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!
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.
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.
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?
Besides writing here on Couple Money, I write on some wonderful sites, including TurboTax. This past week has a busier than normal. They usually spread out my posts, so I was surprised that a couple were posted the other week. With the tax season in full swing, it looks like more posts are going up to help filers with tax questions. Two of my posts are online right now – Tax Credits and Deductions for Families and Different Ways to Give to Charities You Love. Please share either post with any of your friends!
In addition to my tax posts being up, over at MSN Money’s Frugal Nation Donna’s piece frugal parenting is out. “Does your bundle of joy have to cost a bundle? Three frugal bloggers say ‘no.‘” Yours truly is one of those bloggers 😉 I loved chatting with Donna and grabbing some tips from her and the other parents.
Favorite Personal Finance Posts This Week
Here are some personal finance posts I enjoyed this week. To get all of my Twitter updates as they happen, please follow me here.
Millennials Do Not Have New Job Rules – @mjtm: Loved Evan’s thoughts on Forbes’ piece. It annoys me when I read different posts about how so many things have changed fundamentally that we have to rewrite all the rules, yet it appears that the basics still apply. We have more information and tools at our disposal so you can cast a wider net in your job hunt, but you still have to do the work. Working smarter is great, but you still have to work.
Is There a Best Way to Keep Track of Expenses? @mbhunter: My advice is to find what works for you and stick with it. For us, using apps and tools like Mint has drastically simplified our budget and has made it easy to stay on target.
Paying for Services When There’s a Free Alternative @beatingbroke: Saving money is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to finance. Looking at value can put things in perspective and help you decide if it’s better to do something yourself, go for the ‘free’ option, or pay for a service.
I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I have. Please have a great weekend!