I'm all about transparency with talking about money, so I'm getting the party started. This is the first installment in my monthly financial updates.
Net Worth Change
Here's the change in my net worth... notice that my IRA didn't grow, but my 401k did (I increased my contributions and it's still relatively small since I just started it in July, so the actual numbers aren't huge but the growth looks great.) My Stash investments also grew, partially due to the stock marketing sort of having a little bit of a good month, and also due to me contributing more. My options had a fantastic month, so that was pretty nice 😀.
As for liabilities we're making good progress on the car and good progress on the student loans!
I bit the bullet in January and paid in advance for a bunch of travel stuff for the next several months, so that was a big hit but I was able to pull that back down for Feb. I am expecting March to be somewhere in between the two, although hopefully closer to Feb. Eating out, coffee, groceries, and fun stayed about the same, so that was great to see. Health was much less expensive, but pet stuff went up a bit for the month! Had meaningful increases in gifts, savings, and investing, which is what I like to see! Debt payment was about the same, but I'm hoping to make a bigger push for that in March. It's difficult to focus on growing my emergency fund and also paying off debt at the same time.
What Went Well
A few things went really well in February.
1) I got pretty good about actually keeping track of my spend. Thank you Google Sheets! I might have finally found a budget template that I can stick with. I'm going to make this downloadable soon so you all can try it out if you'd like.
2) I finally set up Qapital rules to put more money into my debt repayment and saving. Although those are in separate accounts right now so it didn't count for Feb, it's going to have a nice impact on March. If you're not using Qapital, you should totally give it a try. I've "accidentally" saved a ton of money just by setting up rules that say "when i spend less than $20 a week at starbucks, move that money into savings" or "round up my change to save it".
3) I wasn't stingy. It's funny because I used to think the more self control I have the better my finances look, but I found that in Feb, I didn't punish myself and say no to everything, and things still worked out. Not saying you don't have to have discipline - that's definitely key. But I think I am starting to find the areas that I really care about and learning naturally when I can say yes and when I need to say no.
What Didn't Go So Well
Overall a pretty good month, but left a few areas to improve.
1) Have to get better at forward planning expenses. I have a calendar that shows my bills, but I feel like I am always forgetting about some expense somewhere. Luckily I keep a cushion in my checking account, but I would love to be able to get in a better routine of knowing how much spending power I really have in my account. Ie, I have $400 there, but do I have a $200 expense coming up that I've forgotten about somewhere? If so, I probably shouldn't move that $400 to investing or savings! Luckily there weren't any major problems with this in Feb, but there was a bit of a tension where I felt like I could have done more with my money if I'd known better what was coming.
Yeah. Mostly just that honestly.
What I'm Working On In March
Here's a couple goals for March - hold me accountable!
1) Don't go crazy with my travel. I've got several trips planned and I'm super excited about them, but I want to be really responsible with my spend while I'm there. Ie, buying groceries and not eating out if i can avoid it or adding on really expensive extra activities.
2) Re-assesing my 401k. I noticed that my 401k is down about 13% since July, and I'm not exactly panicking because I know dips are totally normal and I'm not planning to cash out on that any time soon. But I want to make sure I'm at least heading in the right direction. Planning do some analysis here and set my mind at ease.
And that's a wrap!
By February, welcome March! I'm excited for all the adventures you hold. Hopefully you're bringing some warmer weather, too.
What do you think? Find this helpful for me to share? Have questions? Post below and let's talk about it!