Well! Interesting start to the year, net-worth-wise. I spent more than usual this month, and the markets were, um, exciting. At the very last second, however, a rebound day in stocks, combined with a higher than usual freelance income, did keep me from having my very first net worth decline, so that’s something.
$2557.43: Full-time job (net, after taxes, 403(b) contribution & insurance premiums)
$25.60: Interest (this will be the last month this number is so high, because I had a promo)
$120.00: Freelance writing. During this first month of my freelance writing career, I took on a few small gigs for practice. My hope is to increase the $$-per-article quickly.
$51.43: Cash back from credit cards (Unusually high because of a reimbursed hotel trip and also because I’d been saving up points for a while to meet a redemption threshold on one card)
Total net income: $2836.43
I am sooooooooo close to my first ever Adsense payout — next month, I think/hope? I’ll also have income from Ebates in February. Anyway — how did I save/spend this income this month? To the numbers!
- Personal/medical was huge this month, mostly due to my efforts at unfrumping (thanks, Amanda). I stocked up on supplies at the drugstore, bought teeth-whitening strips, got a haircut, went to the dentist, and spent $145 on yoga & barre classes for the semester.
- Gremlins were also on the big side. I paid for my passport renewal (won’t have to worry about it again for 10 years) and sent money, as I occasionally do, to a ‘zine I subscribe to (remember zines? Well this one is still going strong. It charges at cost for paper and postage and I send them $$ when my account gets low.)
- Slush: pretty normal. I bought a couple of movie tickets and a yoga mat, went out to dinner once, and went to see a play.
- Clothing: I bought a pair of wool-lined clogs to wear at the office after I take off my wet, snowy, icy, muddy boots in the morning. They are fabulous. #noregrets.
- Travel: This was the unreimbursed portion of my travel costs earlier in the month.
- I added two new sinking funds: one for buying summer produce ($50/month) and one for freelance taxes (20% of whatever I earn each month.) [ETA: I forgot to add the freelance taxes fund to the spreadsheet, will do that next month.] I am currently enjoying the heck out of my summer fruit purchases from last year and glad to be planning ahead for the picking and preservation season.
- Gifts: this was actually all charitable donations to local causes I support here in town.
(I am flat-out stealing this idea from Kate at Goodnight Debt — I really like the idea of checking back into my recent past to see where I was exactly one year ago.)
January 2015 — It was my first debt-free month! I was also embarking on the save-50% project, so I’d set up a very tight budget focused on saving as much as possible. It went pretty well that month, although I did take money out of my travel savings account to buy plane tickets for spring break.
January 2014 — Let’s see what I can remember, because this is from before blogging. I went on a really awful job interview, I know, and was starting to worry about what I was going to do after my contract ended in June 2014. Looking back at my payment screenshots, I still had about $11000 in student loan debt left, even after I made a payment that month of about $2000. Of course, I had no retirement savings, even though I turned 35 that month.
Notable here: I decided to do the 52-week savings challenge as a way of slowly re-filling some of my cash EF. I can’t get too worked up about it since I have a whole stack of cash in my down payments fund that obviously could be used in an emergency. Meanwhile, I moved most of my taxable brokerage fund, and a couple thousand in cash, into my Roth IRA during the market drop, nearly maxing it out for 2015, which I’m pleased by; it turns out I was more anxious about how empty it was than I knew. Plus, I got it over $10000 so I got to roll it into the cheaper version of the Vanguard index fund I use.
Overall, January 2016 was a good month; spending higher than normal but offset by extra income, and none of the spending was on random and unnecessary stuff. I didn’t make it over $35K, obviously, but that wasn’t my fault and I’m not concerned about the markets much since all this money is for decades from now. Thanks to the uptick on the last day, plus the freelance work I did, I squeaked out a net worth increase of $127.12, for an overall net worth of $34407.23. But more pleasing to me is my 53% savings rate for the month. Tough to argue.
Fingers crossed for a decent February; I’ve had car issues two years in a row due to winter problems, so that’s my main concern right now.