March 2014 net worth update (+1.7%)

31-Dec-2013 28-Feb-2014 31-Mar-2014 MoM YTD
cash $13,500 $8,000 $8,800 +$800 -$4,700
savings $27,400 $21,800 $22,100 +$300 -$5,300
investments $134,600 $143,400 $145,600 +$2,200
mortgage $187,600 $179,600 $177,000 +$2,600
net worth $345,900 $351,600 $357,500 +$5,900
assets – debts
$12,100 $6,800 $500 +$5,900

March was a pretty average month, financially. Spending was average. Extra mortgage payments were average. One 401(k) contribution and one HSA contribution posted. My investments went up by a modest 0.3%.  I was pretty close to having my total assets be greater than my debts this month. Once that happens, I’ll start tracking the difference between my liquid assets and my debts!

Other than one hell week at work, March was pretty awesome life-wise. My boyfriend and I had a great trip! It was so nice to have an entire week together, no schedules, no cooking, no work, just us. I read quite a few books and we spent time talking about life, the future, more trips, and everything in between.

I saved 59% of my net income this month! That’s about par for the course. I’ve been fidgeting with my W-4 form a bit to get the income taxes evened out throughout the year. This means that I’m paying taxes I should be paying with my bonus with my regular income, but it all will work out in the end.

Expenses: I spent $3,200 in March after the mortgage or $2,170 without it. So far, my total spending for 2014 is $12,690, which is $50,760 annualized. To hit my $38,500 spending goal for the year, I need to spend no more than an average of $2,868/month over the remaining 9 months this year.

Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $69 Athletic wear – bought some new pants as I grew hips.
  • $338 Jeans – four pairs. I’ll be returning two of them as I don’t really like the color, so the real cost was $106.
  • $269 Bras
  • ($54) Shoes – I returned two pairs for a credit of $113 and bought one new pair once I decided on the style I liked :)
  • (Yes, that was just $623 on clothing/shoes this month.)
  • $530 Entertainment/Social – Hah, I jinxed it by saying this has dropped a lot lately. [average this year: $245, last year: $224] Where did this all go this month? 15% cash withdrawals / 3% books on vacation / 63% date nights / 11% meals with friends / 7% annual Pandora subscription / <1% printing photos from our trip. One of the items under date nights was buying season tickets for the 2014-2015 season for something local :) exciting!!!
  • $9 Eating out by myself [average this year: $11, last year: $25]
  • $328 Groceries – this is for two. So far, we’ve been reconciling at the end of each month, but we decided to try alternating months paying now that we’ve improved our grocery spending. That means that my April grocery spending should be really low ;) [average this year: $285, last year: $152]
  • $135 Work lunches [average this year: $147, last year: $77] – That isn’t too bad of an increase from last year given that I’ve been eating out every day.
  • $53 Internet
  • $0 Household goods [average this year: $18, last year: $29]
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $0 Toiletries [average this year: $8, last year: $31]
  • $2 Fitbit batteries
  • $200 Furnishings: upgrading one of the programmable thermostats, a picture frame for some of the photos I printed of my boyfriend and I, a pizza stone, and a new plant for the balcony complete with planter and soil
  • $197 Travel: incidental costs from our trip. We didn’t really track how we were splitting things since we’d already split the hotel and flights, but I’m pretty sure our spending was fairly close.

Savings: $22,200 (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 (February)
  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: $145,600 (up $2,200 or +1.5%)

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. ~$500 in stock market gains and interest
  2. February paycheck 401(k) contribution and employer matching

Mortgage: $177,000 (down $2,600 or -1.4%)

Some statistics here:

  • 2.5%: the interest rate on my 5/1 ARM
  • February 2018: when the interest rate on my mortgage is set to reset, possibly to 7.5%
  • 3: months of payments eliminated with this month’s pre-payments
  • $1,960.74: extra payments made on the mortgage this month
  • $4.08: interest this month’s extra payments will save me on the next regular payment
  • 36.4%: portion of my regular payment went to interest (originally was 59%)
  • 50.5%: amount of equity in my condo, assuming purchase price
  • 38.1%: amount of the mortgage I’ve paid down

YOU GUYS! I now own over 50% of my condo! It really feels like these $2,000 chunks aren’t making much of a dent in the mortgage. Soon it’ll be bonus time though and that’ll make a good dent in it ;)

On the craziness of the real estate market note, a slightly smaller two bedroom condo on my street sold in March for $50,000 more than what I paid for my place two years ago. That would cover my estimate of closing costs plus about $20,000 if I were to sell.

TOTAL: $357,500 (up $5,900 or +1.7%)

I ended 2013 with a net worth of $345,900, so I’ve seen a change of +$11,600 or +3.45% 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.

March 2014 Net Worth Graph

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

  1. Only use the Chase Sapphire Preferred visa for spending. This means no debit card. SUCCESS! Since March turned out to be spendier than I had originally anticipated, I should finish up with this card sometime in April, a month early.
  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. FAIL! Between the vacation and one hell week at work, this just didn’t happen.
  3. Go back to sport #2 one evening a week with my friends. PASS! I think I did this one day. I put it back on my calendar as a recurring event.
  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! PASS! I went to one class…on the evening of April 1st. I’m giving myself a pass though with how crazy work was.
  5. Enjoy the trip with my boyfriend! Relax. It’ll be a welcome break. SUCCESS! The trip was wonderful :)
  6. Send $2,500 to the mortgage on pay day. FAIL! I only sent $1,800 to the mortgage. $2,500 was an unrealistic goal.
  7. Leave the office before 6 pm at least 3 days a week. SUCCESS! Other than the hell week, I think I mostly accomplished this goal.
  8. Buy a new pair of jeans because none of mine fit :( SUCCESS! I found TWO! Woo! So happy to have some clothes that fit again.

Now for some new goals for April:

  1. Only use the Chase Sapphire Preferred visa for spending until I’ve spent the remaining $868.33. (Once I’ve hit that amount, put my purchases back on auto-pay to the visa, use the Chase Freedom for the 5% restaurants, and use the Barclaycard for everything else. Move any auto-pays from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Barclaycard.)
  2. Try biking to work on the nice days. This should cut my commute about in half.
  3. Send $1,800 to the mortgage on pay day.
  4. Be more realistic about my productivity possibilities at work if I have a lot of meetings on a particular day.
  5. Work on Operation Penguin* with my boyfriend. (*code name has nothing to do with what it actually is)

22 thoughts on “March 2014 net worth update (+1.7%)

  1. Our March was pretty average too. But looking at yours, it’s a nice reminder that average is still doing pretty darned well when you’ve got an ambitious plan! =)

    operation penguin? You’ve got me intrigued there…

    • That is very true! When average is still increasing my net worth by $6k in one month, I think I’m doing pretty alright :)

      Operation Penguin is pretty exciting :)

      • Operation Penguin sounds like a great code name!!! I’m curious how the name was inspired.. Does this come from a movie or something completely random.

        Ugh… my net worth has completely stagnated and even gone down a bit the past 2 months.. I recently accepted a new job in California and moved across the country… It is taking some time to get my new life figured out… Huge changes… however, I could not turn the offer down and I’m working on Spaceships so career aspects are AWESOME!!!

        Life is going great and fun… but it is getting more expensive as well.. It is slowing down my long term plans…


        • Wow Tim, those are some huge changes! I hope you’re enjoying California though!!

          Haha I have a stuffed penguin laying on the floor in my bedroom. It was the first idea that came to mind that didn’t seem dumb.

          It does take a while to regroup after big life changes. I know I have had troubles with that lately too, between my injury, new job, and boyfriend (well almost a year now!), there has been a lot of regrouping lately. Don’t fret about it too much – just enjoy your new job and area :)

  2. Ha! Operation Penguin! Don’t know what it is but the idea of coming up with special ops and code names sounds awesome! I just might be stealing that idea.

    Looks like a pretty good month, even if it was average and boring. I’ve found those to be the best though because everything just keeps trucking along. Keep up the good work and I’m glad you go to relax with your BF. I’m looking forward to my time off in May where I’ll have a week off and not having to worry about getting up and working or what phone calls or problems the day will bring.

  3. If only I had your thought process!!! You don’t know how this is…I look forward to reading your blog..just for inspiration…

    • It is! I actually can’t believe I own 50% already! It hasn’t even been two years yet. That means I own somewhere around 600 sqft :)

      I’ve re-done the math on my equity % a gazillion times because I didn’t believe I was over 50%!

      Also cool: my net worth is now basically my condo value at purchase price and my assets basically equal my mortgage. So one way of looking at my net worth is that I own my entire condo. (Not that I would pay off the mortgage now, but still a cool picture.)

  4. Hey Leigh what’s up!, maybe you wouldn’t mind sharing with me just how you went about adjusting your W-2 to account for your bonus? I’ve never done it myself so I’m kinda curious if you just guesstimate or if there’s a method you use.

    So happy for you, your “journey” is progressing so lovely. Good luck and keep chugging!

  5. I always love coming to your updates because I’m always so impressed what you are doing with a single income (granted it is a lovely/large income). But what you’re doing is generally, in my mind at least, reserved for the DINKs of the world :) I know you have a bf, but your finances aren’t merged.

    Anyway, basically all I’m saying is that a 60% average savings rate is mind-bogglingly awesome!

    • Thanks Alicia! Our finances are pretty much completely separate, other than some spending, so I am definitely doing this all on my own :)

      Do you and your fiance keep everything separate?

      • Nope, we’re a mish-mash of “joint” and “separate” (which makes for super confusing financial updates at the end of the month because I try to do it for “me” rather than “we”). We live together. Have lived together for over three years. It’s just easier this way. That’s probably frowned upon, but ah well…

        • I dunno, I think that at least having a shared cash flow account isn’t that crazy if you live together! It’s definitely getting harder as we have more shared expenses, but so far they mostly just roll up into either Groceries or Travel.

    • Operation Penguin is definitely part of why it’s hard to come up with things to blog about / time to blog lately and I will reveal it once it’s further along. Happy spring to you as well!

  6. 1 bedrooms in mycomplex have been selling ofr more than I paid for my 2 bedroom as well. The problem is nobody is selling 2 bedrooms, so there are no comps. I would definitely book my profits (especially since I don’t live there anymore), if I could double what the 1 bedrooms are selling for – but it’s not there yet.

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