February 2014 net worth update (+3.2%)

31-Dec-2013 31-Jan-2014 28-Feb-2014 MoM YTD
cash $13,500 $9,000 $8,000 -$1,000 -$5,500
savings $27,400 $21,500 $21,800 +$300 -$5,600
investments $134,600 $136,100 $143,400 +$7,300
mortgage $187,600 $184,000 $179,600 +$4,400
net worth $345,900 $340,600 $351,600 +$11,000
assets – debts
$12,100 $17,400 $6,800 +$10,600

February was so much better than January, financially! My investments recovered from the losses in January and spending was so much lower as well. Cash is mostly down because I closed out an old, unused account and transferred its balance to the mortgage.


Work-wise, however, it was a long month and I’m really looking forward to the trip that my boyfriend and I are taking next month! I’ve really, really been loving the new closet organizers in the master bedroom and I wish I’d done that project far sooner!

I saved 69% of my net income this month! That’s much better than last month’s 57% and much higher than my expected savings rate of 61%. About 2/3 of my savings this month went to the mortgage.

Expenses: I spent $2,490 in February after the mortgage or $1,460 without it. Once you take out the work spending, I only had about $700 in credit card spending this month! That’s a record. So far, my total spending for 2014 is $9,490. To hit my $38,500 spending goal for the year, I need to spend no more than an average of $2,901/month over the remaining 10 months this year.

I expect my March non-mortgage spending to be around $700 (that includes expected credits from some online shopping).

Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • ($195) Dresses (-1) – I bought the 3rd January dress in another size and ended up returning both because neither fit. Ah well, $195 back!
  • $8 Outerwear – I lost my hat and randomly found a very similar one on sale for $8! I was quite excited about that :)
  • $86 Shoes – Ugh this has been a mess with the online shopping. I’ve been trying to find a new pair of knee-high leather boots because the heel has worn through on mine and I apparently can’t get it fixed, but it’s been such a struggle. I’m also trying to replace my 3-year old grey PUMA flats because they’re getting a hole in the bottom of the shoe. At least that is only a $50 replacement :)
  • ($251) Swimwear – shipping to return the ones that didn’t fit and their credit.
  • $29 Other Clothing
  • $73 Entertainment/Social – I still can’t believe how much this has dropped lately. My boyfriend and I have been cooking a lot more, rather than going out like we did at first, and I’ve also been a bit more of a hermit with the new job. [average this year: $103, last year: $224]
  • $12 Eating out by myself [average this year: $12, last year: $25]
  • $243 Groceries – I’ve been making pie charts to see where all of this is going. We’ve been lumping in toiletries, household goods, and some small appliances, which I didn’t do on my own. We’ve also been eating a LOT of meat and buying mostly organic/grass-fed, which I wasn’t doing much of before. [average this year: $263, last year: $152]
  • $120 Work lunches [average this year: $153, last year: $77]
  • $80 Internet. I had to raise my internet speed because it wasn’t sufficient for streaming anymore and I’ve also been working from home enough that I needed the faster internet. It should be closer to $54/month going forward and this increase was from reconciling the billing periods with the speed upgrade. [average this year: $55]
  • $24 Presents. Bought my boyfriend something small for Valentine’s Day :)
  • $0 Household goods [average this year: $27, last year: $29]
  • $12 Medical bills
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $0 Toiletries [average this year: $12, last year: $31]
  • $20 Pretty case for my new phone :)
  • $290 Travel: booked another trip with my boyfriend :)

Savings: $21,800 (up $300)

These funds are spread across a Chase savings account, a general online savings account, a checking account that gets free ATM fees anywhere in the world, and my health savings account.

The change here comes from:

  1. Paycheck contributions to my health savings account (January) and spending down some of it to pay the medical bills
  2. My medical bills being low enough now that the health savings account will just grow by $300/month for the next few months.

I’ve decided to keep the Chase savings account open even though I could now close it with no penalty as it has come in handy a few times, for example to get a deposit rather than a statement credit for credit card rewards and then immediately send them to the mortgage. Plus, it is only the opportunity cost on $300, which at the Ally online savings account rates loses me $2.55/year.

Investments: $142,600 (up $6,500 or +4.8%)

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.

The change here comes from:

  1. ~$5,000 in stock market gains
  2. January paycheck 401(k) contribution and employer matching
  3. November and December 401(k) employer matching

Mortgage: $179,600 (down $4,400 or -2.4%)

Some statistics here:

  • 2.5%: the interest rate on my 5/1 ARM
  • January 2018: when the interest rate on my mortgage is set to reset, possibly to 7.5%
  • 6: months of payments eliminated with this month’s pre-payments
  • $4,034.92: extra payments made on the mortgage this month
  • $8.41: interest this month’s extra payments will save me on the next regular payment
  • 37%: portion of my regular payment went to interest (originally was 59%)
  • 49.8%: amount of equity in my condo, assuming purchase price
  • 37.2%: amount of the mortgage I’ve paid down

TOTAL: $351,200 (up $10,600 or +3.1%)

I ended 2013 with a net worth of $345,900, so I’ve seen a change of +$5,300 or +1.5% so far this year. I’ve set the y-axis on this graph to $465,000 so we can see how my net worth grows towards that throughout the year.

February 2014 Net Worth Graph

Oops, I forgot to set goals for February! And to review the goals I made for January!

Let’s check in on the goals I made for January:

  1. Make my 2014 Roth IRA contribution through the backdoor entirely on my smartphone. (This means a) transferring the money from savings to checking with Ally, b) making the $5,500 contribution to my Traditional IRA with Vanguard, and c) exchanging the $5,500 from the Traditional IRA to the Total Stock Market index fund in my Roth IRA.) – I’ve already done a) and b) – just need to wait for the transaction to post tomorrow or Friday so I can do c). SUCCESS! It’s so nice to have this out of the way first thing in the year.
  2. Plan some trips with my boyfriend. SUCCESS! We are going away for a week, just us, in March, to visit some friends from college in June, and to 1-2 weddings in September, during which I will get to meet his family and he’ll get to meet some more of mine :)
  3. Have fun with my new job! PASS! I definitely like my new job and am having fun, but I forgot how exhausting it is to work 40 hours a week, let alone 50-60.
  4. Return the shoes I don’t like from the online shopping. SUCCESS! That was easy.

Some things I did in February:

  1. I’m becoming an expert on some areas at work, which is nice!
  2. I filed my income tax return with TaxAct.com and got my small (< $300) refund deposited into my bank account, which I immediately sent to the mortgage.
  3. I did terribly at exercising (beyond walking to/from work). I didn’t go to the gym at all.
  4. I worked A LOT. My estimate would be 45-60 hours/week.
  5. I applied for and received the Chase Sapphire Preferred visa, which I intend on using until I hit the bonus ($3,000 in spending will get me 40,000 points) and then setting it aside except for Ultimate Rewards mall shopping. (That mall is seriously a magically benefit of the Chase Freedom/Sapphire Preferred credit cards that I had no idea existed!) I’m going to guess that it will take me all of March, April, and May to hit that $3,000 because my spending has been lower lately.
  6. I was a LOT more frugal than I was in January. Maybe how much time I spent working affected that…

Now for some new goals for March:

  1. Only use the Chase Sapphire Preferred visa for spending. This means no debit card.
  2. Go running on Sunday mornings (before reading the internet!) and one weekday morning (Tuesday or Wednesday) since it’s getting to be daylight later.
  3. Go back to sport #2 one evening a week with my friends.
  4. Try out an alternative gym near my place that’s about halfway between work and home, walking. They have a lot of classes and the timing is such that I could even go home, eat dinner, and then go to a class! And they even have a one month intro rate!
  5. Enjoy the trip with my boyfriend! Relax. It’ll be a welcome break.
  6. Send $2,500 to the mortgage on pay day.
  7. Leave the office before 6 pm at least 3 days a week.
  8. Buy a new pair of jeans because none of mine fit :(

By my 26th birthday this year, I would like to write a 30 by 30 list and a list of what I want my life to look like at 30. I’m really starting to feel like I can shape the next few years a bit better than I used to, which is a really awesome feeling.


18 thoughts on “February 2014 net worth update (+3.2%)

  1. Nice work on passing 350k!

    Cooking at home is where it’s at. I’ve been gradually increasing my cooking skills over the last couple of years and this winter I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen and I’m loving it! It’s hard when you’re cranking out those 45-60 hrs. work weeks to feel like coming home and working in the kitchen. If it’s something you do together it becomes a bonding experience and far better than anything you can get eating out. When you’re really cooking something and not just something that’s thrown together out of a box it’s an extremely nurturing gesture. I think time in the kitchen can reconnect you with your relationship to nature as well as strengthen your relationship with a loved one.

    So…. that’s getting a little heavy for a Friday night, but they don’t call me The Stoic for nothing! ;-)

    Have a fabulous weekend.

    • Thanks!

      It is hard with the 45-60 hour weeks, especially when both people are doing them. But, we’ve gotten the meal planning part down pact now, so that’s not so bad, and we’ve been making double batches of a meal, so it’ll last us for 3-4 meals instead of 1-2. Leftovers are a huge help, especially since I’d way rather work from home in the evening than from the office. Cooking is also something fun to do together – I don’t understand the couples who have only one person cook.

      Have a great weekend!

  2. I am always so impressed with the scale of your net worth updates. Congrats on breaking the 350k mark. At that rate, I am so interested to see what your 30 financial goals will be – 4 more years like that… you’ll be up at 750k, easily.

    • Thanks Alicia! I’m hopeful that I’ll have a net worth of a million dollars at 30, the mortgage paid off, and pretty close to FI. It is the life stuff that is harder to figure out :)

      Keep in mind that about half of this net worth increase is from stock market gains, compensating for last month’s losses and the other half is from my savings.

  3. I realized last night that if we don’t change anything, by next month the amount of money in our savings account is going to be bigger than the amount of money due on our mortgage. If DH lost his job tomorrow we’d still have 7K too much in savings for our pre-DH employment emergency fund.

    We’ve earmarked a bunch of that for deferred home maintenance but that kind of thing requires time to call people to fix things, which means that money may just continue sitting in savings. We both agree that we should hire someone to do yardwork so DH doesn’t have to waste part of his Saturday mornings taking care of things (he doesn’t mind the mowing, but he hates the flowerbeds). I’m back to wishing I’d taken summer grant money in the form of RA salary rather than my own income. I did think about doing a back-door IRA, but we’re already putting 44K to my retirement accounts, plus 10% of DH’s new income to his, plus 12K to 529 plans. We have an awful lot of money in places we can’t get to until we’re in our 50s. DH thinks I should up the mortgage pre-payment, but I kind of lean towards taxable accounts. Paying off the mortgage only frees up 28K/year in cashflow so it’s not like it would make a big deal to our bottom line at this point (when only one of us is employed, it is a bigger deal). I’d like to go on sabbatical in a year or two which would cut our income in half and we’d have to get the house in rentable shape, but it’s hard to decide whether to keep money in cash or chance liquidating stocks at that point.

    I have to say that this is a nice problem to have, much better than worrying about our income matching our outgo with very little wiggle room.

    • That’s cool that you’ll have more than enough in savings to pay off the mortgage next month! Even if you don’t do it, I think there’s a certain amount of freedom in being able to.

      Home maintenance that requires calling people, getting quotes, and then them coming out is time-consuming. That’s why it took me almost two years to improve the closets. I would also like to get some more plants for the balcony, add another heater in the master bathroom, repaint much of the previous owner’s colors. All of those things take time and will far eventually get done…

      You guys do put a lot of money into retirement accounts. I’m not sure what I would do with that much available retirement room either, especially since you don’t get a match (well your husband does). If you’re not in the 28% tax bracket, I would probably swing to putting more in taxable. It is a strange predicament, that’s for sure.

      • We’ve had more than enough in taxable stocks for a while, but stocks are a good place for large sums of money. Savings not so much.

        I think it’s also time to finally get DC1 a better piano. (Currently he’s using a $100 keyboard that his grandma got him for Christmas and it doesn’t have weighted keys or anything.) One of these weekends…

  4. Walking to work is such a great deal- even if you don’t work out much, you probably still get more exercise than most people, even those that work out!

    Congrats on another great month.

    Have a great time on your trip!

    • True, but I prefer spending my evenings working out than collapsing on the couch :)

      Thanks! Hope you’re having a good 2014 so far.

  5. I’m not that concerned about my investments since I’m in for the long haul, but it is interesting to watch them go up and down! You are almost done with school, lady!!

  6. Great job on your incredibly high savings rate! My kids have basically killed the dream of saving more than 50% for us =/ I hope you have an awesome time on your trip. Where are you going???

    • Well if your income goes up, you can increase your savings rate ;) And I count all mortgage principal payments as savings.

      Thanks! My boyfriend and I went to an all-inclusive resort on a beautiful beach this month and in a few months, we’re going to visit some friends from college and have a nice weekend away in that city.

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