My February net worth was only down about $1,000, which is notable because my total net income was $1,100 and I paid a large grad school tuition bill. I anticipate my net worth going down 1.4% from December 2016 to December 2017 and so far it is up 0.2%, which is on schedule.
It’s been really fun watching my investments so far this year while I’ve been with minimal income. So far, 2017 has seen a good run in the stock markets and that has catapulted my investments over $300,000, which is notable because that means a 4% SWR would allow me to withdraw $1,000/month, which is a lovely round number! My expenses in February were low enough that the current allowable 4% SWR would cover 53% of my expenses!! That’s the highest % I’ve seen yet, so I’m quite excited! The previous high was 28.3%.
I set monthly goals in my planner and then check in on them at the end of the month. I started doing this in 2016 and it has been great! They’re a mix of action items and routines I want to cultivate.
We prepared our tax return, figured out how much we owe, and calculated the split. We had one final bit to double check (which I’ve fixed as I write this), so we’ll file the return in March.
In January and February, I only went to 5 barre classes each month. This is bad because I have a bunch of punch cards that expire in May. I’ve made a personal challenge for March to go to 14 barre classes – 3 classes per week. We’ll see how this goes! If I can stick to a 3 day per week schedule, I should use up my already paid for classes before they expire. (So far, as of writing this on March 6th, I’ve been to 3 classes, so I believe in myself!)
We picked a cake vendor for the wedding reception and paid that deposit in February, so it looks like we should have a few months of no wedding expenses, which will be nice. And now I’m looking forward to delicious cake!!!
I’m managing my personal cash flow right now by keeping three savings accounts: one for grad school tuition, one for living expenses covering the remainder of 2017 and then one for living expenses in 2018 which will simply turn into cash reserves
if when I end up with a paying full-time job again. I have an automatic transfer of $1,500 on the 1st of every month to the joint checking account to cover my half of the expenses. I then take any extra money out I need to cover expenses as needed rather than transferring out a fixed amount. The grad school savings account is on track and the 2018 living expenses account is currently empty. The 2017 living expenses account had $24,105.55 in it at the end of February, when it should have $31,115.85 in it to get through the year. I’m anticipating deferred compensation income from my former employer in Q1 and a small personal income tax refund that will cover this difference with a small bit leftover to go into the 2018 savings account. I do have another $20,548 in Series I Savings Bonds that I could cash in and another $16,000 in Vanguard taxable index funds.
My goal is to pay for my half of the wedding reception out of my $36,000 budget for the year. $18,000 of that is the joint spending plan, which leaves $18,000 for personal spending. I estimate there is $10,796.32 left for me to pay for the wedding reception, which leaves me with $3,616.55 remaining for personal spending with ten months remaining in 2017. That’s definitely going to be a bit tighter than I’m used to, so I’m going to keep an eye on things as the year goes on.
Totaled at $187.12! I’ve been following Cait’s Mindful Budgeting Program and the best money spent each week was:
- Dinner with a friend
- Coffee with a friend / A dress for our wedding reception (eee!) / A product I bought per the recommendation of my dermatologist that quickly made a difference!
- Getting my eyebrows waxed – I really love the person I’ve been seeing for years now.
Notice a pattern here? I do! I probably would have also written the tasting fee for the cake vendor we ended up picking because it was SO delicious!
I have to say, it is really lovely not having the mortgage payment each month!
Our spending was pretty simple this month! In reviewing this though, I realized I forgot to set up the auto bill pay for the HOA dues, so we didn’t pay those in February… We’ll just end up double paying in March to compensate. This is a huge part of why I am not a fan of monthly budgets and prefer annual ones – the months can be so variable.
- Entertainment: $42.68 for Lightroom, Netflix, Spotify Family, and Pandora
- Groceries: $503.70
- Restaurants: $103.87 – this is two outings.
- Electricity: $93.73 – this is super low because I had prepaid a bit in December.
- Housecleaning: $220
- Travel: $261.55 – miscellaneous costs for our weekend trip in February
- Miscellaneous: $72.64 – a blanket and something else
- Total without reception: $1,298.68
- Reception: $2,127.72 – one cake tasting fee, DJ deposit, my wedding dress (under $400!), and cake deposit
- Total with reception: $3,426.40
I prepaid Comcast in December, so we didn’t pay them in February. No gas fill-ups this month either.
Readers, how was your February? Do you track how much of your spending would be covered by your investments?