January has been a fun month for us. We started out the year by going to the Morton Arboretum to do the holiday lights experience on New Year's Day. Natalie, our two and a half year old, had her first dental appointment. She did excellent at the appointment and didn't have cavities! I ended up treating them to Starbucks chocolate chip cookies afterwards since we had gift cards from the holidays. Man, are those cookies expensive, but so good! We finally made it over to our other YMCA where we got to play in the pool a couple times. The girls will be starting four weeks of swim lessons in February.
We had a few different gatherings. I got to go to my favorite Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo De Chao, we had our last Christmas get together, and we had a fun financial blogger meetup where I got to finally meet some other bloggers that I had only talked with online up until this past weekend!
It was a busy month for sure, especially when you tie in all of the 2017 goals that I've set out to accomplish this year on top of all that! Look for my accountability post on Friday for my overall progress on those for January!
If this is the first time you've stumbled upon my monthly net worth reports, I would like to explain why I choose to write them.
First, I love the accountability they force on me about handling my finances. I'm posting to be transparent and to really try to explain what happened over the last month that moved the needle for our family.
Second, I'm hoping to inspire and motivate others to reach to make their financial future better. I wanted to show that our journey is not all straight up success with no bumps in the road. Everyone has setbacks, but we can't let that get us down! We have to keep pressing forward!
What Happened to Our Net Worth This Month?
For January, we saw a few strong positives as well as a couple negatives. In a nutshell, they were:
- Markets have had a strong January for us as we saw more than triple our contributions in growth.
- Cash spending (detailed below) and car value really held us back being higher this month.
Net Worth - January 2017
- Home Value - $160,000 - Holding on to this number since our appraisal was done before our refinance (August 2014). We are still working to get our roof fixed since November. To catch up on the story, check it out here. We found out that our insurance wouldn't cover more than our deductible, so now we are in the process of getting an estimate to just get the area fixed and will work on getting a few quotes before we get the work done. We will most likely have to use our emergency fund for this since we don't have a roof fund at this time.
- Roth 403b - We had some good growth here as our account grew more than our monthly contributions.
- Traditional and Roth IRA's - Did some maintenance on these accounts. We moved our two bigger accounts from American Funds over to Vanguard this month. I have sold the funds and am going to be incorporating a 3 fund lazy portfolio approach going forward that I read about on Physician on Fire. His approach looks great, is well diversified and will allow us to save almost $2,000 in expense fees yearly!
- HSA - Well, this will be the final month that I'm going to be including this section. We have finally depleted the account and I have already closed it out. If we are able to have HSA account in the future with our current insurance, I will be jumping on it and contributing regularly. With that, we have set aside $200 to setup a medical fund within our sinking funds and will replenish as needed.
- Auto Value - Back to the normal going down in value cycle. We lost almost $500 in value here. I feel like this month was a win for us though since our only maintenance expenses were a car wash and a $30 Ipass replenishment.
- Cash Money - This month we saw a big dip versus last month for a few reasons:
- Sinking Funds took an $1800+ hit due to our yearly association dues ($910) coming out this month.
- We overspent on groceries this month by $182. This was due to doing a double batch of freezer meals. We still have twenty two more meals already prepared for February.
- We had a few medical expenses this month. These normally come out of the HSA account, but now we have to pay for them out of pocket. We spent roughly $186 in medical to pay for a couple chiropractor visits and a case of pink eye.
- Our phone bill was extremely high this month due to us switching to Verizon and having to pay the up front costs of getting a new phone. We ended up spending an extra $193 for sales tax and Apple Care protection.
- Lastly, we signed the girls up for swimming lessons in February for $86 at our local YMCA.
- Emergency Fund Savings - We didn't actually have to touch our emergency fund this month since we had a third paycheck last month. When we balanced out our sinking fund for the year, we ended up taking it out of that, leaving our emergency fund intact. I'm showing $25,000 in there currently, but one of my goals in February is going to be to move $10,000 into kid's college fund accounts and get that fund underway.
Home Mortgage - We keep seeing small chunks eat into this mortgage. We continue to just make the minimum payments, but with only having a 20 year mortgage, this moves down pretty quickly. This past month, our principal just topped $422! When we started, this number was only about $380, so that's extra money going towards our mortgage each month! I love seeing the principle grow each month to take out bigger chunks or our mortgage. Looking forward to the day we get to start putting extra money away towards this paying it down even faster.
YTD Net Worth Growth
January 1st, 2017 : $102,049.03
February 1st, 2017 : $103,162.35
Total Growth YTD : $1,113.32 (1.09%)
Last Year's Growth: $18,336.16 (21.88%)
Take Away for the Month
January has allowed us to get some steady growth under our belt. It's nice to continue above the $100k mark, as trivial as the number is. We are hoping to get some of our higher expenses down this next month and grow even more, especially if the markets continue to rally, even though they've been dropping for the past few days.
How did your January go? Are you still on track for your resolutions?
Here are some of our articles that I wrote or was featured in throughout January in case you missed them.
- I Paid Off $33,000 Of Student Loans In 18 Months On A Teacher’s Salary - Guest post from Kyle Steinkuhler from DollarDiligence.com. He shares his story about how he turned his life around and got out of debt!
- December 2016 – $102,109.16 – Net Worth Update (+$2,961.25) - This was our monthly check in where we go over our numbers and share them with you here!
- This New Year’s Resolution: Get Out of Debt - Guest post from Jacob Merkley from PowerOverLife.com. He shares his story about how he got out of debt and even wrote a fun poem about it!
- 2017 Goals: 7 Areas I’m Getting Focused On This Year - This is the post where I've set up my New Year's Resolutions for the year. I will be doing an update post once a month about my progress as well!
- Saving Money – A Common Goal: How To Create Better Goals - Guest post from Akash Sky from AkashSky.com. He tackles how to make a better goal and make them work for you, especially with saving money.
- What Is The Best Way To Support Our Kids Financially? - I talk about how to raise your kids without enabling them.
- 4 Easy Ways To Make Extra Money, Even In Retirement - Guest post from Kesley Tedeschi. He goes over some fun ways to make some extra money without having to break the bank.
- Marriage God’s Way by Scott LaPierre – A Fantastic Book On Marriage Building - My first book review. This is the first book I've read of the 7 I'm planning to read this year.
- Downsizing – A Retirement Strategy by Fritz Gilbert - Guest post from Fritz Gilbert of The Retirement Manifesto. Fritz goes into pretty good detail about how he bought his retirement home before retiring and even paid it off using this strategy.
- Online Entrepreneurship & Side Hustles: So Many Lessons, So Little Time - A guest post that I wrote for AkashSky.com.
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