Net Worth Update – August 2019

August was supposed to be a no spend month, at least for non-essentials. That didn’t quite happen, but I did a decent job. I also had a couple of unanticipated essential purchases that were larger than I’d like. Thanks Murphy! First, let’s look into my net worth, which didn’t change much:

Liquid AssetsStartEndChange
Cash & Checking$3,300$3,100($200)
Emerg. Fund$7,600$7,900+$300
Illiquid AssetsStartEndChange
Home Eq$31,700$32,400+$700
Roth IRA$30,900$30,900+$0
% Change0.8%

And there you have it! I have nothing to show for my modest contributions to my retirement accounts. August was a rocky month for the stock market due to the ongoing trade war.


The no-spend stipulation was a challenge. And even though I did fairly well, my medical expenses offset an otherwise low-spend month. Keeping myself alive is costly. At least I didn’t have to dip into my sinking funds.

(1)Bills & Utilities$125$100$25 under
(2)Food$300$324$24 over
(4)Misc$500$395$105 under
(5)Sinking Funds$-$-$-
Total (1+2+4+5)$925$819$106 under
Total + Medical (3)$1,098$173 over

Bills & Utilities

I only paid two bills (electricity and internet) and they were low.


I was all set to be within my $300 budget, but I met up with a visiting for brunch on the last day of the month. The cost of said brunch? The amount in which I went over budget: $24. It was worth it!


I spent nearly $300 keeping myself alive, and it’s paying off! This is the first time in over a year in which I can say my health has improved The improvement is slight and needs to be greater. I will most likely add another expensive medication to my treatment plan. But I’ll take it.


So this month was a no spend month for non-essentials in the “miscellaneous” category. It wasn’t easy, especially the first week or two. I did a fairly decent job of sticking to the plan, with the exception of three non-essential purchases that totaled ~$100. Two purchases I was intending to make in September, but the items had huge (>40%) mark downs on Amazon. I use camelcamelcamel to follow items on my wishlist and snatch up good deals.

Notable essential purchases include:

  • A new (to me) cellphone- $90 (unanticipated)
  • New luggage – $70 (unanticipated)
  • Transportation Costs – $80 (anticipated)

Conclusions & Next Month

The no-spend made a huge difference this month. I know I would have gone way over budget otherwise. I wish I could make September another no-spend month, but I don’t have it in me. I’ll probably try again in January. Until then, I’ll work on figuring out a better way to stay within budget.

Net Worth Update – July 2019

Any month I don’t have to touch my slush fund is a good month. In July I did not touch my slush fund.

Net Worth

This was a three paycheck month and it shows. My net worth sits at a comfortable $142k, up $8k (6.0%) from last month. All my asset categories increased or stayed the same:

Liquid AssetsStartEndChange
Cash & Checking$2,500$3,300+$800
Emerg. Fund$7,600$7,600+$0
Illiquid AssetsStartEndChange
Home Eq$31,200$31,700+$500
Roth IRA$30,300$30,900+$600
% Change6.0%

I did a projection of my net worth, and barring a stock market downturn, my net worth should reach $200k sometime next year. It’s crazy to think that my second $100k may come one year after my first. Admittedly, a lot of the increase will come from my condo’s appreciation. The real estate market in the DC metro is unbelievable.


I went $60 over budget this month due to pesky medical expenses:

(1)Bills & Utilities$310$266$44 under
(2)Food$300$268$32 under
(4)Misc$500$460$40 under
(5)Sinking Funds$-$-$-
Total (1+2+4+5)$1,110$994$116 under
Total + Medical (3)$1170$60 over

Not shown is the extra $125 I earned. Broken down my spending went towards

(1) Bills & Utilities

The budget and spending for my bills and utilities is higher than usual because of the annual renewal of my cellphone service. I budgeted to spend $200 but I actually spent $165 on my cellphone plan.


I am surprised this is so low. I had hellofresh delivered twice (albeit at a discounted price); I ate out quite a bit; and I ordered Amazon meal kits. I was away for an entire week on a work trip which I’m sure lowered my spending


My medical costs continue to be higher than I’d like. Boo.


I had some friends come visit and stay with me earlier in the month, and hanging and eating out with them cost quite a bit of dinero. It was well worth it.

Next Month & Conclusions

In disappointing news, I learned that one of my specialists will cost me $250 each and every appointment. This specialist is the only one in the country, so there is no cheaper alternative. Hopefully with improved health I won’t have to see this or any other doctor frequently come 2020.

It’s now a few days into a new month and I’m trying a no-spend challenge. If all goes well, I won’t be placing any unnecessary online orders in August. It’s not easy, but so far I’ve limited myself to groceries and one makeup brush.

Net Worth Update – June 2019

This post is way late. My personal life has been crazy mostly because of my health. I still haven’t been feeling too great. The good news is that I have a solid treatment plan and I’m confident that I’ll be feeling better soon.

In my financial life June went well. I did go over budget, but this was more than offset by extra income. It was a pretty typical month.

Net Worth

My net worth increased by 6.9% mostly because sizable stock market returns. None of my asset categories declined in value.

Liquid AssetsStartEndChange
Cash & Checking$2,100$2,500+$400
Emerg. Fund$7,500$7,600+$100
Illiquid AssetsStartEndChange
Home Eq$30,600$31,200+$600
Roth IRA$28,200$30,300+$2,100
% Change6.9%


I went $265 over budget in June. I did some extra purchases due to a discontinuation of a favorite product. There was also $75 worth of gift purchases.

(1)Bills & Utilities$125$94$31 under
(2)Food$300$190$110 under
(4)Misc$500$789$289 over
(5)Sinking Funds$-$-$-
Total (1+2+4+5)$925$705$148 over
Total + Medical (3)$855$265 over

Usually I break down each category but there’s nothing interesting to be said other than the extra $650 I earned offset going over budget.

Next Month & Conclusions

June was an uneventful month, and July is over. So that post will be coming soon.

Net Worth Update – May 2019

All in all May was another uneventful month…financially. There aren’t too many surprises anymore. It helps that I’m single, carless and have no kids. The only thing that keeps me on my toes are those pesky medical bills as I’m still struggling with my chronic illness.

In November I received a working diagnosis for my health woes and I was prescribed a targeted treatment to regulate my immune system. This month my doctors concluded my response has been inadequate and I need to try something else. While I do not have cancer, next month I’ll be starting a cancer treatment to partially wipe out my immune system. I’m much more hopeful about this one. But this whole experience has been exasperating.

In lighter news, my lazy budget tracking method went smoother this month. The way it works is that I now use my credit card balance to figure out my spending-to-date. I still try to keep the balance under a budgeted amount (currently $800). Last month I found it difficult to track my cash spending with this method. I’ve since figured it out.

Net Worth

My net worth! The markets didn’t perform well so my net worth declined by nearly 1 percent. Otherwise, things went well and I even managed to save $500 outside of my investment accounts.

Liquid AssetsStartEndChange
Cash & Checking$1,900$2,100+$200
Emerg. Fund$7,500$7,500+$0
Brokerage$1,800$1,800 +$0
HSA$1,600$1,900 +$300
Illiquid AssetsStartEndChange
Home Eq$30,100$30,600+$500
Roth IRA$29,200$28,200($1,000)
% Change-0.8%


My pay raise came through this month. More money is nice. Now that I know my take home pay for the remainder of the year, I’ve finally settled on yet another monthly budget:

  • $125 – Bills & Utilities
  • $350 – Sinking Funds & Savings
  • $800 – Everything Else

I know I’ve changed my budget many times already this year, hopefully this is the last time.

(1)Bills & Utilities$125$105$20 under
(2)Food$300$290$10 under
(4)Misc$500$245$255 under
Total (1+2+4+5)$990$705$285 under
Total + Medical (3)$855$135 under

*SF – Sinking Fund Purchases

(1) Bills & Utilities

Last month I switched cell phone carriers and now my internet and electricity are my only recurring monthly utility bills. I budget $40 for my internet and $85 for electricity, and my electricity bill was low.

(2) Food

I don’t usually have a problem with keeping my food spending down, and this month was no exception. I buy my groceries online and I try to limit these purchases to $35 once a week.

(3) Medical

In a perfect world this would be $0. It wasn’t. Someday.

(4) Misc

This is usually the spending category that gets me. Kitchen gadgets, clothing, and home decor all add up. I’ve managed to talk myself out of several of such purchases and it really paid off. I do have a running wishlist of things I plan to purchase. I can’t purchase everything I want in one sitting without going way over budget.

(5) Sinking Funds

I used $65 for a mother’s day gift.

Next Month & Conclusions

June shouldn’t be atypical at least not financially. There is Father’s day though. If the infusions work, my doctor said I should be feeling better by July.

Net Worth Update – April 2019

This month I worked on perfecting my lazy man’s budgeting system wherein I no longer meticulously track my day to day expenditures. The system I’ve come up with works by glancing at my credit card balances and keeping the balances under the amount I budget towards discretionary variable expenses (historically $600).

Things started off a bit rocky but got easier towards the end. At first my (non-discretionary) medical expenses, purchases with sinking funds, and cash expenditures all made tracking the discretionary expenses difficult. This resulted in instances where I didn’t know how much I had left to spend. Additionally, April also was one of those months – a bit atypical. That happens sometimes. Either way, I’ve figured things out.

Net Worth

Net worth wise, you wouldn’t know that April was such a struggle. My net worth increased by 5 percent. The only category that saw a loss was my “Savings”. Apparently the markets did really well.

Liquid AssetsStartEndChange
Cash & Checking$1,800$1,875+$75
Emerg. Fund$7,225$7,500+$275
Brokerage$1,600$1,775 +$175
HSA$1,300$1,600 +$300
Illiquid AssetsStartEndChange
Home Eq$29,500$30,075+$575
Roth IRA$27,900$29,250+$1,350
% Change+5.1%


I basically went over my budget by a lot. I had extra expenses and splurges. Some of these purchases were planned, others were not. Thank goodness for sinking funds that were able to absorb the costs. So where did my money go?

(1)Bills & Utilities$150$155$5 over
(2)Food$300$372$72 over
(4)Misc$300$553$253 over
Total (1+2+4)$750 $1,080$330 over
Total + Medical$1,310$560 over

(1) Bills & Utilities

I was hoping to be under budget this month due to having 3 months of free cell phone service with Republic Wireless. But Republic Wireless was terrible, and I wouldn’t recommend it, even for free. I only lasted a month and a half. I’m now using Mint Mobile which is cheaper and more reliable. The cost is $15/month for Unlimited talk + Unlimited Text + 3GB of 4G LTE high speed data + Unlimited 2G data. The “catch” is that you have to pay multiple months in advance. So it cost me $45 for the first 3 months. For $20/month and $25/month you get 8GB and 12GB of LTE, respectively. This means in July I’ll be forking over $180 for 12 months of cell service. Though I should already have $30 in referral credits. [Referral link for $15 off]. So far I’m really pleased.

(2) Food

I accidentally purchased 3 meal kits instead of 2 so that took me over by exactly the price of the third meal kit.

(3) Medical

As usual this is higher than the $0 I’d like. I have chronic health conditions and my health care usage is above average for my age. Thankfully I have excellent health insurance. I am a bit concerned about my future medical costs due to a new medication I’ll be starting soon. I’m not sure how much it will cost me.

(4) Misc

See what had happened was:

  • Wardrobe Expansion – I’m still expanding my wardrobe and getting rid of things I don’t wear! I saved a lot by buying second hand. As winter approaches I need to work on my sweater collection. Then I should be good for a couple years. Cost: $150
  • Gifts – There were birthdays this month! Cost: $150
  • Plants – I bought houseplants and their necessary upkeep supplies. They are struggling though, and in shock from being shipped. If they die I hope it’s within 30 days of purchase so I can get a refund. I’m hoping they aid in clearing out the new construction smell from my condo. Cost: $150
  • Bills: A biannual payment came up for a meetup group that I run. Since this is an optional bill I put it in the miscellaneous category.Cost: $95

(5) Sinking Fund

I had to withdraw from my sinking funds due to my overages. That’s what they’re there for !

Conclusions & May

In conclusion, I think I’ve perfected my budgeting system, and I’m excited to try again in May. Also next month I’m getting a pay raise!

Net Worth Update – March 2019

My apologies whoever reads this, I’m late on the March update! Now that it’s halfway through April I barely remember what happened. Let’s see what my spreadsheet says.

Net Worth

Apparently my net worth increased by 3.6 percent, so that’s good. Most of my net worth increase came from the market performance. But I did manage to save $400 somehow, I must have had extra income.

Liquid AssetsStartEndChange
Cash & Checking$2,025$1,800($225)
Emerg. Fund$6,000$7,225+$1,225
Brokerage$1,600$1,600 +$0
HSA$1,025$1,300 +$275
Illiquid AssetsStartEndChange
Home Eq$28,950$29,500+$550
Roth IRA$27,225$27,900+$675
% Change+3.6%


Each month, after my housing costs and retirement plan contributions I have $1,100 to spend on all the other things. My goal historically has been to “budget” $750/month for these expenditures, meaning I’d have the potential to save $350. This month I went over that “budget” and spent $1,040, of which, $185 were medical expenses.

I say “budget” loosely as I’m not really aiming to save right now, but I do want to maintain a positive cash flow.

(1)Bills & Utilities$150$144($6)
Total (1+2+4+5)$750 $856$106 over

(1) Bills & Utilities

I was $6 under budget

(2) Food

And I was somehow under budget on food, again.

(3) Medical

I am cash flowing my medical expenses this year, maybe. I have chronic health conditions that make my medical expenses quite high. I am hoping that at some point things stabilize and things aren’t so costly.

(4) Misc

I was slightly over “budget” in this category mostly because I purchased clothes. I actually have a sinking fund for clothing, but I decided to cash flow it.

(5) Sinking Fund

I didn’t touch any of my sinking funds this month despite having funds set aside for medical & clothing expenses. I cash flow all my expenses when I can.

Conclusions & April

Overall I’m happy with how things are going. I earn enough to max out my HSA, Roth IRA and 401K. But after all my additional expenses I don’t have much left over to blow or save. My medical expenses, which have totaled ~$600 so far this year, are a big contributor to my inability to save on a monthly basis. Thankfully three paycheck months make up for lost ground. I just wish I didn’t feel so strapped each month. And in good news, next month I am getting another pay raise which will make for an extra $150/month post taxes. That will certainly help!

It’s halfway through April so I know how it’s going already. Not surprisingly I have quite a bit in terms of medical expenses. I’m also trying this new thing where I don’t meticulously track my budget. Instead I just glance at my credit card totals and am trying to keep them collectively under $600. I like the ease of this system, but I’m totally going to be over my historical $600 budget due to some large purchases of furniture.

How I Track My Finances in Google Sheets

When it comes to tracking my personal finances, I’m wary of financial aggregators like Mint and Personal Capital. I don’t want all my financial data in one place. Have you seen all the data breaches lately? For that reason I use google sheets to manage my finances. Admittedly Mint does track my credit card transactions, simply because I’m not actually sharing my password with Mint. I only use Chase credit cards, and Chase and Intuit (Mint) have an Oauth agreement.

The google sheets workbook I created is made up of various spreadsheets. In one, arguably most important, sheet, I input my daily transactions and categorize them. This data is used for calculations in separate tabs throughout the document. I only do this once or twice a week, since mint captures 99% of my transactions except for cash/debits/ACH payments. Below is a glimpse of some entries:

The information from this spreadsheet is pulled and used to provide a month-to-date snapshot of my income and spending:

When I’m over budget everything displays in red 😦

Within this document, I spend 95% of the time inputting my daily transactions and/or visualizing a snapshot of my spending-to-date. But, as stated, I do maintain other tabs as well. For instance, there is a more detailed month-to-date sheet that I rarely look at:

I use another sheet to track my net worth. I only update this at the end of the month though (A similar sheet tracks my YTD spending, but this is update automatically):

For the most part, I try to stick to the same budget from month to month, but if I need to change it, that can be done here:

Other notable features in this particular financial workbook include:

  • Instructions on how to use the document & make changes
  • Historical detailed monthly budgets
  • A paycheck calculator
  • Charts and graphs galore
  • Income tax calculator
  • Investment tracking
  • Projections

Net Worth Update – February 2019

February was an amazing month for my finances. I was awarded a bonus, received a pay raise, and got a small but significant tax refund.

Outside of the finance world things weren’t so amazing. I’m still struggling with my autoimmune disease and these new medications just don’t seem to be working well. The past couple of months I’ve had to get used to self-injecting on the daily. I’m not a fan. The medications are saving me a lot of money though, as the drug manufacturers are set to pay 80% of my out of pocket maximum indefinitely if I remain on them. But judging by how I feel, I doubt I’ll be sticking with it.

Net Worth

My net worth increased by almost $9,000 which translates to roughly 8%. I wasn’t expecting such a spectacular month.

I was almost tempted to adjust my home equity amount (upward) since a condo sold in my building and I now know the market value. But I’ll stick to my plan and only adjust it in December for a more conservative estimate.

Liquid AssetsStartEndChange
Cash & Checking$2,025$2,025+$0
Emergency Fund$5,750$6,000+$250
Brokerage$1,400$1,600 +$200
HSA$275$1,025 +$750
Illiquid AssetsStartEndChange
Home Eq$28,375$28,950+$575
Roth IRA$25,875$27,225+$1,350
Net Worth$107,200$116,125+$8,925
% Change+8.3%

Most of the extra cash went into savings and investments. I funded my sinking funds (referred to as savings goals), invested a little, and front loaded my HSA. The markets must have done well judging by my investment gains.


I went $38 over budget, which isn’t terrible, especially since I was under budget last month:

(1)Bills & Utilities$1,033$1,033$0
Total $1,633 $1,671$38 over

(1) Bills & Utilities

This category is a lot higher than the $175 I usually budget for because I paid off some outstanding debts in lump sum. To me this is not the same as going over budget since these bills would have been paid eventually.

(2) Food

I was somehow under budget on food.

(3) Medical

I had more medical expenses than I would have liked. Next month will probably have similarly high medical expenses. I’m hoping things calm down thereafter.

(4) Misc

I was slightly over budget in this category. I technically could have funded a birthday gift with a sinking fund but I cash-flowed it since it wasn’t too expensive.

(5) Sinking Fund

I paid for (some) medical expenses with money I had already set aside in a sinking fund. Other medical expenses were funded by my Chase Sapphire Travel Credits.

I actually have 8 sinking funds for various long & short term savings goals, not including my emergency fund. This month I funded my slush fund with $400 which I’m hoping will now cover any budgetary overages in March – June. That means I shouldn’t be going over budget (I hope).

Another New Budget

Due to the pay raise, I’ll be changing my budget for the third time in as many months. I hope to increase my spending in the “Miscellaneous” category from $300 to ~$500 depending on how much my paycheck ends up changing. I’m trying to cash-flow medical expenses, so this raise will definitely help. My food budget will still be $300. I do estimate that my Bills & Utilities will decrease.

What happens if I am under budget in the months ahead? My plan is to save 25% in a slush fund, save 25% in another sinking fund and invest 50%.

Net Worth Update – January 2019

You’d never know by looking at my net worth progress, but January was a roller-coaster of a month. I wasn’t sure when and if I’d be receiving a paycheck thanks to a wall. Things turned out well, as I eluded, and I hit a net worth of $100,000! 

Liquid AssetsStartEnd$ Change
Cash & Checking$1,575$2,025+$450
Emergency Fund$5,700$5,750+$50
Savings Goals$775$775+$0
Brokerage Accts$1,200$1,400 +$200
HSA$0$275 +$275
Illiquid AssetsStartEnd$ Change
Savings Bonds$1,375$1,375+$0
Home Equity$27,825$28, 375+$550
Roth IRA$23,325$25,875 +$2,550
LiabilitiesStartEnd$ Change
Net Worth$97,125$107,200+$10,075
% Change+10.4%

After a terrible performance in December, it comes as no surprise that the markets rebounded in January. The rebound explains roughly 60% of the increase in my net worth. Another 25% can be explained by my contributions to my 401k, HSA, and Roth IRA. I’m too lazy to figure out where the remaining 15% came from. But I’m happy about that too! 

Now that I’m a 6-figure-aire, I’d like to work towards hitting a $100k net worth figure without home equity taken into account. 


Even though I mentioned developing a new budget for 2019 in previous posts, I’ve decided to stick with my 2018 budget with two notable changes:
(1) Any left over $$ will roll over into the next month, and
(2) Medical expenses will now be budgeted. I am trying to cash flow these expenses and not touch my HSA

(1) Bills & Utilities$175$135$40 left
(2) Food$300$166$134 left
(3) Medical$-$79$79 over
(4) Everything Else$300$278$22 left
Total (1+2+3+4)$775 $658$117 left

I would like to note that I have already met my ~$1,500 deductible for the year thanks to patient assistance for one of my medications. 

Lessons Learned

One thing I learned from the shutdown is that I really need to build up my emergency fund.  I would like to get it up to an even $10,000 but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.


  • Medical appointments (estimated cost of ~$150)
  • I’m switching cell phone carriers (estimated savings $25/month) 

A Year in Review | 2018 (& 2019 Goals)

Below is a financial reflection of 2018. I would like to note that some of the numbers may be differ from the actual monthly reports due to corrections that came later. I’m pretty pleased with how 2018 went. My net worth more than doubled:

Liquid Assets Start End $ Change
Cash & Savings $450 $1,575 +$1,125
Emergency Fund  $3,405 $5,700  +$2,295
Savings Goals $525 $775  +$250
Brokerage $697 $1,200  +$503
Illiquid Assets Start End $ Change
Savings Bonds  $2,135 $1,375  ($760)
Home Equity $11,850 $27.825  +$15,975
401K $26,235 $39,525  +$13,290
Roth IRA $20,224 $23,325  +$3,101
Liabilities Start End $ Change
Credit Card ($1,792) ($0) +$1,792
Loans ($18,751) ($4,175) ($14,576)
$44,978 $97,125 +$52,147
% Change +115.9%

And I met all my financial goals:

Fund/Goal Initial Goal Actual Percent
Retirement 15% of Income Exceeded
Roth IRA $5,500 $5,500 100%
Emergency Fund $1,000 $1,500 150%
Net Worth Increase $20,000 $53,592 268%

I spent the following (not including debt payments):

Category Total Monthly Avg
Bills & Utilities $1,536 $128
Medical $3,961 $330
Food $2,718 $227
Everything Else $7,858 $655

Note: During a typical month my goal was to spend $300/month in the “Everything Else” category. But I often times dipped into my sinking funds to pay for gifts, vacations, gadgets, and other overages. I will try to keep better track of my sinking funds next year to ensure I’m not overspending.

My goals for 2019 are:

Fund/Goal Goal
401K Contributions $19,000
Roth IRA Contributions $6,000
HSA Contributions $3,500
Net Worth Total $100,000
Emergency Fund Contribution $400
Savings Goal $2,500

Collectively the goals are a bit of a stretch. Especially since I want to avoid touching my HSA (though that is not one of the goals as of yet). My guess is that I’ll have issues with the savings goal but we’ll see.