Net Worth Update, August 2015

networthupdateWell, 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, 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!

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 10.26.17 AMNotes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 7.26.34 PMThe 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.

21 thoughts on “Net Worth Update, August 2015

  1. Gas prices went up here, too, but are thankfully back down again. We have to drive everywhere – including my husband’s 45-minute commute – so a big drop or increase really adds up for us. I’m just glad we’re nowhere near the $3.99 per gallon price of the summer of 2008! (Heck, I remember when $1.98 per gallon seemed high!)

    1. thesingledollar says:

      oof! I wasn’t driving that summer — lived in NY — so I missed that. But yeah, that’d put a dent in things, all right.

  2. Gas prices thankfully went down here, for a change! Congrats on the emergency fund and hope you can crank out the downpayment fund really quick! mmmm, sweet potatoes!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Wow! When I’m in LA I’m always agog at the $4+ gas prices. So I’m glad you’re getting a break. Thanks for the congrats, and we are one in our praise of the sweet potato.

  3. Hannah says:

    I can’t even believe it’s already a new month! Well done on a low spending month, and I hope that you’re able to really pump up that down payment fund quickly.

    We weren’t so lucky on the repairs front. I left my husband stranded at the airport when our car alternator suddenly failed. Thankfully, it was low cost repair except for the need for a 30 mile tow 🙁

    1. thesingledollar says:

      OMG! The only tow I’ve ever had was under 1/2 mile (car died in front of my house, mechanic is a few blocks away). Shudder to imagine 30 miles.

  4. ARBM says:

    Congrats on filling up the emergency fund! It seems that across the board everyone is feeling the downturn in the market.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      yeah, no surprise everyone’s hurting this month!

  5. Jeremy Green says:

    I would say I struggled a lot when gas got up to 4 bucks a gallon. It was ridiculous, I make a pretty long commute to and from work everyday so it made a big dent in my budget. Thank god the prices went back down and Im back on track to paying off my debts :).

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yeah, $4 would be rough on a long commute! Glad you’re making progress again.

  6. It is fabulous that you have your emergency fund fully loaded. We’re saving up for ours, and it’s very different from paying off debt – less satisfying somehow.
    Long term investments just seem to be something you have to get Zen about or they just become a constant source of stress.
    I remember when you were going for $20,000 net worth – not too long ago. Now, you’re closing in on $30,000. You’re definitely going in the right direction!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yes, so far I’ve gone up every month! It’s really nice. Hitting those $5000 and $10000 milestones is always pretty cool! It’s what’s keeping me interested, because it’s so much less satisfying to save than it is to pay off debt, I completely agree.

  7. Kristin says:

    I think I’ve become used to gas prices being high here and I can’t even fathom getting gas for under $3/gallon. I still have envy over how low your monthly expenses are! I recently switches up my monthly plan too and put everything into different funds with the Cap One savings accounts. It makes my budget much more purposeful and I find that I save better versus letting everything sit in my checking account.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      It’s pretty amazing. Gas is actually $2.13 right now. It was about $3.75 at its highest a year or so ago, before prices started to fall. I’m glad the cap one accounts are working for you — I love having separate ones even with having to transfer things around.

  8. Autumn says:

    Nothing feels better than having a fully funded emergency fund. Congrats!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      thank you! And hey! welcome back!

  9. Debtman says:

    Do you count your car’s value when calculating your networth?

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I don’t; first of all, because I don’t intend to sell it, second, because it’s not worth that much (a few thousand at most), and third, because I don’t owe on it so I don’t need anything to offset a car loan. Thanks for the question!

  10. Congrats on the emergency fund! Wohoo! The markets have been on such a wild ride lately that it’s made me averse to checking our balances. It is a major downer to see our balances moving in the wrong direction, even if we know that it’s somewhat meaningless at this point, since we’re not selling shares anytime soon. We still want to feel like we’re making progress, not going backwards!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Oh hey, sorry, I missed seeing this earlier! Thanks for the congratulations. It was really nice to get to stop thinking about that and move on to thinking about the next goals 🙂 I agree with you totally on the downer-ness of seeing everything going the wrong way, even if we know intellectually it doesn’t matter.

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