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Net Worth Update: December 2018

Welcome to another monthly Net Worth update! This time its Net Worth December 2018 edition:

For those that are new, I will be posting these on a monthly basis to show my progress towards Financial Independence.  The purpose of these is not to brag, or show off what I have, merely to show that little by little, even over the course of just 28-31 days, much progress can be made.

In addition, by tracking and posting this on the blog where everyone can see, I’m hoping this helps to hold me accountable to my goals. Where slip ups and unchecked spending can easily be passed off by keeping it to myself, with other people watching it should help to keep me in line! (Nothing like trying to avoid public humiliation to keep you motivated!)

If you haven’t already, check out last month’s report from November.


December was one of those months where I feel like I did a lot, and yet I’m struggling to remember what I did! At least for the early part of the month.

It makes it slightly easier to comb through your credit card statements as I do every month to see what you were up to, but what if you have a couple no spend weekends as I did!? The struggle is real.

Alas, I cannot for the life of me remember what happened the first weekend of the month. It was probably cold, rainy or both as I have no outdoor pictures, and was spent indoors relaxing with my girlfriend. (Oh, have I not mentioned that yet? Well now you all know I’m not single anymore! 🙂 )

We share a passion for the outdoors and adventures (like we did the following weekend below), and are on the same page of a number of things, including finances! Sounds like a catch to me 😉

We even volunteered laying down wreaths at the Arlington National Cemetery together in the pouring rain one weekend! I’m excited to see where this goes 🙂

The rest of the month was fairly uneventful as I drove back home for the holidays and spent about a week and a half at home hanging out with family and friends.

The highlight here (aside from Christmas itself!) was driving a couple hours to Buffalo twice to watch a couple of Buffalo Sabres hockey games.

It’s always fun to watch them play (especially since they’re finally good!) and even went a few hours early one of the days to sight see around the city!

View this post on Instagram

I’ve been a little light on the blog and social media the last month – it was nice to get a little break around the holiday season after an exhausting year! (This pic was taken over the holidays – aren’t snow covered trees just lovely!?) However I’m back at it with some big goals I’m ready to work towards in 2019. . I’m kicking it off with a January wake up at 5am challenge! I find I’m more productive in the mornings typically and want to get the most out of them before heading to work. We’ll see how it works out. . If interested check out both goals and challenge posts on the blog! Looking forward to many exciting adventures this year 🙂 . What big goals are you hoping to accomplish in 2019!?

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Ok now to the reason why you are all here!

Net Worth

December breaks down as follows:

Wow – negatives across the board, (aside from paying off that car loan!!) what a way to end 2018!

Despite the stock market being a grinch, we held tight over here and weathered the seemingly 2-3% daily market swings.

Remember: you haven’t really “lost” any money if you don’t sell your shares. Keep this is mind throughout what will inevitably be a turbulent 2019.

Cash: $17,166 – ($3,081)

Due to my above average salary I have a lot of excess cash coming in. In addition, I’ve got a side hustle charging electric scooters that helps to bring in extra cash too.

By paying off my car loan, this was a big hit to the cash account. Though not as big as you might have thought!

Know those fantasy football leagues I’ve mentioned in prior updates? Well, I ended up finishing in first in one league and second in the other league netting me $775 in winnings! (After a $150 initial “investment” reflected in September.)

This helped offset the negative big time. I know I got lucky winning it all this year, but it came at a great time!

Side note: I don’t usually keep my cash this high, but I’m currently saving up for a rental property for my next big investment.

401K: $64,570 – ($2,843)

Contributions this month totaled $1,504 (Employer Matching included).

Finally maxed this baby out for the first time and I was stoked to see that $18,500 in there! Not even over $4,000 in market “losses” was enough to take away that awesome feeling of hitting your goals.

I recently adjusted my allocations in this account in order to make my investing approach simpler. Check it out here if you’d like.

Roth IRA: $10,400 – ($1,066)

I maxed out my Roth IRA back in March, so this is just the market doing what it does.

While I contributed in one fell swoop last year, I’m thinking about putting in a little bit at a time throughout the year due to the expected market volatility.

This account is invested 100% in VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Market).

Brokerage: $12,219 – ($1,252)

No contributions here, and there probably won’t be any for quite some time. I’m holding off on future contributions here until after I purchase a rental property.

I originally invested $12K into the account, $10K in the low fee VTI (Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF) and $2K in a high yield dividend paying stock.

HSA: $3,373 – ($86)

I officially maxed this account out as well! Contributions totaled $221 so same story with “losses” as the other investment accounts.

All my funds here are invested into a REIT.

Auto Value: $7,627 – ($522)

For the first time, I’m actually showing the KBB value of what my car is worth. With no loan to peg the value back to, it was about time to show its actual value.

I wasn’t lying after all! The value I’d been showing here was fairly close this whole time to the KBB value, perhaps a couple hundred dollars or so higher.

This value is for a 2014 Ford Fusion with 75,000 miles on it (those commutes and visits home add up).

Credit Cards: $(891) – ($219)

I pay off my credit cards in full every month so this is just the monthly balance. By doing this I build credit and get free travel rewards and cash back while paying the credit card companies nothing in interest!

I’m not sure if it is psychological or not, but whenever I see this number under $1,000 it feels pretty good!

As always, see below for the full breakout of spending to see how I did against my budget.

Auto Loan: $0 – $5,649

Wahoo! Officially done with the car loan! This was a long time coming but I can’t state enough how great it feels, despite it not being the best numbers decision.

It’s just one less thing for me to worry about and allows me to focus on and put my time and energy towards other pursuits in 2019.

Monthly Expenses:

Came in under budget! I’ve been gunning for this all year so this one felt so great to achieve!

I definitely got saved this year by lower auto expenses, but at the end of the day I was looking to come in under that overall $31,956 figure and it was accomplished!

Here are the details for December:

Monthly Rent $1,185:

Have to love living in a HCOL (High Cost of Living) area right? This is for a 2 BR apartment in which I split the cost with a roommate. We could have found a place a little bit cheaper, however it would have been much further away from where we wanted to be (leading to an even longer commute), and with much less perks than what we have now.

It was seriously depressing to look at the Rent column and see that I paid nearly $14,000 in rent this year… 🙁

This is why it’s so appealing to try and find a much cheaper place to live, if not now, for sure during my future FIRE life.

Utilities $52 / Internet & Cable $36:

Definitely under budgeted this year for utilities, not a big deal though as I just cash flow the overage with my savings. This month was actually the first time all year it came in under budget… I’ll take it!

I’ve officially cut the cord from cable! I’m going to go a whole year without it and see how it impacts my life. I have hardly noticed going without it for the last couple months so it may be a permanent change.

Groceries $92 / Restaurants $179:

Groceries were less than normal, mainly due to the week and a half at home for the holidays and cleaning out a bunch of perishable food in my refrigerator in the process.

Restaurants were way up, mostly because there were several trips to brunch and dinner with friends and family catching up with them over the holidays.

Car Payment $302:

I wasn’t really sure what to do with this category so I decided to just keep it consistent like I would have if I didn’t pay the car off.

Paying off my car was an expense for sure (a big one). But at the same time it is an investment. If I desperately needed to I could sell my car for around the value I listed in the Net Worth section and get cash (an asset).

Granted, it is a very poor investment in a depreciating asset that will only become less valuable over time, but it is an investment nonetheless. The future monthly depreciation hits will now just be reflected in my Net Worth instead of the expenses category.

Let me know if you think I should be counting it otherwise, but for now I’ll be showing it this way.

Auto Insurance $0:

I ended up coming in under budget this year, mostly because I switched insurers back in January and got a steep discount on the first 6 months. The last 6 were more normal and what I expect to pay going forwards.

Next month it’ll be time to pony up for coverage for the first half of 2019.

Auto Fuel $86 / Auto Other $3:

I have a lengthy commute to work – 60 miles round trip – leading to high fuel costs each month. Though with my promotion I’ve been walking to work a lot more recently which has helped bring this cost down. The Other category includes any maintenance, repairs, taxes, etc that I budget for.

Lower fuel costs this month as I was able to walk to work more. Plus the return trip from home during the holidays did not post in time to be included so that’ll be in January.

The other costs were tolls in Buffalo to return home from the Sabres game. (The way there we took the extra 15-20 min and went the non-toll route to save a couple bucks!)

Cell Phone $0:

I’m still under my parents plan so this is my portion of the bill. I pay my parents directly up front for 6 months at a time and am covered through the end of the year.

I’ll need to send them the money in the next few months to be covered through June 2019.

Medical $0:

No medical expenses this month, finished the year off on a happy and healthy note!

You can read about my unpreparedness and what led to the big YTD negative here.

Entertainment $145:

$57 for drinks for a couple nights out at bars and the Sabres game with friends.

$57 for the first Sabres game tickets, the second one was free! (thanks to my Dad’s company 🙂 )

$16 for the yearly YFK Domain name renewal on the blog (since you’re stuck with me 😉 ), and $15 for monthly Spotify. A reminder that a majority of the Spotify cost is meant as a Christmas gift to my siblings (as we’re all on the same account) but I track it all here for simplicity purposes since I use it as well 🙂

Travel $0:

No travel this month (my trip home was covered in other categories). Lots of trips this year that led to the big YTD negative. I’ll detail them in my 2018 recap later this week!

Gifts $315:

This is all Christmas gifts for family and an end of year donation that I always make to my high school. The things I learned there shaped who I am now and I think others who may not have the means to attend there deserve to have the same chance.

Misc $48:

New walking around shoes that I desperately needed after wearing my previous ones for 4-5 years. The soles were worn down so badly it was not good for my feet and body to be walking in them anymore.

Hopefully these new ones last just as long!

Savings Rate

Here’s the overall picture:

*Note – Take Home is my after tax pay (what shows up in my bank account). 401K is only my contributions. 401K Match is my company’s 3% match. HSA is both mine and employer contributions (my employer contributed $750 in January).

I did it!! Just barely reached that 55% stretch goal! It really came down to the wire and that $775 of fantasy football winnings mentioned earlier really made the difference. Side hustle income came out as follows:

Earnings were slightly down since I was gone from the DC area for a week and a half or so, but I’m looking to rebound in January.

For those curious as to how the Pre-Tax Savings rate looks, here is how 2018 turned out on that front:

Let me know if you want me to show both charts in the future!
(Employer Contrib. is 401K match plus $750 HSA Contrib.)

This shows the same amount of savings as the After-Tax Savings charts, just more income and more expenses due to the Taxes and Medical Premiums being added in on both sides.

All in all it was a great month and year and I have nothing to really complain about. Tune in later this week for the full year recap!

In the meantime – check out the Net Worth Updates page to see how I’ve done in past months for comparison.

How did your December/2018 turn out!?

8 thoughts to “Net Worth Update: December 2018”

  1. I knew you’d make that yearly budget. Way to go! 🙂

    Great December for you spending wise. Can’t do anything about the market, you can only control what you can control and you did. It’s often a tough month for a lot of people because of holidays, gifts, travel and other events. I blew my budget in December but came in about $850 under budget for the total year. My savings rate wasn’t quite 50% though, came in just a few decimal points under 45% for 2018. Not bad at all, but gotta make more money to increase that 😂

    Hoping that 2019 (gosh that’s weird to type, I feel very old now) is prosperous for everyone!

    1. Thanks Brian! Congrats on the year and getting close to that 50% mark! There’s only so much spending you can cut, so increasing that income would definitely help greatly with the savings rate.

      Hope you have a great start to 2019 as well!

  2. I have to say thank you for laying wreaths at Arlington. That is something I want to do, and being a veteran from a family of veterans, it makes me happy when other folks take the time to do it.

    I am still amazed at your savings rate. I wonder if I should include my interest payments on my mortgage in my savings rate. Your astonishing percentage has me thinking more and more about it. I’ve actually already bumped up my non retirement investment automatic savings and my extra principal payments due to what I saw you doing. I had been doing lump sums, but them sometimes those lump sums get particularly spent. This is a way to combat that.

    Anyway, congratulations on all your wins this past year, may 2019 be even better.

    1. Absolutely! It’s a great experience and it’s the least I can do to support. I’ll be helping take them down next weekend as well!

      That’s awesome though! I think automation is so important and helps out a ton. Then you never even see the money and don’t have to decide to spend it or not! I appreciate the support though, wishing you the best in 2019 as well!

  3. Yayyyy girlfriend is blog official! That’s like Facebook official, except more official, right? 😉

    Way to go showing us all up and not just making your original savings goal for the year, but hitting that stretch goal as well. And if you move in with that girlfriend eventually, maybe that rent line item won’t look so bad next year 😉 Seruously though. Congratulations to you all around. 2018 was a good year for you.

    1. Seeing as I don’t have a personal Facebook, it has to be right!?

      Thanks so much! 2018 really was a great year for so many reasons, and can honestly say the money side may have been the least of the awesome things! If moving in together does happen in 2019 I’ll have to link back to your post on how that’s a big line item to save on when you couple up! 😉

  4. Hooray for reaching your stretch goal (although I see you cheated with the car payoff there 😉) and haha fantasy football winnings for the save! Turned out to be a great side hustle this year, so you’ll have to see if you can recreate your success next year so you can fully fund your Roth IRA! 😂

    Oooh a girlfriend?! This sounds like a good match! And Angela’s right, blog official is way more official than Facebook official 😂

    1. Thank you! And shhhh 🤫 (no one else has called me out on that yet! 😂) Fantasy football for the win!

      Yep it is official official! She has been featured on my personal Instagram but not Facebook since I don’t have one haha

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