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I usually end my review with the net worth total, but for the year end review, I’m going to share my numbers first. From there I’ll share the ups and downs we had.
When we started out last year our net worth was at $71,999.38. Now 12 month later, our net worth is $78,202.12. When I first looked at the numbers I was a bit confused, we had seen some good improvements most months, but then looking back I realized that $20,000 drop in home’s appraisal value was the culprit. So we’re a bit above that number even with the home’s value still lower.
Our Spending for 2012
I think the first place to start off is reviewing over our family’s spending trends. For this review I used Mint to grab that data from our accounts and create a chart.
As you can see above, we spent the most last April. That was when we bought our family car. It was definitely the biggest purchase we made last year and right now I can’t imagine even spending close that amount for quite awhile.
Besides looking at how much we spent last year, I thought it would be fun to pull up a chart on how we spent our money in 2012. I used Mint again to get the data and here is what it gave us.
I think it’s a handy chart except for the nebulous other category. When I checked to see what transactions it included, it ranged from doctors visits, life insurance payments, and vet visits. Quite a mixed bag, but at least I saw where our money went last year.
Our mortgage and home related expenses remain our highest monthly expenses. I’m predicting that auto and transport costs will be drastically cut this year as we have no plans to buy another car.
For food and dining, I wouldn’t mind it remaining the same overall. I would however like to see the eating out costs to go down a bit. That would mean cooking a bit more at home.
Since we covered how we spent our money overall, I wanted to review our expenses category by category.
House and Mortgage
We started off 2012 with our mortgage balance at $107,844. By December 31, our balance was $103,193. Besides sending in our regular mortgage payments, we sent it an additional monthly payment to go towards the principal.
Our goal is to pay off our mortgage years before we retire and while we still want to pay down our mortgage quicker we have other goals that we feel are more pressing.
We had a solid year with our retirement investments in 2012. For the most part we just continued automated contributions and we rebalanced our portfolio as necessary.
We’re not planning on making any changes to our retirement contributions right now as we focused on paying down our debt. We’ll keep up with our current contributions in 2013.
Cars and Auto Expenses
Our auto expenses were higher than normal due to buying a new (to us) car last year. They should be much lower in 2013. Looking at our cars’ current conditions, we’ll set aside some money in the car fund for regular maintenance and services needed to keep them running for awhile.
Like we mentioned before, one of our goals this year is to pay down the student loan. With a minimum of $330/month going towards the loan, we’re to get the balance cut down by at least 25%. We’re hoping that any extra income, including tax refunds and bonuses will be used to bring the balance down further.
Thoughts on 2012’s Budget and Expenses
Well, that’s it for us on last year. We’re hoping to do better with 2013 and reach our financial goals. I’d love to hear from you about your money review. What was the biggest expense in 2012 for your family? What was the best month you had for savings? How did your investments do last year?
Photo Credit: Horia Varlan