few hobbies, and it’s healthy, we always make time in the day and the budget for a good workout.

We had to stock up on some other vitamins while in Budapest and this came out to $17.44.

Health & Fitness Total: $139.38


Rental Mortgage Expenses
Duplex 1 $393.03 $0.00
Condo $318.66 $420.26
House & Apartment $581.53 $1,244.69
Duplex 2 $350.26 $40.00
Duplex 3 $362.97 $40.00
Townhouse $577.24 $0.00
Total $4,328.64

Our rental expenses saw a big up-tick this month, as we unexpectedly had to replace a leaking water heater. The good news is that it didn’t cause any damage and was taken care of quickly. This fiasco set us back an extra $1020.

Other than that, there weren’t any maintenance issues or outstanding things. Just a combination of mortgages, utilities for a couple of places, monthly pest control, and our 15% cut that we owe to our Airbnb co-host.

Early Retirement Misc Expenses

One thing you’ll notice is absent from our breakdown compared to most people’s end of year budgets are gifts. We don’t exchange gifts, mostly because we don’t want anything and would rather spend our money (or points) on going to a new place.

Exploring in Hungary
Walking by the Parliament building on one of our daily walks exploring in Budapest

While we were in Salzburg for the day, we went and explored the fortress overlooking the city. Great views, and for a history buff like myself, it was a great chance to learn more about their past. Tickets for the two of us were $22.22

We have our typical phone bill, although due to some international calls that weren’t done on WiFi, a couple of bucks got added on. It cost us $50.04, which is a small price to pay for two phones with unlimited text & web internationally. Being able to use Google Maps to get everywhere has been a lifesaver.

Early Retirement Update Munich
Emily hanging in front of the Christmas Market in Marienplatz Square

Also, while we were in Munich, it was colder than we were expecting. So, we did what any rational person would do. We scoured through thrift stores for heavy coats and jackets. Luckily, Emily found a high quality, good looking jacket for only $22. Unfortunately, as usual, the men’s options were severely lacking. So, I did without and continued to use 4 layers every time we went outside.

Misc Total: $94.26

Spending Total: $5,104.25

Wrap Up

We have had another great month of early retirement adventures. Spending 6 weeks in two historic and beautiful cities in Europe has been eventful. Being able to walk or take public transport everywhere and not rely on cars has been the best part. Exploring daily, spending time together and spending our money on things we value is an incredible feeling. How did the early retirement income and spending flesh out though?

Income – Expenses = +1,225.42

We did have a big month of expenses, but still came out ahead and didn’t have to dip into our reserves for the rental properties or into our personal savings to continue our trek around Europe. Onto the next month of early retirement, and the next year of adventures!

Monthly Early Retirement Updates:

September: +$5,905.70

October: +$2,540.15

November: +$1,888.23

December: +$1,225.42

2019: +11,559.50

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