December 2018 – Net Worth Update

Hello W-T-Fiers! This is my first Net Worth Update of the blog. I want to use these post to track my progress towards FI, and to determine what my key objectives or “Action Items” are moving into the future. All values arelisted in USD ($). I hope you enjoy!

Net Worth Summary

December 2018 was a hectic & exciting month. I am still adjusting, mentally & financially, to moving to a new city & country (Shenzhen, China). This is the first full month that I’ve been able to track and analyze expenses. It’s also the first month of tracking expenses like utilities, food, & mobile phone.

Unfortunately, I spent most of Christmas Day shouting  English vocabulary words at Chinese children. (That was a first). That night, I made a new friend in a lobbyist from D.C. who was visiting China for a “Drone Convention”.The following day,  instead of spending my day returning an unwanted gift, I made a trip to Hong Kong to see the ballet.  I will be going back again soon (see pictures below)! All things considered, the month of December went well. 


Income ($1440)

Income was down this month because I didn’t work for a full month with my ESL job ($1,163.09). Due to the move, tutoring side-hustle income was also lower than expected at $277.50, because I haven’t had the ability to invest much time into it. Low income months like this are not much to worry about short term, but can be a serious problem long-term.

Expenses ($1441)

Rent ($483)

My largest expense of the month was, of course, rent at $483. This is a fixed expense and will remain the same for the next 12 months. I share a fully furnished two-bedroom apartment in a convenient part of the city (See Photos Below). The management company appears to be professional and responsive. I was a day late paying my rent, because I could not read the directions in the app. The management company locked me out remotely (locked out at a day late? I’m not going to lie, I was pretty impressed). Fortunately, I figured out how to pay and the door was unlocked just as quickly. Whew!

Restaurant ($286)

This expense is much higher than usual because of the move to Shenzhen. I’m going to give myself a break here. I moved to a country that is known for its food and I refuse to miss out on the opportunities to try it. Now that most of the awe has settled, I can anticipate spending much less next month. My favorite meal so far had been the barbecued chicken feet. 

Grocery ($252)

I spent $252.32 on “Groceries” in December. I am very surprised and disappointed by this number because although it says “grocery,” it’s not necessarily from cooking (most of it coming from snacks from convenient stores between work breaks). Thanks to a new friend showing me how to use a  trusty-dusty grocery delivery app, ordering food from a grocery store is even easier. Planning out meals will be more accessible, which means more cooking at home (and trust me, I’ve already begun ordering a lot)!

Credit Card ($102)

My credit card bill was $101.57 for the month. This is just the minimum payment. I know, I know! This is a terrible move financially, but I’ll explain more about my credit card debt in the “debt” section  later. 

Other Expenses

Mobile Phone ($43.92)

I have been using Google FI for the past year. The service is amazing! I particularly like the ability to pay only for what you use. I used Sprint previously and consistently had a bill of $120.00+ per month. After I switched to Fi, my bill varies from $45 – $95 per month. I also have the ability to use the service in other countries  ( China, Hong Kong, US, & Brazil).  If you are interested in joining Google FI please click here.

Utilities ($21.00)

Only $21 dollars for my portion of the utilities this month. December was the first month that I payed utilities in my new apartment, so I am very surprised at how cheap the utility bill actually was! I might just be taking everlasting showers from here on out!

Debt ($14,763)


Credit Card ($2,607)

I’ve accumulated $2,607.00 in credit card debt. Most of the debt came from travel and visa expenses related to moving to China. The good news is, this will be reimbursed by my employer; the bad news, the reimbursement will come later than expected. Nevertheless, I will be paying this credit card off going forward to eliminate anymore high interest accumulation. Hopefully only good news from this area on future updates!

Student Loan ($12,156)

I’ve also accumulated $12,156.02 (6.2% Interest Rate) in student loan debt. With the lower interest rate, I’ve decided to focus on paying off other debts (namely the credit card debt I mentioned before) and just pay the minimum payment. For now.


Cash ($800)

The move really hit my cash reserves hard. I typically would like to keep about $1500 -$2000, but since moving I’ve chipped away little by little. 

Investments ($6,218)

All of my investments are in Equity or Bond Indexes.  I currently have a 90/10 split (Stock/Bonds). This month was not good for the overall stock market in general. My low balance and the fact that I am investing long term makes me not worry about the huge swings in the market.  

Net Worth (As of 12/31/2018) – (-7,745.02)

The loss of cash, moving expenses, and the correction in the Stock Market caused my Net Worth to decrease this month. One goal for 2019 is to have a positive Net Worth and I know this goal is just within my grasp. 

Action Items

  1. Increase Cash Reserves to $1000
  2. Make Extra Payments on Credit Card
  3. Decrease Grocery bill to $200 ($-52)
  4. Decrease Restaurant Budget to $100 ($-186)

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