A Q4’17 Saving Update – How did I do in 2017?

I can’t believe the year is over! It’s flown by; I don’t know if that’s a result of getting older, or because it’s just been a crazy year. A year ago, if you had told me that I would be closing in on a six-figure net worth, growing my income by 20%, and generally crushing my financial goals, I would’ve been somewhat dubious.

Q4’17, How’d I do?

Last quarter, I realized I had managed a savings rate of 64%, using the take-home method to calculate this percentage as opposed to the gross income method (a 48% savings rate, which is also good). In October, I took a two-week vacation to China! I knew my savings rate was going to take a big hit, but I’m fine with that. I got to travel with friends and see family, and that’s more valuable than anything.

My Q4’17 savings rate was….🥁🥁*drumroll please*🥁🥁

42%! (34% using the gross income method)

I’m honestly pleasantly surprised at this. In December, I really let loose. I spent a ton of money on presents for friends and family, went on my trip to China, and just generally didn’t keep my wallet as close to my chest as I did in Q3. My savings rate may have dropped by one-third, but this still felt like a productive quarter. Because I’ve been saving so aggressively this year, my recent spending really feels like I’ve been balling out, when in fact I’ve maintained a solid savings rate.

Thoughts on 2017

Category breakdown of $27K in expenses

My biggest life expense is ballroom dancing. It’s something I love to do and costs me a ridiculous amount of money. My next two largest spending categories, food and rent, are nothing by comparison.

I’ve written before on how important it is to pursue hobbies, but it may be time for me to finally move on. When I first started dancing, I was spending ~$550 a month. Now, it’s moved on up to $700. I’m not competing (anymore 😭), I don’t have a dance partner, and a single class once a week isn’t enough exercise for me to stay in shape. With $7K a year, I could sign up for all sorts of fitness classes, and still have plenty of funds leftover for my other goals. I’ve got to finish up my current class package, so let’s see if I actually manage to go through with this. 😅

Cash Fasting successes of 2017:

  1. Ian is full-on focusing on paying off his student loans. This is one of the things I’m most excited to track in 2018. After discovering that he was making little progress on his loans, he’s looked into ways he can refinance his debt and pay it off much faster than originally planned, with quite a bit of success. More details to come soon!
  2. I paid off my student debt! $35K in 3 years. I’ve been mentioning this consistently over the past few months, but the excitement still hasn’t worn off. 😁
  3. I received a huge raise at work. Instead of losing me to another company that was willing to pay me 20% more than what I was making at the beginning of the year, my company decided to increase my pay, which has significantly improved my savings ability.
  4. The blog lives! Yes, I went through a rough patch this year and my post production has dropped off, but I’m still committed to Cash Fasting. Plus, I made $20 somehow?? I love writing about personal finance. This year, I plan on doubling down. Less personal musings on finances, and more helpful guides and information!

I’m very grateful for the education I’ve had and the privilege that has allowed me to save what I’ve been able to. My net worth is now $93,671, which is already up more than I expected when I shared my net worth for the first time back in November. Part of the increase is thanks to gifts from family. I don’t have grandparents in the United States; that’s just how things sometimes are when you’re the children of immigrants. I’ve never been someone who regularly received gifts from my grandparents, but one side of the family gifted me $3K (a never-before-seen occurrence! Thanks, grandma), which went straight to savings and to cover holiday spending. I also severely underestimated how maxing out my 401(k) and Roth IRA contributions steadily increases my net worth. I’m going to hit the six-figure mark far earlier than I expected!

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New year, new us, right?? Nah. 2018, bring it on, but I’m just going to keep on chugging along. 🚂

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