As far as spending goes, October was a boring, boring month:

Where the money went: October 2016.

Where the money went: October 2016.

All told, I spent $1,098 while bringing home $2,022. That equals out to 54% of my take-home pay.

There really isn’t much to mention this month; Most of our spending was pretty normal. I bought an e-book on Amazon (Entertainment – $10). I bought some small paint samples for a project that I haven’t gotten around to yet (Hobbies – $14). I bought a large plastic mat to put under the dog’s food dish, along with some new food to try out as a supplement, since Hannah’s losing a lot of weight as she ages (Pet Care – $32). And I spent the early part of the month trying to get past my craving for Starbucks and Arby’s (Restaurants – $36).

I honestly expected October’s spending to be higher, although I’m not really sure what I thought I’d be buying. November’s spending will be higher: We’re celebrating my birthday this weekend with a small gathering, and then we’ll be traveling during the Holiday. I’ve actually been on a somewhat healthier track the last few weeks, so I’m hopeful our little vacation won’t completely derail me.

Is it possible to hope for a frugal AND healthy November?

  • Cindy W.

Net Worth Icon

Welcome to my monthly net worth post for October, 2016. Each month, I post a complete breakdown of my net worth, along with a chart showing the progression of my net worth since the start of this blog. Posting my net worth helps keep me accountable for what I do with my money, and motivates me to make better choices and push to reach new goals. You can see previous net worth updates here

I obviously haven’t been writing much lately. I’ve thought of a million things to write about, financial and otherwise. I’ve even taken a variety of pictures. It’s on my mind at least daily. And yet… I haven’t done anything. Aside from my net worth posts, and monthly spending, this blog has been completely silent.

It isn’t that life is going badly. Actually, things are going well. I can’t actually say that I don’t have time. I could certainly make time. But, right now, I’m living in the moment, and figuring out my priorities. Eventually I see myself writing more, but I haven’t figured out in what capacity.

But I do have my net worth numbers calculated from October!

October, 2016 Net Worth:

Net Worth as of October 31, 2016.

Net Worth as of October 31, 2016.

October ended up being a much better month than I expected. I gained a total of $2,155 in net worth during the month! My increased 401(k) contributions are really helping to boost my retirement savings. I’m still in a spot where my balance is low enough that market fluctuations don’t have a huge effect one way or the other.

I was going to say that I didn’t really go many places during the month of October to spend money, but that isn’t actually accurate. The reality is, I mostly went places with Bryan. Although I tend to be the less impulsive, less spendy between us, shopping with him keeps me from making any additional purchases. When I shop alone, I tend to meander about, stopping to look at anything that catches my eye. Bryan shops like he’s on a mission: We have a list, we go directly to the items on our list, and we don’t dilly-dally around. So much of my concentration is on keeping pace with him, that I can’t even look at all the things we’re passing. We take the shortest route from the door to the item we’re buying, whereas I tend to have a “favored route” through the departments I enjoy most.

Which leaves me wondering how he shops so impulsively without me? Maybe he’s so used to the crisp pace, he’s able to observe more of the things around him? Regardless, shopping together saves us both money. I consider that a win!

I did book two hotels for a total of 4 days for our Thanksgiving trip this year. We’ve decided to spend some time exploring Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Despite the large expense, this had zero effect on my net worth. How? Because we’re using the Lottery Savings money for this trip. I consider this savings “spent” each week, just as if I were playing the lottery. The $20 cash gets put away, until we decide to spend it on something together. Which most likely will always be Fall/Winter travel. The money will pay for our hotels, and most of our gas. We’ll split the cost of food and beverages. Granted, we spend a lot on food and beverages when we travel. But having the two major expenses taken care of is a huge help!

Net Worth Progress Chart:

Monthly net worth since the start of this blog (February, 2013).

Monthly net worth since the start of this blog (February, 2013).

I’m hoping to finally cross over to $50,000 in net worth sometime during November. I can’t believe how far I’ve come over the past two years! I’m still trying to figure out my feelings about money, and what my future financial picture looks like. Setting goals is a little harder, now that I’m debt free. But there’s a huge sense of freedom that comes along with that as well.

  • Cindy W.

 

Well, it’s time to come clean on my spending in September. And was there ever a lot of spending!

Where the money went: September 2016.

Where the money went: September 2016.

I have a lot of feelings about my spending during the month of September that I’m still trying to work through. On paper, it doesn’t look too encouraging: I spent $2,445 while bringing home $2,529. Which means I spent 96% of my take-home pay. Not exactly what I’m striving for most months.

My two biggest purchases last month were for a new camera and laptop. They were planned purchases. Kind of. 

I keep a list of things that I think I need to save for over the next few years. The list includes things that I want (like a new digital camera), along with things that I think I’ll end up needing, like a new cell phone. I try to prioritize as best I can, and allocate my $150 in savings each week accordingly. I’ll be honest, my priorities are constantly changing. For example: Having money set aside for a cell phone has been my #1 priority lately. After all, my cell phone isn’t exactly new, and who knows when it might finally break down (or I might accidentally drop it in the toilet)? I want to have that money in savings whenever the need arises.

At the same time, I have no plans on replacing my cell phone until absolutely necessary. It’s such a hassle, and I’m not fond of learning new technology. So, even though it’s my #1 priority, sometimes it loses it’s #1 standing. Like when I find a really great deal on a Canon digital camera, with a standard and 75-300mm lens, and camera bag (for $449, plus tax). Which also happened to be on my savings list, although not as high up as the cell phone. And, since I expected to spend $1,000-2,000 on the camera, it made sense to move it to the top of my list when I found it for a great deal.

The new laptop was a little closer to a necessity; Bryan and I have been limping along with my old laptop for years. He bought a tablet with a keyboard in February, thinking it would carry us along for a while with my laptop. Actually, he bought one tablet at Sam’s Club, which we took back within a matter of days because the keyboard wouldn’t hold a connection. He then bought a different tablet at HH Gregg’s, which has some connection problems as well. And, the longer we have it, the less likely it is to turn on when we want to use it. Basically, it was a total waste of money. And now, the old laptop is starting to freeze up constantly. So, when we were buying the camera at Fry’s Electronics, we found a new laptop on sale for $287 (plus tax). And, for some reason when we bought the laptop and the camera together, we scored an additional $70 off the camera!

So, the cell phone and a few other items got knocked down on savings priority, so we could buy the laptop and the camera. Of course, since then I’ve already managed to reach my $500 savings goal for the cell phone again. And honestly, $500 is way more than I’ll probably spend when I end up buying a new cell phone. I’m just more comfortable having that amount for it in savings, just in case. And, even though we have a new laptop, at some point in the next few months, we’ll probably end up buying another one. That way we’ll each have a working laptop.

Grocery costs were low, mainly because Bryan was gone for a week. I was supposed to go with him and a friend on a fishing trip to Minnesota, but I backed out at the last-minute because work has been crazy, and the timing seemed terrible. I thought I’d spend the entire week making all the crazy foods that Bryan doesn’t like, or going out to eat, and spend a ton of money. Instead, I spent the week eating grilled cheese, working long hours, and finishing projects around the house. I actually bought a loaf of bread at Menards so I wouldn’t have to make a separate trip to the grocery store. I quickly realized how much better my life is with Bryan around, even with some awesome variations of grilled cheese while he was away. But I managed to get ahead at work, removed the nasty old caulk (and re-caulked) our walk-in shower, which looks so much cleaner now, and reorganize our pantry area with some pegboard shelves. So the week wasn’t a total loss.

I went to Target last month. I had a list. I mostly stuck to the list. And yet, somehow, I walked out having spent $261. And I even had a $10 off coupon! I bought T-shirts, socks, and a shirt for work. I bought a gift for a co-worker, and a Christmas gift for my sister and her husband. I bought some groceries. Bryan and I had a party to attend where we were in charge of the Gin and Tonics and Brandy Slushes, so I bought everything but the alcohol for those items. I bought a nice 3-ring binder and some sheet protectors so we could organize our canning recipes. Cause we’re old-school like that.

While I was on vacation with my Mom and sisters, I somehow managed to hurt my back. Maybe sleeping on a pull-out chair for a week? Maybe when my sister jumped on my back at the pool? Maybe some other stupid thing I did, because there was alcohol involved? Regardless, I woke up one day in terrible pain. Luckily it was my upper back, which I feel is way easier to deal with than lower back pain. I went to the doctor once we got home, and was put on muscle relaxers and prescription Naproxen, and told to come back for X-Rays if it wasn’t better in a week. And, I almost did, because it didn’t really get better in a week. But then I tripped and fell, because I’m clumsy like that, and busted up my knee pretty badly. Nothing serious, but it definitely took the focus off my back. All of this meant September’s spending includes co-pays, prescriptions, and a variety of really big band-aids. Just when I started to think I should see the doctor for my knee, I stubbed my toe really badly…

September wasn’t exactly the month I thought it would be. I’m still adjusting to being debt free, and my new spending and savings rates. There are a few things I need to talk about more, but I think it’s best saved for another post. I hope October will be a little better spending wise. But, the Holidays are coming, so I mostly expect spending for the rest of the year to be on the high side.

  • Cindy W.

 

* Lottery savings is the $20 that I put away each week, in cash, for NOT playing the lottery. This is equal to the amount Bryan spends each week playing the lottery. If he wins, the money is “ours”. My “spending” the same amount every week makes things seem more fair. At the end of the year, we’ll probably use the Lottery Savings money to take a vacation. It’s like a guaranteed win!

** Insurance covers two term life insurance policies: One insuring me, and one insuring my younger sister. I pay my car insurance every 6 months, and renters insurance once a year.

*** To make things easier to track, I only list items that come out of my net pay, or what gets deposited into my checking account. My 401(k), health insurance, Flexible Spending Account, and other expenses that are taken directly from my weekly paycheck by my employer are not included here.

Net Worth Icon

Welcome to my monthly net worth post for September, 2016. Each month, I post a complete breakdown of my net worth, along with a chart showing the progression of my net worth since the start of this blog. Posting my net worth helps keep me accountable for what I do with my money, and motivates me to make better choices and push to reach new goals. You can see previous net worth updates here

Once again this month, I’m late getting the numbers out. And honestly, I don’t really have a good excuse. Work has been busy, and other than that, we’ve just been enjoying life. Things really are great right now!

Well, my handle on my money situation could probably be a little better:

September 2016 Net Worth:

Net Worth as of September 29, 2016.

Net Worth as of September 29, 2016.

September ended up being a much spendier month that I expected. I bought things. Several things. Expensive things. Honestly, I bought said expensive things because we found some really great deals. And, we were planning on buying them anyways. And, I had the cash available to buy them. Granted, I wasn’t planning to buy said expensive things in September. But I was planning to buy them eventually. And that’s kind of the same thing, right?

I thought (and felt) a lot about buying expensive things during the month of September. Had I not bought expensive things, my net worth would currently be about $800 higher. And, as a (sometimes) personal finance blogger who feels like she finally has her finances together, aren’t I not supposed to even want to buy things? Sure, I’m putting 25% of income into my 401(k) plan. But I could be saving so much more for the long-term. Or even for the medium-term. I look at my savings goals, and most of them are short-term things. I’m dreaming of buying stuff. Aren’t I supposed to be above stuff?!?! 

Eventually I came to the conclusion that I am not a minimalist frugalista. Nor do I necessarily want to be. Bryan and I aren’t big shoppers. And we try to make sure our purchases are well thought out. But yes, we like having nice things. We like stuff. Especially stuff that makes our lives better, or easier, or less frustrating. Or even just funner. So, on occasion, we buy stuff. Expensive stuff. And some months, we buy a lot of expensive stuff. $800 worth of expensive stuff. And then we move on, knowing that the world isn’t going to end, and our future plans aren’t at stake, just because we bought expensive stuff.

So, I only had $730 in growth during the month of September. Which is about half of what I would have expected. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t foresee having any big growth months left in 2016. After all, the Holidays are coming. We’re still going to travel some this year. We might buy more expensive stuff. My net worth will keep growing, albeit at a slower pace. And the world won’t end.

Net Worth Progress Chart:

Monthly Net Worth since the start of this blog (February 2013).

Monthly Net Worth since the start of this blog (February 2013).

At some point in the next week I hope to get the spending numbers together. And then we can talk more about the expensive stuff that was bought. Maybe I’ll even put together a post about our expensive plans for the future? Maybe…

  • Cindy W.

Well, it’s only half way through September, and I’m finally getting my spending update together for August. Finally!

Where the money went: August 2016

Where the money went: August 2016

There’s really nothing too surprising about August’s spending. Yes, I spent a lot on vacation. Most of this was for food (lots of dinners out)and beverages (did we really drink THAT much?!?!). But I’m happy with that amount; I’d planned for $150/day, or $1,200 for the 8 days. So, even though I spent a lot, I came in under budget. I consider that a win!

I spent more on Groceries this month than I would have thought. But then I remembered: We did an awful lot of canning during the month of August! Pickles, relishes, jellies, tomatoes… We now have a pantry full of canned produce. Canning would be super cheap, if it weren’t for the jars. I’ve learned which stores have the best deals, and even managed to score a few big coupons for Ball jars, but it still adds up. We do save jars to reuse, but we also give away about half of what we can each year. Most people don’t return the empty jars. It is what it is. We enjoy canning, and we love sharing what we make, so we’re willing to accept the cost. But if you have any ideas on where to find cheap jars, I’m all ears!

I kind of consider restaurant spending to be a failure this month. I didn’t spend a lot, but what I did spend is made up of a bunch of little purchases. All fast food and Starbucks. *sigh* When I look back on the month, I don’t consider these “value added” purchases. I wasn’t spending time with anyone, or doing something for my health. But, then again, as I was getting that Starbucks drink, I would have definitely said it was adding value to my day. So…

I finally ordered checks with my new address. I think that’s the last thing I needed to change over from the move. It’s only taken me a year and a half! I was tempted to just keep using the old checks, since there were still so many left. When I changed the address, I also changed which account the checks were for; I had been writing checks out of my Spending account. I’m now writing checks from my Expense account. I really write very few checks, mostly just my monthly rent check. Since that comes out of my Expense account, it made more sense to switch the account, instead of continuing to transfer funds between accounts every month. Far less confusing!

In the end, I spent $2,137 in August, while earning $2,173. That’s higher than what I’d hope to see most months, but not bad for a month with a big vacation. And, since I’d saved ahead for the vacation spending, it isn’t like it all came out of August’s earnings.

  • Cindy W.

Net Worth Icon

Welcome to my monthly net worth post for August, 2016. Each month, I post a complete breakdown of my net worth, along with a chart showing the progression of my net worth since the start of this blog. Posting my net worth helps keep me accountable for what I do with my money, and motivates me to make better choices and push to reach new goals. You can see previous net worth updates here

 

I’m incredibly late with this month’s net worth update. My vacation led right into the long Holiday weekend, and I’ve been super busy at home and work trying to get caught back up. I did actually put together the numbers on time. I just didn’t manage to get them published here!

August 2016 Net Worth:

Net Worth as of August 31, 2016.

Net Worth as of August 31, 2016.

I’m really surprised by the amount of growth I had in August: $1,486! Most months I expect to see right around $1,500 in growth. But I took a girls trip in August with my mom and sisters. I budgeted $1,200 (or $150 per day) for food, beverages, and whatever else while on vacation. I expected the large amount of spending to wipe out most of the growth I’d have for the month. But I only ended up spending around $900 while we were gone. Plus, being away from Wednesday to Wednesday meant that I spent very little of my regular spending money over those two weeks.

Net Worth Progress Chart:

Monthly Net Worth since the start of this blog (February 2013).

Monthly Net Worth since the start of this blog (February 2013).

I expect the rest of the year to be fairly smooth, at least as far as net worth goes. The Holidays are coming, but I hope to spread my spending over several months, so there won’t be a big hit all at once.

And maybe things will calm down just enough so I can post my spending for August. Maybe.

  • Cindy W.

It seems as though Summer is drawing to a close. Most (if not all) of the schools around here are back in session. The heat is starting to subside, if only slightly. And our garden is starting to wind down.

I spend most of the year longing for warm weather, and then always end up feeling like it passes before I’ve really gotten to enjoy it. Blame it on the industry I work in: Construction’s busy season is the warmer months, and my work stress tends to spill over into my evenings. And age: Time seems to pass so much more quickly as you age!

Our main focus in the garden is always tomato plants, which are starting to show a little wear. I’d considered pulling up the cherry tomatoes, since the plants were looking ragged and starting to die off at the base. But then they found a “second wind”, and started blooming again. So, for now, they get to stay.

We got a late start to the season, since it was so wet during May and June. It wouldn’t have mattered, but we extended the garden, and Bryan wanted to till the new soil several times before we planted. Things didn’t get the start they should have before the hot weather hit. And then, the animals hit. Have I mentioned we live across the street from a state park? We have animals traipsing through our yard that I’m not even sure what they are! We put up a gallant fight, pulling out every old trick we could find, but it seems we may have lost the war. They munch on the tomatoes as soon as they start to show the slightest bit of color. They mowed down the corn as soon as little ears started to form. And our poor spaghetti squash plants must have had delicious leaves, as they ate every one as soon as it sprouted. The plant continued to vine out across the garden regardless, with little green stems sticking up where it’s leaves should have been. Eventually it wound it’s way between the cucumbers, which seemed to provide some refuge from the wildlife. We have one little squash that may actually make it!

Despite all of the animals, we’ve still managed to harvest a large amount of vegetables. More than we can eat, which has led to large amounts of canning and preserving. And this year, we’ve decided to try a “Fall crop”, which is a first for both of us. Last night Bryan tilled some of the now barren rows of our garden, while I planted a variety of radishes, lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, and sugar snap peas, all from seeds. These plants are supposed to do well with the cooler temperatures, and will hopefully mature before the frost hits.

Even if we don’t have great success, it’s nice to feel as though we can extend the growing season a little longer. After all, it won’t be long before the ground is frozen and dusted with snow. I’d like to hold on to the joys of Summer for as long as we can!

  • Cindy W.

It’s been about a month since I received my shiny new Visa credit card in the mail. I’d love to say that the whole thing has been a resounding success so far, but it hasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been a complete failure. But there have been some issues, and a few things I’m going to have to adjust to.

Right off the bat, I felt like I failed at using credit responsibly. We had a pricey weekend at the grocery store ($101.96), which happens from time to time. It always seems like we run out of toilet paper, paper towels, and other pricier items all at once. No big deal, I had the money in the bank to cover that. Except, Kohl’s was clearing out their swimsuits online. And I really wanted a new swimsuit for our upcoming vacation. I’d found three online that I really liked, in my size, and being online, I wasn’t sure which would fit the best. But I’d already spent down my clothing fund, and there wasn’t enough money in my spend account to cover the swimsuits and the grocery store charges.

I’ll be honest, I was really tempted to just buy the swimsuits, and worry about the credit card payment later. Really, really tempted. So, what did I do? Nothing. For eight days, I didn’t do anything. I didn’t pay the grocery charge, or order the swimsuits. I just waited, and thought. Overall, I was really disappointed in myself that this was even an issue. After all, if I didn’t have the credit card, I wouldn’t even be thinking about it. The money just wouldn’t be there!

In the end, waiting it out turned out to be a good thing. One of the swimsuits sold out. Kohl’s sent me some coupons. I squeezed my budget a little bit harder. I managed to find a way to pay off the grocery charges, and buy two swimsuits.

I’m still a little disappointed in myself though. After all, when I got the card, I told myself that I would pay off the charges immediately, so it would be just like spending cash. So, after that first charge, I decided to double down, and do what I originally set out to do.

Except, paying off the charges immediately isn’t an option. I quickly found that it takes several days to be able to pay off recent charges on your account. Even though the charges show up online!

My credit card transaction history.

My credit card transaction history.

There are two charges showing up right now online, both dated for 8/08/16. We actually made those charges on Friday, 8/05, and Sunday, 8/07. It took several days for the charges to show up. But, even now that they are there, I still can’t pay them:

Payment options.

Payment options on my credit card.

I’ve already paid the $57.17 statement balance, so it won’t let me pay that. And when I try to enter an “Other Amount”, it tells me I can’t pay more than the Current Balance. Grrr!

I probably should have expected that there would be a delay between when the charges were made, and when the system would allow me to pay them off. It isn’t the end of the world. But, it does kind of mess up the system I’ve had going for a while now. I don’t exactly follow a real budget; I give myself a set amount of money every week to spend on groceries, gas, and anything else I want. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Except now I can’t just look at my online banking to see what I have available to spend. I also have to look at my credit card balance. And then think about whether there are any other grocery store trips that haven’t cleared yet. And then do math…

My bank does allow me to put money into “reserve” for something, so I’m considering just moving the “spent” money into reserve, so it looks like it’s already gone. It just seems like such a pain to make a purchase, move the money to reserve, then later come back and pay off the purchase. I do so much better when everything is automated, and I don’t have to worry about it!

The rewards also aren’t as rewarding as I’d hoped. If I use my credit card at a Kroger gas station, I can save 25 cent per gallon through September. I’ve done this exactly zero times. I don’t get gas very often. I’d have to go out of my way to get to the closest gas station. And I don’t like the idea of also charging my gas. It’s one more thing to have to keep track of paying, and makes it harder to separate out my grocery and gas spending on my monthly spending updates. We are slowly earning points towards a possible quarterly rewards certificate, but it could take a really long time for us to rack up enough points to actually see a reward. Although, thankfully, the points do roll forward, so if we don’t earn enough in one quarter, we don’t lose all our points.

There is one benefit so far to having a credit card:

Credit Score as of 8/09/2016.

Credit Score as of 8/09/2016.

 

Credit score as of 7/13/2016.

Credit score as of 7/13/2016.

My credit score has gone up 10 points since I applied for a credit card. Which is good, since my credit score was the whole reason I was willing to consider getting a credit card in the first place! I have no intention of spending enough on my credit card to start chasing rewards.

I’d consider myself in the “transition phase” right now. It’s just like any other part of personal finance, be it budgeting, debt repayment, saving or investing: I have to figure out a system that works best for me! My plan right now is to give it a few months, and see how I feel. I may end up backing off to one purchase a month, instead of putting all my grocery spending on the card. Who knows? Maybe I’ll figure out something else that works even better for me. The point is, I’m wading in to something new. It doesn’t have to be perfect right off the bat!

  • Cindy W.

As July was a pretty fabulous month Net Worth wise, it should come as no surprise that it was a fairly uneventful month for spending as well:

Where the money went: July 2016.

Where the money went: July 2016.

I spent a total of $1,255 in July, while bringing home a total of $2,624. There isn’t really anything too out of the ordinary this month. I spent a lot more than I probably should have on clothes; I’ve found myself much more in the mood the last few months for clothes shopping, and have taken advantage of that to round out my wardrobe a little better. I’ve been buying a lot more warm weather clothes, which helps a lot for day-to-day life during the Summer, and will also help tremendously when we go to Florida in a few weeks.

The Grief Expenses in July were for two flower bead chaplets we’re having made for Bryan’s mom and sister, using flowers from his Dad’s funeral. We both come from Catholic families, although the two of us are non-practicing. Chaplets are like mini rosaries. There are numerous companies online that can make beads out of flower petals that you mail in, and turn them into jewelry, or rosaries, or chaplets. It will take 3-4 months for us to receive the finished chaplets, so I can’t really comment right now on whether the money spent was worthwhile, or if I would recommend the company we used. My Aunt did this after my Grandfather passed away years ago, and I still have my chaplet tucked away in a keepsake box.

The garden expenses this month were for more mulch, and straw for our back garden, where we’re growing cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon and eggplant. At this point, we’re mainly just harvesting and weeding in the garden, and making sure things stay adequately hydrated. We have started canning some things, but any canning supplies I’ve had to purchase have gotten lumped in to our groceries and household expenses.

I do technically have a negative spending category this month: Vacation. The total cost so far for the vacation I’m taking with my mom and sisters later this month has come to $3,461. That included the Resort, along with flights and tickets for 3 of us (my older sister is purchasing her flight and tickets separately, since she isn’t staying as many days). My portion of the cost should have been $1,034. That’s what I calculated into my June Net Worth and Spending numbers. However, my mom realized that it would be difficult for my sisters to afford all of the cost for vacation. Since she’s in a position financially to do so, she wanted to help them out. But, it bothers her that she helps my sisters out, but doesn’t do as much for me. I’m in a position to not need the help, and I definitely want both of my sisters there, so it doesn’t bother me in the least who pays for what. But my mom decided that, to make things fair, she would pay the entire cost of the Resort (i.e. the room). I was given $3,000 to cover the Resort, plus her and one sister’s tickets and flight. Which means I only paid $461 for vacation, instead of $1,034.

With all of that in mind, once again this month I tried to back my Spending numbers into my Net Worth, to see if the math worked out. What I finally realized is that, unless I get more detailed in my tracking, it’s never going to work out. Why? Because when I calculate my Net Worth each month, I use the “available balance” on my bank accounts, which includes all the charges that are pending on my debit card. But when I calculate my Spending, the export only pulls forward the amounts that have already cleared my accounts. Sure, I could manually include the pending charges in my Spending figures for the month. But then, when I go to figure the next month’s Spending numbers, I’d have to remember which charges I’d already figured into the previous month’s Spending, and manually remove those. Which starts to make the whole thing more complicated. Over the course of a year, those lagging end-of-month charges should pretty much be a wash. It isn’t like they aren’t accounted for! It’s just that some of the charges from the last few days of July will show up as though they are early August charges. And next month, late August charges might show up as early September charges. I could remove the pending charges from my Net Worth, but I feel as though including that money as already spent is a more accurate indication of the liquid funds I actually have.

Vacation spending will be big for August, but otherwise, I’m expecting a fairly boring month. And that’s a good thing!

  • Cindy W.

Net Worth Icon

Welcome to my monthly net worth post for July, 2016. Each month, I post a complete breakdown of my net worth, along with a chart showing the progression of my net worth since the start of this blog. Posting my net worth helps keep me accountable for what I do with my money, and motivates me to make better choices and push to reach new goals. You can see previous net worth updates here

Overall, July ended up being an incredibly uneventful month. We started harvesting vegetables from the garden. Spent time with friends and family. Unsuccessfully tried to combine spending time outdoors with staying out of the heat. You know, normal summertime activities.

As it turns out, uneventful months are great on the finances!

July 2016 Net Worth:

Net Worth as of July 31, 2016

Net Worth as of July 31, 2016.

I had a total net worth gain of $3,722 in July, which more than made up for my June shortcomings. The markets played nice, and I saw a fair increase in my 401(k) balance. I stayed on track with my emergency fund: It’s now at $4,840. By the end of this week, it will be fully funded at $5,000. Even the value of my vehicle is holding strong!

In the first week of July, I surpassed my goal of gaining $10,000 in net worth during 2016. I’ve managed to make a $12,932 increase so far. I doubt I’ll make it to $20,000 this year, but I should get fairly close, depending on what the markets do for the remainder of the year. Actually, in the next few weeks I’ll start putting a larger percentage of my income into my 401(k), which should make things more interesting. Long-term, it’s a great financial move. Short-term? Well, it means my net worth will be much more out of my control, and in the hands of stock market fluctuations. It should be an interesting ride!

Net Worth Progress Chart:

Monthly Net Worth since the start of this blog (February 2013).

Monthly Net Worth since the start of this blog (February 2013).

I’m expecting August to be a less stellar month, since I’ll be spending a large chunk of change while we’re on vacation. I already have that money set aside, in cash, so no worries there. Otherwise, I’m hoping for smooth sailing for the remainder of the year!

  • Cindy W.