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Net Worth Update: September 2019

Welcome to another monthly Net Worth update! This time it’s Net Worth September 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 August.

September

After and hectic (and spendy) August, September was a nice return to normal (well as normal as things get around here!)

The month started off with my partner and I celebrating our one year anniversary of officially dating (we had known each other for several months beforehand but hadn’t put a label on anything). Crazy to think it’s already been a year!

As I lament on here often, it’s unbelievable how fast things go, and this relationship has been no different.. this year flew by! I suppose that’s a good thing as we’ve been on so many adventures and so thoroughly been enjoying each other company that the time has virtually disappeared on us!

The other highlights of the month included a big stay-cation in DC for FinCon. For those who don’t know, this is just a big annual conference for personal finance content producers (bloggers, podcasters, etc) and the aim is to help everyone collaborate, gain connections and grow their businesses. There are dozens (hundreds?) of speakers that give big presentations on various topics to help these content producers get better at what they do.

As I’ve been pretty intentional about keeping this blog as a hobby, I only went to a few presentations, but it was interesting to hear and see what others are doing out there. Instead, I mostly spent the week meeting and hanging out with (or networking? Yea let’s call it networking 🙂 ) a lot of the Financial Independence bloggers I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with over the internet the past year plus.

Great night view of the capital building from the rooftop of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. It was a great opening party location for FinCon!

It was so great to have in person conversations and put a face to a name for many of the other anonymous bloggers out there! It was a fantastic week and as you’ll see later, I’ve already bought a ticket to FinCon 2020 out in Long Beach, CA!

The rest of the month was a lot more relaxed, highlighted by a couple days of hiking (finally!), and a trip back home to see my family. Part of the trip home was going to see my niece for the first time since she was born last month. She is so precious and cute, it was tough to leave her! Though luckily with the holidays coming up at year end there are a few more excuses to head home!

Living in DC has it’s perks… watching the sunset over the National Mall is one of them!
Hike with my s/o at Sugarloaf Mountain up in Maryland!
We took an extra day off before coming back to DC from my parents house to go out of our way and check out Letchworth State Park. The waterfalls and trails were beautiful!

Ok with all that let’s move on to the finances and see if I could do any better than last month (I sure hope so!)

Net Worth

September breaks down as follows:

As has been the case for most of the year, the market returned to its upward trend, bringing my net worth up along with it!

There’s a $500 difference in the Personal Captial chart vs my own, and the reason for that is if you remember from last year, I’m the commissioner and treasurer of my fantasy football league, so I hold everyone’s dues in my bank account for the year before paying out the winners. It’s only right not to count it since it truly isn’t my money (yet!)

Cash: $29,043 – $1,353

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.

My monthly cash increase returned to normal levels after a low month due to heaving spending in August. Next month I should break $30K here which is the most I’ve had in a few years!

Keeping 99% of this in an Ally account allows me to at least earn some interest on this money, even though the market would give me a higher expected return. As I note below though, I sill have eyes on a future rental property (at some point), in which case I need this for a down payment.

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: $91,896 – $3,423

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

Glad to see the market back up and drive the returns on this account upwards. We’re getting close to six digits in this account!!

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: $15,691 – $262

No contributions this month, I’m still biding my time to seek out another dip in the market to invest the remaining $3,000 I have to go this year.

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

Brokerage: $15,007 – $259

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 (and funding my Roth IRA!)

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: $7,355 – $403

$212 of this was my own contributions with the rest just the market doing it’s thing. Real estate seems to be doing quite well this year as it has rarely taken any dips at all.

All my funds here are invested into a REIT.

Auto Value: $6,986 – ($339)

KBB value for my 2014 Ford Fusion with 85,500 miles on it.

Another 1,500 miles put on the car between work and the trip home. This was the biggest decrease from KBB to date, but I expect it to keep dropping further as I approach 100,000 miles.

Credit Cards: $(330) – $356

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 month was lighter on spending than last month, though that’s not saying much. My girlfriend is still going for the min spend on a credit card, so most of my spending I’ve been transferring over to her real time (out of cash account) so she can put those costs on her card.

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

Monthly Expenses:

Can you say bounce back!?! While this wasn’t my most frugal month, it was certainly needed after last month! Compared to August I cut my spending in half!

Maybe I should write one of those click bait-y articles titled, “How Cut Your Spending by 50%… In ONE MONTH!!” (Hint: in my case it involves starting with a very high number the prior month!)

I’ll need a few more of these months to close out the year if I want to stay within my budget!

Monthly Rent $1,150:

Finally an under budget month in rent after two months of overages! My new rent is $1,200, but our leasing company gave us a $100 credit ($50 each) this month for dealing with a bunch of headaches moving into the apartment.

Namely that the paperwork had not been completed officially splitting the address into two units, meaning everything from trying to get my license at the DMV, to the internet company giving us internet and several other things became a huge hassle as our address wasn’t officially recognized yet. It’s all worked out, but it was certainly not something we were expecting to deal at the start with so a little credit was nice to have.

Utilities/Internet $49:

Loving the low utilities bills!

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 $19 (we don’t pay for gas).

Groceries $100 / Restaurants $154:

It was an extremely low spending month for groceries. It was a multitude of factors, including being gone for a bit and restaurant spending being up, but I expect we’ll be higher than this amount most months.

Restaurant spending was up big this month. Mostly due to eating out at a bunch of restaurants during FinCon. However, my partner and I also celebrated our 1 year anniversary of dating this month so we treated ourselves to a nicer (and more expensive) dinner than we normally would to celebrate the occasion.

Auto Insurance $0 / Fuel $118 / Other $17:

After paying for 6 months up front in July I’m now covered through January 2020, so no more expenses here on the year.

Another 1,500 miles on my car this month between work and the trip home and the equivalent fuel costs for those trips. These miles are starting to add up!

The $17 “Other” cost was to get my tires rotated and oil changed. Pretty cheap right? My dad over the years has made really good friends with the manager at a local auto mechanic shop so they always will give him great deals on his car maintenance. Apparently that extends to family as well, so I’m not complaining!

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 covered my July-December 2019 costs in August so no more expenses this year from me.

Medical $0:

No medical costs this month. I had my semi annual dental cleaning, and usually pay $32 for it, but not this month!

I realized that the $32 I was being charged for was for the fluoride treatment they put on my teeth, and I pay that since for some reason my insurance doesn’t cover it. Knowing this I decided to simply opt out of getting the treatment, and my visit became free! (out of pocket of course, I still pay the premiums pre-tax).

I’m no dentist, but I feel like my teeth get a sufficient amount of fluoride daily as our tap water has fluoride in it, and I brush my teeth twice a day with toothpaste that has fluoride in it. No need to pay $32 each visit for this!

Entertainment $323:

Biggest one here was $200 for the FinCon 2020 ticket in Long Beach, CA next year. I really wanted to go again after a great time this year so I bought my ticket right away when I knew they would be the cheapest they’d ever be!

After that there was $108 on bar related spending. This included paying for drinks at a (free) Washington Nationals baseball game (thanks library!), FinCon “networking” at the bars, as well as going winery/brewery hopping with my s/o and parents one afternoon the weekend I was home.

Last but not least the usual $15 for Spotify.

Travel $0:

No travel expenses this month. FinCon Airbnb was covered last month!

Gifts/Donations $0:

No gifts/donations this month. As a reminder, I’m planning to give roughly $1,800 at year end all at once to help with credit card(s) I want to hack (namely for the Southwest Companion Pass!)

Misc $91:

Miscellaneous costs include $60 to fill up my metro card on the month, $30 to split a Costco membership with my s/o and $1 for a book I bought at the library when they were having a big sale!

I’m debating either splitting out another budget category, or renaming the “Auto Other” category to “Transportation Other” so that it can include my metro costs there. Since these will be recurring monthly costs I feel like it doesn’t really belong in “Miscellaneous” anymore. We’ll see what I decide to do there.

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).

$85 of extra income this month which was great! $50 was for selling a travel cigar box (or humidor). I had been given this as a gift over a year ago, and even though I don’t really smoke cigars, I had been planning to keep it for sentimental purposes. Eventually, I decided I really didn’t need it and it was just taking up valued space so I parted ways with it.

The other $35 was what I got left from my security deposit at my old apartment. I looked back at my 2017 expenditures (when I moved into that place) and realized I had already accidentally counted that entire amount as an expense for that year. Rather than redo that year I just decided to make whatever I got back as income for this year.

Otherwise everything else was fairly normal for the month! It was great to get back to the high 60% range and bring the year to date average up! Q4 is going to need some seriously high savings rates if I want to make my goal of 65% savings rate this year!

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 September turn out!?

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2 thoughts to “Net Worth Update: September 2019”

  1. Awesome month! It’s always inspiring to read your updates and see the progress being made. A lot of that has to do with your very nice salary, but it’s great to see that you’re relatively frugal and haven’t really let lifestyle inflation creep into your life. You’ll be independent in no time if you keep it up.

    Beautiful pictures. I am currently enjoying some down time in the southeast not too far from that mailbox. So pleasant down here!

    1. Thanks Brian! Absolutely the income is easily the biggest driver on my path right now. I do like to think I’ve kept my expenses in check while still doing what I want to do!

      The southeast is so gorgeous and really captivates you, right!?

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