March 2013 net worth update (+3.0%)

31-Dec-2012 28-Feb-2013 31-Mar-2013 MoM YTD
cash $12,100 $11,800 $12,400 +$600 +$300
savings $26,800 $36,300 $25,400 -$10,900
investments $74,000 $79,300 $92,500 +$13,200
mortgage $259,600 $249,900 $245,700 +$4,200
net worth $211,300 $235,500 $242,600 +$7,100
assets – debts
$146,700 $122,500 $115,400 +$7,100

At a normal rate of $5,000 increase/month, I would hit a net worth of $300,000 in about 11-12 months with no bonuses! So I wasn’t really expecting a $7,000 increase month-over-month despite my income tax refund (unfortunately) being a bit over $1,000.  The stock market and my savings rate sure do make expenses not seem to matter so much, which is exactly why I’m focusing on expenses this year. I will probably surpass $250,000 sometime in May since April will have some big expenses.

Expenses: I spent $2,800 in March ignoring work reimbursable expenses, which is a bit above my spending goal for the year (under $30,000 $24,000 in non-mortgage expenses). That puts 2013 so far at $6,620 or an average of $2,200/month. This would project forward to $26,480.

Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $41 Clothing (hoodie, athletic socks)
  • $140 Entertainment/Social ($125 last month, $216 average last year)
  • $8 Eating out by myself ($3 last month, $51 average last year)
  • $211 Groceries ($146 last month, $126 average last year)
  • $99 Work lunches ($48 last month, $171 average last year)
  • Charitable donations – increased! I’m working on this one.
  • $63 Cell phone (paid my Sprint early termination fee, still working through Ting credits)
  • $65 Internet (both the February and March bills, oops)
  • $42 Household goods (dishwasher detergent, paper towels, batteries for the garage door opener, rubber gloves, hand soap)
  • $43 Health (last month of being past the deductible…)
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $XXX Furnishings (a plant, a gardening trowel, various cleaning supplies, and furniture for my balcony, yay spring!)
  • $28 Fuel
  • $518 Flights (wedding season is coming up!)

I know I said I was going to give up my paid Pandora subscription. I tried it out and gave up after a couple days of getting ads every ten minutes at work. I’m not going to set aside $3/month like I was before – I’m just going to let it come out of my Entertainment budget like it did this month. Another $58 of my Entertainment/Social spending was eating out with friends and I bought one book for $11, one Redbox movie rental at $1, and about $31 in withdrawn unaccounted for cash (although there is still about $26 sitting in my wallet, so that’s really only $5). (I mostly don’t track my cash spending, so I just count it as spent when it comes out of the ATM.)

I was doing so well with work lunches in January and February, but after my relationship ended, I gave myself a bit of a break on meal planning. $99 is still about half of my average from last year, so somewhat of an improvement? I picked up fixings on Sunday for work lunches this week, so I think I will be able to go back to bringing my lunch. If I don’t have many options to eat out for lunch, I’d rather bring my own.

I’ve set up quite a few automatic payments now. All of my credit cards are on auto-pay. My mortgage is set to auto pay on the last day of the grace period, in case I forget to make a manual payment with extra principal. My cell phone bill with Ting is on auto-pay, as are the electricity and internet bills. I’m still checking them, but it definitely makes things a bit simpler and less time-consuming!

The cell phone switch has been good so far. I was “charged” $48 so far in two months. (I say “charged” because I have a bunch of credits.) That’s pretty awesome because with Sprint, I was paying $83/month. This is pretty awesome for not modifying my usage at all.

Savings: $25,400 (down $10,900)

Current breakdown:

  • 2012 Roth IRA contribution
  • $5,000 in rewards checking account
  • $22,000 in an online savings account
  • $600 in a checking account that gets free ATM fees anywhere in the world (for a just in case backup)
  • $1,500 in a Chase checking account for 6 months ($200 bonus for opening the account!)
  • $1,400 Condo furnishing sinking fund

What changed this month? I moved $5,000 from my checking account to Series I Savings Bonds, $5,000 from my online savings accounts to my Roth IRA. The other $900 is spending from my condo furnishing fund. I also consolidated all of the targeted online savings accounts except for the condo furnishing sinking fund into one.

I’ve also done the math to calculate where I would find twelve months’ expenses: online savings account and cash flow, then Series I Savings Bonds, and lastly, 50% of my stock index funds in taxable. Those three (ignoring cash flow) add up to $36,000. Doing that math really helped me to feel comfortable with using cash flow to pay down the mortgage and/or invest.

I’m running out of big things to use my condo furnishing sinking fund for. From my list last July and more, I have bought a futon for the second bedroom, a small table in the entryway, added some color and storage in the second bathroom, a BBQ and other furniture for my balcony, framed photos of my own and hung around the condo, a lamp for the office, a plant, and possibly other things that I’m forgetting. The only things I can think of to still buy are ceiling fans for the master bedroom and the living room, if I’m allowed to in my condo, a wall clock to decorate the front entryway, and to frame my college degree. Those three things most likely won’t add up to $1,400 – I’m guessing closer to $500.

Investments: $92,500 (up $13,200 or +16.6%)

This includes my Roth and Traditional 401(k), my 401(k) employer matching (fully vested!), my Roth IRA, my taxable investments including stock index funds and Series I Savings Bonds.

You might question my counting my Series I Savings Bonds under Investments vs Savings. I’m counting them here mostly because of their tax-deferred until maturity nature. I also consider them part of my emergency fund, but in reality my entire monetary (i.e. non-property) net worth is my emergency fund, so that doesn’t necessitate it being part of savings.

The increase here comes from:

  1. February 401(k) contribution and employer matching
  2. Contributing the 2012 maximum to my Roth IRA ($5,000)
  3. Buying $5,000 of Series I Savings Bonds (half the annual limit for 2013)
  4. Quarterly dividends in all of my stock index funds
  5. Healthy market gains

A fancy milestone: My 401(k) balance is now over $50,000! It was also really awesome to see the balance of my Roth IRA jump so much since I hadn’t made a contribution in almost two years.

Mortgage: $245,700 (down $4,200 or -1.7%)

My mortgage is a 5/1 ARM at 2.5%. Before the refinance, it would have been paid off November 1, 2038. ~$7 less was paid in interest with the March 1st payment versus the February 1st payment. More of the regular payment should be going to principal than interest each month by May April of this year!

The March 1st regular payment saw some extra principal funds from my February paycheck. I also threw another $200 at the mortgage in early March after zeroing out my February budget and my entire income tax refund. It’s really fun watching the mortgage balance go down in such huge chunks! :D

I estimate with the extra principal payments in March that the payoff date is down to November 1, 2040, shaving 7 months off of the amortization. I need to send an additional ~$27,500 in extra principal payments this year to stay on track with the five year payoff plan, which I am on track to hit by July/August.

TOTAL: $242,600 (up $7,100 or +3.0%)

I ended 2012 with a net worth of $211,300, so I’ve seen a change of $31,300 or +14.8% so far this year. I’ve set the y-axis on this graph to $315,000 so we can see how my net worth grows towards that throughout the year.

Interesting fact: in June 2012, my net worth was up $32,700 YTD. This year, my net worth is up 96% of that amount only three months in!

March 2013 Net Worth Graph

23 thoughts on “March 2013 net worth update (+3.0%)

  1. Way to go and keep up the great work!

    Herman Cain is quoted as saying “success is not a straight line, its a zig-zag” but, the same could be said for every part of a persons life (from relationships to building an incredible new worth). Keep that net worth zigzagging upwards!

    Onwards & Upwards,
    Dwight Groves

    • Thanks, Dwight! That quote is very true. I’m going through a bit of a learning curve realizing that my career isn’t a straight line either, but a zig-zag. Sometimes it could flatline for years and sometimes for months or weeks and that’s okay while other things take priority. I think I’ve been pretty lucky that my net worth is doing really well while I figure life out in my twenties.

  2. You are doing awesome and are definitely an inspiration! My net worth has been increasing pretty rapidly as well, and I love seeing my debt go down and my net worth go up.

  3. Nice work! As always. :) It’s crazy how fast your net work grows once you get some momentum, hey?

    I am sorry to hear your relationship ended, and I hope you are doing ok!

    • Thanks! Hey same thing happens to your net work once you get some momentum!

      Thanks – I’m doing alright now, much better than I had the last few months. Plus it’s spring now! :)

  4. I like that you’re just going down the list of savings buckets and filling them up one at a time. Most people aren’t confident enough that they’ll save enough throughout the year to do it, but I’d never question your math, haha. If you are looking for another thing to furnish your condo with, you might be interested in a Nest thermostat. It’s way cool… but pretty unnecessary.

    • Thanks! I like checking things off – it helps motivate me to do the other things. So waiting all year to finish anything would be terrible for me, haha! The only thing that I wait all year for is the 401(k) to get the most of my match dollars. I have electric heaters, so I don’t think the Nest thermostat would help. I do have programmable ones that I use and I think those are good enough. I’ll throw the last bit at the mortgage if I run out of things to buy.

  5. I like your progress. At first I was wondering why your savings dropped, then I saw an explanation. Good job. I enjoyed reading it.
    Your furnishing fund reminded me that I have to replace my windshield and I was thinking where to grab money to do that. And suddenly I realized I had a “Infinite Banking” account to take a loan from.

    • I was a bit scared too when I realized I’d lost over $10,000 in savings, but thankfully most of it was just moved to another category :) What is this “Infinite Banking” account you speak of?

      • Infinite banking is a strategy where you have a whole life policy and you are allowed to take a loan from the policy. The point is, that you pay the loan and interest back to yourself. I do not like the whole life policy behind the infinite banking, so I created a combination of a savings account and broker account to do the same. I briefly wrote about it in my blog and if you do not mind I add link here: where I am describing the principle. I like the idea of the strategy though. And since I need cash to replace my windshield I will tap into my “Infinite banking” account (it’s how I call it) and borrow money from the account. Then I will still pay the regular contributions, but on top of it I will also pay off the loan plus interest – to myself. I will write about this process as well and post the numbers.

        • That’s an interesting idea! I guess it’s sort of like a HELOC that I could take out against my condo? What happened to your windshield or is this regular maintenance? If it was regular maintenance, I would personally set money aside to pay for it since you know it will happen eventually.

        • I need to replace it because there is a crack and cops already pulled me over, so I do not have money aside to replace it, so I will use my Infinite banking account. Other than that I usually save money for such thing. For example now I am saving 700 to replace tires, but the windshield was a bit of my negligence.

    • Thanks Holly! It definitely becomes hard as you have more accounts. I’m so glad that all my investments are at Vanguard, which definitely makes things easier! Now if only I could stop spreading everything else so thin…

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