February 2015 Net Worth Update

Posting a little early because I had my spreadsheets ready and nothing financially significant is going to happen between now and the end of tomorrow 🙂 February was less calm than January, with more ups and downs. Overall, though, barring some car trouble, it’s been a very positive month in the Singledollar household-of-one (financial household, anyway; I live with a housemate and her dog and cat, so actually it’s fairly full up around here!) Knock wood, I should be on track to be over $20,000 (and be halfway to my e-fund goal) in March. Continue reading “February 2015 Net Worth Update”

January 2015 Net Worth Update

First month of 2015! I’m really pleased with myself; aside from the major planned purchase from my travel savings, I stayed right on track with the tight, savings-focused budget I set up. I feel like a lot has happened since I set my goals up last month, so just as a reminder, my plan is to try this tight budget out through March and see how I feel about it; I may ease up a little at that point if this is leaving me feeling deprived. Continue reading “January 2015 Net Worth Update”

December 2014 Net Worth Update

Well, this month started off with a bang and ended up with a schlumpf. Towards the beginning of the month, I paid off the last of my debt (although it took me until the middle of the month to be able to announce it.) Then I got hit with a huge bill for new glasses and contact lenses, and had to pull some money out of my emergency fund along with cash-flowing part of it. So the end net worth results for this month are not too impressive, although I got a last-minute boost via a $200 Christmas gift directed to my travel fund.

To the numbers: Continue reading “December 2014 Net Worth Update”

November update: even better!

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:

Comments:
(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.

October Review: Not Too Bad!

This turned into a good month for my retirement accounts; after sliiiiiiiiiiding to the point where I lost all my gains for the year and then some, they rebounded pretty nicely.

As a result of both that, and it being a reasonable month for expenditures in other areas, I did in fact break the $10,000 mark in net worth! I knew this was a possibility, but everything was going to have to break exactly right: no major unexpected expenses, and the markets were gonna have to do the right thing. So I was trying not to get too excited, and conservatively estimating that I’d do it with my mid-November paycheck instead.

But here we are! Cool. It feels good. Next goal: $20,000! Again, if everything breaks exactly right, I could do that in time for my 1-year blogging anniversary at the end of March. It might not happen, but it could! Let’s call it my stretch goal.

The numbers, and then some commentary:

— I went a bit over in the food category, using all the cash for the month that I took out, but also paying for a few quick meals (sandwiches, that kind of thing) on the credit card.

–“Repairs & Maintenance” is a new category in my budget. I’m going to try to sock away a little money there every month; this month, I needed to buy and install a new car battery, and get a new touchscreen for my ipad after I dropped it and the glass shattered. I thought I’d budgeted for both things, out of “slush” and from a freelance check I had coming in, but the battery ended up being a little more expensive than I thought, so I went over by $16 there.

–I was able to reassign money from “slush” to cover those expenses and most of the two trips I took, one to Chicago and one to visit a friend about a six-hour drive away. But I couldn’t quite cash-flow both of them, so I ended up moving money out of my travel savings. I got a little confused about what exactly the numbers were on that travel savings account since I moved money in and out of it multiple times for multiple reasons, so I decided not to bother trying to figure out what exact final deal was — hence the two places where I have question marks.

–Also notable, I got a reimbursement check for $155; since what I was being reimbursed for was an expense I’d put on my credit card back in January (long story why it took so long) and had been counting as part of my debt, I therefore made a higher than planned debt payment; instead of just the $450 from my paycheck, I paid down $605 of credit card debt.

Which leads me to the stirring conclusion: as of midnight on October 31, I have $737-ish of credit card debt, sizable increases in both my IRA and 403(b) accounts, and the drop I noted yesterday in my emergency and travel funds because I raided them to buy more IRA shares. The end result:

Net worth of $10,352, which is up $2840.00 from last month! 

This is a really, really big net worth increase, much better than I would normally expect to do. The combination of receving the freelance and reimbursement checks, the markets doing bad things at the end of last month and good things this month, and overall mostly sticking to the budget in other areas, all pushed me this far. Cool.

End of September Update

Another month gone! Progress, progress, progress (mostly.)

It was a reasonably successful month; I’m ending it about where I’d hoped I would be in terms of spending, but I didn’t get there quite in the way I expected to. Also, the markets took a tumble towards the end of the month, which is kind of depressing in terms of my net worth numbers, but I don’t have any control over that, so not much to do but shrug and keep on keepin’ on.

Here’s my expected/actual budget numbers for the month:

Some notes:
1. The food budget there is ridiculous. What happened: my roommate and I bought a share in a meat CSA, for $140 each. We get five months’ worth of local, ethically raised meat (chicken, beef, and pork.) It’s a little expensive, but she wanted to do it and I thought I could afford it. So there was that. But then I also went overboard on buying coffees and snacks this month; in October, one of my goals is to meal-plan better so that I have afternoon snacks to bring with me to work rather than caving and buying stuff at work.

2. But that was mitigated by the fact that two major expenses I was expecting to materialize, didn’t. I’d been saving up for a big utility bill (I need to pay the entire summer’s electric bill) and it turns out I didn’t need to — I had $200 budgeted for it and only needed $80. Then, I had $90 in the budget because I was expecting to need to pay a final phone bill on my old plan, and maybe also pay for the first month on my new plan. But it turned out that I was paying ahead on my phone plan (who knew?), and I won’t have to pay for the new one til next month. So, great.

3. I moved most of the savings from #2 into “slush” where it ended up covering even more food (see above), entertainment, and charity expenses.

4. Medical: That’s the dentist’s bill for a cavity I had filled, plus a couple of co-pays for doctor’s visits and prescriptions.

5. Travel: I took a weekend trip to Chicago at the end of the month. I was able to cover some expenses out of slush, but didn’t have quite enough, so I’m withdrawing a little from my travel account to cover the rest.

6. I also almost had to blow both my travel and e-funds right at the end of the month even though I’ve only just gotten them started! My closest friend had a family emergency that I nearly flew out for, but that ended up not happening. And I dropped my ipad and cracked the glass, making it unusable. However, I have a small freelance check coming in early next month that will cover the ipad repair, so even though I’d rather be putting that money in my IRA, I guess it’s good that I don’t have slow down my credit card repayment.

Like I said, the markets dropped a bunch — I lost pretty close to $200 in my retirement accounts, which kept me much further from my net worth target than I wanted to be. But c’est la vie. I still made decent progress, and barring a total October-1929-style event, I should be on track to hit $10K in net worth in November, and to pay off the last of my credit card debt in December.

How’d y’all do in September?

End of August Update

This is my favorite time of the month right now. I love seeing how everyone is doing, and recording my own progress, even though that’s slower than I wish it were.

I’m experimenting with new ways of reporting how the month went. I think I’ve done it slightly differently every single month 🙂 This time I tried spreadsheets, which I kind of like. The thing is, the numbers I’m getting from them don’t quite line up, probably because I used a mix of sources to get the numbers (mint.com, YNAB, my bank’s website) and I’m sure I just missed some things. Next month, maybe! This is the chart I’m pretty sure is more right:

That looks pretty good, doesn’t it? All that green! I like seeing my net worth over $6000, too. It’s climbed by $25,000 in fourteen months. If I can keep that pace up, that would be good.

This next chart, because it’s more complicated, is more likely to be off. It doesn’t tell a drastically different story than the one above, but it does explain why I’m only “eh” and not super happy about how August went:

See how, in chart #1, my credit card balances dropped by $317, while, in chart #2, I paid $596 towards debt? And how I therefore spent more than came in (although I think the exact # I came up with there is weirdly high; it should be a difference of more like $300, which is why I feel like there are errors lurking in there somewhere.)

[ETA, 09/01: AHAH! I figured it out! That $200 of “travel” savings is actually September’s travel savings. It’s already in the bank account because it’s coming out of a paycheck I received in August…but it shouldn’t be on budget. OK, that makes me feel better: the difference in my income/saving-spending for August is actually $254.48. Much more in line with the numbers in my head.]

Yeah, that would be because I over-spent my income in August. I don’t really regret any of it, even the $50 I spent eating out in Chicago, but I desperately need to have a better September (and October, November, and December) so I can knock out that debt and build up a slush fund to draw on for more expensive months.

Well, onward and upward!

End of July update

I’m not quite back from my trip yet, but I have an unexpected free hour plus internet connection tonight, so blog update time it is. I’m looking forward to my monthly trip around the internet to see everyone else’s end of the month summaries too 🙂

July was an ok month, neither awesome nor terrible. It started with having to throw out several days’ worth of food after a power outage and ended with an out of town trip (always expensive) and a big dinner party. It also included some paycheck weirdness as I waited for paperwork to go through at my new employer. But through most of the month I tried fairly hard to stick to the plan, and the end results aren’t too awful, although they also aren’t as good as they could have been with the usual “just a LITTLE more discipline.”

Food: I totally blew my food budget, coming in at $400 for the month when I’d budgeted $250. I reallocated $50 to cover the emergency at the beginning of the month, and then the extra $100 went on that dinner party plus some food bought while traveling. Sigh.

Rent and utilities and whatnot: $555

Gas, tolls, car insurance: $134

Travel: $458 (plane ticket for my brother’s wedding. Not really optional travel.)

Gifts, charity, and entertainment: $105

As the regular reader will recall, I decided not to put anything towards debt or savings in July (except for retirement contributions) so I could start ‘living on last month’s income’ in August. So, my credit card debt is actually going *up* (because I couldn’t pay for the entire plane ticket out of this month’s travel budget, especially given how badly I did on the food front) and my EF number isn’t budging either. Another thing that makes July more of a holding pattern month than anything else.

There is good news on the retirement fund front, though. I put another $500 in side hustle income into my Roth IRA, and also had the first $500 deducted from my paycheck into a 403(b). So that feels like a nice solid contribution in that direction. The total of my retirement accounts is over $4000 now; it seems like it ought to be more given how hard I’ve focused in that direction lately but it’s a start!

Totals for July:

Debt:
-$2159.17, a change of -$301 from the end of June
Net worth:
$4261, a change of +$1863 from the end of June

 

Net Worth: End of June Update

So I had been super excited to take a screenshot of my mint.com net worth graph, and then for boring technical reasons I had to delete and re-enter my main bank account and credit cards, and lost a year’s worth of history! What a bummer. So, I can’t show the slow upward trend from a net worth of -$19119.00, exactly one year ago, to now, but I can at least show what now looks like:

I’m in the green! To the tune of $2398. 🙂

The other good news from the end of this month:

Because I didn’t start that “goal” in mint until I’d already paid down some of the loan, it doesn’t show everything. I started with $18,697 when I graduated last June. I paid off loan #1 at the end of April, and now I can kick loan #2 to the curb:

(Annoyingly, I somehow overpaid by 17 cents. Is it worth it to try to get that back, do you think?)

Here are the gory details on the payments:

I calculate I paid $172.50 in interest on this loan of $8500 by paying it off a year after graduation, as opposed to the $2721.75 I would have paid over 10 years by making the minimum payment.

I typically sum up the month’s spending at this point, but this post is getting long already, so I might do another one about that later this week. Instead I’ll cut right to the chase:

Totals:

 Debt:
-$1858, a change of +$2810 from the end of May

 
Net worth:
$2398, a change of +3352 from the end of May


By the way, note that I have nifty new progress bars on the blog — for debt, retirement, and EF goals. And yes, I’m taking everyone’s EF advice to heart, although it’s going to take years at this rate to save up $6000 in that thing. 🙂

 

Net Worth: End of May Update

Good morning to the west coast! I’m just back from what should be the most expensive component of my California trip — a few days in San Francisco where I ate out pretty much every meal, went to several events requiring tickets, and did some shopping (little presents for my various hosts, and a hat and tshirt for myself.) All things considered it could’ve been worse than it turned out to be; the eating out was constant, but none of it was in sit-down restaurants — a few dollars for a taco here, $10 for a sandwich there, $3 for coffee here…. It definitely added up, but put together it was still less than two or three sit-down meals.

Next year if I do this again, I will, my hand to God, have it all saved up for in advance!

Anyway, even though we still have a couple of days to go before the end of May, nothing should change between now and Saturday, so I’m going to go ahead and do a net worth update.

I put $2608 towards my remaining student loan in May, leaving it sitting, currently, at $2499.86. (It’ll grow by about $12 over the course of the month.) Woo! I am on track to pay it off with my last big paycheck from my current job, so the end-of-June update ought to be pretty damn exciting.

I also paid $450.00 to my credit card (towards dealing with various moving/travel expenses.)

Now, as to spending….deep breath and in we go:

“Auto and Transport”: $1528. This includes gas, car insurance, public transportation costs in San Francisco…and also the majority of the costs of my move.

“Food and dining”: $402. This isn’t as bad as I expected it to be given how much eating out I’ve done this month. On the other hand I’ve bought zero groceries and also eaten quite a bit at the expense of various parents and friends which is free for me, except the time I spend doing dishes!

Clothing and books: $79.44. A hat, a tshirt, a book. I also bought some e-books but they don’t seem to have been actually charged to my card yet so I guess I’ll count them next month instead.

Tickets: $177.50

Gifts: $34.23

Personal care: $197.05. This includes medical expenses (therapy; eye infection) and pharmacy stuff. And some waxing 🙂

Cash spending: $123 (including an ATM fee at the San Francisco airport, grrrrr)

Misc other: $274.13. Postage, moving supplies, utilities and phone bill (two months’ worth actually because of an odd schedule). Oh, God, and also an embarrassing taxi ride in NY; I didn’t leave myself enough time in the morning to get to the airport by less expensive shuttle bus and ended up having to take a cab. I don’t even want to think about that one.

Totals:

Spending:
Money applied to debt: $3058.00
Money spent on everything else: $2815.35

Grand total of spending: $5873.35 — or roughly $800 more than my paycheck+reimbursements. [The move is partially funded by my new employers and I should actually get another $350 from them eventually, which will help a little bit with paying down the credit card.]

  Debt
 -$4668, a change of +$2166 from the end of April

[Not included in the above, because I’m doing all this off budget, is the side hustling and Roth IRA shares I did this month. But for the record, my May side hustling income comes to $415, and that is partly reflected in the net worth total below, although it’s a little complicated since some of that money has not yet arrived in an account that ‘shows’ on mint.]

Net worth total: 
-$954, a change of +$2389 from the end of April

Positive net worth is so close I can practically taste it! Should happen by the end of June unless something really drastic happens.