Tuesday, November 6, 2007

October Update

My net worth went up last month, but just by a smidge, no thanks to the dismal performance of my Rollover IRA. I'm really thinking about ending my stock picking experiment and just finding some nice index funds to park that money in. On the spending front, Mint (which I'm loving by the way), says I was in line in most categories, and actually did great on restaurants AND groceries.

That was offset by quite a few things:
  • my car insurance payment, which luckily fell to only $600 this year. A lot less than last year's $1000, but still a good chunk to come out all at once
  • shopping, both for myself and presents, this included a winter coat, a dress for my upcoming 25th birthday, and jeans (which I can wear to work), all probably too expensive, but I think I'll get lots of wear out of them
  • personal care, manicures, pedicures, hair, and waxing: it's kind of a known weakness of mine, I feel like I need to keep myself looking good as a young professional woman, but that tends to be both expensive and time consuming
I'm looking at three more months of pretty heavy spending, between my birthday, my mom's birthday, 2 grandfathers' birthdays, my boyfriend's birthday, the holidays, the ski season, braces and business school apps coming up, but I guess winter's just always worse for my personal finances.

On the bright side, I got the promotion and will be getting the raise that comes with it on January 1st, plus my company's stock has been going through the roof, and if it stays where it is until the end of the month, I'll have a very nice profit on my stock purchase plan on the 30th.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

September Net Worth Update

Looks like I had a bigger increase than last month, but I think that's more due to the markets being less volatile this month than much of anything else. Also, I'd actually be getting larger increases if I didn't include my car (since it's a depreciating asset), but like I said before, I'm choosing to leave it on until the loan is paid off. At that point I'll take the hit and remove it from my calculations.

I did manage to spend a lot less on dining out in September than I had in August, in large part by resolving to buy my lunch at work no more than once a week, but that's actually not reflected in my September net worth, since due to the fact that I use credit cards for almost all my expenses, most things take a month or two to impact my net worth. I did spend a lot this month on presents for various people and occasions and for theater tickets for my entire family for September (part of which will be given to them as presents and the other part I'll get reimbursed for), but those are things that are important to me, and I'll miss that money much less than I would if I had spent it on restaurant meals.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New York Times Does It Again

Every once in a while they'll come out with an article that just strikes a chord with me. One that makes me wish I was a subscriber, until I remember the mountains of unread paper that come with being one and not being able to keep up, of course. This particular article was not only particularly apt, but also very timely for me.

As a girl that's had a "real job" since I was barely 21 I've always struggled with this. My boyfriend is a PhD student, so his current income is definitely a lot less than mine, but he could potentially make a lot more than me in the future, which sort of balances it out. But what if he doesn't? Or I end up with someone else that never will? Is that something that I would be ok with? As my income keeps inching towards 6 figures, I have to keep asking myself these questions. The higher my income gets, the smaller my pool of eligible men, if I'm only willing to consider those that make more than me. It seems silly. And yet, as much as I tell myself that it doesn't matter, it keeps turning out that it does in many small ways. If my high-earner boyfriend pays for me, I feel grateful and treated. But when I know the treat is coming out of a student's stipend, I feel guilty. Sometimes when I look at the price tag of a gift I want to give him, I change my mind because I know he couldn't afford to spend as much on me.

Is it weird that when I was offered the opportunity to apply for a large promotion at work on Monday I hesitated for a split second because I thought the associated raise might price me out of the dating pool? (It was only a second people... I'm interviewing for it on Friday.) I guess at least this article, while it offers no solutions, has convinced me that I'm not alone.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

August Net Worth Update

Life's gotten the better of my blogging over the last couple of weeks, but I've still been keeping an eye on my net worth (if not controlling it as closely as I'd like). I've made a couple of big decisions that will likely affect my financial life in the next couple of years, but more on that later. For now, just the standard garden-variety net worth update.

The good news is even without being too careful, I'm still up just short of $1000 this month. It would have been more, but I decided to downgrade my car from "Excellent" to "Clean" condition because it ended up going off-roading a little during a recent camping trip. I'm pretty sure it's fine, but Jettas aren't really designed to off-road, so I decided to take that hit. It's about $400, but I guess I have a car so I can drive it, not stare at it and wonder how much it'll sell for. I'll do better financially by driving it to the ground than selling it anyway (not that I won't need to take good care of it for that).

The stock market kept taking a hit, so the $100 gained there is sadly just the part of my contributions that wasn't eaten by losses. Other than that, I spent a little more than I would have liked, and kept plugging away at my debt. I'm thinking about starting up a few new 0% balance transfers within the coming months, but I won't track those in my net worth.

Goals for September are pretty simple. I think I'm going to try to go out to lunch not more than once during the week and curb extra spending. Somehow a ton of my friends were born in November, so that always ends up being an expensive month for me and I'll need to build up a cushion for that and my own birthday in January (not to mention the braces, and my other plans mentioned above).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Watching a Down Arrow

Like many people with any money in the stock market, I've been watching my investments go into freefall mode over the last couple of weeks. I am comfortable with losses since all the money I have invested is in retirement accounts, and therefore extremely long term (40+ years) but when you start seeing numbers like -11%, even with that long term outlook it takes some deep breathing and repeating of the "i don't need this money for another 40 years" mantra to not hit that sell button. What goes down must come back up eventually, right?