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It’s the beginning of a new month, which means it’s time for me to examine last month’s finances and see how it’s affected our net worth. While I do get excited to see the numbers move up, I’m not devastated if they decrease. We’re more concerned with learning where our money goes.

It’s a great exercise to help us see where we’re doing well and what we can improve on.

Our Spending Habits in November

November was a good month. I knew that even before I checked Mint. We  didn’t have any big expenses come up. Our cat his vet visit, but it was just for a check-up and his rabies shot. I think the 50/50 Challenge was also a factor. I wanted to try and cut back on some expenses.

Food was up, but when I checked it was due our trip to Virginia and all the stops we made to 7-11, lol. They don’t have any in North Carolina, so we went there every day of our trip.

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

  • Housing (Mortgage, Escrow, HOA, etc): $1,140.75
  • Food (Groceries & Eating Out): $497.55
  • Bills/Utilities: $381.94

Next month I imagine spending will be a bit up as we’ll be out of town for a weekend and it’s going to be our 5th anniversary. I got my gifts planned out and my money saved, so I will be spending it shortly! 🙂

Checking & Savings

Things are continuing to pick up with savings as we have the buffer in place for checking and we put some money into the car replacement fund. We opened a savings account for our baby girl and will deposit money gifts we receive from family.

Retirement Accounts

It looks like our retirement funds doing a bit better. Happy to see our accounts grow. Never knowing what will come up next in the short term, we’re focusing on long term goals with our investing. We’re still not planning on making any changes to our retirement contributions right now as we have some more immediate financial goals we’d like to reach this year.

However, we’ll be talking about our 2012 plans soon and we’ll look at our retirement accounts a bit more.

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.

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.

I do want to make paying this loan down/off  a priority in 2012. The balance is creeping down and I’d like to see it drop quicker. That means we have to look at the budget and decide how we’re going to do this.

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: $108,615.65
  • 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.

Absolutely no progress on operation refinance in November. I’ve get on it this month – it can mean some big savings for us in the long run.

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 November 30, 2011): $65, 605.37 (+1,475.64)

Your Net Worth Update

We’re happy to have nudged up a bit more and look good for reaching our 2011 financial goals. I shared our 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: borman818

 

 

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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..

5 comments comments closed

  1. I laughed when I saw that 7-11 moved the needle on your budget. That’s why I’m glad we don’t have Dunkin Doughnuts here….

  2. Sounds like you did good this month!! I can totally understand that when traveling you are always stopping to get snacks/drinks! Too funny!! When growing up, my parents always packed snacks and drinks for us, but when I got married, my husband wanted to stop at different places to get drinks and snacks! I didn’t understand it for the longest time why he didn’t want to save money by packing his own until the lightbulb went on one day! He said if we are on vacation, I want to have something different..something special, because vacation is special!! And I kinda agree with him and turned to the dark side…but we may go back to packing now that I am no longer working full time!

    On a side note, I have a quick question, do you have an suggestions on student loans…getting better rates, paying them off, etc?? We paid off all but one of mine!

    • Thanks Julie- we do pit stops on road trips to give us a bit of a break. We could save some money, but on the other hand it’s fun to break up driving.

      We consolidated the student loans awhile ago and got a lower rate which is nice. We’re going to sit down this weekend and talk about some goals for 2012 and the student loan is on the list. I hope to have a post ready this month on that topic!

  3. The 7-11 comment made me laugh since they are in every town in NY…but I completely understand! When I go down to PA to visit the in laws we stop at wah wahs (sp?) since it is something new