Photo by Alexander Schimmeck
I have been looking forward to writing this debt and net worth update. It has felt like we have been making progress but I never really know until I plug the numbers into my net worth tracker in Excel.
If you’d like to read more about the details from our last update you can read about it here.
I am pleasantly surprised that our net worth has increased quite significantly… at least in my eyes. And when I say significantly, I mean that the negative number is smaller, but it’s still a negative number ?
Here’s a detailed look at our progress ??
Student loans: We are continuing to focus on my student loans only since Bret’s are still on deferment because he is in school.
It’s really unfortunate that the student loan interest is now accruing on our federal student loans… As you will see in the photo above, we have decreased our student loan balance by about $16,000 in 4 months. This is because I was awarded money from the Oregon State Health Authority to assist me in paying back my loans since I am a behavioral health worker.
In total, I will be getting $88,580.24 which will be dispersed to me on a quarterly basis!
I have received about $22,000 so far this year, but our student loan balance has decreased by $16k because we took out student loans for Bret’s school.
I write about our reasons for taking out student loans in this article but in short, Bret is in grad school and recently learned about some upcoming conferences that would be really helpful for his professional growth.
We might have been able to pinch and save but that seemed like a stressful way to go about it. We also could have put these expenses on our credit cards, but the rates are astronomical (like 25%+) and his loans are around a 7% rate.
So, still a high rate, but not as bad as our credit cards.
Since we are currently living on my income alone, we know that when he starts working again, we will be able to accelerate our debt payoff using his income. So we aren’t stressing too much about it!
Mortgage: We are trucking along with paying our mortgage. We still don’t feel the need to pay it down as soon as possible because we have a 3% interest rate.
Credit cards and other debt: We have consistently maintained our ability to use our credit cards responsibly and I have been successfully able to maximize the points for flights. A huge win!
I mean… I was redeeming points for flights and cashback before we started this journey, but we were also paying interest because we weren’t paying off our cards every month, so it was essentially a wash.
I feel like I am truly in the travel hacking game now!
Cash: I am so happy with where we are at with our emergency fund. Building an emergency fund is hard but I am grateful that we have just been able to save up 1 month’s worth of expenses which is about $4,000.
My goal for us this year was $16,000, so we are a little behind, but that’s okay. Progress, not perfection!
Investments: We are steadily approaching $30k invested in the stock market!
We are continuing to only invest in my employer 403(b) account while we build up our emergency fund. I am hoping within the next few months we can start contributing again to our Roth IRAs.
Home value: Our most recent appraisal was in 2022, and it was valued at $415,000 so I am going to continue to use that number to calculate our net worth for the foreseeable future as we don’t currently plan and/or have a need for getting an updated appraisal.
I recently got a huge raise at work! So between my W-2 job and freelance work, I make $110,500! ?
That’s nuts to even write out a number that large. I never imagined that I could be making this much money. I remember being in grad school and thinking I’d be happy with $60k.
That’s before I was really in tune with my finances and just how much it costs to survive.
I also recently got a new freelance writing gig where I will be writing 1 article a month for Social Work News.
I wrote two articles for them over the summer and one of them performed really well so they offered to make me a staff writer! I am suuuper excited!
The main goals for the remainder of 2023:
- Keep working on that emergency fund — hoping for somewhere between $12k and $16k
- Continue paying on student loans
- Continue investing in my 403(b) account up to the employer match
We have been able to start sinking funds for Christmas gifts and taxes for next year, and it feels great to be able to plan and save for those things, instead of it taking us by surprise.
I am considering doing these updates a little less often unless we have some major changes because I just feel like I am writing similar info from my last update — maybe it’s still helpful to share? If so, please let me know!
Honestly, not having much of a huge update feels good to me. We are in a phase where we know what our goals are and we have the systems in place to continue to work toward them.
I am not committing to that decision just yet, just something I am considering…
Until next time!