April 2016 net worth update (+1.6%)

In April, I:

  1. contributed ~15% of the amount I can contribute to my 401(k) after-tax, for a total year-to-date contribution of ~40% of the maximum.
  2. sold the Q1 ESPP shares and transferred their value to my general savings account.
  3. paid half of my annual property taxes. They’re up about $1,000 for the year from what I paid four years ago.
  4. made my 2016 Backdoor Roth IRA contribution of $5,500.
  5. saw my tuition reimbursement for the academic period that started in January and some other work reimbursements.
  6. saved 79% of my net income for a total savings rate overall so far of 76%. Looking at my income spreadsheet, I saw about 40% of my expected gross income for the 2016 calendar year in the first four months of the year (first 33% of the year). I expect my savings rate to be about 60% per month going forward until I hit the Social Security maximum and that my overall savings rate for the year will be about 70% before grad school withdrawals.
  7. saw my net worth go up by $12,000 to $703,000, which if you’re following along closely is up $102,300 from my December 2015 reported net worth or about 17%. Four months is definitely the fastest I’ve seen a $100,000 increase in net worth yet!!! (note that I rounded this number differently than the ones in the table below) About half of that increase was updating the book value of my condo and the other half was savings / employer 401(k) matching / stock markets.

Since I have another $100,000 in the books, let’s take a look at the table I used in previous years:

31-Dec-2015 30-Apr-2016 YTD
cash $7,200 $8,500 +$1,300
savings $70,600 $73,900 +$3,300
investments $207,000 $251,000 +$44,000
+21.3%
mortgage $134,100 $131,100 +$3,000
+2.2%
net worth $600,700 $702,300 +$101,600
+16.9%
taxable assets – debts $41,600 $30,300 +$11,300
+27.2%
$ until FI* $783,300 $642,600 -$140,700
-18.0%

*$ to FI=(average monthly spending over the last 12 months – mortgage payment)*12*25 + condo value – net worth

Cash is probably up because I’ve been underspending my budget so far this year. Savings is only up a small bit because I have been spending more from my HSA than I put into it so far this year, I spent from my savings account while frontloading my retirement accounts, and I used some money from my general savings account to fund my Roth IRA for 2016. Investments are the real story here since that was what I was concentrating on in the first third of 2016.

I am still investigating it, but if I plan to retire in my thirties or early forties, I’m not sure the Mega Backdoor Roth IRA is that useful considering that assuming 8% returns and a rate of inflation of 3.22%, I already have enough in my Roth IRA and 401(k) to support me at my current lifestyle after age 60. Not all employers offer it, so I’ve also debated using it while I can. I still have some time to decide as it would take me 3-4ish paychecks (about 2 months) to finish it. I’ll make the decision by October.

My savings goal for the remainder of the year is to build up my liquid funds (general savings account, ESPP funds, Series I Savings Bonds, NetSpend accounts, and taxable index funds) to two years of expenses which with the amount the mortgage would be reamortized to in early 2018 equates to about $90,000. As of April, those accounts add up to $65,400, which is a $3,900 improvement over December 2015. I estimate that it will take me most of this year to save up that amount, at which point my current plan is to go back to pre-paying the mortgage.

Expenses: I spent $6,149 in April including the mortgage or $5,122 without it, with no charitable donations this month. That breaks down to:

  • $3,609 in fixed/unavoidable expenses: HOA dues, mortgage payment, property taxes, medical bills, and transportation
  • $2,778 in discretionary expenses: clothing, entertainment, food, eyebrows, toiletries, vision, fitness, shopping, and travel

Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $1,310 Clothing [$1,875 total so far this year; $1,760 at this point last year] – cute belt ($31), hiking pants ($93), one summer dress ($50), spring jacket ($201), wind breaker ($109 – I’m kind of torn on this one, so if I don’t wear it at all in May, I’ll return it), sandals ($88), sleep top ($49), one t-shirt ($16), two long-sleeved tops ($129), and clothes mailed for return ($545)
  • $31 Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $48, average last year: $116] – LastPass, using some cash from last month for something else, and a little bit of eating out with friends
  • $105 Food [average so far this year: $87, average last year: $51] – this covers all discretionary food. I have still been lazy with taking my lunch to work.
  • $0 Cell phone – got a rebate that should cover my Cricket cell phone bill for March and April and all but $5 in May
  • Half of my annual property taxes
  • $239 Health – yay for high-deductible plans…
  • $360 Vision – a second pair of glasses feels like such a luxury!
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $112 Make-up – time to stock up
  • $8 Toiletries [average so far this year: $39, average last year: $48] – allergy medicine
  • $338 Recreation: my running shoes that I love were discontinued in favor of a new version that doesn’t fit me, so I bought three pairs discounted on Amazon. I also bought a running armband, a few barre classes, and sticky socks.
  • $24 Shopping: bought a sun hat and used a $25 gift card
  • $169 Transportation: tolls replenishment (x4) and two tanks of gas
  • $471 Travel: booked a long weekend trip!

In total, I’ve spent $14,219 after education and charitable expenses and my budget was for $48,000, so I’m on track to underspend my budget by about $5,000 at this point. We haven’t booked our fall trip yet but since I hit the deductible on my health insurance plan this month, that spending will reduce significantly. April is always one of my more expensive months because of the property tax payment.

Readers, how was your money in April?

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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?

December 2015 net worth update (+0.5%)

31-Dec-2014 30-Nov-2015 31-Dec-2015 MoM YTD
cash $12,300 $7,700 $7,200 -$500 -$5,100
savings $47,800 $62,700 $65,600 +$2,900 +$17,800
investments $164,500 $212,200 $212,000 -$200
-0.1%
+$47,500
+28.9%
mortgage $143,000 $134,900 $134,100 +$800
+0.6%
+$8,900
+6.2%
net worth $531,600 $597,700 $600,700 +$3,000
+0.5%
+$69,100
+13.0%
taxable assets – debts $70,600 $46,100 $41,600 +$4,500
+9.8%
+$29,000
+41.1%
$ until FI* $811,300 $826,900 $783,300 -$43,600
-5.3%
-$28,000
-3.5%

*$ to FI=(average monthly spending over the last 12 months – mortgage payment)*12*25 + condo value – net worth

Happy new year, everyone! Here’s to a great 2016!

I managed to sneak in a “small” net worth increase this month. I say “small” because the entirety of my net worth increase can be attributed to getting my tuition reimbursement in 2015 instead of in 2016, which was more than the net worth increase in December. I paid January’s tuition this month and bought a textbook, which took a dent out of my savings accounts. I did surpass my $30,000 in general savings goal, however, which is quite exciting! Ignoring the tuition spending, my savings rate was 86% this month or 40% with the withdrawals. (It’s a bit higher than usual since I transferred the extra money in my checking account to savings.)

I also managed to sneak over $600,000! That’s pretty cool too. And “$ until FI” is finally under $800,000 again! Let’s see if I can keep it there :)

Expenses: I spent $2,807 in December including the mortgage or $1,780 without it. Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $156 Clothing
    • ($164) Athletic wear: returns from November shopping
    • $167 Bottoms: a pair of jeans, two pairs of corduroy pants, and a pair of colored leggings
    • ($89) Dresses: some returns and purchased 4 dresses, of which I hope to keep 1-2 at most, so I should see another credit here in January since they won’t get here until then.
    • $130 Shoes: bought a pair of ankle boots to replace my pair from 2010 that are a bit small
    • $13 Socks: bought a pair of ankle socks to go with the boots
    • $99 Tops: returned a long-sleeved top, bought a sleeveless top that was on sale, bought 5 long/three-quarter sleeved tops.
  • $3 Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $116, average last year: $211] – Remember the Milk pro for two years ($48), dinner with a friend ($15), and spending some cash towards the facial listed below (-$60)
  • $2 Eating out by myself [average so far this year: $6, average last year: $18] – some gum at the airport, that I should have put on the shared credit card
  • $22 Work lunches [average so far this year: $39, average last year: $147] – I was lazy with some of the short weeks…
  • $376 Presents – finished my Christmas shopping and a couple birthday presents thrown in there for good measure
  • $395 Housing miscellaneous – two thermostats ($50 each), a new dual switch ($10), a timer for the master shower fan, and installation by an electrician
  • $62 Cell phone – $15 to Ting for my last bill and $47 to Cricket
  • $15 Medical – a prescription
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $33 Toiletries [average so far this year: $48, average last year: $33] – cold medicine and clinical strength deodorant
  • $100 Annual facial
  • $123 Recreation – a new pair of running shoes
  • $82 Transportation: tolls replenishment (x2) and one tank of gas
  • $30 Travel: the food expenses that didn’t make it on the shared credit card

December was my lowest month of non-education spending this year!

Savings: $65,600 (up $2,900)

These funds are spread across a checking account that gets free ATM fees anywhere in the world, my current employer’s health savings account, a health savings account at my credit union, a bit of a buffer in my old credit union checking account, and general and grad school savings accounts at my new credit union (Alliant).

  • My grad school savings account is (as of October) at the amount I need it to be to pay for the rest of my grad school in cash, if necessary.
  • I’m contributing the maximum to my HSA this year.
  • The rest of the savings increase went to my general savings account.
  • Actions: I paid January tuition and bought a textbook out of my grad school savings account. I added about $2,200 more than that cost to my general savings account, which balanced things out.

Investments: $212,000 (down $200 or -0.1%)

This includes my pre-tax 401(k), employer 401(k) matching, my after-tax 401(k), my Roth IRA, and my taxable investments including stock index funds, Series I Savings Bonds, and ESPP cash/shares.

The change here comes from:

  1. Employer matching contributions
  2. A month’s ESPP deposits
  3. Dividends! About $2,000 across all of my accounts

Next month will be great for my investments with frontloading my pre-tax 401(k)!

Mortgage: $134,100 (down $800 or -0.6%)

I’m just letting the regular, automatic payment go for now, until my cash savings is at the level I want and my 401(k) is fully maxed out for the year.

I’m really excited about the balance this month because it’s now lower than my annual base salary! That’s pretty exciting!

TOTAL: $600,700 (up $3,000 or +0.5%)

I ended 2014 with a net worth of $531,600, so I saw a change of +$69,100 or +13.0% in 2015. I set the y-axis on this graph to $650,000 so we could see how my net worth grows towards that throughout the year. Hah! I did not get there and I will discuss why in the 2015 wrap-up post that I will publish in January sometime. I did manage a pretty reasonable increase though! It works out to about $190/day.

December 2015 Net Worth Graph

November 2015 net worth update (+1.1%)

31-Dec-2014 31-Oct-2015 30-Nov-2015 MoM YTD
cash $12,300 $6,600 $7,700 +$1,100 -$4,600
savings $47,800 $59,600 $62,700 +$3,100 +$14,900
investments $164,500 $210,800 $212,200 +$1,400
+0.7%
+$47,700
+29.0%
mortgage $143,000 $135,600 $134,900 +$700
+0.5%
+$8,100
+5.7%
net worth $531,600 $591,400 $597,700 +$6,300
+1.1%
+$66,100
+12.4%
taxable assets – debts $70,600 $51,000 $46,100 +$4,900
+9.6%
+$24,500
+34.7%
$ until FI* $811,300 $851,300 $826,900 -$24,400
-2.9%
+$15,600
+1.9%

*$ to FI=(average monthly spending over the last 12 months – mortgage payment)*12*25 + condo value – net worth

The stock markets seemed mostly flat overall for November, so this month came out nicely. (And I haven’t registered for January grad school yet, so those thousands of dollars haven’t come out.) It’s looking like I’ll hit my $30,000 in general savings goal in January, rather than in December at this rate. My savings rate was 63% this month.

It looks like I’m on track to have my smallest annual net worth increase since 2010 this year. My net worth went up $22,000 in 2010 and then about $78-79,000 in 2011 and 2012. My estimate at this point is that I’ll fall just short of $600,000 this year for an increase of $67,000 for the year. Pretty much all of that went into my retirement accounts. This year feels like it was all about being slow and steady and not concentrating on money, which is probably for the best to do every once in a while.

Expenses: I spent $4,469 in November including the mortgage or $3,622 without it. Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $519 Clothing
    • $126 Athletic wear: online shopping for some base layers and return from last month ($164). Final cost from this month’s items should be $167.
    • $22 Bottoms: 2 pair tights
    • $105 Dresses: some returns and purchased 8 dresses, 6 of which I returned. Cost of those 2 dresses I’m keeping is $174
    • $240 Shoes: 3 pairs of new flats ($110, $54, $77) to replace ones that don’t fit anymore
    • $26 Tops: two long-sleeved tops
  • $78 Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $126, average last year: $211] – some cash (~$20) and eating out with friends ($55)
  • $0 Eating out by myself [average so far this year: $6, average last year: $18]
  • $15 Work lunches [average so far this year: $39, average last year: $147] – I was lazy during the short week…
  • $109 Presents – starting on my Christmas shopping. I’m now done with 4/9 people! And I did not finish the rest in November, oops!
  • $6 Housing miscellaneous – a couple light bulbs and some pins
  • $78 Cell phone – This is the first time I’ve paid for my cell phone bill other than new SIM cards since June 2013 thanks to a healthy stream of referral credits (thank you readers!). It feels strange to pay for it again. This covers the $25 activation fee on Cricket (oops at poor planning on that), $40 for the “Basic” plan which gives me 2.5 GB of data (more than enough as I’ve averaged ~200 MB over the last 4.5 years) and $9.99 for a Cricket SIM card. Next month, I’ll pay $35 to Cricket and a small amount to Ting for my last bill.
  • ~$100 Dentist
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $67 Toiletries [average so far this year: $48, average last year: $33] – Stocked up on bra washing soap, bought another cleanser to try, and bought a moisturizer.
  • $2,000 Shopping – new laptop (it was time to replace my 2011 model) and parts to upgrade my desktop computer
  • $102 Transportation: tolls replenishment (x2) and two tanks of gas

Yes, I’ve been spending a lot on clothing this year. But a) I can afford it while still having a healthy savings rate, b) I’ve been changing sizes a lot, which has resulted in not a good selection of clothes, and c) my overall spending for the year should still come in under (or around) last year’s. For example, I found myself getting dressed to go to an event with a closet full of dresses (about 10-15 that I’ve bought over the last ten years) and only one fit. I’ve remedied that now, so I’m hoping that I’ll manage to slow down my clothing spending.

Savings: $62,700 (up $3,100)

These funds are spread across a checking account that gets free ATM fees anywhere in the world, my current employer’s health savings account, a health savings account at my credit union, a bit of a buffer in my credit union checking account, and general and grad school savings accounts at Ally.

  • My grad school savings account is (as of October) at the amount I need it to be to pay for the rest of my grad school in cash, if necessary.
  • I’m contributing the maximum to my HSA this year.
  • The rest of the savings increase went to my general savings account, which I’ll be focusing on for the rest of the year.
  • Actions: I bought $10,000 of Series I Savings Bonds with part of my general savings account and transferred part of my grad school savings account somewhere else to get a deposit bonus.

Investments: $212,200 (up $1,400 or +0.7%)

This includes my pre-tax 401(k), employer 401(k) matching, my after-tax 401(k), my Roth IRA, and my taxable investments including stock index funds, Series I Savings Bonds, and ESPP cash/shares.

The change here comes from:

  1. Employer matching contributions
  2. A month’s ESPP deposits

It’s hard to believe it’s almost time for another round of 401(k) contributions. It feels like I just finished this year’s!

Mortgage: $134,900 (down $700 or -0.5%)

I’m just letting the regular, automatic payment go for now, until my cash savings is at the level I want and my 401(k) is fully maxed out for the year.

TOTAL: $597,700 (up $6,300 or +1.1%)

I ended 2014 with a net worth of $531,600, so I’ve seen a change of +$66,100 or +12.4% so far this year. I’m going to set the y-axis on this graph to $650,000 so we can see how my net worth grows towards that throughout the year. (Hah!)

I’m feeling lazy with the chart tonight. I promise one next month.

October 2015 net worth update (+2.2%)

31-Dec-2014 30-Sep-2015 31-Oct-2015 MoM YTD
cash $12,300 $9,300 $6,600 -$2,700 -$5,700
savings $47,800 $50,500 $59,600 +$9,100 +$11,800
investments $164,500 $205,200 $210,800 +$5,600
+2.7%
+$46,300
+28.1%
mortgage $143,000 $136,400 $135,600 +$800
+0.6%
+$7,400
+5.2%
net worth $531,600 $578,600 $591,400 +$12,900
+2.2%
+$59,800
+11.2%
taxable assets – debts $70,600 $57,100 $51,000 +$6,100
+10.7%
+$19,600
+27.8%
$ until FI $811,300 $821,400 $851,300 +$29,900
+3.6%
+$40,000
+4.9%

October’s net worth is finally a new high for the year. The previous high was back in July at $582.1k. I used my savings and the ESPP sale this month to bulk up my savings accounts – I’m trying to get my non-grad school savings up to $30,000. I have about $9,400 more to go on that plan. My savings rate this month was 66%, which seems to be about solid for the year.

Back when I thought the stock market might give me some positive returns this year, I’d thought my net worth might get to $630,000 to $650,000. Now even $600,000 would be lovely!

Now that I’m done contributing to my retirement accounts for the year, I can make some headway on the “taxable assets – debts” figure. I have to pay the next course’s tuition before the year is out, but I should still be able to get that figure down to about $43,000 by the end of this year.

Expenses: I spent $5,651 in October including the mortgage or $4,623 without it. Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $1,386 Clothing
    • $219 Athletic wear: online shopping for a winter workout top. Picked one and am returning the others. Final cost should be $55
    • $149 Bottoms: dark skinny jeans ($90) and cost to hem them ($15), 4 pair tights ($46)
    • ($71) Bras: returned the one I fit last month that didn’t work out and exchanged the bras I had bought a few months ago that no longer fit (Nordstrom has such great return/exchange policies!)
    • $989 Dresses: 10 dresses, 6 of which I am returning, and 1 return that finally posted from September. net cost of the purchases after returns: $465
    • ($25) Outerwear: returned the vest I bought last month and bought one I really like and turned out to be cheaper
    • $26 Socks: stocked up on a few more pairs of socks
    • $28 Tops: 5 returns from last month and increasing my camisole supply with 4 more
  • $207 Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $131, average last year: $211] – some cash ($40), eating out with friends ($112), and printing photos ($55)
  • $4 Eating out by myself [average so far this year: $7, average last year: $18]
  • $8 Work lunches [average so far this year: $42, average last year: $147] – bought my lunch one day and the rest was some snacks
  • Donations – spent the remainder of my donations budget for the year! That felt good.
  • $241 Presents – starting on my Christmas shopping. I’m now done with 3/9 people! Now to finish the rest in November :)
  • Second half of my annual property taxes (not discretionary, but definitely makes October always an expensive month)
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $86 Hair cut
  • ($138) Toiletries [average so far this year: $46, average last year: $33] – Refresh of my multivitamin supply, returned the skincare products that weren’t working for me, and bought a different cleanser that does seem to be working.
  • $38 Shopping – two charging cables for my new phone and a 2016 calendar
  • $269 Transportation: tolls replenishment (x2), one tank of gas, one taxi to an event, and renewing my vehicle tabs

*Note that I’m not counting my grad school costs in this spending report because the point of this is to track my general living expenses. I am still tracking the grad school costs myself, but won’t include them in all of my reports.

Yes, I’ve been spending a lot on clothing this year. But a) I can afford it while still having a healthy savings rate, b) I’ve been changing sizes a lot, which has resulted in not a good selection of clothes, and c) my overall spending for the year should still come in under last year’s. For example, I found myself getting dressed to go to an event with a closet full of dresses (about 10-15 that I’ve bought over the last ten years) and only one fit.

Savings: $59,600 (up $9,100)

These funds are spread across a checking account that gets free ATM fees anywhere in the world, my current employer’s health savings account, a health savings account at my credit union, a bit of a buffer in my credit union checking account, and general and grad school savings accounts at Ally.

  • My grad school savings account is now at the amount I need it to be to pay for the rest of my grad school in cash, if necessary.
  • I also increased my HSA contributions to the maximum now that I’m done with my retirement accounts. I’ll re-evaluate this for next year (very shortly as open enrollment starts soon), but this felt like the right decision for now since my HSA was worth less than one year’s out of pocket maximum.
  • The rest of the savings increase went to my general savings account, which I’ll be focusing on for the rest of the year.

Investments: $210,800 (up $5,600 or +2.7%)

This includes my pre-tax 401(k), employer 401(k) matching, my after-tax 401(k), my Roth IRA, and my taxable investments including stock index funds, Series I Savings Bonds, and ESPP cash/shares.

The change here comes from:

  1. Employer matching contributions
  2. A month’s ESPP deposits
  3. Selling the Q3 ESPP shares
  4. Investment returns of about $9,000, almost bringing me to even for the year

I also did an in-service withdrawal of my after-tax 401(k) contributions, which got me a check in the mail and I then deposited it into my Vanguard Roth IRA. My Roth IRA is now worth about $65,000, which is pretty solid!

Mortgage: $135,600 (down $800 or -0.6%)

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% though current calculations would put it at 3.125%.
  • 27.7%: portion of my regular payment went to interest (originally was 59%; down 0.1 percentage points)
  • 62.1%: amount of equity in my condo, assuming purchase price (up 0.3 percentage points)
  • 52.6%: amount of the mortgage I’ve paid down (up 0.6 percentage points)

I’m just letting the regular, automatic payment go for now, until my cash savings is at the level I want and my 401(k) is fully maxed out for the year.

TOTAL: $591,400 (up $12,800 or +2.2%)

I ended 2014 with a net worth of $531,600, so I’ve seen a change of +$59,800 or +11.2% so far this year. I’m going to set the y-axis on this graph to $650,000 so we can see how my net worth grows towards that throughout the year.

October 2015 Net Worth Graph

September 2015 net worth update (+0.6%)

31-Dec-2014 31-Aug-2015 30-Sep-2015 MoM YTD
cash $12,300 $9,000 $9,300 +$300 -$3,000
savings $47,800 $48,700 $50,500 +$1,800 +$2,700
investments $164,500 $204,400 $205,200 +$800
+0.4%
+$40,700
+24.7%
mortgage $143,000 $137,100 $136,400 +$700
+0.5%
+$6,600
+4.6%
net worth $531,600 $575,000 $578,600 +$3,600
+0.6%
+$47,000
+8.8%
taxable assets – debts $70,600 $61,600 $57,100 +$4,500
+7.3%
+$13,500
+19.1%
$ until FI $811,300 $805,100 $821,400 +$16,300
+2.0%
+$10,100
+1.2%

August’s net worth ($574.9k) was barely higher than June’s ($574.2k) and I’m not quite back to July’s ($582.1k) yet despite my best efforts. It’s definitely a bit amusing considering that between my employer’s 401(k) matching contributions and my Health Savings Account, after-tax 401(k), and Employee Stock Purchase Program contributions, and my general savings account, over $8,000 was theoretically added to my net worth this month.

I finished maxing out my after-tax 401(k), which means that my income for the rest of the year can bulk up my cash savings accounts back up! My savings rate this month was 67% or 71% if you ignore the grad school textbook money being taken out of savings.

Expenses: I spent $3,998 in September including the mortgage or $2,970 without it. Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $898 Clothing
    • ($84.75) Waiting on returns
    • $305 Athletic wear: upsized my yoga pants and bought two pairs ($78 and $88), two short-sleeved workout tops ($25 each), socks for my hiking boots ($8), and hiking pants ($55 – on sale!)
    • $30 Bottoms: Bought another pair of shorts – now I have two, yay!
    • ($71) Bras: returned the one I fit last month that didn’t work out and exchanged the bras I had bought a few months ago that no longer fit (Nordstrom has such great return/exchange policies!)
    • $21 Dresses: Mostly shipping on buying a dress with a birthday gift card
    • $63 Outerwear: returned the vest I bought in the spring that I realized didn’t fit once I went to wear it and bought another one
    • $320 Tops: end result of my August/September shopping was 10 short-sleeved shirts, six long-sleeved shirts, two three-quarter sleeved cardigans ($50 x 2), and $10 in return shipping. Average per shirt cost for all of those shirts isn’t too bad :)
    • $145 Underwear – rightsizing underwear is amazing, ladies!
  • $108 Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $122, average last year: $211] – mostly printing photos and buying a photo album to put said photos in
  • $15 Eating out by myself [average so far this year: $7, average last year: $18]
  • $18 Work lunches [average so far this year: $46, average last year: $147] – eating out the first couple days of grad school mostly
  • $294 Housing: window film to test out insulating the windows, a new toilet seat for the guest bathroom toilet, and hiring someone to re-seal some granite
  • $5 Cell phone – new Ting SIM card for my new phone :)
  • ~$200 Medical: a doctor’s visit
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $235 Toiletries [average so far this year: $67, average last year: $33] – Now that I’ve figured out how to keep my hair healthy, I decided to also start a skincare routine. This includes a moisturizer, toner, mask, and cleanser, plus replenishing my dry shampoo (life changer!) and picking up a moisturizing oil for my hair, which I’ve been trying a sample of for the last month and is amazing.
  • $302 Recreation – a pair of hiking boots and annual fees for sport #1 (smaller this year because grad school!)
  • $191 Purse – I finally found the perfect purse to carry my glasses, Kindle, wallet, phone, and keys with no color transfer from my jeans! So exciting :) This now brings me up to a small summer purse, a clutch, a large-ish crossbody, and a small winter crossbody. I think I’m good on purses.
  • $139 New phone – I returned the phone I bought in September (didn’t work out) and bought an iPhone 6S, unlocked. Total cost to me was $516 after the credit card extended warranty payout from my last phone, plus the case that I bought from Apple ($35+tax). Woo!
  • $56 Furnishings – two throw pillows for the futon in the second bedroom
  • $77 Transportation: tolls replenishment and two tanks of gas

*Note that I’m not counting my grad school costs in this spending report because the point of this is to track my general living expenses. I am still tracking the grad school costs myself, but won’t include them in all of my reports.

Savings: $50,500 (up $1,800)

These funds are spread across a checking account that gets free ATM fees anywhere in the world, my current employer’s health savings account, a health savings account at my credit union, a bit of a buffer in my credit union checking account, and general and grad school savings accounts at Ally.

This got a bit of a boost this month thanks to getting paid again. It’ll be getting most of the attention the next few months.

Investments: $205,200 (up $800 or +0.4%)

This includes my pre-tax 401(k), employer 401(k) matching, my after-tax 401(k), my Roth IRA, and my taxable investments including stock index funds, Series I Savings Bonds, and ESPP cash/shares.

The change here comes from:

  1. My last contribution to the after-tax 401(k)
  2. Employer matching contributions
  3. A month’s ESPP deposits
  4. Some more investment losses around $5,000, though not as much as in August

Mortgage: $136,400 (down $700 or -0.5%)

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%
  • 27.8%: portion of my regular payment went to interest (originally was 59%; down 0.2 percentage points)
  • 61.8%: amount of equity in my condo, assuming purchase price (up 0.2 percentage points)
  • 52.3%: amount of the mortgage I’ve paid down (up 0.2 percentage points)

I’m just letting the regular, automatic payment go for now, until my cash savings is at the level I want and my 401(k) is fully maxed out for the year. It’s looking like I’ll make my next extra mortgage payment next spring.

TOTAL: $578,600 (up $3,600 or +0.6%)

I ended 2014 with a net worth of $531,600, so I’ve seen a change of +$47,000 or +8.8% so far this year. I’m going to set the y-axis on this graph to $650,000 so we can see how my net worth grows towards that throughout the year.

September 2015 Net Worth Graph

August 2015 net worth update (-1.2%)

31-Dec-2014 31-Jul-2015 31-Aug-2015 MoM YTD
cash $12,300 $7,800 $9,000 +$1,200 -$3,300
savings $47,800 $55,600 $48,700 -$6,900 +$900
investments $164,500 $206,500 $204,400 -$2,100
-1.0%
+$39,900
+24.3%
mortgage $143,000 $137,900 $137,100 +$800
+0.6%
+$5,900
+4.1%
net worth $531,600 $582,000 $575,000 -$7,000
-1.2%
+$43,400
+8.2%
taxable assets – debts $70,600 $56,200 $61,600 -$5,400
-9.6%
+$9,000
+12.7%
$ until FI $811,300 $806,500 $805,100 -$1,400
-0.2%
-$6,200
-0.8%

This month, I continued to work on maxing out my after-tax 401(k). I have 1 more paycheck of that left, which means that starting in September, I will no longer be withdrawing from my savings account to cover living expenses! I paid my fall tuition and took that out of my grad school savings account, which was part of the drop in savings, the other part being covering living expenses. My savings rate this month was abysmally low at 18% due to withdrawing money to pay for my fall tuition, 58% if you ignore the grad school tuition cost.

That’s now two months this calendar year with a net worth drop: January and August!

Expenses: I spent $3,230 in August including the mortgage or $2,203 without it. Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $309 clothing: bought a pair of shorts, a bra, and several tops via online shopping. I’ll do a report on the clothing spending later this month probably.
  • $60 Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $124, average last year: $211] – this was all eating out with friends.
  • $3 Eating out by myself [average so far this year: $6, average last year: $18]
  • $8 Work lunches [average so far this year: $50, average last year: $147] – This was one day of buying my lunch ($5) and then some miscellaneous snacks.
  • $150 A birthday present
  • $648 Housing: a small refund from my previous condo insurance policy, faucet for the guest bathroom ($290), cabinet knobs for the new vanity ($18), installing the new bathroom sink and vanity ($360), and a 3-year Angie’s List membership.
  • $ a small refund from my previous umbrella insurance policy
  • $170 Medical: new lenses in my glasses (after insurance cost)
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $100 Toiletries [average so far this year: $47, average last year: $33] – Annual stock up on lip balm ($39) and a refresh of some hair products ($61)
  • $415 Shopping – Refund of the cost of my last phone from the credit card extended warranty feature because the phone no longer works within two years of purchase and buying a new phone
  • ($3) Transportation: a small refund from my previous car insurance policy and one tank of fuel

*Note that I’m not counting my grad school costs in this spending report because the point of this is to track my general living expenses. I am still tracking the grad school costs myself, but won’t include them in all of my reports.

Savings: $48,800 (down $6,800)

These funds are spread across a checking account that gets free ATM fees anywhere in the world, my current employer’s health savings account, a health savings account at my credit union, a bit of a buffer in my credit union checking account, and general and grad school savings accounts at Ally.

Investments: $204,400 (down $2,100 or -1.0%)

This includes my pre-tax 401(k), employer 401(k) matching, my after-tax 401(k), my Roth IRA, and my taxable investments including stock index funds, Series I Savings Bonds, and ESPP cash/shares.

The change here comes from:

  1. Large contributions to the after-tax 401(k)
  2. Employer matching contributions (almost double what I got at my last job!)
  3. A month’s ESPP deposits
  4. Some crazy investment losses (at one point, I was down $15,000 for the month and I ended down $10,000!)

So how about that stock market?! My largest investment drop in a month, percentage-wise, was September 2011 at 6.2%. I had a lot less invested back then (“only” $35,000), so it wasn’t as noticeable dollar-wise. This month’s drop was around 4.9% of my July balance, a pretty noticeable drop dollar-wise.

Mortgage: $137,100 (down $800 or -0.6%)

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%
  • 28.0%: portion of my regular payment went to interest (originally was 59%; down 0.1 percentage points)
  • 61.6%: amount of equity in my condo, assuming purchase price (up 0.1 percentage points)
  • 52.1%: amount of the mortgage I’ve paid down (up 0.3 percentage points)

I’m just letting the regular, automatic payment go for now, until my cash savings is at the level I want and my 401(k) is fully maxed out for the year. It’s looking like I’ll make my next extra mortgage payment next spring.

TOTAL: $575,000 (down $7,000 or -1.2%)

I ended 2014 with a net worth of $531,600, so I’ve seen a change of +$43,400 or +8.2% so far this year. I’m going to set the y-axis on this graph to $650,000 so we can see how my net worth grows towards that throughout the year.

August 2015 Net Worth Update