Net Worth Update (and Year-End Update): December 2015

networthupdateHappy new year, savers and debt-slayers! December 2015 turned out to be kind of a spendy month. Even though I bought many of my Christmas presents in November, I bought a few more in December; spent money on travel over the holidays; and dropped several hundred $$ on gremlins, including two years of hosting and domain registration. Even so, the month turned out OK, with a big chunk of change added to my down payment fund. But enough summary: to the numbers!

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 2.18.00 PM

1) Travel. I offset the expected expenses here by only taking out $200 in cash (since I knew I’d be mostly eating at my parents’ for nearly two weeks.) I spent money on gas and tolls for the 10-hour-each-way round-trip drive home, as well as a few meals out with friends. Notice there’s nothing in the normal “gas” category…that’s because all the gas money I spent this month was for this trip.

2) Gifts. This included some items for close friends, as well as postage for Christmas boxes and the big ticket item, $78 spent on food and supplies for a holiday dinner I cooked at the community where I volunteer.

3) Personal/medical. This is the portion of my annual eye exam that my insurance didn’t cover, along with my co-payment for two boxes of contact lenses. I’ll have to buy more contacts in 2016 but I’ll have FSA dollars to help pay for them so that’ll be good. Unlike last year, I didn’t have to get new glasses, so the overall cost is perfectly fine!

4) Gremlins. After saying earlier this month that there weren’t as many of these this year as I expected, here are several just in December! I renewed the registration for my car, prepaid for two years of hosting and domain for the blog (guess I’ll be doing this for a while), and paid an $85 fee to the TSA for five years of Pre-Check. I finally got fed up with standing in long lines and taking my shoes off at the airport. I rushed to get that done before the holidays because I knew I’d be flying during the first week of January for a conference.

Kind of neat that my spending is almost exactly matched by my savings! I wanted to scrape a little extra into my down payment fund, despite the spendy month, so that I could get it up over $6000 — and I did…

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 2.18.10 PM

…as you can see. Last month I somehow forgot that I had $100 of the down payment fund stashed elsewhere (long story, will be resolved in January). This month I contributed $1075. Everything else is pretty typical. The markets were depressing, but I can’t argue too much with my own spending, so I’m calling it a win overall, despite missing my hoped-for target of $35,000 by quite a bit. I ended December with a net worth of $34280, an increase of $1328.

Year-End Final Wrapup

I began 2015 with a net worth of $14020. That means that in 2015 I’ve increased my net worth by $20260, despite getting very little help from my investment accounts. Over the two-year stretch encompassing 2014 and 2015 I’ve increased my net worth about $45000. 2014 represented a greater increase (by about $4500), but since my salary was about 15% higher that year and the stock market did much better, I think I am prouder of my 2015 growth. I saved 51% of my after-tax income this year, and I can’t argue with that. Since I paid off the last of my credit card debt in December 2014, I am also celebrating a full year of debt freedom. I think I’ve met the vision I laid out for myself a year ago, and I hope that I can do well also in 2016.

35 thoughts on “Net Worth Update (and Year-End Update): December 2015

  1. Congrats on a year of debt freedom! Yeah, markets are being markets, but it’s great that you got to increase your net worth by 20k!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Nothing to be done about the markets, all we can do is focus on ourselves…. Thanks 🙂

  2. Logan says:

    Great stuff C,

    Saving 51% of your after tax income is no joke! Did the TSA signup process take a long time? I’m constantly traveling and keep telling myself I will sign up but always put it off. Looks like I need to just carve out sometime and fill out the app.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Hi Logan, I’d been putting it off for a long time myself. The online part takes a few minutes. The time consuming part is that you have to visit one of their approved centers to get fingerprinted and provide copies of your documents for the background check. If you live in a big city this should be no problem, but the closest one to me was a 40 minute drive so I ended up waiting until I was home for the holiday. The fingerprinting itself took about ten-fifteen minutes, so it was really just finding a center that was convenient for me. Good luck!

  3. Congrats on 1 year being debt free!
    Bummer that the markets keep being markets. Ending the year with a milestone would have been fun. You’ll get there in January!
    Happy New Year! On to 2016!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I know, but if we could control them they wouldn’t be markets! January will be soon enough.

  4. Jason says:

    That is fantastic! You know you are really doing well (despite the investments….unfortunately a lot of us had that problem). And I still think it is great that more academics talk about money. We don’t do it enough. Cheers to you and a wonderful 2016.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I agree, we need to do it much more! Good luck to you and yours in the new year.

  5. Well done! You are doing something that I consider to be very difficult – growing wealth in a number of different pockets. My New Year’s resolution has to do with the “core strength” needed to manage personal finances well. As you know, there’s a certain satisfying simplicity in just keeping a focus on paying off debt. A lot more long-term patience and forbearance with market forces are necessary when it comes to savings and investments. It’s more complicated. Slower. Anyway, you make a very good role model for someone like me who is just switching gears from simple debt-repayment to a more multi-focus approach to money. All the best in 2016!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      It is actually really hard. It’s taken me a while to get the hang of it. It’s funny to think of myself as a role model — hah! — but let’s think of it as learning patience together…. Here’s to the new year!

  6. Debt free and saving 51% of after tax income…thats fantastic, congrats! I am sure 2016 will be even better.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you! I anticipate a year with a lot of big and as yet unknown changes, so it’s good to put a successful year in the books. good luck to you in 2016!

  7. You came awfully close to your goal! Can’t help a bad year in the markets, but it’ll average out. 🙂 You’ve done so well these last two years – congratulations!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you! Same to you! 🙂 Here’s to a good 2016.

  8. Maria says:

    Yey. I love reading your blog. I honestly hope you (and my other favourite bloggers) can’t tell how many times an individual user visits your (or their) blog, or I’d be embarassed.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Hee. I can’t, anyway — maybe there’s some kind of elite stat=tracking that can do that but I don’t have it, so you’re safe 🙂 But I’m super glad you enjoy it! Happy new year!

  9. Congratulations on your 2015 growth!!

    I’m going for an eye exam – postponed from late last month due to snow (ick!) – and ordering new contacts later this week. Unfortunately, I have horrendous vision, and my contacts are quite costly. I’m talking almost $400 for a year – ugh.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yeah, mine are about the same since I switched to daily lenses last year. I try not to wear them every day to save some $$ — I calculated it came out to a little over $2 every day I wear them!

  10. Yay, congrats! That’s awesome! I’m excited to see how things will go in 2016 (and glad to hear that you expect to be blogging for at least two more years). 🙂

  11. Christine says:

    Happy New Year C!
    I admire how detailed your expense tracking is! I’ve been trying different budgets and tracking systems to find one that works for me. Mint came out the winner but something still needs to be done about my spending. I completely missed my mark for savings and debt reduction for 2015. You inspire me to be vigilant about my spending and do a much better job on tracking. Congratulations on increasing your net worth in 2015! And congrats on the domain registration, it’s such a good name! Thanks for what you are doing.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thanks — your domain name is also great 🙂 Good luck with tracking and spending this year.

  12. TSA Precheck: Some of the best money I have ever spent. You’ll be glad for five years that you bought yourself that luxury (dignity?). Honestly, it’s appalling what people are willing to put up with in the name of security, but I won’t go on that rant on you. 🙂 Congrats on raising your net worth $20K this year — I think that’s darn impressive considering that you work in academia where, as you said, raises are a rare thing and bonuses don’t exist — AND given the uncooperative markets! Here’s to a great 2016!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yeah, I didn’t do it for years in part because I felt like it was giving in to the ridiculousness. But I finally caved because I was so sick of taking up four or five plastic bins every time I went through security. Thanks for the congratulations! It was pretty hard work on about $49000 in gross income, so I’m proud of it.

  13. Congrats! Becoming debt free & increasing your net worth consistently for 2 years is something to be proud of. We are hoping to knock out the last of our debt in 2016 & enjoy that freedom, too.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Ooooh! Good luck to you — watching people kill their debt off is my very favorite thing.

  14. Cindy says:

    Wow, we almost had the same amount of net worth growth this year! I came in right at $20, 293. I think this year was a fluke for me though; I won’t have a house to sell or anything like that in 2016, so I don’t expect nearly as much growth! Even still, for being such a bad year, it was a good one!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Well, you won’t have a house to sell, true 🙂 But you’ve cut your expenses so much as well, and hopefully that’ll boost growth too.

  15. I really like how to you refer to awful payments as “Gremlins” that is by far the best description of them! I too had to pay for an extra baggage fee after my spouse insisted that one of our bag would be free. What is free anymore and airports? Certainly not the peanuts! While this year is not my year for 50% savings is it is heavy in debt repayment. Good luck in 2016 lady!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I wish I could claim the term, but I stole it myself, from Cat at Budget Blonde. I think it beautifully describes what they are! Also, many people calculate a savings rate that includes debt payments, so you could do that…looking forward to following you!

  16. I love that you call them gremlins. That’s exactly what they are! We got hit with some whammies this month, like car registration ($200), yearly termite protection ($300), etc. We’re going to have to dip into savings slightly to cover the credit card bill. Hopefully, that’s the last time for a long time.

    Good luck in the new year!

  17. Saving 51% and debt free are a great achievement in 1 year period. How did you do that? My new year resolution is to be debt free at the end of 2016 which I believe I’ll achieve despite a huge debt on my head.

  18. I am so interested in savings rates and your 51% savings rate is awesome. Well done. My husband and I usually use this as our yearly goal, trying to up the savings rate a little bit each year. Feels so good!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I’m not sure I can get it any higher than this without real pain! But maybe….. 🙂 Good luck with your own goals.

Comments are closed.