2023 Year in review

View of the Las Vegas valley from Turtle Head peak in Red Rock Canyon

As 2023 comes to a close, it’s time for my fourth annual year in review. This is a quick reflection and goal-setting exercise that I do at the end of each year.

You can view my previous year-in-reviews here.

2023 was really a great year, and I feel that my overall life satisfaction just continued to climb throughout 2023. I really attacked my bucket list this year, and did several bucket list items like hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim, Mt Whitney, and San Gorgonio peak in LA.

General life updates and highlights

Here are a few of my general life updates/highlights from this year:

  • Got a 15% raise in early 2023 at work, plus a nice bonus and more RSUs. This came as a big surprise to me since at the time there were widespread layoffs in the tech job market.
  • Celebrated 2 years with my amazing girlfriend this summer.
  • Upgraded from my old 2007 Honda Accord to a gently used Honda CR-V in April 2023. The new car has been huge for enabling me to take longer and more frequent road trip adventures, which was a big theme for this year.
  • Bought a hardtail mountain bike and have been having a blast exploring local trails since I got it in the fall.
  • This summer, I reached one year of not drinking, and am continuing my zero alcohol lifestyle for 2024. This has been great for my health and my wallet and I really don’t miss drinking at all, although it has caused me to turn down some social invites.

2023 goals review

Here’s a look back at my goals from 2023:

  • Hike another 14er. ✅
    • This fall I did both Mt Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous USA, and Mt Elbert in Colorado.
  • Run a half marathon. ✅
  • Port this site over to WordPress. ✅
    • To my own surprise, I was able to rebuild this site from scratch on WordPress early on in 2023 with minimal change to the site’s design. This should make site maintenance easier and open up better monetization opportunities in the future.
  • Grow my monthly traffic to 50k sessions per month. ❌
    • I didn’t put out much new content in the second half of this year, so traffic didn’t grow much and I fell short on this goal.

2023 Travel adventures

One thing I love about my CR-V is that its relatively new cruise control system makes driving long stretches of interstate a breeze compared to my much older sedan. And since I live in the SF bay area, I can get to many of the world class outdoor spots in the western states in a day’s drive. With so many epic destinations within driving distance, I haven’t done any international travel in the past few years, and I’m not sure how much I’ll feel compelled to in 2024. The western USA just has such a variety of world class outdoors to explore.

Anyway, here are some of my travel highlights from 2023:


  • Road trip + hiking in Death Valley, Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Sedona.


  • 2 weekend trips to Lake Tahoe to go XC skiing. It was crazy seeing 10+ feet of snow still on the ground in late spring!


  • Road trip out to southern Utah to hike at Zion and around the Spring Mountains in Las Vegas.


  • Hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim in a single overnight push, starting at north rim in the evening and finishing at the south rim in the morning to avoid the daytime heat inside the canyon.


  • Drove out to Tucson, AZ and hiked at Mt Wrightson and Mt Lemmon.
  • Hiked El capitan in Yosemite.


  • Hiked at Lassen National Park and Castle Crags state park in northern California.
  • Did more hiking and camping at Yosemite.
  • Visited family in Wisconsin.


  • Flew out to Colorado and stayed in Leadville, a cool little mountain town. Hiked Mt Sniktau and Mt Elbert. Got altitude sickness and had some rough travel delays but overall I enjoyed the trip.


  • Summitted Mt Whitney as a day hike. This one has been on my bucket list for a while, and it was a tough but epic hike.
  • Summitted San Gorgonio peak, the highest peak in the LA area.


  • Hiked at Pinnacles National Park
  • Visited family in Florida
  • Road trip to Las Vegas, Bryce Canyon and Salt Lake City for hiking and XC skiing.

My annual spending in 2023

This year I started to more closely track my spending on a monthly basis using my monthly personal budget template, which you can get for free here.

Overall, I spent a grand total of $38,701 in 2023. This includes everything except for purchasing my new (used) car. Here’s my spending breakdown by category:

I think my burn rate for this past year is pretty impressive considering that I live in Mountain View, CA (in the SF bay area) and that I did a good amount of travel in 2023.

2024 Goals

  • Finish the Sea Otter Classic Fuego XL MTB race and the Tahoe Trail 100 MTB race
  • Hike / backpack the Timberline trail around Mt Hood in Oregon
  • Hike Cactus-to-Clouds (San Jacinto Peak) again
  • Create one piece of content per month on WalletBurst
  • Add $100k to my net worth from saved income (including 401k and HSA contributions and matches)

If you made it this far, thanks for following along on my journey. I’m super excited for what 2024 has in store.

-Andrew 🫡


2 thoughts on “2023 Year in review”

  1. Hi Andrew, thanks for putting out this awesome year in review. Your thoughts and reflections are keeping me motivated to live my best life while I am on a path to FI. I am curious how you only spend $340 on groceries and restaurants each month. That seems very low. Do you do a lot of cooking at home? What do your meals consist of?

    • Hi Travis, thanks for the kind words! That’s a good question, there are a few things that have helped keep my food spending low:
      – I get free lunch and sometimes dinner at work as a company perk
      – I shop mostly at Trader Joe’s and Grocery Outlet
      – I don’t go out to eat much
      – I don’t drink alcohol

      I also posted this article recently breaking down my spending over 2023.



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