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.

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The spending report is a little less exciting than the income report (below) this month; for heaven’s sake, there aren’t even boots on here! Of note, however:

1) Repairs and Maintenance: My car refused to start just a few days into February. I ended up having to have it towed, and the mechanic determined that I had some really old and corroded parts (spark plugs, rotor cap) that ought to be replaced sooner rather than later. I had them go ahead and do a fuel service and replace the spark plugs, which were original to my ’98 Honda, but the rotor cap turned out to be impossible to replace without the high risk of snapping off a bolt (it’s rusted and they were having trouble getting it undone) and therefore having to replace the rotor itself, which they told me would have run another $400. Since that part wasn’t mandatory, I decided to skip it for now, knowing it might be an issue in the future. So, the final charge was for the tow, diagnosis, a fuel service I had them do, and the spark plugs. I paid for it with $125 I had in this category already, $121 from my slush fund, and the rest from the “gremlins” fund.

2) Clothing: I’ve recently lost about 5-10 pounds (fluctuates a little) and I’m having some issues with my wardrobe (even more than I had already!) I had a few smaller items (including suit jackets and two nice skirts) that now fit pretty well, so that’s good, but I bought a pair of jeans off ebay ($12.50) and a skirt from an online Prana sale. I’m hacking it with tops for now (my sweaters, which are stretchy, mostly fit fine, and I’m getting along ok with tshirts) but I hated having all my pants sliding down and decided to move a few new pieces higher up the priority list. Plus it’s incentive to keep the weight off.

3) Gas: still not spending much on gas since prices remain lower than they had been (though rising) and I did less driving than usual since first the car was in the shop and then I was out of town for nearly a week. Got through the whole month on a single tank!

4) Travel: the tally of money I lost track of in New York turned out to be just over $60, which I took from my travel fund. No big deal but next time I travel for business I’ll carry more cash.

Now for the exciting part of this report!

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Wow! That’s just fun. Unlike last month, when I was super low on spending and very strict about the budget, but bought a plane ticket and watched the markets drop so had a lower net worth increase, this month I had a car repair and bought some random things, but on the other hand, the markets went back up and I also got my tax return. Even after spending that $$ on the car, therefore, and after taking $200 out of the tax return for those boots, things look great. (The vast majority of my tax return went to my Roth IRA, which is why that’s got such a healthy gain this month.)

Overall, I had a net (post-tax) income of $4026.76 in February, including paychecks, side hustle income, the tax refund, and pre-tax 403(b) contributions. Once again, oddly, just like in January, I lived on 33% of my net income. But I had over double last month’s net worth increase; in February, I had a net worth increase of $3222.45, for a total net worth of $18773.25. $20,000, I’m gunning for you!



30 thoughts on “February 2015 Net Worth Update

  1. Nice, keep it up and you will hit 20 before you know it. Next stop, 50!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      50 is going to take a longggg time…sometime in 2016. But I’ll get there eventually 🙂

  2. Living off 1/3 of your income is truly incredible! You’ve really set yourself up for success here!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Well, I have a lot going for me — amazingly low COL here — but mostly I’m just working hard to make up for lost time. At 36 I don’t have much margin for error if I want to retire on time! Thanks for the compliment, though — I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished this last year.

  3. That’s a pretty burly gain! I’d have to get a pay raise to hit that, or find some significant cuts.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      It’s the tax return and the markets doing well — I spent almost exactly the same amount of money as last month (a little more because of the car) and my gain was over double last month’s gain! A one-time event, unless, yes, I get a raise 🙂

  4. Your spending is SO LOW!! I’m so impressed. Your total spending is almost just about what my rent is!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      The COL here is insane. Part of me really wants to move to LA — my best friends and goddaughter live there — but the thought of how much it would cost and how much more time I’d spend in traffic is definitely demotivating. So, this is partly me being frugal — but more that it’s *possible* to live here for this little, without being too self-depriving.

  5. Great job! Headed over to the post to see your new boots now 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Hee, you’ll like the boots! I waited about ten years for them and they were worth it 🙂

  6. Great job this month C! I’m super impressed you were able to spend only $60 while in New York. One of our biggest money sucks is the amount we spend on vacation – eating out is our biggest weakness since we love food and experiencing new cities through the restaurants they have.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Oh, I spent WAY more than $60 in New York — it was a work trip, so I was reimbursed for about $200 of other expenses, and then I saw several friends who insisted on buying me food. The $60 is just what I had to pull out of my travel savings because I hadn’t budgeted for it 🙂 I think that eating in cities you don’t live in is one of life’s great pleasures; wouldn’t be worth going to NYC if you didn’t have a few good meals.

  7. Way to go! The last two months have been awful for our bottom line because of repairs. We had to finally break down and get a fan installed in one bathroom and replaced in another. Mildew was becoming an issue. January saw an extension of a masonry wall — forced finally because people were walking into our yard — for a cool $1,500. Then this month was finally installing a fan in one bathroom and replacing one in the other. Mildew was becoming an issue. That was $765. Also, my husband wanted locking gate doors for the other two entrances. Hard to argue, considering recent events, so that was another $600. Next month: Installing an HVAC unit for the in-laws in the guest house. $3,600.

    I just want this all to be over! So we can save in earnest for my husbands very, very large dental implants bill in October.

    This will not be a good year for our bottom line. It will wipe out savings. But we’ll rebuild. And be that much closer to a year without major repairs/medical bills. She said, naively.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Man, if one thing is certain in life, it’s that you’re either buying new things, or paying to repair old things (including old body parts like teeth.) Every month that goes by without a major thing is to be celebrated, because they’re so rare! Good luck getting through this year.

  8. natalya says:

    Wow! You pay an amazingly low amount of rent! I’m so jealous! (says someone who lives in London!!!)
    I can’t wait to start saving once we’re debt free and being able to see other people putting away so much and reaching their targets is really motivating! 🙂

    Keep up the good work! 🙂
    Natalya @CottageRetreatist

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yes, between living in one of the lowest cost-of-living areas in the U.S., and having a housemate, it’s an amazing rent — it’s making it possible for me to do other things I need to be doing right now, so I’m very grateful. London is SUPER expensive, I know — I’m shocked whenever I see housing costs there! Good luck with your debt payoff!

  9. Mel says:

    Wooo! Congrats on the good month. Sometimes the market makes doing your net worth a pretty exciting number! And lucky you with the tax return. I actually owed about $200, but at least it was a fast and easy year to get it all sorted compared to some others.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yeah, I actually still have one state return left to file and I’ll owe on that one, but only about $25 so I decided to just take it out of my slush fund next month. Looking forward to the year when I only have one state return to file 🙂

  10. Yes for some low spending! My spending was WAAAAY lower than average this month! I noticed how you only spent like $19 on gas for the whole month! That’s awesome! I shocked myself in that category too! I spent $10 on gas FOR THE WHOLE MONTH! How does that happen!?!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Wow! That’s amazing. Do you work at home or something? I did pretty minimal driving around town for about two weeks and that was about a tank. $10 is just out of this world!

  11. Nice that the market is back up again for you! Seeing the current number when it’s down is rather depressing I know. It’s awesome that you’re able to live only with 1/3 of your income. I live with less than 50% of my income, and I’ve been trying to make it lower – either by earning more money or spending less money. Also, you rent is really low! My city is expensive, so I’m jealous that you only spend $400 a month for rent!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I mean, less than 50% is amazing! Obviously it helps a huge amount that I can keep my rent so low; after spending over a decade in New York City I feel I was owed some good luck on the rent front 🙂

  12. Bradley says:

    This is fantastic, your lack of expenses is insane. Keep up the good work. Have you ever considered trying to make extra money as a way to spend a little more or save a little more?

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I love my low expenses! It’s all about keeping the rent down. Trying to make extra money…I’ve thought about it a lot. The thing is, with my full-time job, I don’t have the patience/time to scout for new work. I have the time to *do* some extra work, but not too much. So, if someone offers me something extra, that’s great and I’ll take it, but expending the mental energy on figuring out where to look for more and doing it, so far has been beyond me.

  13. Amy says:

    Congrats on a great month! Car repairs are so frustrating, aren’t they?

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thanks! And yes they are. I don’t get why we can’t just buy cars and then have them run perfectly for exactly twenty years before trading them in 🙂

  14. Jessica says:

    Great job! That’s great progress, even with the unexpected car troubles. If you have some bottoms that are a little big you may be able to take a tuck in the waistband to make them fit a bit better. I haven’t done this myself, but I believe it’s a fairly simple alteration.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I do that with skirts, where it really is pretty easy. It’s possible with pants, sort of, but to make it look actually good you have to redo all the seams so that they fit correctly in the legs and butt. I am more or less capable of that, but even so it looks a lot better if I just buy the right size 🙂

  15. Debt Hater says:

    Nicely done for February, you were able to come in under your budgeted amounts (which are already super low!) and able to increase your income too. Glad to hear that the car expenses weren’t too outrageous for you. Maybe you can dedicate a little saving each month towards repairing the rotor down the line now? It might slow down your progress on the emergency fund but the car maintenance might save the emergency fund down the line! Looks like barring any issues you should easily hit your $20,000 goal next month which is great.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I’m saving $75 a month right now towards repairs — you’re right, though, maybe I should step it up a bit…. I hope to hit my goal next month, yes. Thanks for the comment 🙂

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