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Net Worth

At the beginning of the month we examine last month’s finances and see how it’s affected our net worth. The purpose of the net worth reviews is to give us a regular system to look at our accounts, see what’s changed, and analyze what went well and what we need to work on.

Net Worth Review: Looking Back on June

At the beginning of the month we examine last month’s finances and see how it’s affected our net worth. The purpose of the net worth reviews is to give us a regular system to look at our accounts, see what’s changed, and analyze what went well and what we need to work on.

  • Net worth reviews gives us an opportunity to talk. We have spoken about money before doing these net worth reviews, but having these reviews on a monthly basis has become a part of our schedule.
  • Comparing our budget to actual spending is valuable. These reviews allows us to see if what we planned is reasonable or if we completely missed the mark.
  • We get to see our progress (or lack of) on our financial goals for the year. It’s  handy tool for checking up on our annual and long term goals.

That said, we don’t obsess over the specific numbers when it comes to our net worth. It’s simply a snapshot that we use to gauge our financial progress.

Cash and Bank Accounts

The bank accounts are holding steady which makes us feel pretty good, considering how many expenses came up with the cars and with the business (taxes and licenses). The checking balance decreased by a bit, lowering our buffer, but savings has been doing well. We’ll need it this month as we’ll be purchasing a replacement car for my husband. Our Freedom Fund is gaining a bit of interest over at Ally, which always welcomed.

Mortgage and HOAs

One of our long term financial goals is to pay off our mortgage way before we retire.  Currently our balance on the mortgage is $101, 743. With payments automated, we’re expecting to be under $100,000 by the end of the year.

Retirement Accounts

Our retirement contributions aren’t included in our joint expenses above simply because they are taken out before the money hits our accounts. For the most part, everything is automated, so we just check on a monthly basis that the our 401(k) and IRAs have been funded.

We’re not planning on making any changes to our retirement contribution amounts right now as we focused on paying the student loan off early.

Car Expenses

Since we were down to one car last month, expenses were a bit more due to juggling our trips between us. We also went on a small family vacation and got the car ready by replacing one of the tires that had a nail in it.

In case you’re wondering how I calculate the vehicles’ values, I used Kelly Blue Book. Every quarter I’ll update the values to account for depreciation.

Student Loans

We have one student loan between us. Nothing exciting or new, we’re just chugging along with the student loan payments. Payments have been automated so it’s been relatively easy to keep up with them; we just confirm payments have been made each month.

Thoughts on Money in June

Now that everything has been summarized, it’s time to look at the numbers. Here’s our net worth from the spreadsheet:

Net Worth: $95,709.29

Happy to see us inching to the six figure mark. With a planned car purchase this month, we’ll have to get our savings built up again. I’d love to hear from you about your family’s own money review. How was June for you?

Net Worth Review: Wrapping Up the Debt Movement

At the beginning of the month we examine last month’s finances and see how it’s affected our net worth. The purpose of the net worth reviews is to give us a regular system to look at our accounts, see what’s changed, and analyze what went well and what we need to work on.

April was a month of money moving around. We had taxes to pay for my business, our car needed to be repaired, student loans were paid down, and we opened IRA as we simplified our finances.

The Debt Movement Over?

So April was the end of The Debt Movement‘s 90 day challenge. If you remember Jeff had a huge goal of getting $10 million paid off. It was reached, but in just 3 months over $415,000 of debt was eliminated.

How about us? We paid off $4,362.13 off since January 1st. That means we decreased our student loan balance by 25%! Just because the 90 day challenge is over doesn’t mean we’ll quit on getting rid of the student loan. The challenge was the perfect jump-start for the year.

We’re planning and scheduling extra payments for the rest of the year. Let’s see how much we can get rid off in 2013!

Things Are Looking Up in Our Neighborhood

It looks like things are picking up in our development. Sales have seemed to increase and building is winding down as builders are finishing up with the last court of homes being built.

One of our neighbors recently listed their place for sale. We’re thinking of putting our place for sale, but we’re waiting to see how things go with them.  They have a similar layout and square footage to our townhouse, so that makes us a bit more curious to see what it sells for. They listed it higher than we estimated for our places, but they may be right on the money.

In the meantime, we continue with our mortgage payments as usual and we’re prepping the house should be make the move to put it on sale.

Car Troubles

The Celica had the same problems last month with it once in a blue moon not starting. We took it into the shop and it was a defective battery. After swapping it and testing it out for about a week, the mechanic said it looked good. Let’s hope that it stays in good condition for awhile.

Retirement Accounts

Our retirement contributions aren’t included in our joint expenses above simply because they are taken out before the money hits our accounts. For the most part, everything is automated, so we just check on a monthly basis that the accounts are alright.

We’re not planning on making any changes to our retirement contribution amounts right now as we focused on paying down our debt.

Thoughts on April

Now that everything has been summarized, it’s time to look at the numbers. Here’s our net worth from the spreadsheet:

Net Worth (as of  April 30, 2013): $92,587.85

Happy to say are finances are moving in the right direction. I shared our progress and bumps in April. Any tips? I’d love to hear from you about your family’s own money review. How was last month for you?

Net Worth Review: March Madness

At the beginning of the month we examine last month’s finances and see how it’s affected our net worth. The purpose of the net worth reviews is to give us a regular system to look at our accounts, see what’s changed, and analyze what went well and what we need to work on.

This month had some big expenses this month – student loans, life insurance premiums, and stocking up on supplies for Costco (plus renewing our membership).In addition, we had a family trip to celebrate the in laws’ anniversary plus we adopted a cat. Whew! It didn’t really hit me until I just wrote that list here. Happy to say are finances are moving in the right direction.

Pay the Student Loan Faster

We reached a milestone last month with our student loans – we got it down by 21%. Seeing it go down by a few thousand has been motivation to keep at it. Even though there are times when sending in extra money towards it has made me feel a bit down, I know that it’s the right choice for us in the long run.

Too bad that our loan servicer has changed. We’ll have to pause on the payment until this transition is completed. Once everything is in place, though, we’ll send in the money as soon as possible.

Simplifying Our House

Besides getting some projects done around the house for possibly selling it later this year, we’re also boxing and bagging stuff to sell or donate. It’s the season for spring cleaning and I’m trying to get rid of clothes, toys, gadgets, and other stuff that we hardly or do not use anymore.

Eating Machines

Our food expenses continue to be a big chunk of our monthly expenses. We don’t spend much on entertainment and other things, so food is where we tend to splurge. however March was above our average spending due to a Costco run that had us restocking on some staples and the fact that we had to renew our membership.

With The Produce Box starting up again this month, we’re expecting it to decrease a bit as we rely on our weekly in season produce deliveries. this will be our third year with them and we’re better about storing and saving any extra produce we have from our orders. We’ve also started up the garden out front so we can have some fresh herbs and veggies when we cook.

Our Cars

Even though gas prices were hovering around $3.50/gallon last month, we stayed within our budget. With the trip to VA, we spent more gas of course, but we managed to get some really mileage out of it.

It looks like this month, though, we’ll be spending money on both cars. The Celica had problems starting last week. We had the trip so we waited until we got back to call the shop. I also have to get the state inspection done on the Accord and renew registration. Hopefully the Celica’s problem will be minor.

Retirement Accounts

Our retirement contributions aren’t included in our joint expenses above simply because they are taken out before the money hits our accounts. For the most part, everything is automated, so we just check on a monthly basis that the accounts are alright. We’re not planning on making any changes to our retirement contribution amounts right now as we focused on paying down our debt.

I’m actually planning on making a change to my IRA in April. I’m hoping to rollover my current IRAs into a Vanguard account to both simplify my finances and to save a just a smidge with fees. When looking at our accounts through Mint, I noticed that the total has spread out among several banks and I think I’d like to tidy it up a bit.

Thoughts on March’s Money

Now that everything has been summarized, it’s time to look at the numbers. Here’s our net worth from the spreadsheet:

Net Worth (as of  March 31, 2013): $87,740.65

I shared our progress and bumps in March. Any tips? I’d love to hear from you about your family’s own money review. How was last month for you?

Net Worth Review: Looking Back At February

At the beginning of the month we examine last month’s finances and see how it’s affected our net worth. The purpose of the net worth reviews is to give us a regular system to look at our accounts, see what’s changed, and analyze what went well and what we need to work on.

This month’s review will be a different as I’m trying to adjust the format. Please feel free to share your tips below on the comments!

february 2013 spending

Student Loan is Going Down!

As you can see above, our biggest expense by far was our payment was with our student loans. When we sold the VW Jetta, we took a portion of that money and paid down our student loan. It was actually my first choice when we were talking about what to do with the cash. The advantage with this choice is that we lowered our overall debt, but as far as our current cash flow goes, there is no change. Should we get tight on money, however, we can suspend our payments. According to the site, our next payment on the loan isn’t scheduled until 2015. It feels good to be ahead on the student loan.

The Debt Movement is still going strong with several online chats with Google Hangout and it’s been helping me to stay motivated, being in a community of like minded people. With a minimum of $330/month going towards the loan, we’re hoping to shrink the loan considerably this year.

There’s No Place Like Home

It was pretty much business as usual with our housing expenses. starting this month, though, we’ll have an increase with our mortgage payments since we need to put more money into escrow. Right now our balance with the mortgage is $102,706. It’s kind of exciting to see the balance getting closer to five figures ;)

Our long term goal is to pay off our mortgage early and we’ve manage to knock off a few years already. While we still want to pay down our mortgage quicker we have other goals that we feel are more of a priority.

Eat, Eat, Eat

As we’ve had for quite some time, our food expenses are a big chunk of our monthly expenses. We have been cooking more at home, learning a few new recipes. When we do eat out, we try to eat at spots that are highly recommended by our friends and are very reasonably priced. No need to spend a lot of money on so-so food.

Auto and Transport

Both cars did well last month – no maintenance or repairs needed. while gasoline prices have increased quite a bit, we’re still doing well with our transportation budget. We’ve set aside some money in the car fund for regular maintenance and services needed to keep them running for awhile. I’m expecting to use some of it for a tune-up this month and for state inspection in April.

In case you’re wondering how I calculate the vehicles’ values, I used Kelly Blue Book. Every quarter I’ll update the values to account for depreciation.

Retirement Accounts

Our retirement contributions aren’t included in our joint expenses above simply because they are taken out before the money hits our accounts. For for the most part, everything is automated, so we just check on a monthly basis that the accounts are alright.

We’re not planning on making any changes to our retirement contributions right now as we focused on paying down our debt. We’ll keep up with our current contributions in 2013.

Thoughts on February’s Finances

I shared our progress and bumps in February. Any tips? I’d love to hear from you about your family’s own money review. How was February for you?

For those who have been following the net worth series for a bit, you may be wondering where the finally tally is at. As far as the actual numbers go, I’m going to share them on a quarterly basis. For the most part, we’ve been having steady increases month to month, hardly anything exciting, but I do think that it’s fun to drop the numbers every once in a awhile. What do you think?

Photo Credit: The Cleveland Kid

Net Worth Review: Looking Back at 2012

I usually end my review with the net worth total, but for the year end review, I’m going to share my numbers first. From there I’ll share the ups and downs we had.

When we started out last year our net worth was at $71,999.38Now 12 month later, our net worth is $78,202.12. When I first looked at the numbers I was a bit confused, we had seen some good improvements most months, but then looking back I realized that $20,000 drop in home’s appraisal value was the culprit. So we’re a bit above that number even with the home’s value still lower.

Our Spending for 2012

I think the first place to start off is reviewing over our family’s spending trends. For this review I used Mint to grab that data from our accounts and create a chart.

As you can see above, we spent the most last April. That was when we bought our family car.  It was definitely the biggest purchase we made last year and right now I can’t imagine even spending close that amount for quite awhile.

Besides looking at how much we spent last year, I thought it would be fun to pull up a chart on how we spent our money in 2012. I used Mint again to get the data and here is what it gave us.

I think it’s a handy chart except for the nebulous other category. When I checked to see what transactions it included, it ranged from doctors visits, life insurance payments, and vet visits. Quite a mixed bag, but at least I saw where our money went last year.

Our mortgage and home related expenses remain our highest monthly expenses. I’m predicting that auto and transport costs will be drastically cut this year as we have no plans to buy another car.

For food and dining, I wouldn’t mind it remaining the same overall. I would however like to see the eating out costs to go down a bit. That would mean cooking a bit more at home.

Since we covered how we spent our money overall, I wanted to review our expenses category by category.

House and Mortgage

We started off 2012 with our mortgage balance at $107,844. By December 31, our balance was $103,193. Besides sending in our regular mortgage payments, we sent it an additional monthly payment to go towards the principal.

Our goal is to pay off our mortgage years before we retire and while we still want to pay down our mortgage quicker we have other goals that we feel are more pressing.

Retirement Accounts

We had a solid year with our retirement investments in 2012. For the most part we just continued automated contributions and we rebalanced our portfolio as necessary.

We’re not planning on making any changes to our retirement contributions right now as we focused on paying down our debt. We’ll keep up with our current contributions in 2013.

Cars and Auto Expenses

Our auto expenses were higher than normal due to buying a new (to us) car last year. They should be much lower in 2013. Looking at our cars’ current conditions, we’ll set aside some money in the car fund for regular maintenance and services needed to keep them running for awhile.

Student Loans

Like we mentioned before, one of our goals this year is to pay down the student loan. With a minimum of $330/month going towards the loan, we’re to get the balance cut down by at least 25%. We’re hoping that any extra income, including tax refunds and bonuses will be used to bring the balance down further.

Thoughts on 2012′s Budget and Expenses

Well, that’s it for us on last year. We’re hoping to do better with 2013 and reach our financial goals.  I’d love to hear from you about your money review. What was the biggest expense in 2012 for your family? What was the best month you had for savings? How did your investments do last year?

Photo Credit: Horia Varlan