Net Worth Update October 2016: $6425
My investments continue to save me from drowning in my credit card and student loan debt.
Net Worth: $6425
If you look closely at the changes in my savings balances compared to the changes in my credit card balances, you’ll notice a bunch of money shifted accounts.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
I’m shoving a ton of money into my 401(k).
Our investments are pretty much holding steady/steadily gaining. You can see small fluctuations up and down. That’s the problem with looking month by month. The stock market is a long play. If quarter after quarter, year over year, things were looking bad I’d be worried and shoving money into my mattress. These dips and rises, however, don’t concern me. I know I chose decent stocks (Vanguard funds for the win) and so pay little attention beyond recording the numbers.
I’m draining my savings account.
I’ve got balances on several credit cards. None are accruing interest, however, so it’s not ugly yet.
My high interest rate graduate student loan is growing, even though I’m now making payments! At 6.8% interest, my income based repayment amount isn’t enough to hold it down. I need to find extra money to throw at this debt and soon.
If you add up my “available” savings – my regular checking and savings accounts that have no penalties attached when I use that money – and subtract all my credit card balances you’ll come up with a negative number. I’m spending more each month than I’ve given myself to pay the bills.
Why “Paying yourself first” is not enough
I’m paying myself first. Isn’t that obvious? I’ve done the math and skimmed $2125 off the top each month to go towards my 401(k). Great! Right?
The problem – I’ve given myself about $2000 after rent’s paid to pay all my other expenses. That should be enough. In fact, in an ideal world, I want my above rent expenses to be $1000/month. Trouble is, for the past few months I’ve been spending more than $2000 a month on stuff.
The stuff all seems mostly justified at the time, but stuff is blowing my budget to the moon. I’ve got until March 2017 to fix this problem before the credit card interest monsters come out of the closet to get me.
What did the budget-blowing stuff look like in September?
Well, Derek’s parents visited. That meant we got to go on two kid free dates! That’s more than we’ve done in a year. But that also cost us about $80 in extra costs. Movies aren’t cheap. Neither are a couple of beers out and an uber home. Their visit also meant that instead of eating every meal at home, we went out a few times with them and picked up the tab a few times. Another $200+ beyond our expectations.
Boston in August was unseasonably warm to the tune of having three ACs kicking full bore most of the days most of the time. The luxury of not dying of heat stroke in our apartment cost us a jaw dropping $220 for our September bill. That’s about $150 more that we typically spend on electric. Since we’ve moved to this apartment, our electric bills have been more $100+ than $50-$70 like we’ve been accustomed in our old place. Our spending hasn’t shifted to reflect that cost.
Many other budget categories are likewise being broken by $20 here or there, which adds up over time.
The killer for the past few months has been the “well, we must do this” costs. Extra travel, clothing and household purchases, socializing. We’ve got to find ways to bring it back down. We’re going to Poland for two weeks this month, so unfortunately, October probably won’t fix our spending problem.