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Net Worth Update: January 2019

Welcome to another monthly Net Worth update! This time its Net Worth January 2019 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 December.


This January was certainly a weird one. There was a wide variance weather wise between the warmest days (low-mid 50’s) and coldest days (hovering around 0) with some snow in between.

In addition, I was completing my 5AM wakeup challenge, which felt like it made the month go by much faster. I’ll have more thoughts on this in a later post, but it was certainly a mixed bag.

My week days were filled with my normal work schedule (no snow days for us, nor do we get MLK day off πŸ™ ) but I sure did take advantage of my weekends!

The first weekend of the year lent itself to a gorgeous hike that made me quickly realize how out of shape I had gotten over the holidays haha. The view was worth it though!

Though 10 inches of snow over a weekend is only a “dusting” where I come from, it was certainly cool to walk around the National Mall and see the DC features all covered up!

The last weekend of the month featured a nice enough day to head out and hike a new trail. This one was was super icy from the cold which made it a challenge, but the waterfall at the end was well worth it!

I say this a lot, but I really believe that adding in some kind of adventure to life is what makes it truly amazing. You don’t need to travel far, or even be an outdoor person to have adventures, but it’s something that I think everyone should prioritize in their life.

Ok now to the reason why you are all here!

Net Worth

January breaks down as follows:

First time I saw this I had thought there was an error! This was by far the biggest monthly increase I’ve ever had!

Then I realized that the combination of the market returning ~7-8%, and a 3 paycheck month was an extremely powerful combo for my Net Worth this month. I wish every month was a 3 paycheck month!

Cash: $19,699 – $2,533

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. See the income section below to view what I bring in.

The main driver here was the extra paycheck that went straight to my rental property fund. The rest of the increase was just my normal savings from income.

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: $71,642 – $7,072

Contributions this month totaled $2,394 (Employer Matching included).

Remember those large investment “losses” in December? Well, it looks like they decided to come back with over $4,500 in “gains”.

I have a feeling this is going to be a highly volatile year for stocks, so buckle up and enjoy the roller coaster!

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: $12,308 – $1,908

New year means another chance to add $6,000 (limit increased by $500 this year) to this account.

While I contributed in one fell swoop last year, this year with my goal of funding this strictly through side hustle income, I’ll be incrementally funding it (or dollar cost averaging you might say) as I earn the income.

I contributed $1,000 this month, simply because I finally crossed the $1,000 total in earned side hustle income! This includes 2018 income, but figured I should get started investing it instead of having it just sit there. I still hope to hit my goal or earning $6,000 total on the side this year!

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

Brokerage: $13,434 – $1,215

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. This account also had a big recovery with the stock market turning back upwards.

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: $4,876 – $1,504

While $317 of this was my own contributions, $750 of this was my employer’s yearly contribution into this. The rest was the market doing it’s thing.

All my funds here are invested into a REIT.

Auto Value: $7,558 – ($69)

KBB value for my 2014 Ford Fusion with 75,500 miles on it.

Credit Cards: $(1,823) – ($932)

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 opened up another credit card in January to continue my saga with travel hacking. It is the Chase Ink Unlimited which is a business card, which has a minimum spend of $3,000 in 3 months, to get 50,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points.

I’m nearly 2/3rds of the way there already so this one I should be able to hit with no problems. Need to shout out to my parents who let me pay (and then reimbursed me) for my sisters car insurance bill as they pay that expense for her since she is still in college.

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

Auto Loan: $0 – $0

Kept this line in there one last time as it still feels awesome to see that this is paid off! I will remove it next month πŸ™‚

Monthly Expenses:

I revamped my budget a little this year, bringing down my Entertainment category as a challenge, and auto fuel now that I’m walking to work more. I also increased my Donations line item to better align with my priorities.

Everything else pretty much stayed the same (other than dropping my car payment!) While I like budgeting as it helps keep me organized, what I really care about is coming in under the target expense number for the year: $29,400 for 2019 ($2,450 x 12).

Here are the details for January:

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.

Utilities/Internet $96:

I decided to combine my utilities and internet lines as the internet was not going to really be changing all year so there wouldn’t be much to say on that front.

My apartment building has been strangely warm all winter so I haven’t really had to turn on the heat at all. After overrunning my utilities budget last year I’ll take this start!

Groceries $150 / Restaurants $88:

This was a 5 week shopping month for groceries, so I was a bit surprised it wasn’t higher. I’ll be tracking all my grocery purchases in February so you can see firsthand how I keep my spending on this category relatively low!

Restaurants were about normal. I think now that I have a significant other, this category may trend a bit higher this year as we enjoy going out for a couple meals per month and trying out different restaurants.

Auto Insurance $328 / Fuel $115 / Other $0:

My next 6 months were due for my auto insurance so I’m now covered through mid-July. To my surprise, the policy was actually $1 cheaper than the prior 6 months. Score!

I was fully prepared to try and search for a better policy had they increased it again, but I was content to sit back and pay the slightly cheaper rate this time.

Fuel wise, I filled up 4 times last month, one in part due to having to fill up on the first of the month due to my return trip from my parents house over the Christmas holiday. I am lucky that gas prices are super cheap in my area right now otherwise I would’ve been over budget.

No other auto related costs this month.

Cell Phone $240:

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.

This payment covers me for the next 6 months, through the end of June so this big variance will even out over time.

Medical $0:

No medical expenses this month. Ideally I will only have to pay out of pocket for my semi annual dental cleanings.

Here’s hoping for a happy, healthy year!

Entertainment $69:

$35 for drinks during a night out with my significant other. $14 for two uber rides, one for the way to a NYE party (expense was lagging from December), the other for the ride to the bar.

$15 for monthly Spotify and $5 to the Maryland State Park to hike and see that gorgeous waterfall!

Travel $0:

No travel this month but I have been planning my 2019 trips and you will see the flights for said trips coming up soon!

Gifts/Donations $177:

$127 for a combined Christmas and birthday gift for my significant other. $50 for a gift for my mothers birthday.

I’m currently researching charities I want to give my increased donations to, so hopefully I’ll have made the first of many in the near future!

Misc $47:

$20 for monthly laundry, and $27 for my quarterly haircut.

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).

A 3 paycheck month really lends itself to a great start to the year! This percentage will inevitably go down a bit, as I’ll have several months of just two paychecks in a row, but this is still pretty awesome to see!

Here were my side hustle earnings:

I was on pace to shatter my previous monthly record of $311 in September, but then we got hit with a big snowstorm and sub-zero temps that “grounded” the Birds (scooters) for roughly 7-10 days. Such a bummer! I’ll just have to hustle a little more next month πŸ™‚

Still working to figure out what I want to do for other side hustles. I have plenty of time, but this is not something I want to wait until December to figure out.

We’ll see what February has in store, but I know it’ll go by fast!

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 January turn out!?

16 thoughts to “Net Worth Update: January 2019”

  1. Super jealous of the extra paycheck month! I just have to wait two more months until my first extra paycheck 😩 It sucks that you didn’t get any holidays or snow days off, but hooray for so many weekend adventures (even with the crazy weather we had)!

    Daaaaaang, your girlfriend’s dating a rich guy, lucky her! Clearly dates are on you πŸ˜‰

    1. Starting off the year with the 3 paychecks was awesome! Now that means I just have a super long wait until the next one (August) πŸ˜‚πŸ˜©

      The weekend adventures are absolutely lovely, and spent in great company πŸ˜‰

      I’ll have you know my girlfriend is killing it with her finances too, and can more than hold her own on dates! πŸ˜‰

  2. Wow, great month! That extra paycheck sure makes things look even better. πŸ˜‰

    I think everyone had a good January because of the market. Mine was pretty good, started my new job and travelled to Chicago for orientation during the record cold snap! That was an experience.

    One thing I discovered is the new job doesn’t have a high deductible health plan, so I don’t think I’ll be able to contribute to my HSA moving forward. But the good news is that if I have any medical issues, my out of pocket costs will be less. Will find out more about this once I’m eligible to enroll.

    Very much looking forward to the post on groceries. One benefit I have at my new employer is they pay for lunch every day. I’m hoping this helps reduce my grocery spending but I’ll have to watch those calories even more now! πŸ˜‚

    1. Thank you! Seriously, extra paycheck, and killer month for the market for the win!

      Bummer on the HSA, but hey take that savings on the medical stuff where you can. Wow the free work lunches is a huge benefit! So jealous I would love to have that haha

  3. Haha, I chuckled at you thinking there was an error at first. I did the same thing when prepping my January net worth update, and then I came to the same conclusion as you about the 7-8% market returns and the glorious three paycheck month.

    It’s been a crazy few months for us net worth trackers!

    1. Right!? It seems like something just had to be off haha. Those three paycheck months really are the best. I’m thinking it’s gonna be a roller coaster all year long so we’ll need to buckle up!

  4. Congratulations on your fantastic results. You are killing it. Keep this up for a few years and the next thing you know, you’ll be deciding where you want to keep working for a W-2 or if you want to do something else you’ve always wanted to do. Again, congratulations.

    1. Right!? March is usually my 3 paycheck month so I really was not expecting it come come in January, but I’ll take it! I’ve been hearing about all that snow… stay safe! Where I’m from we have the infrastructure to deal with all that, but where we both live now they are not nearly as good!

  5. It’s great that your discretionary expenses are such a low percentage of your monthly total. That’s something I plan to prioritize in the next few years. We currently run about 1/3 discretionary so there’s a lot of fat to cut.

    1. Thank you! Yes I’ve worked hard to take a look at what really brings me happiness, and for the most part, cut out those things that don’t do it for me. Its made life more enjoyable, and had the effect of cutting my spending at the same time.. score!

  6. Nice post. They say tracking your net worth is the way to make sure your building wealth. I like to focus on my net worth and my savings rate. It helps me get a fuller picture. I also like to budget for expenses and fun. That way I can spend guilt free, just the way I like to eat my Haagen Dazs! πŸ˜‰

    1. Thank you! And so true, focus on the things you can control like your savings rate, and generally things will take care of themselves! I too like to leave a little extra budget to entertainment and travel to remember to have fun and not stress about it along this journey πŸ™‚

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