Monthly Update – February 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.

A quick note: I’ve updated how I’ll show my results.  For one, I’ve gotten rid of the “carryover” category.  I’m going to focus on tracking my Savings Rate over the course of the year.  At the end of the year I’ll still post a detailed breakdown as well as notes along the way of anything unusual happening.  Also,

  • Savings Rate is post tax with employer 401k contributions added in
  • I’m including debt payments in this number – I could get specific and narrow it down to principle payments, but I’m not all that concerned.  After a couple years on this track, I feel certain that once those loans are gone I’ll just start adding that payment amount towards other goals.   

2017 is already more than 15% over – a good reminder that while we talk a lot about planning for the future, our days can fly by before we know it.  So how did I do in February?  Combined, January and February were big months.  I got paid 3 times in January, which I carried over.  I also received a quarterly bonus, a decent tax refund, and cashed out some credit card rewards.  I was able to max out my IRA for 2016 this month.  While I’ve maxed it out the last 2 years, it’s always been the following year.  This year I would like to have it fully funded by the end of the year.

Results – February 2017

2017 Savings Rate:  47%

With the adjusted numbers my Savings Rate actually increased for the year, probably due to adding in employer contributions and eliminating the vague “carryover” category.

Thoughts:

  • On a less math-focused level, February was a bad month for restaurant spending – it’s been a hectic month at work and we did some traveling to visit family.  Groceries were lower though but I’d rather be overspending on groceries than eating out.
  • Medical expenses were higher due to my first visit to the eye doctor in probably 4 years.  After a couple of years of being on a low-cost ACA plan (with coinsurance) I’m now on my workplace health insurance so I’m getting caught up on doctors visits throughout the year.
  • On the Net Worth front I’m so close to Net Worth Zero I can taste it.  Like, a few hundred dollars away.  My goal at the beginning of the year was to hit this number by the end of March but it should be sooner than that.  That being said, I’m well aware the stock market has done extremely well the last few months and has had an impact.  I’ve given a lot of thought about reaching a positive Net Worth and have found that by focusing on hitting my Spending Rate goals (50% or lower for the year) then I’m doing what I need to do.  It’s fun to see your portfolio go up every day – and I’m sure equally terrifying to see it drop.  But it’s way more satisfying to see your wealth increase due to decisions you make day in and day out.

Thanks for reading!  While I spend a lot of time talking about ideas and concepts in personal finance, at the end of the day I’m just a guy on the road to FI (and also a rhyme machine, it seems) who’s trying to make smart money decisions and connect with others.

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


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  1. Yayyy! Congrats on that wonderful savings rate. I’m drooling over the thought of having a $0 net worth. Ours is significantly in the red right now, but with our rapid repayment I know it won’t be that way forever. 🙂

    • Thanks!

      There’s still quite a ways to go on the student loan front and the recent stock market boost has helped a lot. Seeing the monthly progress definitely makes the process out of the red more bearable!

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matt@financeyoself.com if you wanna talk!

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