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It’s the beginning of a new month (and a new year!), which means it’s time for me to 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.
Of course we'd love to see the numbers increase, but the review is more about the how and the why behind the numbers.
Our Spending Habits in December
December was busy! We had our anniversary last month and we went out of town that weekend. We had friends get married and we helped friends move.
Here are our 3 biggest expenses last month as calculated by Mint:
- Housing (Mortgage, Escrow, HOA, etc): $1,221.60
- Food (Groceries & Eating Out): $497.55
- Shopping: $381.94
All in all a good month for us considering how much we had going on.
Checking & Savings
Big news for us this month was a year end bonus that my husband received from his job. It helped bumped up the numbers a bit, but I'm proud to say that we also increased our savings on our own. We had transferred into the joint account and the car replacement fund.
Good progress on them for 2011. My husband’s 401(k) has steadily been going up and it’s bumped up our assets a bit this month. We’re focusing on long term goals with our investing. We’re not planning on making any changes to our retirement contributions right now – just continuing at the pace we've been going.
Cars and Auto Expenses
Our cars are still moving and no repairs this month (yay!). That’s helping us as we saving up to pay cash for the next family car. We hope to get a car sometime next year so we have to get our car replacement fund goal before then. Gasoline was more than normal as we drove to visit family and friends last month in Virginia. 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.
Nothing exciting to report here. It’s the same old, same old. We have one student loan between us. Right now we’re continuing with the automatic monthly withdrawals for the student loan payments. This gives us a slight discount on the interest rate as an added bonus. It’s been relatively easy to keep up with them; we just confirm payments have been made each month from our joint checking.
It'll be nice if the refinance happens as it could free up a little bit of money to pay this down a bit faster.
House and Mortgage
The mortgage payments are chugging along. As part of our usual routine, our automated extra principal payment (now $175) was sent in on the 15th of the month. Happy to report that we managed to knock off a few years already with those extra payments.
Here’s where we stand today with the mortgage:
- Total Loan Amount: $108,230.92
- Interest Rate: 5.00%
- Loan Term: 30 years, fixed rate
Our goal is to pay off our mortgage years before we retire. Right now our timeline is about 15 years, instead of the 30 years we signed up for. Once our mortgage payoff is accomplished, we’d love to be able to direct that money into other interests and goals of ours down the road.
I contacted Wells Fargo about a streamline refinance, hope fully we'll hear from them this week and get a quote. If we can get a solid deal then that money saved will go towards that student loan.
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 December 31, 2011): $71,999.38 (+$6,393.71)
We're happy to end the year on a plus. We got quite a bit of work to do this year if we want to continue this trend.
Your Net Worth Update
I shared our progress; now I’d love to hear from you. How are you doing with your finances? Was 2011 a good year for you and your family?
This Month's Goals
This month we're looking at updating our life insurance policies, will, and other accounts and paperwork should something bad happen to us. We also have to come up with a list of people who we think would be a good fit for guardians of our baby. After coming up with hat list we have to ask them if they'd be interested and go from there.
If any of you have done chose your guardian, could you please share your stories? How did you approach them? Did those at the top of your list accept?
Photo Credit: borman818