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Net Worth Update: January 2012

You know, I can remember being in ninth grade Global History class, learning about the Mayan calendar and the urban legends about the end of the world, and thinking “Gosh, in 2012, I’ll be 25, turning 26! I’ll be a real adult by then!” Ten years later, I’m figuring out that being 25 and being a “real adult” are two completely different things.

But in the spirit of trying to be a real adult, let’s look at how the numbers have panned out for this month.

Change: +$70 or +0.26 %

Net Worth Graph January 2012

Alright, still recovering a bit from my emotional spending and insane moving costs. I went a little crazy before running the numbers for December. But, all in all, I’m recovering anyways and made just a tiny inch of progress forward this month. Up, not down, is still good… and hopefully I can do better next month.

Since there isn’t a huge amount to talk about monthly-progress-wise, now is a good time to have a looksie at future plans. Longtime readers will be familiar with the idea of my Savings Snowball, but if you’re newer around these parts, here’s a quick explanation:

In order to fulfill multiple savings goals over time, much like a debt snowball, each goal has a minimum payment that gets paid every month, no matter what. Any extra money I can scrounge up goes to the goal on the top. When the goal on the top is met, every dollar that was getting sent to the accomplished goal “snowballs” down into the second goal, and the minimum payment for that goal continues. Therefore, the snowball gains momentum as it goes down the list.

Here’s how things looked the last time I futzed with the snowball:

Savings Snowball as of April 2011

Name Goal Total Progress Monthly Payment
Future Car Fund $10,000 $1096 $50 + All that I can
Travel Rolling $0 $90
Weddings Rolling $1140 $75
Retirement $5,000/year $3,714(total) $150
Charity Fund Rolling $95 $30
Occasionals Rolling $361 $110
Emergency Fund $3,000 $3,183 Achieved!

Now, let’s tweak the numbers a bit here.

First of all, Emergency Fund needs to move back to the top. It’s not pretty, but in the last two months I’ve borrowed from it to avoid carrying credit card debt in my irrational spending spree. Yeah. That happened. So first priority is getting it back up to $3,183.

Secondly, I’m increasing the contributions on Retirement. Not only am I getting a company match on my 401(K) now, but I’d also like to see my contributions inch closer to 10% of my gross salary. It’s not going to happen right away, but I’ll work my way up.

Third, the travel fund needs to be plumped up. Way up. Back in July or August, I started batting around the idea of attending Space Camp with one of my coworkers. We pinky-swore we’d do it in 2013. The cost of the advanced 6-day course is about $999 and it would need to be paid before this time next year (as I see many of the courses are already booked solid for 2012!). My current contribution of $90/month would get me there, but it wouldn’t allow any wiggle room for any other travel this year. And I’m just too young and crazy not to travel as much as I can reasonably manage!

With those things in mind, and updates to the progress I’ve made since April, the Savings Snowball now looks like…

Name Goal Total Progress Monthly Payment
Emergency Fund $3,183 $2140 All that I can
Future Car Fund $10,000 $2,192 $50
Travel/SPACE CAMP Rolling $90 $150
Weddings Rolling $852 $75
Retirement $5,000/year $150 for 2012 $325
Charity Fund Rolling $60 $30
Occasionals Rolling $545 $110

(The $325/month for retirement includes both the automatic deductions from my paycheck for my 401(K) and the manual contributions I make to my Roth IRA.)

So there it is! All neat and tidy and updated, and a little depressing. I made very little progress on goals since April, and I backslid on my Emergency Fund. But, the good news is that I should be able to fully fund that E-Fund in February, and then progress down the snowball into Future Car Fund again.

We’ll see if I’m right about a month from now! Happy February, everyone!

32 responses to “Net Worth Update: January 2012”

  1. Phil Miles

    Hi Stephanie,

    Don’t be disappointed, a lot of people do not have a plan. And the first step is to have a plan. I know you will achieve your goals. Good luck!

  2. Aakansha

    At least you planning for your future, in spite the Mayan calendar so called End of the world. The determination you have could be gauged from this post itself.

  3. Kathy Springfield

    A burning issue:)) I have just thought during the kast few days about my boy-friend’s being 25 and still not so much of an adult as I’d want him to be:) But it’s ok, life will give us all a chance to grow up one day.

  4. Philip Campbell

    Hi Stephanie. Just found your posts and have enjoyed reading them. I am starting on a book about student loans and how student loans work out for people and wanted to see if you would be open to doing that. Could be by email or phone or both. My view on student loans is they are harming as many people (if not more) than they are helping. Not suggesting your experience is in that category or not but would love to talk/email with you if you are open to that. Thanks for considering it.

  5. Young

    Keep pushing towards those goals. Wish you the best of luck and prosperity in 2012!! Stay young and thrifty 🙂

  6. Ayesha

    I love the snowball idea! My sister used to educate me about saving money and put them in jars that each have a purpose of their own like emergency fund, contingency fund, and other kinds of fund. 😀

  7. Tom

    What’s up, just wanted to tell you, I loved this post? It just so very helpful. Keep on posting!

  8. Myra

    This post was so helpful, I’m trying to figure out how to stop spending on my credit cards every month too. I hate it when I have to dip into my reserve funds to pay them off.

  9. Emilia

    Having a savings account can be a really good thing especially if there will be emergency things that will happen and you will need a fund for it.

  10. Ben Newton

    Hey Stephanie,

    Thanks for sharing this with me. This information was very helpful and i look forward to reading more of your articles in the future. I think its great that you are young and planning for your financial future the way that you are. Stick to your plan and be consistent! Best of luck.

  11. Jon Smith

    So…it’s been over a month now! Any update?

    Sorry to bother you, I’m just interested.

  12. Joseph Perrotta

    Impressive planning at such an early stage. I’m particularly impressed you have chosen to donate to charity despite the fact that finances are tight. I have always been told that rather than wait for financial freedom to give money, give money first and financial freedom will come.

    Looks like you are on your way!

  13. John

    Taking the time to write out the details of your finances tells me one thing: eventually you’re going to do awesome with money! Attention to detail is important in building wealth. You’ll get there!

  14. Ian Wright

    Like Jon I’m interested to know what’s happened in the last few months. The fact that you are able to improve your net worth in this economy is really a good sign. Hope things are still on the same track.

  15. Jennifer

    Great idea. How do you keep those funds separately, and track on them. Or keep all together but separate on your docs only?

  16. pty_fan

    I just wanted to write that this is a very helpful blog. This article is great.

  17. Sally Stretton

    Hi Stephanie,

    Just stumpled across this blog. I LOVE the snowball idea. Something about it’s simplicity and in built dedication.

    It’s also really admirable that you donate to charity, even when the goals are still there to be met. I don’t know that I could find a way to do that, as selfish as it seems.

    Good luck,

  18. Nikita Sharma

    hmm..really impressive one. The way you have planned so far and achieved is really good and inspiration to others. Now I am really interested to plan such strategy for safe future…thanks again to share such info over here.

  19. Regim hotelier

    At least you planning for your future, in spite the Mayan calendar so called End of the world

  20. Daniel

    that is one of the challenges of being an adult. We often need to plan things ahead. I am very impress and you reminded me that I may need to monitor my goals as well. Thank you for sharing.

  21. Rose

    I love the snowball idea. I have always just put my wages straight into a savings account then gave myself an income out of the savings. I have managed to save a decent amount but it is hard to stick to it without a list of goals to achieve. Money is not worth anything if there is nothing to spend it on i guess!

  22. Painter in Toronto

    I wish i could manage my spending the way you do. I have no issues with debts ( as a matter of fact i have never paid interest on credit cards or loans). I just have problems managing the money that comes out of my business and personal accounts. I have no idea on how much i spend a month. It is just to hard to manage with all the bills income from business and personal accounts.
    What do you suggest?

  23. Harley@heating and cooling birmingham

    Just found your blog, and it’s really filled with information! We are also working on an ebook, not for students for everyone who wanted home improvements tips, DIY and such. Sharing information is what makes the internet great! Hopefully we can launch this late this month.

  24. Veronica @ Pelican on Money

    Hi Stephanie, any update since February on your savings? I’m really curious how you did over the summer.

  25. Mike Payton

    Hi Stephanie,

    I just found your site linked from a friends blog. You have certainly inspired me to manage my savings better. I am just not as organised as you.

    Anyway its great that you share it all so freely online, I might add something like that to my site!


  26. Hard Money School

    The best thing is that you are thinking and planing for the future and hope it will bring the best for you. Keep doing the same. Good Luck…

  27. Chris at Frieez died food

    I just ended reading some of your previous post and was happy for great new blog in my rss feed, but looks like you stopped writing. Any chance for new posts and updates or you have no more time for this blog?

  28. Far From It

    Hey Stephanie.

    I am new to your blog and there is a LOT of into to read on here. I will have to go through it with a fine toothed comb to catch it all. BUT…I wanted to ask you something. I see that you have a 401K…and that is a pretty “safe” way to invest. I was wondering if you do anything else as far as business ownership or anything like that as being an entrepreneur can be very risky…but also VERY rewarding. You seem to have a pretty level head about finances. Good to see that in someone so young. 🙂 I am “realtively” young, but still wish I had started my path earlier. 😉

    Cliff @ Far From It

  29. Dave Erin

    I am loving the snow ball concept. Quite an inspiration. I am working on a similar concept, but with time spent on certain tasks as opposed to money being saved. I guess time and money are the two things we never seem to have enough of!

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