Well, it’s time for another Net Worth Update! I’m trying to do these quarterly this year to really see if my hard work is paying off.
So far, the numbers look good!
In the first quarter of the year, my Net Worth increased by 4.5%. That’s great! But let’s drill down and see where that savings is coming from.
No surprise here. My retirement accounts have continued to grow. I’m contributing money monthly, so I’d hope they would grow and not lose money, but anything can happen. I won’t need these accounts for at least thirty years, probably longer, so I’m in it for the long haul.
There have been a lot of home flips in my general area over the past few months. This has been awesome for the general value of my house. Of course, on many levels, this number is meaningless until I try to sell the house. But it’s nice to see that number increasing. I can’t just bet on the neighborhood’s values going up, of course. I’m also continuing to work on my house and make improvements. I’m currently saving towards replacing some windows. I also want to put in new flooring in the basement, because after four years, the cheapo carpet that was installed down there is looking pretty darn rough.
These get paid off monthly, so the number isn’t super meaningful, but I’m doing my best to keep my spending in control. I put every single bill that I can onto my credit cards so as to earn the maximum rewards, but it’s good to keep the other spending down.
When I first started blogging, I called my site “A Dollar a Day” and put aside (you guessed it) one dollar every day. After the end of the year, I used that money to buy stock in Kraft, and that has been going quite well for me. I’m not going to get rich on an initial $365 investment, but it was a smart move on my part. That stock has since split off into two separate companies, and now the potential merger of Kraft and Heinz has the numbers up even higher. I’m not planning to sell – I’m a long term investor. But man, it’s fun to watch that number grow.
Here’s where the real information lies. Am I saving money like I should?
The short answer is no. But I’m doing better. One of my big goals this year is to put aside money every month to really be ready for my big annual bills (tax payments, insurance, etc). So far, so good. That means that the cash accounts are growing, but it’s not real savings, just preparation for upcoming bills. But I’m not saving like I could. I’m continuing to try to tighten my purse strings. I’m also working on other ways to bring in some cash. I’ve been a bit of a packrat over the years, and one of my goals for the spring is to really declutter the house. That has meant getting rid of a lot of stuff. Much of it is going to donation centers, but there are some items that need to be listed on eBay for sale. I’m also keeping boxes of stuff for the neighborhood yard sale. I won’t get rich there, but it feels better than just throwing everything away.
Things are moving in the right direction. I’m getting better at putting money away. I’m getting better at controlling my random spending. It helps that I don’t have any travel planned for the next few months, which always puts a huge dent in my bank accounts. I plan to be a bit of a homebody for the next few months and I’m really looking forward to it. Not only for the rest, but also for the savings.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.