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 drugstore.com. 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.