While recovering from my cardio-thoracic surgery, it’s been a lot of laying low. And not driving, which means not working (as I’m a rideshare-app driver in NYC). BUT it does mean lots of extra time for combing through finances, and I noticed an interesting new slant on things recently. Since the beginning of this year (actually a few months prior to, but I somehow lost track of a few months’ data) I’ve been tracking my net-worth. The process initially began with simply logging into personal capital at the beginning of each month. Then I’d record the figure that’s spit-out at the top. As all of my bank accounts are linked to personal capital, this seemed to be a reliable method.
Along these lines, as the months have progressed my methodologies for tracking net-worth have become somewhat more sophisticated. And I’m really digging my spreadsheet now, as the data are seemingly more reliable; because this requires me to manually login and record the individual numbers from each account. This way I’m getting real-time snapshots of where each account is at, and ensures all my passwords/usernames are functioning, up-to-date, etc. What I learned today is that, on average, my net-worth has increased by $923 per month since January. This was discovered by simply taking the mean of my net-worth increases over the past nine months, which I started tracking simultaneously since the year’s beginning too.
Therefore, if I’ve been humming along this whole while with almost $1k in net-worth increases per month, sooooo why not try to crossover the $1k mark? Boom. Really, I’d just have to find an extra $77 PER MONTH to nail this challenge. And that breaks down to just $19.25 per week! How many ways could you save an extra 20 bucks per week?
- Pack a bagged lunch three days per week
- Cancel gym membership
- Sell a few extra things online
- Spend an extra hour at work
- Some/all of the above
Bam. Sounds like a shoe-in to me! The only issue that I can see now is that I’m already doing most of those things just described. So I’ll really have to scrimp n’ save to get to the $1k part; however, as I invest more and more, those investments might start producing bigger and bigger dividends. So that could be one way additional way to help get me across the target line. I guess the savings challenge could be to cross the $1k net-worth increase for the next three consecutive months? As it might take a while for the overall mean to get up over the hurdle.
Similarly, with the new year rapidly approaching having an increased-savings goal might be a great goal to implement next January. Although historically, this is probably one of the worst times of year to start new “resolutions.” As we all know how those typically pan-out. Still it’s definitely worth monitoring over time, as I’ve been doing, and will continue to do.
And getting control over one’s finances is all about little tweaks here and there right?
Definitely. As it’s all about the small incremental gains over time that eventually lead to those “woah, look at that stack of money” moments. Otherwise, I get lost in the weeds when it comes to how much I’m actually accruing each month. That was until I started tracking net-worth, at the beginning of this year.
I’ve also begun to realize that challenging myself, and making money mastery into a series of little games (i.e., gamifying) helps to reduce the drab boring-ness of it. And the more I think about, and practice using money well, the more likely I’ll stay interested and enthusiastic about it too.
Similarly, having a supportive atmosphere to immerse oneself into can help to keep motivated about saving money. Often times I will attempt to bring up finances with friends and/or family, only to watch as their eyes glaze over/begin shutting. I honestly can’t carry on a financial conversation with my spouse for more than five minutes, without the topic getting hijacked into something work-related. Which i guess is same ballpark?
Yup, there ya’ go! Anyway, back to the challenge at hand: a few months (we’ll say three) of net-worth increases of $1k or more, starting now. After three months, I’ll recalibrate the overall number (i.e., the mean of net-worth increases), and see if it’s over $1k too. If not, then check back once a month to see how long it takes to push the baby across the finish line. This might start off slowly, especially with the holiday season upon us. Just something for the back-burner for now, and hopefully when I launch my Challenge Everything savings this January I’l have my first >$1k net-worth increase too.
Finally, if I’m successful in getting three straight $1k net-worth increase, I will need a reward of some kind to reinforce these good habits. I’m thinking a $100 shopping spree at the local flea market? Or lottery tickets?
How long have you been tracking net-worth? Does gamifying your savings have any effect on net-worth increases?