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First month of this year is already over! 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 Biggest Expenses in January

We burned through money last month and not in a good way! An expected expense that affected our numbers was the fourth quarter taxes I paid last month, but that doesn't cover all the spending.

Here are our 3 biggest family related expenses last month as calculated by Mint:

  • Housing (Mortgage, Escrow, HOA, etc): $1,185.75
  • Food (Groceries & Eating Out): $767.17
  • Bills (Utilities, etc): $358.92

Whoa – as you can see we have gone way over budget with food last month!

While I know some of it is due to taking family and friends out for dinner a few times, there's also some sloppy spending in there.

I'll go through all of our transactions tonight and put a post up about it when I'm finished.

It looks like I'll need to set up a Mint alert on our food spending for the next month or so to keep expenses reasonable.

Checking & Savings

We dipped below our checking buffer, which is never good. Now we have to rebuild our buffer and build up savings for some upcoming expenses.

This month we already had a refinance expense paid – we had a good faith deposit.

Retirement Accounts

Things are pretty quiet with these accounts, I was happy to see an uptick on our balances. Pretty much everything is automated with our contributions.

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!). I did have to get an oil change for the weekend trip and the mechanic gave me an estimate on some work that needs to be done with the Jetta. 

For now we're hoping it last us until we can get the car replacement fund funded Gasoline was more than normal as we drove to the mountains.

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

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.

House and Mortgage

This week has been busy as we started the refinancing process.

We've had to gather our financial paperwork for the last couple of years and share it with our future lender.

Here’s where we stand today with the mortgage:

  • Total Loan Amount: $107,844.58
  • Interest Rate: 5.00%
  • Loan Term: 30 years, fixed rate

As part of our usual routine, our automated extra principal payment (now $175) was sent in on the 15th of the month.

The appraiser is coming this week to check out the neighborhood and our place, so we should have an updated estimate for the house's value shortly. Hopefully it'll go well.

This Month’s Goals

So January was big fat no with updating our wills and picking out guardians for our baby girl.

On the plus side with this refinance we have to talk to our insurance agent anyways, so I'll mention that we'll want to increase our policy coverage and see what he comes back with for premium prices.

Monthly Summary

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 January 31, 2012): $72,412.30 (+$413.22)

Not great – we'll have to work hard this month to get that back up. Expect some posts looking at how we can improve over the next week or so.

Your Net Worth Update

I shared our progress; now I’d love to hear from you. How are you doing with your finances?

Photo Credit: cw3283

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

11 comments add your comment

  1. You guys are doing great with your finances.. Your mortgage situation already looks pretty solid.. Are you refinancing to an even lower rate?.. Or down to a shorter term?

    • Both; we’d like to get a lower rate and cut it into a 15 year loan. Looking at the estimates it wouldn’t be too much of a change from what we’re paying now (regular & extra mortgage payments). If we get the refinance, the amount we save monthly would go towards paying down the student loan.

    • We’re interested in just refinancing. We’d like to get a lower rate and lose the mortgage insurance since we’re over 20% equity (well let’s see what the appraiser says about that…).

  2. That does seem like a lot of money on food, but also looks like you guys are making good progress overall. Also about your enjoyment of life and balancing of present versus future.

    • I think we did alright, but we could’ve improve on staying closer to the shopping list. I think we made too many impulse buys.

      I do agree it’s a balancing act with saving now vs future benefits.