Welcome to September everyone!
As summer approaches its tail end, it’s time to reflect upon what I did this past month to pay off debt and reach my financial goals.
August was a very low-spend month for me, as I spent a lot of time outdoors hiking or on the water, and with people I care about — rather than spending more on entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, I stopped spending money on books and e-books after finding the OverDrive app. And I cut my grocery bill significantly by not buying any meat.
All of that saving contributed to one of my strongest months for paying off student loan debt.
Here’s what happened in August:
The good: So, in case you can’t tell, I am into paying off debt — like, really into paying off debt. That’s why what I’m most excited about this month was taking a big bite out of my student loan debt. I knocked off $3500 of student loan debt — or 3% off the total. What makes this even more special is that I had only averaged $800 per month in debt payoff the five months prior.
The OK: Adding $4400 to my retirement savings was OK. Wait, a $4400 gain was just OK? Yes, because much of it was largely expected due to a work anniversary and my conservative accounting. Another big chunk of it came from market gains, which I have no control over. Yes, it’s nice for company contributions to vest and it’s definitely nice to see the market go up, but I know that neither are things I can hope to repeat consistently. To the right, you’ll see a pie chart of where this month’s jump came from.
The lesson: Reaching personal finance goals is all about ATTITUDE!
August 2014 goal results
Here’s how I did at trying to achieve all the goals I set last month:
Goal #1: Pay off $3500 in debt in August. Pass! See above. This feels like a pretty solid accomplishment and I’ll be working hard to keep going this strong.
Goal #2: Add $4500 to my net worth. Pass. Actually, it looks like my net worth increased by nearly $8,000 this past month. What a month, that August!
Goal #3: No buying meat. Pass. Since I do a lot of my own cooking, this wasn’t very tough at all. In the few instances I had to eat out, it got a bit tougher. Still, not buying meat saved a lot of money and was a very big help in paying off debt!
Goal #4: Run 80 miles. Fail. I got to 65 miles this month, which feels like a lot — especially when the Nike+ Running app broadcasts the results out to everyone I know. Still, a bit of a disappointment as late nights meant that I often had to decide between getting a reasonable amount of sleep and getting a morning runs in. That’s definitely something I have to work on for both my running and sleep goals.
Goal #5: Tend to career. Neutral. I think I did a decent job of this. One of the best ways to tend to a career is by doing well at my current job and I think I did a particularly good job this past month. I also gave out a couple informational interviews this past month, which doesn’t necessarily help me, except in a karmic sense — which sometimes feels just as important. I’m also up to date on LinkedIn and my résumé, so that’s good. Where I failed was that I missed out on more than a couple networking happy hours that I had wanted to go to because of double-booking and because of general malaise. Yet another reason I need to be better at sleeping. Uf…
And that was my month! How did everyone else do on your August goals?