Net Worth Update: September 2016


Every now and then I really like to go look at my net worth graph in Mint. (For a long time I did this multiple times a day! Now it really is “every now and then,” maybe twice a month.) Here it is, beginning in May 2014, my last month with a negative net worth. I was still in debt, but was getting much closer than I had been to being out of it; I date my official debt-free point from December 2014.

I’ve never reported a net worth decline on the blog but there are a few here — mostly artifacts of having a lot on my credit card in certain months because of work expenses that hadn’t been reimbursed yet. Mostly what I see, though, is actual progress. Sometimes it’s slow and steady, sometimes there’s a huge uptick in one month due to an income and/or market quirk. But it feels pretty good to have come this far in less than 2.5 years.

For this month’s update see below!


This was a spendy month, largely because I took advantage of the giant paycheck I got to deal with some stuff and because of travel arrangements I made for later in the year.

Travel! About $150 of this is a short trip I took to Chicago — gas, tolls, and tickets to a tour I bought for me and a friend (who in turn bought me dinner, so it evened out financially.) The rest is equally divided between plane tickets for a trip I’m taking to Cuba (!!!!!!) with some friends over the new year, and plane tickets for a short trip to California during our October break from school.

Slush: I spent $192 on a 2-year subscription to the New Yorker, and the rest is really miscellaneous — Hulu, books, brunch, blah blah. I will say I need to get back to cooking at home more. There have been too many random lunches and dinners out, most pretty cheap in and of themselves, but they add up.

Personal/medical: This is so big because I bought a ton of stuff through the going-out-of-business I ought to be stocked up for a long while on basics.

Clothing: a new pair of jeans and a lot of new underwear (everything I bought a couple of years ago has worn out at once.) This category is going to be really big next month since I need a new winter coat and boots — my old boots are worn through, and my old coat has a broken zipper and is a couple sizes too small. In our serious winters, I need decent gear, and this is a terrible time of year to have to shop for them since nothing is on sale.

Gifts: my cousin had a baby and my goddaughter had a birthday; this is all stuff I bought for them (and a really fancy chocolate bar for my cousin, who I figured had done a lot of work for this and deserved something just for her) along with postage.


Not much to argue with! Of course, given that I had a super high income this month, it could’ve been higher — imagine if I’d gotten that extra $3500-4000 in one of those months when I only spent a bit more than $1000! But it’s really ok. I think it’s about time for me to let go of the save-50% benchmark. I am still actually at a savings rate of 52% of my income for the year, but I don’t think that’s going to last through the next three months. It wasn’t meant to be something I did forever, really — it was supposed to be kind of extreme! This year, I’ve been loosening up some: on food, on clothing, on travel, on everything. I could probably sustain the 50% pace indefinitely. But I don’t really want to. And (reminding myself!) that’s ok.

13 thoughts on “Net Worth Update: September 2016

  1. Cool Mint graph! So you feel that Mint is helpful? I can’t really figure out how it’s different from Personal Capital (which I currently use). Do you use both?

    I’ve decided I’m stealing your $100K by age 40 goal. I don’t think I can actually realistically meet it, but who knows? Might as well shoot for the stars! 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:

      So, I do use both. Largely because I started using mint well before personal capital was a thing, and I like having as much history as possible. (PC, annoyingly, won’t show your net worth graph beyond six months — at least, not that I can see.) The other thing I like mint for is the goals function, which is unnecessary, but, hey, who doesn’t like seeing goal graphs fill up.

      $100K by 40 is very doable! Most sites offering advice on this tell the younguns to aim for $100K by 30. We, however, have PhDs, so 40 is more achievable 🙂 You’re younger than I am, too, you’ve got time!

      1. And you’re younger than I am, C, so YOU have time too!
        40 already is in my rearview mirror, so maybe 100k by 45 for me??

        1. thesingledollar says:

          100K by 45, I like it!

    2. I don’t know where you are in your trek to 100k, but I can predict for you that this whole journey to paying off debt and investing is unpredictable. You have your plan, but I suspect you are going to get super focused and pay it off a lot sooner or life is going to happen and you’ll have to set new goals.

      All this to say, SET THE LOFTY GOAL! According to my original crazy lofty goal, I was supposed to have my student loans paid off by last Friday. You know how the real story ended.

  2. Megan says:

    Tell me everything about Cuba! I’ve checked out the legit tour companies (i.e., in compliance with US restrictions) and I get a bit overwhelmed. I want to do a bike/dance/homestay tour. That’s totally what my vacation budget is pointed to for 2017. Glad you are going!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I will definitely talk about Cuba! So far we have bought plane tickets but not much else. I’m really excited to learn/see everything 🙂

  3. Jena says:

    I have only just started keeping track of my net worth this year. It is fun, and I can see how having a graph that goes back that far would be awesome and inspiring! Just look how far you have come!!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      It’s one of my better post-grad-school moves! I can’t wait to have even more history with it. It’s just so neat to see it moving in response to particular actions I take.

  4. I love your Mint graph. It reminds me of the mountain of the little yodel-y guy on the Price is Right!

    A spendy month, but you still logged a gain. A pretty big gain too! I’m impressed that you capitalized on the closing and stocked up. Now you’re set and you won’t have to buy that stuff for a while. I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to save like that. Whenever I happen upon one of those sales, all that’s left is garbage or things I could never use. 70% off boys’ hockey pads? No!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Hah, boys’ hockey pads! And also the Price is Right! I hadn’t thought about that show in a long, long, long time. But now I will look at my graph differently 🙂

  5. Wow. Look at that money grow! Now that you’re out of debt, things are going much faster.
    Cuba! Cooool! We want ALL the details and pictures when you get back!

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