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Net Worth Update: September 2018

Welcome to another monthly Net Worth update! This time its Net Worth September 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 August.

September

September was a long month, weekend wise, we had 5 of them! I don’t know about you all, but when thinking back on the month I always think weekends as that’s when I go on adventures, I’m fairly boring during the middle of the week haha.

The first weekend was Labor Day which was a great way to start off the month. As this was the first weekend after Camp FI, I decided to stick around town. I went out a toured the monuments at night (insider tip to those coming to FinCon next year in DC!) My friend from college was in town so I met up with him one day and caught up as well.

The following weekend was a hiking weekend! Believe it or not this was my first one of those in a while so it was really nice to get out and see a great view. This was also a no spend weekend (aside from gas to drive there) which was really needed as you’ll see from the weekends coming up.

Two of the next three weekends I was out of town for a couple weddings. These were my first two non-family weddings so I was shocked to see how expensive they were. The sad part? They could have been a lot more expensive had I not been set up for free lodging both trips.

The first one, my parents were also invited to the wedding. They offered to split the room with me which I accepted because, good personal finance blogger.

Of course when it came time to pay up, they quickly rescinded their offer of splitting and informed me that they were paying the whole thing because “they would have had to pay for that room anyways.” I made sure to grab the waiter at brunch the next day and paid for all of our brunches to try and make up a bit for that.

The second wedding happened to be in the same city in which my brother lives. Score! Though he and his wife were out of town most of the weekend, it was still great to have free lodging, especially as this was a multi-night trip (the previous wedding I just stayed for one night). They returned the day after the wedding and I paid for our brunch as well to show my appreciation.

The weddings themselves were awesome. Both friends were long time friends from high school (and one I’ve known since 3rd grade) so it was great to celebrate their special occasion.

Whew, I told you that was a long month! Ok, now on to the numbers:

Net Worth

September breaks down as follows:

Another good month! 🙂 For those who noticed the difference in Cash between Personal Capital and my own table, I’ll explain below:

Cash: $17,365 – $1,506

Due to my above average salary I have a lot of excess cash coming in. In addition, I’ve still been getting paid for some OT hours which has really helped to increase this account.

While the extra income from OT has been great, thankfully this is the last month of working extra long hours for it. It was really starting to take its toll and hopefully now I can get back to a consistent schedule to finish the year strong with my personal goals.

The $500 difference between Personal Capital and my own table is because I am the commissioner of one of my Fantasy Football leagues. The commissioner is also Treasurer so I get to keep everyone’s dues before paying them out at the end of the season.

I don’t think it’s right to count that money as part of my Net Worth since it isn’t really mine, which is why I removed them. However, I’ll gladly earn a few extra cents in Interest from that money over the course of the season!

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: $68,954 – $1,874

Contributions this month totaled $1,696 (Employer Matching included).

This account just keeps steadily trudging upwards as I move towards maxing it out for the first time ever.

My balance is 100% in stocks right now, split roughly 70/30 – Domestic/International.

Roth IRA: $12,200 – ($58)

I maxed out my Roth IRA back in March, so this will flow with the market for the rest of the year.

This account is all invested in a Vanguard mutual fund for Mid-Cap stocks.

Brokerage: $14,137 – ($30)

No contributions here, so just normal ebbs and flows of my investments. 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: $2,934 – $144

I opened up this account last year and am working towards maxing this out this year. Contributions totaled $221 so the account had a loss this month.

I have all my funds here invested into a REIT.

Auto Value: $8,734 – ($291)

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 (2014 Ford Fusion).

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 actually comes up.

Credit Cards: $(1,005) ($390)

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 change was driven primarily by higher spending.

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

Auto Loan: $(6,234) – $291

The value on this increases as the amount of principle on the loan decreases with my monthly payment. Just chipping away at it at this point.

I got the loan with a 1.9% Interest rate, so I’m keeping it for now, though I’ve talked about the tough decision of whether to just pay it off or not.

Monthly Expenses:

Uh oh… another high spending month. I tell ya, those weddings aren’t cheap. There was another big expense in Travel (non-wedding related) that I incurred but I think is very worth it.

It’s going to be tough to hit my year end budget being this far over with only 3 months left, but I’m going to give it my all this last quarter!

Here are the details for September:

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 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.

My rent formerly was 1,131, but was increased in August and this is the new rent.

Utilities $79 / Internet & Cable $37:

Definitely under budgeted this year for utilities, not a big deal though as I just cash flow the overage with my savings.

I’ve officially cut the cord from cable though! I’m going to go a whole year without it and see how it impacts my life. I have a feeling I won’t miss it, but I suppose we will see.

Groceries $122 / Restaurants $129:

Grocery spending was a little below normal while restaurant spending was up.

This was primarily due to being gone for two weekends at the weddings. I paid for brunch for my parents and I after the first wedding, and brunch for my brother and sister in law and I as well after the second wedding.

It was the least I could do for giving me free housing for both those wedding weekends.

Car Payment $302:

Monthly car payment to pay off my loan.

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, though I’ve been debating whether to just pay it off now.

Auto Insurance $0:

I’m covered on auto insurance through the end of the year so you will see the YTD negative variance even out by year end.

Auto Fuel $162 / Auto Other $0:

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.

The fuel was high this month due to the two long trips I drove to for the weddings. While I saved in airfare it was a ton of driving (13 hours round trip each weekend).

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 now.

Medical $32:

Just the charge for my semi annual dental cleaning. I choose to pay this out of pocket instead of using my HSA so I can keep that invested.

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

Entertainment $342:

Ouch, I’ve been trying to control this segment all year to no avail…

$150 for Fantasy Football. This is my guilty pleasure. I’m in two leagues, one with college friends and one with high school friends. I have fun with this and enjoy the trash talking and the easy opportunity to keep in touch with friends. I may not do this forever, but for now it’s still worth it to me. The dues are counted as an expenses right away. If I win anything I’ll count that as income later on, but it’s no guarantee.

$70 in ubers this month, $60 worth commuting from my brothers place to the various wedding locations I needed to be at (driving was not an option given the drinking involved). The other $10 from the night my friend was in town and I went out with him.

$51 in bar related spending, mostly from the day/night out with my friend. Luckily both weddings had open bars so the drink expenses were minimal!

$56 for hiking shoes. REI was having a “garage sale” (where you can find really awesome deals from items people have returned) so I picked up these shoes that were originally $180 and you could hardly even tell that they had been worn. Hiking shoes have been on my radar for a while since I usually just go hiking in my 5 year old tennis/regular walking around shoes in which the treads are pretty much non existent at this point, so this was well worth the investment.

Lastly, as always, $15 for Spotify.

Travel $322:

So even though I’m already wayyy over budget for travel, I booked another trip for this year. This one is for a little different reason though other than just “vacation”.

My grandmother lives out in Southern California and is starting to get up there in age. My Aunt who looks out for her has said she has recently started losing her memory.

I haven’t seen her in almost two years now and there is a chance this could be the last time I see her where she remembers who I am. Who knows, I may even already be too late, but going to see her and spend time around her is important to me. I may not have many chances in the future.

Though taking this trip may jeopardize me hitting my target budget this year, to me it’s worth it. That’s what the FIRE movement is really all about anyways though, right?

Gifts $240:

Both wedding gifts are here. I gave my friend who I was in the wedding party with a bigger gift as I’m a lot closer with him. Weddings are expensive for everyone!

Misc $39:

$20 for monthly laundry, $11 for a water bottle, and $8 for two wedding cards. The cards probably should go into “Gifts” but it was on the same receipt as the water bottle and I’m not that hardcore about budgeting to break up individual receipt line items.

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). Interest is from Bank Accounts only.

If not for the additional Travel/wedding expenses this would have really been a low spending month! Nonetheless, I’m still happy with 49%.

My new side hustle charging electric scooters has helped on the income front, and hopefully can help me get to that stretch goal of 55%!

It’s going to come down to the wire this last quarter of whether I can hit the stretch savings rate AND stay under my total budget. Stay tuned!

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

How did your August turn out?

10 thoughts to “Net Worth Update: September 2018”

  1. Nice recap. I’m amazed at how low your grocery spending is month to month (only a $150 budget!). I know you’ve talked about Aldi, but I don’t think that can account for it all.

    Do you have dental insurance? I’m surprised it doesn’t cover the cleaning 100% (unless the $32 was the deductible). Smart choice on not paying it out of the HSA. That can be used as another retirement account as you can save all your medical receipts over decades and then use them to take tax-free distributions once you’re 65. From what I’ve read, I don’t believe there is any limit on that as long as they are qualified medical expenses. Even after you turn 65, you can take distributions for non-medical expenses and it’s treated like a traditional IRA – taxed as income upon withdrawal.

    You’re making so much progress on your net worth it is motivating to see! My September wasn’t as great mostly because of a vacation and the expenses incurred there. Some of that will bleed over into October as well, plus I have my semi-annual car insurance bill due this month. Ugh. In a holding pattern here for now, especially with the market seeming to be flat to down of late. Hopefully I can make some more big gains in November and December. That said, the vacation was so worth it. As long as you get value out of your spending, it’s nothing to be concerned about.

    Sorry to read about your grandmother. However, that is absolutely a trip you have to take regardless of monetary expense. I’m down to one grandparent and I try to make time to see her often. Luckily, she lives only 10 minutes away as most of my family is close by.

    1. Thanks Brian! Yea I’m not sure what to say on the grocery front, maybe I’ll have to do a post on that sometime breaking out the receipts for one month. But Aldi has certainly helped bring the cost down as I feel like I’m buying the same things I always have!

      I do have dental insurance though, it looks like the fluoride treatment is not covered 100% so that’s where that cost comes from. It’s pretty minimal and since I hardly pay anything for coverage I’m ok with that. Definitely on board with that plan for my HSA though!!

      So true though, hey there will be times of flat months due to having some well deserved fun, and of course when the market tanks (like last week).

      I appreciate your thoughts and yep that was my thinking exactly, family is something I’m not willing to forgo on this journey so I’m comfortable eating that cost.

  2. Monuments at night, hiking, and hanging out with friends—what a great month, even if a bit spendy (although you still saved almost 50%, which is amazing)! I’m glad you spent the money to go see you grandma. It’s absolutely worth the spending to spend time with grandparents, and I wish I could still see mine!

    1. My thoughts too on family. Looking back I can’t imagine I’ll regret spending the money to go see and spend time with my grandma and other family members. You never know how much time you have left with them so need to cherish and take advantage when you can!

  3. Whew, lots of detail there! But at least I feel like I have a really thorough understanding of your net worth, so thanks for being so transparent about the figures.

    My September was worse than it should have been because there were two fewer workdays than usual and waiving the guest house rent for the in-laws for a couple of months. Still, we broke even after putting away some money in the subaccounts we have (car fund, vacation fund, car insurance premium, etc.). So overall it could have been a lot worse. But I wouldn’t have minded the extra $800 to say the least!

    1. Thanks! I try to be as transparent as possible so that nobody can ever accuse me of lying about how I ultimately accomplished my feat of FIRE!

      Ah that’s a bummer, but hey breaking even is a whole lot better than being in the negative!!

    1. Haha yea I suppose I got that trait from my parents who would always fight with my grandparents to pay the bill when we’d go out and eat together. I’m absolutely in the same boat though. This is why I budget in trips home to go see my parents every quarter to spend time with them. Absolutely no regrets on that here!

  4. I just started my FIRE path blog today and just came across yours. My setup is not too terribly different than yours, I’m not too much older than you, I’m 34, and looks like we might discuss similar topics. So needless to say I really like your website and hope you don’t think I’m copying off you! I look forward to reading more of your updates!

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