March has been a fun and trying month, although, we are ready to say goodbye and move on to April. We have had our share of fun, but have also had some big expense come up that we've had to utilize our emergency fund to tackle the problems with. It was a shining example of why we have an emergency fund and don't tie it up in investments.
As far as fun things we got to do this month, we had quite a few date nights and got to utilize some great gift cards we had won, as well as enjoy spring break with the kids finishing up today!
In April, we have two of our four family birthdays, with a third being at the very beginning of May. So, this ends up being a big gift month as we usually put on a little get together with family and friends. Luckily, we have utilized sinking funds throughout the year and have the money saved up for this, so the blow doesn't really feel all that big.
Speaking of sinking funds, one of our big expenses that we had this month was new car tires for both of our vehicles. I know some of you would say that this isn't an emergency, but we have relied on our emergency fund up until this month to pull us through. Starting this month, we have decided to start another sinking fund in order to save up the amount to replace them again in two more years, although we are hoping to get more life out of them this year since we won't be taking five driving vacations, putting numerous miles on our vehicles.
Why I post my net worth updates publicly
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 really explain what happened over our month that helped move the needle for our family.
Second, I'm hoping to inspire and motivate others 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?
This month, we had another downward trend in the markets. Although our contributions helped to stabilize this drop, we still saw a whopping drop of $1.68 for our investment accounts. Although this sounds like nothing, it's still quite a bit, considering how much we are contributing. Oh well, next month will be better. We are just going to continue the course and work to keep on contributing.
Our emergency fund ended up dropping over $1,800 as we dealt with car repairs and a couple medical bills. To soften the blow, we did receive our tax refund, which would have just gone into the emergency fund if these things didn't happen. So, it became a wash for us.
Net Worth Numbers - March 2018
$177,767 - My mortgage company revised the value this month upwards almost $1,000. This number is way below where Zillow is, which is over $189,000.
Work Roth 403b
In this account we saw a 2.84% gain in value, although it was mainly due to contributions. No big change here, just going to keep droppin' that $$ into the account and letting it do it's thing.
Traditional and Roth IRA's
Compared to last month's 3.5% drop, this month's 1.4% drop doesn't seem too bad. We continue to ride it out and leave it parked to let it work. Hopefully, April's showers will bring some growth.
Same story, different account. This account pulled back almost 2% this month. We are still ahead of the money market savings account we were in, so, it's still been a great decision overall. If you are looking for a great way to purchase stock or index funds with very little cost, consider using Stockpile.
*When you join by clicking the image below, I do receive a small commission for referring you. However, you do get $5 free when you join with a new account! I hope you will consider trying it out!
This month has been a tough month for MO and PM as they have seen some drastic swings throughout the month. Overall, they ended lower by 2.64% for us. We are still holding these and are long both stocks.
A little more value eroded... Just car values doing their things. The best thing here is that they are both paid off and continue to be good running vehicles.
We spent and spent this month, it looks like. Here's how our bigger expenses played out:
- Sinking Funds took a $1,137 hit this month. $600 of this was our 6 month auto insurance payment, so overall, I think we did well this month. Auto repair continues to plague us with over $1,200 in repairs. We ended up pulling out $1,000 to cover a big expense.
- Groceries were extremely high this month at $943 of our $625 budget. This month, I can't even blame it all on the eating out as we only spent $95 in dining out. We have lots of freezer meals stored away for April, so hopefully we can get back in line. One of the bigger expenses was that we had to spend $80 on a new coffeepot. It should save us money in the long run, since we won't be buying as many kcups. This one brews both kcups and uses a pot. I love it so far!
- Medical came in at $310 this month. We had some tests come back that we had to pay for. At least everything turned out good and everyone is healthy! We brought in $420 to cover these expenses from the emergency fund this month.
Emergency Fund Savings
The emergency fund took a big hit this month between the car repairs, medical bills and keeping us afloat over all. Even with our $300 contribution, we still spend over $1,800 from this account. This knocks us down from 63% funded down to 51%. Hopefully, we can have a couple of better months and start building this back up a bit.
Our only liability that we have left is our home mortgage. All student loans, cars, and consumer debt have been paid off. Working to pay down the mortgage, we continue to refinance to shorten the term and lower the interest rate when possible to keep our payment the same. We are a little high on our monthly percentage for housing, roughly 33% of take home pay. This is one reason we're finding it harder to get to the 15% savings towards retirement. Through pay raises, we'll lower that percentage and build back up to get away from it being that high in the future. And, we always have the option to refinance back up to a longer term in the future if things get hairy as well.
Yay! We crossed the $620 mark on our principal balance this month! Plus, since we refinanced last year, we've been paying $17.71 in PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) each month. And, as expected, our PMI dropped off finally, lowering our monthly payment a little bit and giving us more room to save!
YTD Net Worth Growth
January 1st, 2018 : $129,092.91
March 1st, 2018 : $125,964.87
Total Growth YTD : -$3,128.04 (-2.42%)
Last Year's Growth: $27,043.88 (26.50%)
Take Away for the Month
Glad to see an up month, even with the downward market this month! Felt good to eek out a gain, even if it was small. The big thing for us was the importance of having our emergency fund in place to fall back on when things come up. If you don't have an emergency fund in place currently, please check out How To Cash Flow Emergencies With No Emergency Fund. It doesn't matter how much you are contributing to retirement if you don't at least have a starter emergency fund to keep your foundation from crumbling. You are going to come up against emergencies as you work your plan and, a liquid emergency fund, is a great way to put some margin between your investment assets and your assets you might need to use to cover that next unexpected expense.
I hope you have had a great March and that April will be even better! Let's chat about it down below in the comments!
Here are some of our articles that were posted throughout March in case you missed them.
Are you looking for things to do over spring break with your kids? I’ve compiled a lot of the frugal activities to do with the kids over spring break. Check them out and work them into your week as well!
Brian Davis shares his journey about how he and his wife have beat the traditional job and have created financial freedom to pursue their dreams of traveling.
Being frugal to save money is a great way to build wealth over time. Check out these 9 tips on advanced frugality to help you make the most of your monthly budget and to save money when times are tough or you are in a pinch.
Electrical repairs are expensive. Done the right way can cost hundreds of dollars a day. Not to mention the safety issues of doing it yourself. Even though hiring an electrician can be pricey, there’s a few smart ways to keep costs down. Here are 5 ways that homeowners can save money on their home’s electrical repairs.
Markets correct, values of assets drop, February numbers are in! We have the biggest drop in our net worth since April 2017. How do you cope with this kind of downturn? Find out my thoughts on this past month’s numbers here in our February 2018 net worth update.
Are you ready to finally take control of your finances? Let my budgeting spreadsheets help!
Just fill out the form below and I'll send you the link to get the same exact budgeting spreadsheets that I use each month!
Included in the workbook:
- Monthly budget form
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Latest posts by Steven Goodwin (see all)
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