Money Update – September 2017

Every month I’ll post an update on my finances from the last month, with a focus on increasing income, spending less, and maintaining a high savings rate.  You can see previous updates here.

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Results – September 2017

2017 Savings Rate:  54%

The year is 2/3rds over.  Can I stay above 50% for the rest of the year??

I’m currently holding steady at around 54%, up a little bit from last month.

I received 3 paychecks AND a quarterly bonus in August – the excess was split between savings and student loans.  My net worth also hit 5 figures!  Barely, but it’s there.  Half a year ago I finally broke even after having spent most of my twenties in the hole.

Other stuff:

  • We did a much better job with groceries last month.  Eating out climbed back up.  In July we spent over $600 for the two of us!  Last month was under $450.  Our goal is to get groceries down to around $300/month.  Eating out we spend around $150 a month partaking usually once a week, sometimes more.  When we do eat out it’s at local, smaller places and never chains, so I don’t fret too much over it.
  • We also booked two trips later this year and were able to cover about 75% of it with credit card rewards.  Travel isn’t a huge line item in our budgets but I’m definitely not going to turn down saving a couple thousand dollars for a few extra hours of work!
  • Remember a couple months ago where I bragged about only spending like $20 on clothes?  Well that’s history – I’m up to around $200, but I’m 99% sure I’m done for the year.  Two new pairs of shoes (one to replace sneakers that were falling apart, the other was work shoes.  Working in a restaurant means buying special slip resistant shoes and being on your feet 9 hours a day means you’re lucky if you get a year out of ’em).

So what’s next?  At the moment, we’re thinking of getting serious about saving for a house.  Recent events have made our once awesome renting situation a little more anxiety-ridden, and we’ve started discussing whether or not we want the responsibility of owning a home.  A year ago I would’ve said Nope! but we’re rapidly warming to the idea.  In technical terms, this means a lot of free cash flow going into short term savings for the next few months.

I’m also starting to think about ways to end the year on a strong note.  My net worth is sitting at $11k, up almost $19k since January.  I’ve made more progress in 8 months than I did ALL of last year.  Ending the year at $20k is possible – I’ll get pretty close with automatic transfers and payments.

But I’m restless.  So I’ve set a stretch goal for $25k in Net Worth by the end of the year.

Some potential options to achieve this are:

  • Getting as much overtime at work as possible
  • Renegotiating my salary (in the works!)
  • Selling stuff I don’t need
  • Getting back into driving for Lyft/Uber.  It’s been a couple years, but I could jump back in easily.
  • Earning more income online.  I’m looking into freelance writing and other creative ways to make money online.  Mostly through content creation.
  • Continuing to reduce expenses – our food expenses still have room to go down, and I’m not gonna buy any more clothes this year.  Not that I spend a ton of money at Christmas, but finding a way to cover that spending with credit card rewards could help.

The reality is that I can reduce my expenses some, but at this point I’m starting to get into the territory of wasting time.  There are some easy fixes in there, but I also have a lot of options for increasing my income, so my energy is better directed towards that.

So for my reports the rest of the year, I’ll also include expenses and how much I reduced them (and how much time and energy it took so I can evaluate whether or not it was worth it) and what steps I took to increase my income.

Thanks for reading!

If you’re interested, I use You Need A Budget for monthly budgeting.  For tracking Net Worth, I recommend Personal Capital (automatic) or (manual).

I calculate my savings rate as follows:

401k contributions + employer match + debt payments + other savings  / Take home pay + 401k contributions

3 thoughts on “Money Update – September 2017

  1. You should strive to hit that stretch goal. So get back into your side hustles like Uber and lyft, or anything else you can think of. I only make an average salary so my attention is side-hustles for investing cash.

    I wanna see you hit it man! Go get it, it is just sitting there waiting for you to get up and get it!

    1. Thanks for the motivation!! Side hustles are definitely on the table, and I’ve got a SO with the same mindset (she especially wants to save for a house) so we’re both pretty intense right now!

      1. No better time than right now! Get that debt down so you pay less interest or more investing so it can grow in the future. Either way it means future you is better off. Having a partner with the same mindset is such a good thing, you don’t even know! 🙂

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