Financial Update – August 2017

Each month I will post an update on my finances to both give you, the reader, some insight into my situation and to give me markers of my progress on my financial journey. My updates consist of two parts:

  • Financial Progress Table – Tracks net worth progress.
  • Spending Table – Compares monthly spending to an average (for me) “bare bones” budget, keeping me accountable for additional expenses.

For now, monthly updates include only my personal net worth and spending. As my fiancé and I combine our finances, updates will shift to cover going values instead.

Financial Progress

Each net worth goal in the Financial Progress table is broken down into undisclosed units of money. My current goal is to reach “Financial Freedom.” By the time I reach this goal I will have:

  • A retirement account that can support us when my fiancé hits 65
  • Two college savings funds funded for four years of in-state public university tuition, room, and board
  • An emergency fund for six or more months of living expenses
  • Sufficient liquidity for my fiancé and/or I to make a career change with one to two years’ runway
  • A mortgage less than two times my gross salary without bonuses

Once “Financial Freedom” is achieved, the focus will then working be towards “Financial Equilibrium”, where the income from investments covers all our ongoing expenses.

Goal Current Last Month Progress
Cash

1

1.15

1.15

0.00

After-tax investments

5

0.88

0.77

0.11

Retirement

5

3.36

3.33

0.03

Debt

8

8.37

8.44

0.07

Distance From Goal (units/months)

5.98

28

Total Progress (units)

0.21

Spending

I’ve created a “bare bones” budget which represents the average minimum amount I can expect to spend each month. This is the minimum amount I need to comfortably live in case of a job loss, emergency, etc. I expect to frequently go over my “bare bones” budget in a number of categories (here’s looking at you, “Groceries & Dining), but I want to remain accountable to myself when I do so.

For privacy reasons, there are two things I do not include in my spending updates: my monthly mortgage and charitable donations (pegged at 10% of my net income).

Bare Bones Actual Difference Notes
Home- Taxes, Insurance, and Repair

500.00

518.38

18.38

Minor masonry work
Transportation

84.50

84.50

0.00

Monthly subway pass
Groceries & Dining

400.00

428.49

28.49

Six take-out work lunches, five dinners, organic groceries (veggie CSA, pasture raised meats, etc.)
Utilities and Phone

125.00

103.85

-21.15

My share for gas, electric, internet, and phone
Gym Membership

25.00

120.00

95.00

Started up parkour, need to cancel YMCA membership
Household/Personal Care

50.00

79.97

29.97

Replacement water filters, LED bulbs, toiletries
Other

200.00

215.00

15.00

HBO, Hulu, gardening supplies, necklace, two dresses,  replacement lock for handbag
Total

1384.50

1550.19

165.69

Money Summary

This was a typical month spending-wise. My dining bills are usually higher, but since I was out of town visiting family for a week (who graciously paid for my food in that time), my food bill ended up slimmer than usual.

The only thing I regret spending on this month was one of the dresses I bought. I thought might make for a nice wedding dress but actually doesn’t fit me well at all. I’m looking to see if I can unload it at consignment and get some of the money I paid for it back.

Asset-wise, I tend to make slow but steady progress in the back half of the year, with a rapidly accelerated pace in February through April when bonuses and tax refunds hit my bank account.

Starting next month, my spending/asset creep may slow down as Fiancé puts in notice at his employer. He has some savings, but there’s a good chance I’ll be taking on a few of the household expenses (e.g. utilities) so he feels a little less stress during this transition period.

How were your finances in August?

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