Staying on Top of Your Money
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The year is halfway through and this has been one of the busiest we've had in awhile.
We had our second started at the beginning of the year and with her arrival came LOTS of bills. It took a few months, but we finally got them squared away.
I'm still trying to adjust to my new work routine as I take care of both girls during the day.
So far I've settled into a split shift schedule where I take care of work in the early mornings and wrap things up in the evenings.
We're also in the process of selling our current home and hopefully buying another place more conveniently located.
Oh, and we're taking the 2015 Moneystepper Savings Challenge with goals to increase our net worth by 30% and have a 20% savings rate by the end of the year. 😛
Watching Your Money
As you can see we have a lot going on, so now would be a great time to do a Mid-Year Financial check up.
Doing these check-up regularly has some wonderful benefits to your marriage and finances.
- Net worth reviews gives an opportunity to talk. These reviews don't have to be massive sit down, crunch the number sessions. It's just a reason to get to together and chat about your numbers.
- Comparing the budget to actual spending is valuable. Life happens and our finances can be a reflection. Maybe an adjustment has to be made so the budget is more realistic.
- See progress (or lack of) on financial goals for the year. It’s handy tool for checking up on annual and long term goals.
While I share how we're doing so far, I'll also show which tools we use to stay on top of our finances.
Staying on Top of Your Budget
We've been doing a pretty good job taking care of our bills, paying down that student loan, and keeping a buffer with our joint accounts.
However I think it's never a bad idea to review spending to see if there are any money leaks that we may have missed or an expense we can optimize.
I know for many couple the thought of going through a ton of transactions seems daunting and can be enough to push you away from running the number, but there are plenty of ways you can do this quickly and easily.
Our current favorite is using Mint. We've used them for years (you may remember their charts showing up on our old net worth reviews). Setting it up was a cinch – it took about 20 minutes or so to get all of our accounts imported and organized. Now I can log on, go to the trends section, and see where our money has been going without any hassle.
If you want to use Mint to manage your budget, I’d say it’s a handy tool to use.
Looking at Mint, we're doing well sending in the extra payments for the student loans, but I noticed that our vet bills have been higher than normal. I also see we could do a better job with our grocery bills. I'll look at planning our meals for the next few months and see if we can used the money saved to speed up the debt pay off.
Staying on Top of Your Investing
If you are looking at getting a snapshot of how your investments are doing, Personal Capital has some wonderful tools to get you ready. We have several investing accounts between us and so it's handy to have all this information at our finger tips.
Personal Capital offers a free portfolio review so you can check up on your portfolio to make sure things are truly squared away. Besides making sure that your asset allocation meets your plan, you should also see if there is a way you can lower your fees.
Reviewing our accounts, I've noticed that we have to go over my husband's 401(k) to see if we can find investments with lower fees. the benchmark Personal Capital gives is .5% and right now we are at 1.03%. Definitely room for improvement.
Thoughts on Financial Check-Ups
So you know how we're doing with our money; how about you? How are you guys doing so far in 2015? Any unexpected bonuses or setbacks?