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Net Worth Update: February 2018

Welcome to another monthly Net Worth update! This time its Net Worth February 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 January.

February

I’m not sure about you all, but February certainly didn’t feel like the shortest month of the year!

It was certainly busy over here. I’ve been learning a lot about blogging and the blogging world and trying to formulate a strategy to get the most out of my time. It’s still a work in progress! Though I have to admit I’ve been enjoying the experience thus far 🙂

As far as things going on, the month started off great watching the Super Bowl with friends. (Anyone else excited to see the Patriots lose!?)

I was ecstatic when the weather cleared up enough mid-month to allow for a short hike and snap some cool pictures!

I also got some good laughs in with friends when I saw an underground comedy club performance, and also saw a college basketball game on the cheap for $10!

Too bad Georgetown couldn’t hang on for the win!

One thing I’m very excited about is that I booked my flights for a 10 day trip to Europe with friends in April! We’re flying into Dublin and staying for a few days, but we still need to figure out our path from there.

I’ll totally have a post after I come back detailing the trip and providing a full expense breakdown (would you expect anything less!?)

Lastly, though this was technically in March, I went to my first Personal Finance blogger meetup! I had a great time meeting other like-minded people and hope to do it again more often!

Here were all the awesome bloggers I met, be sure to check them out!

Erin @ ReachingForFI

KP @ HungryBeing

Jenny @ GoodLifeBetter

Andrew @ ShiftUpwards

Lisa @ TheGiveandGet

Denis @ ChainOfWealth

MilitaryDollar

AccidentalFIRE

Now for the real reason you’re here!

Net Worth

February breaks down as follows:

Wow that’s a lot of red! With the market downturn, my investments didn’t do so hot and I lost nearly $3,000 in investments.

All that matters though is seeing that green at the bottom line!

To the details!

Cash: $15,203 – $1,544

My cash account was aided by lower spending than my budget for the month as well as my 2017 tax return!

I feel most comfortable with around $10K in Cash on hand, in case of any emergency that potentially could arise. I don’t get too worried if this fluctuates, so you may see it above and below at times.

With the extra Cash I have at this time, I will probably use it on one of two things at some point this year:

  1. Contribute and max out my Roth IRA
  2. Save up to purchase a property (to live in or as a rental)

It would be ideal if I could find someplace in DC (or surrounding area) to live in, though the housing prices are much too high for me. The ones that are affordable are condos that have INSANELY high HOA fee’s (no thank you). So it’s not looking too likely in this area.

I’ve been intrigued by purchasing a place further away which I could turn into a rental or airbnb property… but definitely will need to do some more research before I’m comfortable with that.

This account is getting pretty high for my liking and am getting antsy to invest in either option!

401K: $52,370 – $653

Contributions this month totaled $1,382 (Employer Matching included). This means that the market losses were over $2,000 this month! That wiped out my gains from January real fast.

I don’t plan on touching this money for quite a while, so there was no worries here watching the market fall.

My balance is 100% in stocks right now, split roughly 70/30 – Domestic/International. I may reevaluate sometime in the future, in order to re-balance and move a portion to the Bond Market to lock in some of the overall gains, but I haven’t decided yet.

Roth IRA: $5,896 – $250

No Contributions this month, so this is all market movement. Though if I do not purchase a property later this year I will definitely be maxing this out.

This account is all invested in a Vanguard mutual fund for Mid-Cap stocks. In the future I may move this elsewhere, perhaps to a REIT as I currently have no exposure to real estate.

Brokerage: $12,985 – $616

Again, no contributions here, so all market losses (again).

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 that, after a few months of research, I believe was undervalued.

HSA: $1,206 – $164

I opened my HSA account at the end of November last year after turning 26. This gain was straight from monthly contributions.

Unfortunately, this is all held in a Cash position right now as I need a minimum of $2,500 to invest in a NTF (no transaction fee) mutual fund. (On the positive side, being held in all Cash means it was immune to the market swing!)

As I’m on track to max this out this year, I’ll hit this mark later this year and will immediately invest most of it.

Auto Value: $10,767 – ($288)

I have my Auto Value pegged at $2,500 above what the remaining value on my Auto Loan is. The negative value is simply monthly depreciation. The reason for this? Simply put, that was the value of the down payment I placed on my car.

I verify through Kelly Blue Book each month so that if I desperately needed to, I could sell my car for around that value, which has always been the case. However, I plan on having this car for a long time so ideally the need to sell before the loan is paid off never comes up.

Credit Cards: $(802) $156

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!

This number is what I pull from my credit card statements which ends on the 4th of every month.

So technically there are a couple expenses from next month being counted in here but this is what’s easiest for me to track so I’m not too worried about it.

Credit Card expenses were a bit lower this month. See below for the full breakout of spending to see how I did against my budget!

Auto Loan: $(8,267) – $288

The value on this increases as the amount of principle on the loan decreases with my monthly payment.

I got the loan with a 1.9% Interest rate, which depending on whom you talk to, I’m either an idiot, working with free money, or somewhere in between.

As the interest rate is pretty low, I’ve been investing my money into the market instead of paying this off further.

Monthly Expenses:

Another month under budget! The YTD (Year to Date) is also getting up there! I love seeing green on this chart and there’s a lot of that 🙂

The details:

Monthly Rent $1,131:

Have to love living in a HCOL (High Cost of Living) area right? This is for a 2 BR apartment with my friend in which we split the cost. 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.

Utilities $68 / Internet & Cable $71:

Utilities are up for the month probably due to how cold its been around here!

Internet/Cable is pretty standard at $65 as I split the costs with my roommate every month. We stayed in a couple weekend nights and ordered two movies to watch. Much cheaper than going to the theater!

Groceries $126 / Restaurants $38:

Personally, I view these together so if I can stay under the combined $250 ($150 + $100) budget, then I am happy with the month.

This budget is much lower than 2017 as I’m giving myself a challenge to not eat out as much and lower grocery spending. I also discovered the magic of Aldi and how much cheaper that is than where I used to shop which gave me more confidence in lowering the grocery spending.

I went out a couple times to eat this month, but definitely not as much as I usually did last year.

Car Payment $302:

Monthly car payment to pay off my loan. Less than 2.5 more years now! (If I don’t pay it off sooner). With only a 1.9% Interest rate I believe I can beat that payment towards interest with returns through the market, which is the only reason I haven’t paid it off so far.

Auto Insurance $0:

I paid in full last month for the next 6 months to get a discount on the total price. This price is much lower than what I used to pay!

Check out 5 Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance Rates to get some ideas on how to lower yours!

Auto Fuel $66 / Auto Other $0:

I have a lengthy commute to work – 60 miles round trip – leading to high fuel costs each month. I haven’t taken any road trips thus far this year which is contributing to me being under budget.

The Other category includes any maintenance, repairs, taxes, etc that I budget for.  Luckily nothing this month!

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.

I still need to send my parents their check for January-June of this year so I’m technically late! They know I’m good for it though 🙂

Medical $0:

I rarely need to visit the doctor so this will be for dentist co-pays and such so I can keep my HSA fully invested!

Entertainment $209:

This month I went and saw a comedy performance, as well as a college basketball game.

I also went out several nights with friends and attended a couple happy hours with co-workers.

Going out can be expensive! When you factor in the transportation costs (uber) and drink prices in a HCOL area, it can add up quickly.

This was easily my biggest expense category for Entertainment last year, so I will be actively trying to bring that total number down this year.

Travel $0:

This category is for flights/hotels/etc portion of travel. I booked a 10 day trip to Europe in April with friends! I covered the flights with points though so you won’t see that on here.

Gifts $0:

No gift giving this month. A vast majority of my gift spending is at the end of the year around Christmas time when I get Christmas gifts and make donations.

Misc $1:

Laundry for the month and a cab ride I had to take from the airport that is being reimbursed by my company in next months paycheck. These both were basically cancelled out as I won $40 in a prop bet pool with friends for the Super Bowl!

I don’t gamble often (rarely ever) but this is something I do every year for the fun of it. As it’s only $20, I can justify it if I lose as entertainment spending.

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.

63% Savings rate! That is way above my 50% stretch goal!

I was certainly helped out by $1,071 coming back in the form of my 2017 Tax Return (Other Income), but my savings rate would have been north of 50% even without that!

It’s been a great start to the year, though the real test will be coming up. I have trips coming up in March (to NYC) and April (Europe) so we’ll see how I can manage my spending while still having a great time on the road!

Check out the Net Worth Updates page to see how I’ve done in past months.

How did your February turn out?

22 thoughts to “Net Worth Update: February 2018”

    1. Yes I’ll definitely be tracking those out as I’ll be interested too!

      But hmm, so I paid for the tickets and then applied credit card points as a credit to my statement. This is the first time I’ve ever used points and did it over the weekend so it’s still pending, but if I get hit with any taxes or fees for it I’ll include in next months report!

        1. I’ve never travel hacked before (need to get on that!) so this is just points from regular spending the last couple years on my BofA Travel Rewards card.

          But ok interesting, I have some airline miles I can use in the future but didn’t know you’d still get hit with taxes and fees after using them.

  1. That’s a good month, considering the market downturn. To scratch out any kind of net worth gain is impressive. My overall net worth ended up down about 1.4% from January.

    What are you planning to invest your HSA in? I’m in the same boat as I recently opened one up (around $1500 cash balance) but I can start investing in mine since it’s over $1,000. I have to take a look at the options my HSA provides for investing. Probably a low cost index fund would be best for this.

    1. Yes I’ll take it! Down 1.4% isn’t too bad either all things considered.

      I’m not sure yet though, definitely a low cost index fund, probably something that just tracks the overall market. When it’s auto contributions like that I like to just make it easy!

  2. Baby travel hacker here (I’ve got some Chase points but have never used any) to say that yes, travel hacking is never completely free because you do have to pay the taxes and fees out of pocket. But I’m willing to absorb that cost in exchange for an otherwise free trip!

  3. It was great to meet you yesterday! 🙂

    Haha I was driving back up here from NC the evening of the Super Bowl so I didn’t watch but I have to say I’m not upset about the outcome.

    Going to my nearest Aldi’s would require driving instead of walking and I’m too lazy to make that a priority. But I should seriously consider at least dropping by to add their prices to my grocery staples comparison list to see if it would be worth the effort (because I do suspect it would be cheaper, even with the extra effort of driving).

    The market was a bummer this month (although yep, it’s all static since we’re way too young for market swings to actually affect us), but I’d say your tax return and Europe trip more than made up for that. And congratulations on that seriously awesome savings rate!!

    1. It was great meeting you too! 🙂

      That would be an interesting comparison. It’s been awesome for me since Aldi is right on my way home from work, but would be more of a hassle if I was in a situation similar to yours.

      Thank you though! I’m hoping to keep it up, but we’ll see. I always seem to spend more when I’m around my friends that I haven’t seen in a while, so this will be my first “test” of the new budget you could say 🤞

  4. I visited an Aldi for the first time when I was in South Carolina last week. Definitely a different experience but the prices were great, as you have been saying. Unfortunately, the nearest one to me is a 12 mile/25 minute drive away in an area that I normally don’t pass through. I’ll have to run the numbers to see if it would be worth it!

    1. Yes that’s definitely a big hassle. It might be worth it one time just to see, but there’s also the “time” factor you have to consider (is it worth near an hour drive every one/two weeks for groceries) not just the cost

  5. The Super Bowl was especially exciting for us Eagles fans;)

    It stinks I wasn’t able to make it to the meet up yesterday and meet everybody, but hopefully I can make it to the next one!

    You and me seem to be in VERY SIMILAR age / net worth range AND from the same area haha. We are in the beginning stages of saving for our (fiancée and I) starter home, but that starter home will be in the south! The prices up here just aren’t made for young professionals, unless you know you’re staying here for life.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. That had to be amazing being an eagles fan!! But no worries, I’m sure we’ll meet eventually!

      Very nice though! I think we’re in a good situation right now 🙂

      I totally agree though.. the prices around here are just too high for me so I’ll probably have to wait on getting a home for myself.

      I appreciate it and you too!!

  6. Exactly! I don’t mind driving but to spend that 50 minutes or so round trip just getting there and back may not be worth it (in addition to the fuel costs). Going there once a week/four times per month would mean roughly an extra $10 in fuel expenses just to get there, then you have the opportunity cost of the time as well as you mentioned.

    I do think I will check it out once just to see if the savings make it worth the hassle to get there.

  7. It was great meeting you yesterday!

    Very detailed post and a great breakdown of everything. I enjoyed reading it.

    Feb for me was a rough month. I have some high medical costs which mean that the beginning of the year is expensive for me before I hit my annual out-of-pocket max. So I had that in Feb, plus some educational products I purchased that drove up my spend amount.

    All in all though, I am happy so far with my targets.

    1. Great meeting you too!

      Ah that’s tough though, I’ve been fortunate where my medical costs have been very low (knock on wood) but that would definitely play a major factor in how much you can save up.

      As long as your happy about your targets and situation though that’s all that matters!

  8. Great update, if you keep that 57% savings rate going you’ll be a millionaire before you know it. Time is on your side!

    Great meeting you on Sunday and thanks again for the lift to the Metro!

    1. Thank you! Yes, definitely looking to keep the momentum going this year and keep that savings rate above 50%!

      It was great meeting you as well and of course, no problem, I’m glad I could help out and save you some time!

    1. Thanks Erik! I was definitely helped out by the Tax Refund, but I will take it!!

      45% is awesome too! It’s all about finding that balance of what works best for yourself individually 🙂

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