Well, this isn’t quite the net worth update I was hoping for! It’s all ok, of course, seeing as how I invest for the very long run and not for right now, but my numbers this month definitely don’t look awesome.
I had a much better month on spending, although that also doesn’t necessarily show in this update because I was in the red on so many categories in July — I’d already spent about half of August’s money by the time August actually started! I am mostly thankful to have reined it in enough in August that I’m (barely) back in the green. At this point I’m mostly rooting for winter to get here fast so that I buy nothing but sweet potatoes and never ever want to buy a ticket to a show or go out to eat. I am thankful for ebates though, which I just discovered a month or two ago and which I now have a $31 payment pending from — I’ve used it to buy contact lenses, drugstore stuff which I typically purchase every few months from drugstore.com, and for some work stuff and stuff for my mom, both of which I got reimbursed for — super score if you can get cash back on things you’re being reimbursed for anyway!
The other thing showing up in this update is that the month ended up being somewhat unexpectedly being caught between the build-the-emergency-fund paradigm and the build-the-down-payment-fund paradigm. As I recounted in the second post there, I decided to cut back on my retirement fund contributions (from $1000 to $500 a month) in order to increase my pile of available cash more quickly. I submitted the paperwork to HR in early August; since it said it would probably take one to two pay periods to go through, I was expecting that to take effect either on my second August paycheck, or my first September one. But they were really fast and actually got it through in time for my first August paycheck! So I ended up putting the last $500 in my emergency fund, but also the first “extra” $400 in my down payment fund. Next month will start my new snowball contribution of a total of $1025 a month to the down payment fund. Whee!
Since I’m temporarily (probably for the next 6-8 months) changing my budgeting method so that instead of trying to build sinking funds, I just cash flow everything and contribute whatever I can to the savings account, my spending spreadsheet isn’t showing expected-actual anymore; it’s just showing what I ended up spending in each category. I finished the month with $16.27 left over (woo woo! big saver!) and I’ll be putting that into the savings account as soon as I’ve moved it over from my main checking to my Capital One account.
To the numbers!
- Gas got bizarrely expensive in the midwest this month because of a problem at a key oil refinery nearby that choked off supply. I obviously don’t drive that much so it probably cost me like $4 extra overall or something, but it was interesting to read about. Gas prices topped out here around $2.99 (still $.60/gallon better than they were a year ago before oil started to slide) but they’re now back down to the $2.30-$2.40 range, which is about where they were before the refinery issue.
- Slush and gremlins: I went out to dinner with friends once, bought a used book, and spent about $45 on miscellaneous stuff early in the month (things I’d normally use cash for, but I was tapped out due to expensive July.)
- Personal/medical: I bought contact lenses, got a haircut, and paid $8 to the dentist for a fluoride treatment my insurance apparently doesn’t cover (whatever, guys.)
- Professional expenses: I paid for some photocopies from an archive I went to ($16) and for a membership to a professional society whose conference I’m giving a paper at this spring. Work is picking up the costs of the conference itself (travel, registration, meals) but I pay for memberships myself.
I am most excited about the $0 under repairs and maintenance — it feels like forever since I haven’t been dropping $200 on my computer here, $400 on my car there.
The two big pieces of news this month are the full emergency fund ($5000 baby!!!!) and the stock market doin’ stock market things. My 403(b) lost $772, and my Roth lost $400. Of course, both these figures look better now than they did early last week! Overall, if the market had stayed steady through the month I’d have increased my net worth by approximately my target of $2000, but as it is, I increased it by $845, for a total net worth of $27114. Still have $30K in my sights, but it’ll probably be a couple of months at this rate.