February 2016 update (+10.1%)

In February, I:

  1. contributed ~45% of the pre-tax 401(k) limit.
  2. updated the value of my condo to reflect current comparable sales, which contributed to the vast majority of my net worth increase this month. It’s now up about 40% from my purchase price.
  3. sold some more stuff on Craiglist!
  4. transferred some funds from my work HSA to my credit union HSA and only afterwards figured out a way to possibly do it without any transfer fees.
  5. enjoyed the auto transfer from savings to checking.
  6. finally saw enough earned income to contribute to my Roth IRA for the year, but I’m still going to wait a bit longer to make sure I have enough cash on hand.
  7. saved 71% of my net income for a savings rate so far this year of 69%. March and April should also be in the 70% range and then I’ll drop down to the 60% range for the remainder of the year except when I pay tuition.
  8. saw my net worth go up by $61,000 or about 10.1% to $665,000.

Expenses: I spent $2,946 in February including the mortgage or $1,919 without it, with no charitable donations this month. That breaks down to:

  • $1,676 in fixed/unavoidable expenses: cell phone, condo misc costs, HOA dues, mortgage payment, health, and transportation
  • $1,270 in discretionary expenses: clothing, entertainment, financial fees, food, eyebrows, shopping

Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $850 Clothing [$531 total so far this year; $829 at this point last year] – rightsized one of my jackets ($186 on sale), a long-sleeved running shirt ($75), a running vest ($150), a hoodie instead of stealing my boyfriends ($64), rightsizing my one pair of jeans that currently fits ($71), rightsizing my spring khakis from 2014 ($60) and shorts ($52), rightsizing my summer pyjama shorts from 2015 ($31) and my summer pyjama pants from 2013 ($36), and two summer dresses because I have zero that fit ($63)
  • ($5) Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $16, average last year: $116] – Refund of some cash I had withdrawn previously.
  • $15 Financials: oops fee for transferring my HSA the non-free way (sigh)
  • $63 Food [average so far this year: $50, average last year: $51] – this covers eating out by myself, work lunches, and schoolwork-related food. I’m rolling these all into one category since it’s under $100.
  • $3 Housing miscellaneous – battery for the garage door opener
  • $35 Cell phone – monthly Cricket bill
  • $200 Health
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $0 Toiletries [average so far this year: $17, average last year: $48]
  • $328 Shopping – noise-canceling headphones (an amazing purchase I should have made years ago!)
  • $88 Transportation: tolls replenishment (x2) and one tank of gas

I did another clothing inventory and bought some of the missing items this month. The remaining items on my clothing wants list are: a pair of sandals (I have none that fit) and a second pair of shorts and spring khakis if the ones I bought in February fit for more than a few months.

After accounting for March’s mortgage payment and HOA dues and the property taxes for the year, I have about $3,541 in available funds for discretionary spending. That also leaves about $2,646 in discretionary spending per month, which is pretty exciting! I’m curious to see whether I end up with money leftover at the end of the year or what the result is. This exercise also shows me how much of my spending is really discretionary and it’s kind of fun figuring out to how to allocate some of it.

Readers, how was your money in February?

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11 thoughts on “February 2016 update (+10.1%)

  1. Wow, a 10% increase is insane given how high your net worth is. Though I guess some of that is the condo.

    I have no idea how our money in February was. Amazingly though we’re pretty steady at spending about exactly our take-home pay, which is surprising given how much we’re paying in rent and how little my take-home pay actually is (a little over $1K/month after everything is taken out + $550 for the daycare reimbursement– fortunately DH is getting his regular salary).

    • Yup. I have only been increasing my condo’s value in my net worth though when it reaches round numbers, which has resulted in some lumpy increases. The last time I increased it by about $100k and this time was $50k. It’s just hard to be more precise than a multiple of $25k or $50k in my opinion and even $25k is getting harder with the amount of fluctuation between list price and sale price on some places. I debated leaving it at purchase price in my net worth, but that seems unfair when it has increased so much and I update stock prices in my net worth…

      That’s great that you’re not seeing negative monthly cash flow now with your sabbatical! Are you enjoying it? You guys have heen there for six months or so now, right?

  2. You are killing it, and how about that equity in your condo! February basically went sideways for me, a negligible increase vs. the end of January but March is off to a good start.

    • I’m glad March is off to a better start for you!

      Thanks! The condo equity prompts so many thoughts for me. It makes me want to pay down the mortgage less because my equity in it is increasing so quickly without me doing anything. It is a pretty significant chunk of my net worth. I do love the diversification between it and my stock or cash investments.

      • Unless you fear a real estate crash where your equity would plummet, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to pay it off, but at the same time, you could sell it at any time and diversify instantly. Good problem to have I suppose. ;) I don’t lie the idea of having so much tied up in real estate, which is one reason why I sold, but I also moved out and had zero interest in moving back to that place. It’ll be pretty cool when yo have no mortgage or rent payment or if you do choose to sell, enough investments to fund a mortgage or rent via dividends..

  3. February was one of our best months in a while, actually! Kindof amazing what not spending a ton of money on our kitchen gets us. =)

    • Heh yes! January was pretty frugal for me, February not as much, but any month under $3k total honestly feels pretty frugal :)

    • Nope, not a typo. I spelled out all of the items I bought. Since I’m operating on an annual and not specific budget, I’m not worried about that level of spending on clothing so long as it’s not an every month thing.

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