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It’s the beginning of the month, which means it’s time to examine last month’s finances and see how it’s affected our net worth. It’s a great exercise to help us see where we’re doing well and what we can improve on.

Our Spending Habits in July

I guess the heatwave gave us a silver lining – we spent less than usual for the month. Staying indoors with the air conditioning seemed more appealing to us. It was big savings, but we shopped less and spent a little less on gasoline.

Here are our 3 biggest expenses last month:

  • Home (Mortgages, Extra Payments, HOA Fees, etc): $1,238.85
  • Bills/Utilities: $347.54
  • Food (Groceries, Restaurants, Etc): $345.76

It's looking good and I feel great that we're keeping an eye on spending. Having her arrive so late in the month didn't affect our finances. I definitely expect to see next month's food expenses to go up a bit.

However, there's no telling how the next few months will go with that with the baby. Guess we'll be keeping a close eye on baby expenses and our budget.

Checking & Savings

It's been pretty stable this month as we've pretty much have been resting up for the baby's debut. My husband also received a bonus from work which is being saved until we figure out the car situation.

One expected expense for next month is the hospital bill for when the baby arrives. We received an estimate from the OB/GYN for their costs and we got an estimate for the hospital portion. Supposedly we’ll pay the hospital and doctor and my husband will get a large portion of that reimbursed.

According to our estimates, our baby fund should be enough to cover everything.

Retirement Accounts

We’re still not planning on making any changes to our retirement contributions this year. We really want to focus on more immediate goals of getting ready for the baby. I can’t anticipate the future, but I believe once we have some idea of how we’re going to handle our finances as parents, we’ll look at our retirement accounts and contributions.

My husband’s 401(k) has steadily been going up and it’s bumped up our assets a bit this month. We need to consolidate his accounts, though, and move over some money into a Roth IRA for him some time in the next couple of months. Unfortunately internal inertia is slowing that process. My goal is to have it done by the end of September. It would make it so much easier to track his accounts and it would give him more control with how he invests his retirement money.

Our Cars Expenses

This was an issue this month with my husband's Toyota. In case you missed it, here's a summary of the repairs needed:

Here’s a rundown of the mechanic’s diagnostic:

  • New A/C Compressor and Clutch Need
  • Replace Serpentine Belt
  • Replace Radiator
  • Replace Head Gasket

Total estimated cost for parts is about $3,500 with labor.

What's making it a bit easier to go down to a one car family is the heatwave. I'm staying indoors as much as possible, so my husband drives the Jetta on those days, minimizing the use of his Celica.

Student Loans

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.

If we have any savings in December after reaching our other financial goals for the year, we're hoping to pay it down. Since this is a reach goal, I'm shooting for $2,000. If we don't make it we won't be disappointed, but if we do, it'll be icing on the cake.

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. When deciding on how much we were going to send in to our lender, our main focus was creating something sustainable and had some impact with the mortgage.

Here’s where we stand today with the mortgage:

  • Total Loan Amount: $110,138.69
  • 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. We wanted some wiggle room in case we ever hot a financial speed bump. 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.

Monthly Summary

Here’s our net worth from the spreadsheet:

Net Worth (as of July 31, 2011): $60,805.80 (+$4,174.99)

Your Net Worth Update

I shared my progress; now I'd love to hear from you. How are you doing with your finances? How are you doing in 2011 so far?

Photo Credit: TechnoHippyBiker







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..

4 comments add your comment

  1. Great progress this month elle. Sounds like you have the baby bills already covered – way to go!
    Hope that everything with the baby is going well.
    As for my finances for 2011, they have been doing OK – I havent been the best this year, but I’ve been making some solid progress. Most important, I didnt go back into debt and was able to cash flow out 90% of my expenses.

  2. That’s great progress! I know that car repairs stink, I had to make a few last month but it was worth it since we are already a one-car family (going completely car-free isn’t really an option!)

    My finances are chugging along. Next year I’ll have (hopefully) more income once I finish this semester at school and we’ll be able to focus on retirement savings.