March 2016 net worth update (+3.9%)

In March, I:

  1. contributed the remainder of the pre-tax 401(k) limit for the year! All done.
  2. saw my 401(k) balance surpass one year’s salary!
  3. contributed ~25% of the amount I can contribute to my 401(k) after-tax.
  4. finished my taxes in the TurboTax Deluxe download program my boyfriend and I had bought (much cheaper than filing two single returns with TurboTax online) and got my < $100 refund. I had great tax planning skills in 2015!
  5. saw the first quarterly interest on my 5% prepaid card savings accounts that I mentioned back in January.
  6. saved 82% of my net income this month for a total savings rate overall so far of 75%.
  7. saw my investments hit a new all-time high of one-month return, enough to recover from the losses in February and March, but 2015’s losses yet. My savings rate hides that though!
  8. saw my net worth go up by $26,000 or 3.9% to $691,000.

Expenses: I spent $2,591 in March including the mortgage or $1,564 without it, with no charitable donations this month. That breaks down to:

  • $2,212 in fixed/unavoidable expenses: HOA dues, mortgage payment, health, and transportation
  • $379 in discretionary expenses: clothing, entertainment, food, eyebrows, toiletries

Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • ($27) Clothing [$504 total so far this year; $1,878 at this point last year] – return of a long-sleeved running shirt bought in January (-$44), returned the pair of jeans bought in February (-$71) and bought a pair that does fit ($145), returned the pair of spring khakis bought in February (-$60) and bought a pair that does fit ($65), and returning one of the dresses bought in February (-$63)
  • $131 Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $54, average last year: $116] – a little bit of cash, but mostly hanging out with friends
  • $143 Food [average so far this year: $81, average last year: $51] – this covers all discretionary food. I was a bit lazy with taking my lunch to work this month…
  • $0 Cell phone – got a rebate that should cover my Cricket cell phone bill for 2.5-2.9 months
  • $693 Health – yay for high-deductible plans…
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $112 Toiletries [average so far this year: $49, average last year: $48] – stocked up on deodorant, dry shampoo, and lipbalms
  • $137 Transportation: tolls replenishment (x3) and two tanks of gas

I budgeted $4,000 per month for spending this year and so far, I’ve only spent $8,069 of that. I also accidentally included medical costs in that figure even though I pay for those out of my HSA, which means I’ll likely have some money left over in my checking account at the end of the year because I spent ~$1,000 on health costs in 2015. After accounting for April’s mortgage payment and HOA dues and the property taxes for the year, I have about $4,419 in available funds for discretionary spending, which will likely end up going towards travel and/or a new couch.

Readers, how was your money in March?

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26 thoughts on “March 2016 net worth update (+3.9%)

  1. Awesome job already funding the 401k! We basically spent the same amount this month within a few bucks. In March I jacked up my 401k contribution a little bit just for fun. I should now max it out by August. I’m excited for April as it is a 3 paycheck month for me :) Take care.

    • Thanks! It’s a great feeling to have it done already :) Woo for similar spending and maxing out your 401(k) a bit early too. Just watch out for any possibility of missing out on match by doing that! Oooh 3 paycheck month – that’s exciting. More for savings, right?!

      • Our “match” is actually a profit-sharing contribution that hits once every summer and is based on total prior year contributions, so no issues there :) Plus it’s so small I hardly even notice it :(

        And of course the extra paycheck is already earmarked for our friend Mr. Vanguard!

        • Boo on the “match” being so small you hardly notice it! But yay for the third paycheck going straight to Mr. Vanguard! :D

  2. What a great month! For sure the market helped, but you’re on a roll with your savings, especially with your spending coming in below budget. Nice! We had a good March, but now have an expensive April in front of us — a big ($8800) federal tax bill is by far the worst of it (we’re not tax ninjas like you!), but we have several trips planned as well. Oh well, that’s what money’s for, right? :-)

    • The market definitely helped, but the increase was still largely savings. It’s nice to have a few low spend months – puts things into perspective a bit. Boo on the tax bill :( But yay for trips! We haven’t planned any yet this year. Too many other things going on right now. And we are looking to replace our saggy old living room furniture which will eat up some of the under budget money, whenever we make that purchase.

      • I know this runs counter to what more frugal people will say, but we happen to think that a couch is worth splurging on. You spend SO much time sitting and maybe even sleeping on it — it’s worth making sure that it’s super comfortable, and is nice to look at. I’ll back you up if you need moral support. :-)

        • Haha you are such an enabler sometimes ;) I’m a huge fan of splurging on daily use items that you don’t replace very often. For example, I used to buy cheap purses that would break and fray in all sorts of ways. But I take care of things and then they last. So I’m looking forward to a nice couch :) We are sitting on ALL the couches and it’s taking a while to figure out what we want and our exact budget. It’s fun test driving couches!

  3. Since you’ve already budgeted medical into your after-tax money, why not spend it from your regular account? Then you can leave the HSA money to compound tax-free over time, and just consider it an additional retirement account for future medical or other expenses.

    • I could do that, but I find it simpler to withdraw the HSA money now on current claims than leaving it to compound for decades. I usually still roll forward some balance each year. It was also accidental to budget medical into my after tax budget. Thanks for commenting! Happy Friday!

  4. I didn’t realize your mortgage was such a small amount of your ‘budget’. Considering the value of the place, it is a bit shocking. I guess that’s because it is an ARM that will reset at some point….

    • The required payment will reamortize when the interest resets. But yes the 30 year amortization helps keep it low. And the payment is based on the value four years ago when I bought – not now.

    • Oh and I don’t have insurance or property taxes included in my mortgage payment – I pay them myself. I pay insurance once a year and property taxes a couple times a year. And then condo fees monthly.

  5. Congrats on the awesome month!

    March I maxed out my 401k (whee!) and passed 300k net worth. April is looking pretty good too with quarterly bonuses, but summer’ll be less ideal with vacation and some house expenditures (will those ever end, I wonder…).

  6. Congratulations on #2! That’s awesome. It’ll be nice when my Roth gets there, but I’m still working on getting it to the value of a year’s worth of contributions. Maybe I’ll max it next year! My month didn’t work out so great, it seems, but that’s not entirely unexpected. I look forward to seeing how April goes!

  7. Congrats on hitting your 401k! I usually do mine throughout the year, but recently increased it after inspiration from you. We should finish this summer if I direct T’s summer salary appropriately. (No match here, since we have a parallel pension system.)

    We had a good month too, mostly due to the markets recovering, but also our typical savings.

    • Thank you! If you’re not getting a match, there’s no real reason to do it throughout the year. That’s exciting :) It’s so fun watching it grow in bigger lump sums.

    • Thanks! This month had some irregular income which contributed to the savings rate – my “normal” monthly savings rate is 60%. My goal for the year is 70% before I subtract paying for grad school tuition out of savings. I’m on track for that!

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