For the first time since I started this whole thing, I didn’t end up right against the limits of my budget this month: it was that weird month where, unless it happens in the next twelve hours, nothing will have gone wrong. Looking at my “slush” entries in YNAB, I see a few gifts, a drink out with a friend when I was traveling, a $20 business expense that I can’t get reimbursed, and a big household-items Target trip that, even though it’s in the slush line item because I put it on a credit card, I actually “paid” for by reducing the amount of cash I took out for general spending and groceries. No major medical expenses, car repairs, non-reimbursible meals out, book purchases, nothin’.
As a result, I’ll be able to roll over about $200 of unspent money into next month, which is good because I will definitely have some major expenses in December. I have my annual eye exam (with associated contact lens purchase), I have some Christmas gifts to buy, and either by car or by train (making a decision this week) I have to travel to the east coast and back. Even though I am theoretically getting out of debt this month, with my last regular payment to the credit card debt that I’ve been carrying since the spring, I’m afraid I’m going to end the month right back in it since my flexible spending cushion is still so low! We’ll see, I guess. There’s not much I can do about the eye stuff, but obviously I’ll try to keep the gift/travel expenses as low as I can, and we’ll just see how things go. (I am also reducing my grocery budget for the month because I’ll be away for at least a week, so that might help too.)
Anyway, here are the November numbers, NOT including the reimbursible spending I did at the conference I was just at:
(1) I’d been saving up to pay my friends three months’ worth of phone service (I’m now on their family plan at $25 a month) and I wrote that check while I was seeing them over Thanksgiving. For some airheaded reason I only had $70 and not $75 (the phone plan is $25 a month for my share) in that budget, hence the slight overage.
(2) I set “cash for spending,” “entertainment,” “gifts,” and “charity” at $0 for the month because, in the first case, I was compensating for what should have been a big cash purchase (household items/grocery Target run) but I put on a credit card instead at the beginning of the month as I hadn’t had time to take cash out yet. For the last three, I set them at $0 because I didn’t feel like dealing with them this month as separate line items — I spent in all three categories, actually, but I took them either out of slush or out of my cash withdrawal for the month.
(3) Travel: I bought a train ticket, then moved the excess in that category back into slush to roll over into next month. My other travel expenses this month were either reimbursible, or I was able to pay for them out of the cash I still had left over from groceries.
(4) Personal/medical: a co-pay for a followup visit from the eye infection from last month, plus a co-pay for a prescription medication.
(5) Debt and savings: right where they should be. Still on the slow and steady plan.
I had a post-tax savings rate of just over 50% this month, which is exciting! My income (including the pre-tax retirement withdrawals and the post-tax paychecks) was $3167 and I saved about $1600 of that, give or take a few dollars.
The markets had another ok month, and I moved my Roth IRA from a target date fund to Total Stock Market Index shares. I decided to keep the 403(b) in the target date fund, so I will still have some bonds and international stock in there, but I wanted to be more aggressive with the Roth. I have no plans to do anything more with it except let it sit there for the next thirty years (and feed it money when I can, obviously.)
The upshot of all of this is that, as best as I can tell (I did some math to remove reimbursibles etc from the equation) I now have a net worth of $12630, up from $10352 last month, a difference of $2278. This makes me super happy, as my stretch goal is to average a $2000 net worth gain per month over the course of the year — and I’ll have some months that don’t get to $2000 so I need some of these really good months to smooth it out! Last month was also good on this front (due more to the markets than anything else) so I’ll hopefully feel a bit better if, as I expect, December turns out to be a high-spending month and I don’t make my $2000 goal.