Net Worth Update – July 2018

July was another good month, with a sizable net worth increase of 8.6 percent. If you notice, I’ve been able to fund my various savings goals. Not sure if I noted elsewhere, but I have the following electronic sinking funds in addition to my emergency fund:

  • Semi-annual bills
  • Clothing
  • Home Goods
  • Gifts
  • Gadgets
  • Travel
Liquid Assets Start End $ Change
Cash & Checking $1,418 $1,703 +$285
Emergency Fund $4,818  $5,369 +$551
Savings Goals $365 $719 +$354
Brokerage Accts $1,203 $1,234 +$31
Illiquid Assets Start End $ Change
Savings Bonds $1,453 $1,429 ($24)
Home Equity $16,455 $17,015 +$560
401K $34,236 $36,291 +$2,055
Roth IRA $23,461 $24,000  +$539
Liabilities Start End $ Change
Credit Cards ($387) $0 ($387)
Loans ($15,809) ($14,760) +$1,049
Net Worth $67,213 $73,000 +$5,787
% Change +8.6%

Spending

On July 31 I realized I was well under budget, so I splurged on a $130 glass personal blender I had been eyeballing for the last few months. I’m trying to move away from plastics, chemicals and processed foods due to the health issues that I have. I’ve slowly been making this shift over the past 4 years. I don’t think it’s helping but, oh well.

Category Budgeted Actual Remaining
(1) Bills & Utilities $275 $253 $22 under
(2) Food $300 $183 $117 under
(3) Medical $- $526 $-
(4) Everything Else $300 $388 $88 over
Total (1+2+4) $875  $824 $51 under

Following my new budget has made things so much easier. If you don’t recall, I increased my “Food”and “Everything Else” budget by $100 each last month. After the blender purchase I still ended up being $51 under budget. Here’s to hoping August is just as easy.  Apologies for not posting anything other than the boring net worth posts. One of these days I’ll get this health stuff under control so I can move on with my life.

Net Worth Update – June 2018

My net worth increased by almost 10 percent in June. Yay for months with 3 paychecks:

Liquid Assets Start End $ Change
Cash & Checking $1,085 $1.418 +$333
Emergency Fund $4,575  $4,818 +$243
Savings Goals $365 $365 $0
Brokerage Accts $1,080 $1,203 +$123
Illiquid Assets Start End $ Change
Savings Bonds $1,603 $1,453 ($150)
Home Equity $16,000 $16,455 +$455
401K $31,760 $34,236 +$2,476
Roth IRA $22,641 $23,461  +$820
Liabilities Start End $ Change
Credit Cards ($341) ($387) ($46)
Loans ($17,368) ($15,809) +$1,559
Net Worth $61,400 $67,213 +$5,813
% Change +9.5%

I was not able to allocate my third paycheck amongst the various funds like I had outlined in last month’s post.

Spending

This was my first month operating under my new (increased) budget. I had a (minor) surgery in the beginning of the month and that kind of threw things off. I was able to stay within budget, but it was hard!

Category Budgeted Actual Remaining
(1) Bills & Utilities $275 $237 $38 under
(2) Food $300 $287 $13 under
(3) Medical $- $526 $-
(4) Everything Else $300 $338 $38 over
Total (1+2+4) $875  $862 $13 under

My medical expenses were fairly high in June and I expect July slightly higher.  I plan to judiciously cut back on the frequency of my medical appointments since my FSA balance is getting low. If I do end up draining my FSA, I’ll lower my contributions towards my 401K loan. That way I’ll have more money to set aside for medical expenditures. Managing a chronic illness is expensive.

Coming in July

Lately I’ve been pretty terrible about posting anything other than net worth updates. Life’s been kind of crazy with my health issues. I am hoping that I’ll be up for a few July posts detailing how I use google sheets to manage my finances. I’ve become increasingly reluctant to use aggregation platforms like mint and personal capital.

 

Net Worth Update – May 2018

In May I got a sizable promotion, and decided to celebrate by splurging. I threw caution to the wind and didn’t follow a budget.  I also had two additional sources of unexpected income, and that made the decision to splurge a lot easier.

While this promotion did result in a sizable increase in income, the promotion means so much more than money.  Working will likely always be difficult for me.  Most days I do not feel well due to a chronic illness that I have. I’m happy that I still, somehow, manage to perform well at work

Anyways, my net worth!!

Liquid Assets Start End $ Change
Cash & Checking $1,585 $1.085 ($500)
Emergency Fund $4,338  $4,575 +$237
Savings Goals $284 $365 ($81)
Brokerage Accts $898 $1,080  ($182)
Illiquid Assets Start End $ Change
Savings Bonds $1,704 $1,603 ($101)
Home Equity $15,368 $16,000 +$632
401K $30,234 $31,760 +$1,526
Roth IRA $22,079 $22,641  +$562
Liabilities Start End $ Change
Credit Cards ($1,006) ($342) +$665
Loans ($17,713) ($17,368) +$345
Net Worth $57,771 $61,400 +$3,629
% Change +6.3%

My net worth increased by 6% which is pretty decent. I think the performance of the stock markets explains most of the increase.

Budget & Spending

My promotion officially kicked in the second half of May, resulting in more to spend. I also had other financial good fortune. I’ve since changed my pay allotments so that the entire increase in income goes towards my 401K loan. Below is my spending for the month, I went $776 over budget:

Category Budgeted Actual Remaining
(1) Extra Income $- $1,000 $-
(2) Bills & Utilities* $350 $349 $1 under
(3) Food $200 $205 $5 over
(4) Medical $- $262 $-
(5) Everything Else $200 $972 $772 over
Total (2+3+5) $650  $1,426 $776 over

*- I increased my bill budget by $100 to prepay for next year’s amazon prime. The $100 came out of my sinking fund for semi-annual bills.

Even though it was fun to go on a spending spree, sinking funds would have made for a better financial strategy. Of the $776 “splurge”, $600 went to furniture purchases, $100 to clothing purchases, and the remainder to Ubers & Lyfts. I should have saved for the furniture and clothing, as these expenses happen eventually, just not every month.  I’ve now established the following sinking funds and no longer have the more aggregate “Short-term” and “Long-term” sinking funds:

(1) Bills
(2) Personal Loan Repayment
(3) Gadgets
(4) Travel
(5) Clothes
(6) Home Goods
(7) Fun Money

Below are my budgets. Because I do not disclose my housing costs, I’ll use the following symbol to represent my original (pre-June) Mortgage & HOA payments: 🏠.   This table is more for me than anyone else, but hopefully this makes sense to readers.  Note, my income remains unchanged because 100% of my salary increase is going towards my 401K loan.

Old Budget June Budget New Budget
Income 🏠 + $1340 (1.5 × 🏠) + $2010 🏠 + $1340
Loan Payments 0.125 × 🏠 + 275
Housing 🏠 🏠 – $75 🏠 – $75
Bills & Utilities 250 275 275
Food 200 300 300
Everything Else 200 300 300
Roth IRA 460 460 460
Emergency Fund 100 (0.25 × 🏠)
Sinking Funds 130 (0.125 × 🏠) + $475

New vs Old

My mortgage & HOA payments will decrease by $75 starting June 1st.  I’ll be increasing my “Bill & Utilities” budget by $25, my food budget by $100, and “Everything Else” by $100.  The $600 budgeted for Food and Everything Else will make it easier for me to follow the $20/day budget method. Any money left over at the end of the month will likely go into a sinking fund.

June vs Old

In June I’ll be receiving 3 paychecks. My third paycheck will be going towards my personal loan, my emergency fund and my sinking funds.

Coming up in June

June should be interesting. If the stock markets hold steady, I expect my net worth to increase by well over $4,000. I will be having a minor surgery though. Hopefully those costs aren’t too high.

Net Worth Update – April 2018

Because I have not been feeling well, I’m only just now posting April’s net worth. I still want to maintain records, but I don’t feel like getting into the nitty gritty this update.  I’m going to keep this post nice and short. Below is my change in net worth:

Liquid Assets Start End $ Change
Cash & Checking $1,824 $1.585 +$440
Emergency Fund  $5,159  $4,338 +$164
Savings Goals $171 $284 ($74)
Brokerage Accts $877 $898  ($15)
Illiquid Assets Start End $ Change
Savings Bonds $569 $1,704 ($294)
Home Equity $14,775 $15,368 +$775
401K $28,560 $30,234 +$116
Roth IRA $20,921 $22,079  ($193)
Liabilities Start End $ Change
Credit Cards ($1,141) ($1,006) ($634)
Loans ($11,472) ($17,713) +$300
Net Worth $60,243 $57,771 ($2,472)
% Change -4.1%

My net worth decreased due to me taking out a personal loan to the tune of $7,000. This is a 0% interest loan. Thankfully the loan terms are fairly flexible.  Other than that, there isn’t much new to report.

Budget & Spending

Category Budgeted Actual Remaining
Extra Income** $- $256 $-
Bills & Utilities $340 $314 $36 under
Food $200 $221 $21 over
Medical $- $513 $-
Everything Else $200 $405 $205 over
Total $650  $532 $190 over

I went considerably over budget in April. I think this is due to a need to establish sinking funds. I spent $87 on gifts, for instance, which I should have saved up for. The excess spending was, thankfully, offset by extra income. I’ll start working on my sinking funds in June.

The next post will likely be the May net worth update, and hopefully it won’t be nearly as late as this one. Stay tuned to see how my financial situation has changed

Obtaining Financial Stability With a Disability | City Transportation

Two years ago, I sold my car and moved to the city knowing that I would need to depend on public transportation to get me places. When public transportation routes were inefficient, I used Uber and Lyft. And for the most part, this wasn’t a financial strain because I could walk places and my transportation to and from work was reimbursed. My mobility has since declined. I can’t walk nearly as far, and even taking public transportation is physically taxing.  Now most places are seemingly too far away.  And I’ve found myself becoming increasingly dependent on Ubers and Lyfts.

So I finally bit the bullet and looked into paratransit in my city.  According to wikipedia:

Paratransit is recognized in North America as special transportation services for people with disabilities, often provided as a supplement to fixed-route bus and rail systems by public transit agencies.

In other words  it’s a door-to-door alternative to using the bus and subway for people who can’t otherwise ride the bus or subway.  My city utilizes shared vans and subsidizes taxis for their paratransit fleet.

To qualify for the paratransit system, I had to have some forms filled out by my doctor detailing my medical conditions; my physical limitations; and my inability to ride the bus and subway at least some of the time. I had an interview over the phone, and I’ll have an in-person assessment for eligibility in a couple of weeks.

A program my city offers is 50% reduced public transportation fares for those with any disability. However, if you qualify for paratransit service, meaning you are not able to ride the bus or subway 100% of the time, the bus and subway are free. This provides a financial incentive to use more traditional transportation on good days.

I’ll be the first to admit that using such disability services felt embarrassing two years ago, and I didn’t think I needed it then (though, in retrospect I probably did). But I can’t afford to keep taking Ubers to and from work. My job won’t pay for Ubers but they will pay for paratransit since it’s considered public transportaiton. Similarly, I can’t afford to spend $10-30 to attend a doctor’s appointment every few days. Paratransit provides a much more affordable option that costs ~$5.

If you live in a city in the US that has public transportation, your city should have a door-to-door paratransit service for those with disabilities. The city may also provided reduced fares for those not in need of door-to-door assistance. I’m glad that I looked further into my city’s paratransit system. I am looking forward to and am genuinely excited about my new-gained freedoms.

Net Worth Update – March 2018

I know this is a bit late. Life got…interesting over the past week or so, specifically in regards to my health. I have a new diagnosis that I’m trying to come to terms with. Overall, it’s good I have answers to what’s been plaguing me, but there are a ton of mixed emotions. This diagnosis is difficult because it was missed for years when it really shouldn’t have been. I’m now in need of insanely expensive medical treatment that may not even work. This reminds me of why I started this blog and I do need to start refocusing on finances from the perspective of someone with a disability/chronic illness.

And on a more positive note, I continue to stroll through 2018 with financial stability. I am thinking about posting quarterly net worth updates instead of monthly. I’ll decide for sure next month.

Liquid Assets Start End $ Change
Cash & Checking $1,384 $1.824 +$440
Emergency Fund  $4,995  $5,159 +$164
Savings Goals $245 $171 ($74)
Brokerage Accts $892 $877  ($15)
Illiquid Assets Start End $ Change
Savings Bonds $863 $569  ($294)
Home Equity $14,000 $14,775 +$775
401K $28,444 $28,560 +$116
Roth IRA $21,114 $20,921  ($193)
Liabilities Start End $ Change
Credit Cards ($507) ($1,141) ($634)
Loans ($11,772) ($11,472) +$300
Net Worth $59,658 $60,243 +$585
% Change +1.0%

It’s a surprise my net worth managed to increase given the market conditions. But things continue to look good.

  • Liquid Assets

    • Cash & Checking – For simplicity, I continue to further aggregate this category to now include cash, cash-equivalents (i.e. gift cards), and my checking account balance.
    • Emergency Fund – I contributed and some illiquid savings bonds (ibonds) obtained liquidity.
    • Savings Goals – Birthday gifts!
    • Brokerage Accounts – Stock markets are down.

    Illiquid Assets

    • Savings Bonds – This decrease is due to savings bonds (ibonds) becoming liquid assets.
    • Home Equity – I’m gaining equity!
    • 401K & Roth IRA – the market went down, but my continued contributions  helped cushion the blow a little.

    Liabilities

    • Credit Cards – I sadly continue to carry over credit card balances. But I do pay them off in full by the due date!
    • Loans  – I have two loans and continue to make steady progress towards repayment

Budget & Spending

Category Budgeted Actual Remaining
Bills & Utilities $410 $441 $31 over
Food $200 $266 $66 over
Medical $- $513 $-
Everything Else $274 $253 $20 under
Total $650  $532 $77 over

I increased my “Bill & Utilities” budget due to paying two annual bills. I increased the Everything Else category due to purchasing birthday gifts.

My medical expenses were fairly high this month, but I don’t budget for medical costs, for now. I still have a healthy FSA balance so that helps.

I was $31 over budget on Bills & Utilities because I prepaid two months of internet. And I went over on food because I bought groceries a few days before the end of the month. Hopefully this means I’ll be under budget for food in April.

 

 

Net Worth Update – February 2018

For the month of February, I stuck to my budget and I eventually came well under budget. I’m proud of myself. Tracking my budget on a weekly basis, and adjusting accordingly seems to work best for me. The markets aren’t doing so great, but my net worth increased slightly. Here’s where I stand net worth wise:

Liquid Assets Start End $ Change
Cash & Checking $700 $837 +$137
Gift Cards $0 $45 +$45
Emergency Fund  $4,100  $4,995  +$895
Irregular Bills  $1,185  $502 ($683)
Savings Goals $245 $245 +$0
Brokerage Accts $910 $892  ($18)
Illiquid Assets Start End $ Change
Savings Bonds $1,650 $863  ($787)
Home Equity $13,225 $14,000  +$775
401K $28,517 $28,444  ($73)
Roth IRA $21,548 $21,114  ($434)
Liabilities Start End $ Change
Credit Cards ($636) ($507) +$129
Medical ($735) ($0) +$735
Furniture Loan ($1,687) ($1,582) +$105
401K Loan ($10,432) ($10,190) +$242
Net Worth $58,590 $59,658 +$1,068
% Change +1.8%
  • Liquid Assets

    • Cash & Checking – I try to maintain a $500 cash cushion in my checking account.
    • Gift Card Balances – This is a new “account” I’ll be tracking in hopes of  maximizing my credit card rewards subject to minimizing my online shopping.
    • Emergency Fund – I contributed a bit and had some illiquid savings bonds (ibonds) obtained liquidity.
    • Irregular Bills –  I hold cash for less-than-monthly bills here.
    • Short-Term Savings, Long Term Savings, Brokerage #1 & 2 – I saved but no investments this month.

    Illiquid Assets

    • Savings Bonds – This decreased due to savings bonds (ibonds) becoming liquid assets. But I did buy some new ones.
    • Home Equity – I’m gaining equity!
    • 401K & Roth IRA – the market went down, but my continued contributions  helped cushion the blow a little.

    Liabilities

    • Credit Cards – I’m carrying over a credit card balance at 0% interest.
    • Medical – I finally paid off all my medical bills
    • Furniture Loan  – A 0% APR loan for furniture
    • 401K Loan – Used to finance my condo.

Budget & Spending

Category Budgeted Actual Remaining
Bills & Utilities $250 $205 $45 under
Food $200 $147 $53 under
Medical $- $832 $-
Everything Else $200 $180 $20 under
Total $650  $532 $118 under

I fell $118 under budget. Admittedly, part of the reason for the low food budget was a $40 refund from the month prior. And I did make $50 in online purchase returns.

February 2018 Week 3

The third week of February has come and gone and things continue to go well. Tracking and adjusting my spending on a weekly basis is works better for me.

I have (once again) changed how I track my expenses by breaking down my expenses into determinate and indeterminate expenditures (before they were lumped together). In the case of determinate expenses, I know their final value at the beginning of the month. Below is a summary of my spending.

February 2018 Budget Week 3

The biggest expense in week 3 was a grocery haul of $80 from Amazon Fresh.  I decided to activate a free trial in order to get 30% off. I’m still in the process of stocking my pantry, so I’m glad I avoided lugging everything myself. I also spent $27 on other “groceries” in the form of a meal kit service.

Additional notable expenses include a bluetooth speaker ($31), a rug ($25) and going to out to see Black Panther ($9).

I’m left with $65 to spend over the last 7 days in February. I’ve actually spent $26 today, but don’t anticipate any more expenses.

Feb 2018 Week 2

This is my spending check-in for the second week of February. In order to keep track of my weekly expenses, I created an excel file to facilitate the process. The table below is one component of the excel file that tracks my income, expenses, and savings. I’m following a zero-sum budget approach. So if I go over budget in one category, I’ll balance it out by moving money from another.

As seen in the table below, excluding medical costs, I spent $186 in the second week of February. Comparatively, I spent $68 in week 1.

I have approximately $124 remaining for food, $124 remaining for shopping and $12 remaining for transportation expenses.

02-18 Week 2 Budget.png

February 2018 Intramonth Checkin

Today marks being a third of the way through February, and as mentioned in my previous post, I’d like to do more frequent check-ins to keep better track of my spending.

My proposed monthly budget for 2018 has me set to spend $400/month on variable expenses.  That means that today I should be at $133 or less in spending. Here is where my money has gone so far:

  • Food – $62 ($37 Groceries, $25 Eating out)
  • Home Maintenance – $17
  • Shopping – $49 ($24 Amazon; $14 Target; $11 Computer Game Purchase)
  • Ubers – $5
  • Total: $133

While I don’t budget for my health care, I’ve also spent:

  • Medical Expenses – $35

I haven’t paid any fixed expenses yet, but my goal is to limit it to $250/month. My fixed expenses include bills for my internet, electricity, cellphone and a furniture loan. This will be my first electric bill payment and since it covers 2.5 months worth of electricity, it will be fairly high. I still should stay within my budget due to prepaying my internet bill and having a credit on my cellphone account.

For whatever reason, Februarys tend to go well for me. It’s the other months that give me a hard time.  I’m exactly where I should be, which is surprising and yet fantastic.