2013 In Review

I have to say that this is one of my favorite posts for the year! It’s really motivating to take a look back and see how far you’ve come in a year since it’s a long enough period of time that you can accomplish a ton!

  1. My gross W-2 income was just under $200,000 for the year. (Just four years ago, it was just under $100,000, so this is an amazing improvement!)
  2. I have some cashback credit cards with useable limits (i.e. > $1,000). I earned over $200 in cashback, which is more than double last year’s $105 number.
  3. I paid the mortgage down from $259,600 to $187,552.40, a difference of just over $72,000. That is about 25% of the original mortgage balance, giving me about 48% in equity, assuming the purchase price.
  4. Increased my net worth by almost $30,000 in one month.
  5. Increased my net worth by $134,400 over the course of the year to $345,070.
  6. Decreased my expenses by almost $6,000 from 2012.
  7. My net income exceeded my expenses by over $100,000 this year. Now that is financial freedom!
  8. I saved about $113,000 this year, for an overall savings rate of about 75% and about 60% of my regular income.
  9. I now have over $100,000 in my retirement accounts (401(k) and Roth IRA), with that split to about $75,000 in the 401(k) and $25,000 in the Roth IRA.
  10. My investments were up about $17,000 for the year, which is a pretty sizeable increase considering that you can only put $17,500 into a 401(k) in a year.

About 65% of my savings in 2013 went to paying down the mortgage. In 2014, I’m expecting that number to be closer to 80%.

2013 Savings Distribution

My net worth took off by leaps and bounds again!

December 2013 Net Worth Graph

I made some really awesome progress with the mortgage. I’ve now paid down about 1/3 of the original balance. The balance is most definitely under $200,000 and I don’t feel nearly as worried about it as I did last year. That could also be because my total monetary assets is now just over $12,000 from the mortgage balance.

2013 Mortgage Paydown

I also contributed a fair amount to my investments in 2013. You can see the compounding growth starting to take off with the slowly increasing separation between the “Contributions” and “Total Value” lines. My investments returned approximately 15% this year, in addition to me and my employer contributing just over $43,000.

2013 Investments Growth

Last, but not least, I reduced my expenses by almost $6,000 from 2012. That’s a pretty good chunk! I spent $44,807.75 when all was said and done. That number still seems high to me, but I don’t see nearly as much room for improvement with it as I did with last year’s number. I do think that I would feel better about my spending if I got it under $40,000 for the year, including the mortgage or about $28,000 excluding the mortgage, which would require a reduction of about $5-6,000 in spending next year.

2013 Spending Pie Chart

Some of the primary differences from last year:

  • I spent $5,555.23 less on housing.
  • I spent $1,369.02 less on clothing.
  • I spent $649.45 more on entertainment.
  • I did my own income tax return, for a savings of $435.85.
  • I spent $302.85 less on eating out by myself and $1,109.15 less on work lunches. (Under $1,000 for the year on work lunches!)
  • I spent $700 more on health.
  • I spent $1,578.33 less on recreation. This is mostly because I paid for an annual gym membership in October 2012 after I’d already paid for monthly memberships throughout most of the year and in 2013, I didn’t pay for sport #1 because of my injury.
  • I spent $2,737.64 more on shopping.
  • I spent $630.35 less on transportation.

What do I expect to change in 2014?

  1. My boyfriend and I are working on a system to split some expenses more so than randomly because we’re working on incurring more shared expenses than we had this year. For now, the plan is to make it easy to transfer money between each other’s accounts since we use the same credit union for our primary checking accounts.
  2. I plan to contribute more to charity in 2014 than I did in 2013. The plan involves getting my donations up to 1% of my gross income, including my bonuses. I have a few annual contributions set up and will continue to donate to the random causes that my friends participate in. When my bonuses post, I will transfer 1% of the gross amount to my checking account, add that amount to the donations budget and then figure out where to go from there.
  3. Overall insurance costs should be about $1,000 cheaper in 2014 because I had been paying monthly through July 2013 and then paid for a full year in August.
  4. I think that I will spend less on electricity. I spent about $700 in 2013. I’m hopeful that I can get that figure down to around $440 for the year, but we will see how things play out!
  5. HOA dues went up a small amount for 2014. I have been budgeting for property taxes to go up about 3% per year, but it looks like my property value went up by much more than that for 2014 and so I’m guessing that they will go up by closer to 20%, putting those two items at about an increase of $800 in 2014. I don’t have much control over those items without moving though.
  6. I think that I will spend less on my household goods and toiletries items because there were a lot of cleaning products and different items that I stocked up on that should last for a long time – I shouldn’t have to re-buy very many of those items.
  7. I will spend around $400 more on recreation in 2014.
  8. I will probably spend around $1,500 less on shopping in 2014- fewer condo projects.
  9. I will spend a lot less on taxis and nothing on tolls.
  10. I will increase my overall savings rate to 85%.

My current forecast is about $38,500 in spending in 2014, which would be about a $7,000 reduction from 2013.

Readers, how was your 2013? What are you looking to change in 2014?

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  1. #1 by jly224 on January 8, 2014 - 9:12 am

    Leigh, I’m super impressed. I’m a firm believer, as I see you are too, that what get’s measure gets improved. You begin to notice trends you wouldn’t see otherwise and are able to take action to influence the future, rather than the future happening to you. Great job

    • #2 by Leigh on January 8, 2014 - 1:27 pm

      Yep, definitely! I’ve been measuring this data since I was 16 though, so I don’t know what life looks like without measuring it!

  2. #3 by NoTrustFund on January 8, 2014 - 10:38 am

    What a fantastic year and both a personal and financial sense. Out of curiosity- are you seen as the frugal person in your office? I’m guessing your co-workers spend more but is it noticeable?

    • #4 by Leigh on January 8, 2014 - 1:32 pm

      Thanks! Work was reasonably unhappy for most of the year, but I’m really excited about my new group and I’m in an awesome relationship with one of my closest friends.

      I’m not sure if I’m seen as a frugal one. I feel like I definitely am with my restaurant spending, but we all spend a ton on housing. I know very few people with roommates. I would say that I’m known for being financially aware. Most of my friends don’t care about taxes, investing, etc. Apparently reading financial blogs is a more productive way of reading the internet than what most people do on the internet! I feel like my boyfriend and I have similar values, but that I’ve been helping him improve his implementation of a few things with his finances.

  3. #5 by Alicia @ Financial Diffraction on January 8, 2014 - 10:42 am

    Wowzers, that is a killer year! It’s so nice to see the investments starting to do their thing with the slight change in slopes from compounding. I get a little blown away by this because the salary is so much larger than what tech salaries, with your rough level of experience, would be in my corner of a (different) country.

    • #6 by Leigh on January 8, 2014 - 1:36 pm

      Thanks! Yeah I love seeing the difference between 2013′s investments chart and 2007′s! The lines had pretty much the same slope back then and you couldn’t see the difference between the two.

      Yep salaries in my field are way higher in my city in the US than in Canada or in lower cost of living areas in the US. Regardless of that, my income still boggles my mind many days.

  4. #7 by Brent @ All About Interest on January 8, 2014 - 2:52 pm

    You had an awesome year!! That’s a huge increase in income and you’re obviously putting it to good use. I need to get better myself of tracking where every dollar goes. I’m trying to cut down on spending including electricity (i put in a solar system and am in the process of changing bulbs to LED’s).

    I hope you exceed your expectations for 2014.

    • #8 by Leigh on January 8, 2014 - 3:03 pm

      Thanks! I definitely have improved my spending on electricity over the last year. I want to have 2014 data before I write a post on it. My first winter electricity bill was $240 for two months in a two bedroom condo, which is insane! I’ve made huge improvements since then.

      I hope 2014 exceeds your expectations as well :)

  5. #9 by plantingourpennies on January 8, 2014 - 8:10 pm

    What a year – Congrats! What kind of shared expenses do you and the boyfriend have in store?

    • #10 by Leigh on January 9, 2014 - 9:39 am

      Thanks! Some trips and we are trying to cook more, so we want to improve our algorithm for splitting groceries.

  6. #11 by SavvyFinancialLatina (@SavvyFinLatina) on January 9, 2014 - 7:21 am

    Wow, what a year! Congrats! Love your methodology.

    • #12 by Leigh on January 9, 2014 - 9:41 am

      Thanks! What kind of methodology do you use?

  7. #13 by Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin on January 12, 2014 - 5:03 pm

    WOW! Talk about impressive $200k is a lot of money. What job field are you currently in? Congrats on paying down your home it looks like you’ll be mortgage free in no time. Keep up the great work!

    • #14 by Leigh on January 12, 2014 - 10:31 pm

      Thanks! I work in software. I can’t wait to see this mortgage gone and it is so cool to think about the fact that it should be gone by the end of next year!!

  8. #15 by RMS on January 13, 2014 - 8:58 am

    Congrats on a wonderful year! This is extremely motivating. Thanks for keeping me entertained on the internet :) I look forward to more good posts from you!

    • #16 by Leigh on January 13, 2014 - 2:22 pm

      Thanks and you’re welcome! I hope you had a good year as well :)

  9. #17 by Holly@ClubThrifty on January 16, 2014 - 1:44 pm

    Wow Leigh! That is awesome. I love all of the fancy graphs and charts you’ve got going on too. Go, you!

    • #18 by Leigh on January 16, 2014 - 2:26 pm

      Thanks Holly! I love making charts :)

  10. #19 by her every cent counts on January 22, 2014 - 2:37 am

    Seriously, WOW! Your stats are so impressive (and enviable.) I need to go back and see how you managed to earn $200k in one year. That seems so far off and impossible on my end, but it probably isn’t. You’re an inspiration!

    • #20 by Leigh on January 22, 2014 - 8:43 am

      Thanks! Just one W-2 job. I’ve had a few good years of being a top performer and this year, there were great bonuses because of that on top of a pretty reasonable salary. I also work at a larger company than you and it’s probably easier to make $200k at a bigger company than a smaller one.

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