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June – August 2005 Monthly Review

I’ve been a little derelict in my monthly reviews because I’ve fallen off the budgeting horse – but I have some good excuses! The month spent living in my friend’s basement plus the last month of not having the Internet at home has meant my computer at home has laid dormant for the better part of two months. Normally I’ve kept careful records on my computer but with the two month hiatus I’ve enjoyed not recording every possible transaction I’ve had. What you will read below is instead a summary of the last few months and major financial decisions I’ve made.

Documented extensively in this long-winded and extremely boring linkfest of an article [3] (unless you are buying a house, then I think you’ll find it fascinating), my rent went from a very affordable $600/mo. rent to a $1,900/mo. mortgage (which includes taxes, etc). I spent a month living in my friend’s basement (paying less in rent) which was an interesting experience. Sleeping is easier when you can close a door to your room… even if you’re absolutely certain no one is going to come in anyway. (this doesn’t even touch upon the amount I’ve since spent on improvements and other little things)

Fixed Monthly Costs:
The biggest drop was in transportation. With my girlfriend moving down, the EZPass bills of approximately $40 a month fall off the table. In addition, we’d each probably been paying around $120/mo for gasoline (I’ve kept accurate gas consumption records in a vain attempt to figure out if gasoline really matters) which was only $2/gal the last time I made the MD->NJ->MD trek.
The two months without Internet (and TV really) bills saved me about $40/mo, but that bad boy is back but only at $70/mo for Internet and cable TV minus whatever rebates I will be able to finagle.

I’ve stopped bringing my own lunches and have spent approximately $5 a day on lunch for the better part of the last two months. It’s not every day but when you live in your friend’s basement, it’s extremely difficult to prepare food. I believe I averaged about $20 a week, which is about $10 over my average while living at home.

Net Worth:
Based on bank statements, brokerage account statements, and other financial documents, I believe my current net worth to be approximately $63,913.60. (hovering close to what I reported in April this year) I do not include either the value of the home or the value of my car in this calculation.

Recently, my net worth has held steady despite earning an income because I’ve decided to put as much money as I can into the second mortgage, which has an interest rate of 7.585%. Given the “high” rate, I’ve tried to pay as much as possible and the mortgage (originally $29,500, of which I was able to pay off $10k immediately) is now around $10,000. I hope to finish it off within a year. (yeah, that’s the first semi-long term goal I’ve set for myself) That coupled with the expenses of owning a home and you’re looking at quite a bit of money being spent.

My Roth IRA also took a huge hit when Jamdat Mobile lost 20% of its value when it released earnings but my 401(k) has performed admirably, unfortunately I have cut by my contribution to close to the minimum (to get more cash on hand because of the home).

I apologize for the vagueness of this “summary” but I don’t have much else to provide in the way of recapping the last few months. I’ve tried to hit the major points and if there are some more questions you have, write it in the comments and I’ll try to respond.