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!

18 thoughts on “End of August Update

  1. If you think there is an error somewhere I would check the emergency fund. You are showing adding $250 this month to it but the balance went from $75.00 to $500.00, or a $425.00 difference.

    1. Oh, yeah, I should have said something about that. That’s an artifact of the new way I’m budgeting. The EF, in reality, has $500 in it right now. But that’s $250 of “August” contributions and $250 of “September” contributions (because September’s money is coming out of the paychecks I get in August, the $$ is in the account already, but I didn’t report it in the spending/savings spreadsheet because it ‘belongs’ to next month’s saving/spending.)

      But it is an excellent example of the way this reporting system is probably too complicated 🙂 I need to just pick something simple and then stick with it for several months so that things smooth out.

    2. Looking at it, I more and more suspect that the discrepancy probably came from moving money around and therefore ending up with some double-counting.

  2. TSD,

    Nice job with your month! Keep knocking out that debt so you can use that cash to buy assets! Keep it up.

    -Lanny

    1. Thank you! I’d really like to buy some more assets 🙂

  3. Isabella W says:

    Your basic living expenses (rent, food, utilities) are low. That is an advantage you have over many. I’m sure you will return to your prudent spending in Sept. and Oct. Cecilia, you deserve a medal for how quickly you paid off your student loans!

    On that note, I wanted to mention that Lands End is having a very good sale through today, Labor Day. Everything is discounted $30, including sale items. Normally, their sales only include regularly priced items. I picked up two scarves at $6.99 each (reg. $29), and three cardigan sweater for $14.99 each (reg. $49) to refresh my work wardrobe a bit. And we don’t pay tax on clothing in Minnesota. There is free shipping for catalog orders over $50, but I usually order from the store. Just thought I would throw that out there! 🙂

    1. Keeping the rent low is *so* critical (and not doing that was a huge mistake I made through my early 30s.) I probably can’t maintain $300 for long, but it’s nice while I’ve got it. I’m trying hard on the food front too. That number will go up after I kill the credit card debt; it’s not really sustainable for me. Thanks for the sale suggestion!

  4. Isabella W says:

    Correction – Lands End sale is through tomorrow.

  5. DebtFreeJD says:

    Great job, Cecilia! I’m especially impressed by how careful your budgeting is!

    1. Yeah, well, it’s more impressive when I actually *stick* to my careful budget 🙂 But I’m on a new reform kick.

  6. This is my favorite time of the month too! Nice job and a nice bump to your net worth. Watching those balances increase makes all the budgeting worth it, doesn’t it?

    1. Isn’t it fun? I love seeing my own go up, and I love seeing others’ as well. Even when people have kind of “eh” months, they usually seem to do at least ok, and it’s encouraging.

  7. That is a massive retirement contribution. Nice job! 🙂 I totally love the voyeuristic nature of these net worth updates. I often wonder how the first PF blogger decided “hey, I’m gonna share all my financial numbers monthly”. Now it is pretty commonplace, but I imagine it would have been weird at first.

    Pas, yay for gravatar. Now you need to get twitter for your site 🙂 great for networking.

    1. Heh, maybe I should get a twitter. I’ve never really had ambitions to monetize this, but it would be fun to rack up a few more readers. I enjoy both looking and being looked at, on the voyeurism front — it’s definitely more fun to calculate all this stuff when I know other people are going to be checking it out.

      I hope I get to make a retirement contribution that big again soon! My side hustling has slowed down a LOT now that the school year has started.

  8. Great job this month, that’s a huge increase in net worth in just one month! It’s always nice to be able to increase a savings balance and also decrease a debt balance at the same time, because it makes the swing in net worth seem even larger.

    I tried using Mint and YNAB, but ended up just pulling the numbers from my credit cards and bank and plugging them into a spreadsheet to track. I do use software as well (that is probably more complicated than Mint and YNAB but I like looking at numbers…)but Excel has been the simplest way to keep track of things on a high level and present them as well.

    1. Thanks! I agree, it’s fun to knock out some debt *and* do some savings (although I’m really about ready to be DONE with that debt.)

      I think keeping track is mostly about what you enjoy and what works for you. I like pretty presentation, and YNAB and mint are both really graphically pleasing to me and therefore fun to work with. But then, I’m really bad with Excel (I’ve never had a job that required me to use it) so I need the lazy-woman’s version 🙂

  9. deardebt says:

    Awesome job! You are doing great!

    1. Thank you! You too 🙂

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