November update: even better!

For the first time since I started this whole thing, I didn’t end up right against the limits of my budget this month: it was that weird month where, unless it happens in the next twelve hours, nothing will have gone wrong. Looking at my “slush” entries in YNAB, I see a few gifts, a drink out with a friend when I was traveling, a $20 business expense that I can’t get reimbursed, and a big household-items Target trip that, even though it’s in the slush line item because I put it on a credit card, I actually “paid” for by reducing the amount of cash I took out for general spending and groceries. No major medical expenses, car repairs, non-reimbursible meals out, book purchases, nothin’.

As a result, I’ll be able to roll over about $200 of unspent money into next month, which is good because I will definitely have some major expenses in December. I have my annual eye exam (with associated contact lens purchase), I have some Christmas gifts to buy, and either by car or by train (making a decision this week) I have to travel to the east coast and back. Even though I am theoretically getting out of debt this month, with my last regular payment to the credit card debt that I’ve been carrying since the spring, I’m afraid I’m going to end the month right back in it since my flexible spending cushion is still so low! We’ll see, I guess. There’s not much I can do about the eye stuff, but obviously I’ll try to keep the gift/travel expenses as low as I can, and we’ll just see how things go. (I am also reducing my grocery budget for the month because I’ll be away for at least a week, so that might help too.)

Anyway, here are the November numbers, NOT including the reimbursible spending I did at the conference I was just at:

(1) I’d been saving up to pay my friends three months’ worth of phone service (I’m now on their family plan at $25 a month) and I wrote that check while I was seeing them over Thanksgiving. For some airheaded reason I only had $70 and not $75 (the phone plan is $25 a month for my share) in that budget, hence the slight overage.

(2) I set “cash for spending,” “entertainment,” “gifts,” and “charity” at $0 for the month because, in the first case, I was compensating for what should have been a big cash purchase (household items/grocery Target run) but I put on a credit card instead at the beginning of the month as I hadn’t had time to take cash out yet. For the last three, I set them at $0 because I didn’t feel like dealing with them this month as separate line items — I spent in all three categories, actually, but I took them either out of slush or out of my cash withdrawal for the month.

(3) Travel: I bought a train ticket, then moved the excess in that category back into slush to roll over into next month. My other travel expenses this month were either reimbursible, or I was able to pay for them out of the cash I still had left over from groceries.

(4) Personal/medical: a co-pay for a followup visit from the eye infection from last month, plus a co-pay for a prescription medication.

(5) Debt and savings: right where they should be. Still on the slow and steady plan.

I had a post-tax savings rate of just over 50% this month, which is exciting! My income (including the pre-tax retirement withdrawals and the post-tax paychecks) was $3167 and I saved about $1600 of that, give or take a few dollars.

The markets had another ok month, and I moved my Roth IRA from a target date fund to Total Stock Market Index shares. I decided to keep the 403(b) in the target date fund, so I will still have some bonds and international stock in there, but I wanted to be more aggressive with the Roth. I have no plans to do anything more with it except let it sit there for the next thirty years (and feed it money when I can, obviously.)

The upshot of all of this is that, as best as I can tell (I did some math to remove reimbursibles etc from the equation) I now have a net worth of $12630, up from $10352 last month, a difference of $2278. This makes me super happy, as my stretch goal is to average a $2000 net worth gain per month over the course of the year — and I’ll have some months that don’t get to $2000 so I need some of these really good months to smooth it out! Last month was also good on this front (due more to the markets than anything else) so I’ll hopefully feel a bit better if, as I expect, December turns out to be a high-spending month and I don’t make my $2000 goal.

9 thoughts on “November update: even better!

  1. Killer month 🙂 I don’t think you should have even put that $5 in red because it was clearly a typo if it’s $25×3! I love that your goal is a net worth increase of $2k/month and you went past that. Also, your net worth is rocking… I can’t wait to be at $12k, in the positive…

    1. Clearly a typo! But I had to move the money from elsewhere so it counts 🙂 I do not, however, feel bad about it. I’m very pleased with the net worth climb, especially since like I said December is probably going to be a really expensive month. $2000 is kind of a “stretch” net worth goal for me; it’s very possible if things are breaking right, but I’m definitely not going to make it every month. Come to think of it, the month I buy my plane tickets for my spring break trip is likely to be a really really bad one on the net worth front 🙂 Maybe I shouldn’t count the travel fund in there so that I don’t feel bad when I spend from it and see my net worth drop…..

      I can’t wait to see you at positive $12K either! Take some consolation in the fact that I’m like eleven billion years older than you, so you’ll be well past me when you’re my age 🙂

    2. Bahaha, “eleven billion years”?! Really? You’re 35… that’s the same age as my fiancé. I’m 29- that’s barely even a scandalous age-gap now 😛

  2. CheapMom says:

    So close to debt free! Also, congrats on having no surprises this month (and for having the discipline to not call a want an emergency)

    1. Thanks! I’m going to be hesitant to celebrate making the payment, since I could well be back in debt again by Jan 1. I might just wait for a New Year’s post to say whether I did it or not 🙂

  3. Congratulations on being so close to debt free! Always love the rare months that nothing comes up. The good months are so motivating!

    1. I almost couldn’t believe it! Like, really? Nothing at all went wrong? How bizarre! Thanks for the congratulations — it may take me an extra month to clean up December expenses, depending on how bad they get, but I’m pretty close now and it does feel good.

  4. Huy Tran says:

    Great month! Post saving rate of over 50% is amazing!

    Interesting to see you decided to go with the Total Stock Market Index shares for your Roth IRA. I’m still deciding between that and the Total International Stock Index Fund Investor share for my Roth IRA.

    Also, I like the emergency fund growth! “LOL status: giggling” haha 🙂

    1. Stay tuned in about two weeks, after my first paycheck hits, for a LOL status update — I have one planned 🙂


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