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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 October
Overall October has been a great month. We've been doing pretty well with our budget. However I think this month we should go ahead and review it again to make sure it's still fairly accurate for our income and spending patterns.
Here are our 3 biggest expenses last month as calculated by Mint:
- Housing: $1,185.75
- Food/Groceries: $550.33
- Travel: $332.38
These numbers reflect the other portion of the Financial Blogger Conference expenses. Yes we spent a bit more than intended, but this was our (working) vacation as a family. My husband and I had a great time in Chicago and we spent some time with friends.
Checking & Savings
Things are slowly picking up with joint savings. Happy to report that our buffer is still in the checking account. By having a little extra in there, we also have a little more peace of mind should some irregular payment comes up.
It looks like our retirement funds came up a bit in the market last month. 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 as we have some more immediate financial goals we’d like to reach this year.
We took care of our savings for the baby and now we’re saving up for our next vehicle. We’ll look at our retirement accounts and contributions next month and figure if they can be increased in 2012. It looks like we may have a little bit of wiggle room for that.
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 expenses have crept up a bit as we're using my sedan a bit more.
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.
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: $108,998.79
- 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.
We're looking into refinancing our mortgage into a lower rate with a shorter horizon. I'll keep you posted on what happens next.
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 October 31, 2011): $64,129.73 (+$1,005.74)
Your Net Worth Update
We're happy to have nudged up a bit and we hope to reach our financial goals for 2011. 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: The Cleveland Kid