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Net Worth Update: February 2020

Welcome to another monthly Net Worth update! This time it’s Net Worth February 2020 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.


Last post I wrote about some big life updates, so I won’t reiterate myself much here. If you missed it, long version short, in the past month I got engaged, got a big raise at work, and put in an offer on two houses (neither of which were accepted)! So there’s obviously been lots going on with those big kickers. How about the rest of the month though?

The first weekend of February we took a trip down to my partner’s parents’ house. It just so happens we’re also looking at houses (for primary residence and rental properties) in this area as well, so the trip down was mainly to tour some properties and meet our realtor face to face for the first time. We also snuck in a trip to a local meadery, as well as I got my opportunity to let my intentions known to her parents on the engagement!

The weekend afterwards we were able to get another hike in around DC. The weather in February was fairly mild for the most part which allowed us to get outside for a bit which is always much needed during the winter months.

Hike #3 on the year at Rock Creek Park

Right in the middle of February we took our trip out to Arizona where the engagement happened! Besides that being the big event of course, the rest of the trip was a blast as well visiting Tucson and Phoenix. We were able to meet up with fellow Personal Finance bloggers Done By Forty and Bethany and Charles from His and Her FI which was a great time. Bethany and Charles even took us on a hike just outside Phoenix!

Ancient petroglyphs we saw on Hike #4 called Hieroglyph Trail outside Phoenix

We also got to stop by a National Monument called the Casa Grande ruins on our way down from Phoenix to Tucson. As a huge history guy I absolutely love visiting these places and learning about what happened hundreds and thousands of years ago!

What’s left of the Casa Grande ruins

And obviously hike #5 on the year was the big one where I proposed in Saguaro National Park. That hike will always have a special place in our hearts and I’m sure we will have to hike it again at some point in the future!

Hike #5 at Wasson Peak in Saguaro National Park

We rounded the month out with a fairly relaxing weekend where we caught up with some chores around the apartment and grocery shopping. My partner’s Mom visited for a day and we went to watch the Shakespeare play The Merry Wives of Windsor. All in all it was a great month and one I’ll never forget!

One of Arizona’s awesome sunsets!

Net Worth

February breaks down as follows:

Personal Capital screenshot is finally back! It’s slightly off from a couple weekend interest payments in my investment accounts, but it’s close enough.

Despite the amazing memories, it was a rough month Net Worth wise. We haven’t seen this kind of damage in quite some time, but hey, that’s the game you play and need to be prepared for when investing in the stock market. The main thing to remember is that there are no real losses until you sell! I can tell you I certainly was not selling this month despite the markets being down big 🙂

Cash: $36,004 – $2,271

Due to my above average salary I have a lot of excess cash coming in. See the income section below to view what I bring in.

Back to normal on the monthly cash increase here. Even with the market down I’ve hesitated to invest more, namely as we’ve been looking at properties and don’t want to risk a large portion of my potential down payment with all the volatility that’s been going on.

401K: $100,500 – ($5,827)

Contributions this month totaled $1,800 (Employer Matching included).

Even with those contributions the “losses” were steep here. It definitely is a bummer to see this account go down, but my mindset is that this is all short term. In the long term history says this account will rebound at some point!

I take the simple approach to investing and have about 90% of this account in stocks (70/30 Domestic/International), and 10% in bonds.

Roth IRA: $18,567 – ($1,534)

No contributions here this month, so this is all market losses. I did however use the market dip as an opportunity to move the $3,000 in bonds I had put in there at the end of last year into the market. I suppose you could say I bought the dip!

With the move I’m now back to 100% VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Market) in this account.

Brokerage: $14,931 – ($1,286)

No new investments here so this was all market losses. It’s easy to say in hindsight that I should have waited to reinvest the individual stock proceeds when I sold it last month, but it is what it is. I’m not trying to time the market over here, so putting my money back to work for me was the best move at the time.

I’m 100% invested in the the low fee VTI (Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF).

HSA: $8,415 – ($561)

$207 of this was my own contributions, with the rest being the same old story with market losses.

All my funds here are invested into a REIT.

Auto Value: $6,261 – $83

KBB value for my 2014 Ford Fusion with 91,500 miles on it.

Not much driving again this month, with a little over 500 miles on it. Somehow this value went up which always gives me a chuckle, but I know it’ll eventually revert back down again.

Credit Cards: $(3,107) – ($1,701)

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!

Not all of this is true spending, I’m waiting on a few large returns to post to my credit card that’ll knock this balance down quite a bit.

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

Monthly Expenses:

From an overall standpoint this month did not look so great, but in reality it was actually a pretty good month considering the vacation we went on. There was just one large expense that wasn’t accounted for! But as you’ll see it was well worth it 🙂

Monthly Rent $1,200:

$1,200 is my portion of the rent for the 1 bed, 1 bathroom apartment I share with my partner.

Utilities/Internet $52:

We have a flat $15/each monthly water bill. We also got a great introductory rate on internet (the lowest bandwidth option) for $15/each per month. The remaining was my portion of the electric for $22 (we don’t pay for gas). February was much more mild so it was nice to see this expense come back down to normal after last month.

Groceries $223 / Restaurants $109:

Unfortunately along with our overall diet change is coming a larger grocery bill. Gone are the days of the $135/month grocery bills. This was another high month as we continue to find our groove with the new eating habits. While I’m hoping we can settle in at a monthly spend somewhere in the $175-$200 range, I may need to reset my expectations if the spend continues to stay in this range.

This month was much more normal for us on a restaurant standpoint. With the vacation to Arizona we ate out a bit more.

Auto Insurance $0 / Auto Fuel $80 / Transport Other $3:

I paid for the next 6 months of my car insurance in January which now covers me through July.

Only a couple fill ups this month in my car, and then there were fuel costs for our mini van out in Arizona (yes a mini van… long story).

$3 in the Transportation Other category for parking at one of the DC metro malls. My normal monthly metro fill up didn’t happen until early March, so next month could be double for that expense.

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’ll need to send them the costs for my next 6 months at some point. I’ll likely give it to them in March which is when I’ll see them next.

Medical $0:

No medical costs this month.

Entertainment $65:

After the $0 spent on alcohol in January, this expense was bound to return. $50 was spent on drinks from the grocery store, a brewery we visited in Tucson, and a meadery we visited in Durham. All were great times and well worth the expense!

Otherwise, just $15 for monthly Spotify.

Travel $131:

$122 of this was for splitting our rental car for the Arizona trip. We ended up with a mini-van as our vehicle because the rental car company was slammed when we arrived as completely out of the type of car we signed up up. We weren’t thrilled about it, but it ended up being just fine.

The other $9 was for splitting the uber ride to the airport in DC as we had an early morning flight. We got back to DC at a reasonable hour so we just took the metro home.

Gifts/Donations $82:

My fiancée’s birthday was in February (it was actually the same day I proposed! 🙂 ) so I also got her a couple gifts. $60 for a nice dinner of Mexican food and $22 for a new hiking hat from Saguaro National Park!

Misc $926:

$27 for my quarterly haircut, and $26 to file my two state tax returns (I did my taxes through which is a free federal filing!). I’m actually due for a big tax return this year, mostly via my state returns as my withholding was much higher than I actually owed.

The big expense was $873 for my fiancée’s engagement ring. As I mentioned in my big life updates post, I chose a moissanite gemstone instead of a traditional diamond for the ring (as she did not want a diamond). Diamonds can be incredibly expensive, so even though this looks like a big expense, it really is a fraction of what I would have paid if I bought a diamond.

Had my fiancée wanted a diamond engagement ring, I wouldn’t have hesitated to get her one. She is worth every penny! Though I must admit my bank account is certainly happy she didn’t want one! 🙂

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 4% match. HSA is both mine and employer contributions (my employer contributed $750 in January).

With my income levels back to normal on a two paycheck schedule, I’m still very happy with a 53% savings rate despite the big extra expense. These types of big expenses I’ve had in the past two months aren’t recurring so I’m not too worried about it becoming an issue.

I’ve still got 10 months to go to hit my big goal of a 65% savings rate, and the big raise that goes into effect in April is certainly going to help with that!

If you want to see how I’ve done in past months, check out my Net Worth Updates page to see over a year’s worth of reports.

How did your February turn out!?

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2 thoughts to “Net Worth Update: February 2020”

  1. Sounds like a tremendous month, the market aside. That’s all you can control though and you’re making the most of it!

    The high savings rate is going to help considerably over the next six months in particular.

    1. Yea the market was a little rough, but what can ya do. I’ll keep focusing on the savings rate which no doubt will be big over the next few months given everything that’s going on

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