Hello and welcome to my penultimate 2015 net worth update. I once again took advantage of this semester’s unusually extreme flexibility and worked remotely for the last couple of weeks. During this time I stayed with my BFF and her family in California, helping to care for their newborn, my goddaughter’s younger sister. I…may not have gotten very much work done, but on the plus side (1) I spent a lot of time with an infant sleeping on my chest or smiling at me, and (2) it ended up being a very cheap month because they paid for most food and there weren’t a lot of opportunities to spend money on entertainment. (I did “bill” my travel fund for a few things — a checked baggage fee and airport shuttle fee, and gas for a weekend trip I made at the start of the month — but made up for it with a cash draw of only $200, which I used to pay for groceries early in the month and a few small items while traveling, like lunch out with a friend and various coffees.)
To the numbers!
1) Fuel: This does not include the weekend trip, but does include a full tank of gas hanging out in my car waiting to start December; I don’t think I’ll have to fill up again until I leave for the holidays, so maybe this category will show a $0 at the end of the month?!
2) For the first time in forever I had no expenses in personal/medical. Look for this to change in December since I have my eye exam scheduled just before Christmas.
3) Slush: lunch out with friends in Indiana.
4) Repairs and maintenance: got an oil change.
5) Clothing: a skinny black belt (I went for real leather this time because I kept buying cheap, but not THAT cheap, fake versions from Target and then they’d wear out in a few months. Hopefully this $30 one will last for a while); new jeans since I wore my old ones into the ground; and a half-dozen pairs of fleece-lined tights. Winter is coming, y’all.
6) Gifts: I took advantage of the low-expenses month to do a bunch of early Christmas shopping. At this point I’ve covered my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law’s stocking present, several friends, my godson, and my goddaughter. Still have a few things to round up and baking supplies to buy, but it should be pretty low-key from here on out. This category also includes a gift for the baby and a donation. I am obviously loosening up on gifts this year; last year, when I was still in a small amount of debt entering December and really focused on finishing strong, I kept Christmas very cheap, with a total $200 budget. I’m not buying anyone the Taj Mahal, but I did buy gifts for a few more people this year than last (this will account for the increase, more than my buying especially expensive things.)
7) Professional expenses: year-long membership in a professional organization (I belong to three or so at any one given time, and currently the memberships are not reimbursable by my job, though I intend to change that sometime in 2016.)
The exciting thing here though is that even with those big gift and clothing categories, I still managed to squeeze $200 extra out to supplement my house fund! I also decided not to make a contribution to my travel fund this month, since I don’t have any more major trips planned for a long time, and instead to put another $200 into my house fund. So I ended up contributing $1425 for the month to that fund, bringing it tantalizingly close to $5000. (I’d been hoping to make it all the way there, but the need to renew that professional membership popped up at the last second, and so did one of the gifts I bought.)
There’s nothing too exciting in the account numbers aside from that housing fund amount. The markets ended up being extremely boring, which is fine, and I spent my travel fund down slightly, without replenishing, as explained above. I ended up with a net income of $3106, including a check from Ebates (referral link, and I can’t recommend them highly enough) as well as interest and my normal pay, and I lived on 43% of that, saving 57%. My net worth increased by $1773, for a total of $32952. I would love to finish the year strong at $35,000; it would be a bit of a stretch, but it’s plausible, so hopefully my life will cooperate and I’ll get to have a really nice champagne toast at New Year’s!
[Edited to add: just realized that I’ve hit my goal net worth for 2015 already — it was just over $32000. To be honest I never wanted this to be my final goal, so I’m glad that it looks like I’ll be several thousand dollars further on. Especially since when the markets tanked a few months ago it looked like I might not even make it to $32K!]