It’s the best time of the month again! Even though I “lost” $7,000, haha… (I say “lost” because most of it was in stocks which we all know we won’t be touching for many years to come so the day-to-day/month-to-month doesn’t really matter. What does is the day(s) we cash out! ;)).
Even when it’s going down down down into a burning ring of fire, though, I still very much enjoy updating our numbers each month. It may be less stressful ignoring it during the down times, but just like with everything in life it’s more important to know what you’re dealing with than having your head in the sand. Plus, it makes the UP times feel much better!
Also, while the cash parts are very much our own doing, it’s hard to blame yourself for what the stock market does. Risks and rewards with that bad boy, and just as it goes down it very much goes up UP UP! So as long as it does that long term that’s all that matters.
Still, our cash flow continues to leak every month – a combination of restructuring biz, making babies, living on only one (variable) income, home ownership sucking, and just general less than exciting affairs. I remind myself that it’s only temporary though, and that I can go into super overdrive if drastically needed at any point, so we give it a few more months and see how things shape up. My wife will be finished with her dissertation by then and working on jump starting her career again, some of my projects should be better in place by then as well, all the while I’ll have been able to spend nice quality time with my two beautiful boys. Something I’m trying to prioritize above all else which is hard as hell to do when you’re used to hustling 24/7!
We can’t continue to lose money every month though, so I give you free reign to kick my ass if we’re in the same spot come May – deal? ;)
Here’s how January went down…
CASH SAVINGS (-$1,184.22): This includes all cash in our “house savings” account, everything I’m currently stashing away in our Challenge Everything account, all money automatically being saved with the sexy Digit (full update coming soon!), as well as anything else in our wallet, safes, you name it. Pretty much all cold hard cash we can tap at any point if needed. (Or should I say, *when* needed during these times! But that’s what it’s there for, right?)
*NEW* BROKERAGE (+$503.85): This is a new section to our net worth reports going forward! Which came out of our blogger competition and me trying my hand at dividend investing using Motif. So far we’re up $3.85 (all 20 of us invested $500 at the same time) and I’m currently in 12th place. Though, again, it doesn’t really matter as I’m in it for the long haul… Just fun to have a non-retirement brokerage account for once!
IRA: ROTH(s) (-$1,408.36): Nothing new added here in quite some time. Though once we’re done filing our taxes and seeing how much – if any – we have left over (I file quarterly so I always have $$ stashed aside), we’ll be able to see if our Roth IRA maxing streak continues to live on… Here’s hoping!
IRA: SEP (-$5,412.81): Same with this guy too – we only dump in money after tax time which we’ll DEFINITELY be doing here soon. Not only does it save us a TON of money in taxes, but I no longer have a 401(k) anymore so it’s my main tool for investing in retirement. So if there’s only one thing I do every year, it’s continuing the momentum and maxing out this bad boy no matter what. And all $330,000 of it + my Roth money is all invested in Vanguard index funds. Or, fund, for that matter – VTSAX.
Here’s how it’s performed since we moved our money over in April:
AUTOS WORTH (kbb) (-$70.00): Same ol’ same ol’ here too – just the cars depreciating every month as they’re supposed to… Though, a kind reader from last month’s update pointed out that Kelly Blue Book now shows values for cars older than 20 years! So I checked out what Frankencaddy is now worth according to them, and it put me out at around $1,600-$1,700. But with its, *ahem*, character traits, I’m keeping the value stagnant at $1,000 which I think I could easily get if I wanted to for real sell her one day. Still, good to know about KBB!
Here are our cars’ values:
- Frankencaddy: $1,000.00
- Average Toyota: $5,914.00
HOME VALUE (Realtor) ($0.00): This is also remains at the same amount over the months/year: $300,000. One day I’ll hit up our realtor again for an update (I don’t like using Zillow as it fluctuates too much and I seriously doubt it’s accurate), but for now it sits where it is while we continue chipping away at it… cursing under our breaths the entire time, haha…
MORTGAGES (-$681.94): Another almost $700 knocked out – woop! Rounding up payments every month to the nearest $100th has been working miracles over here… Shaving off years and years of payments while nixing thousands of interest at the same time. My favorite type of trick!
Here’s what’s left on our two mortgages:
- 1st Mortgage: $268,413.90 (30 year conventional @ 5.5%)
- 2nd Mortgage: $26,822.20 (HELOC @ variable 2.8%)
Here’s how our boys fared this month:
And that wraps up the first month of the year! Not as beautiful as one would wish, but it is what it is and we keep our head down and focused on the mission. Working smart and stashing away as many nuts as we’re able. We’ll see what February brings, but please do wish the Mrs. luck in finishing up her paper and starting the job search :) It’s been 3 years in the making!
As always, you can find all of my net worth updates over the years here, and the big honkin’ Blogger Net Worth Tracker here. Now featuring 136 bloggers with worths ranging from -$134,907 all the way up to $2,160,878. All different people in all different phases :)
How did the money gods treat you last month?
PS: If you’ve never tracked your net worth before, take out a pen and paper and spend 15 minutes doing it right now. Just add up all your assets (cash, stocks, 401ks, etc) and subtract all your liabilities (debts, loans, credit cards, mortgages, etc). The number you’re left with is your net worth!
Alternatively, you can use the spreadsheet I use to track mine (top one on the list), or sign up with any of these free services and have it all automated for you (but where’s the fun in that? ;)):
- Mint.com (free) – hook up your accounts and it’ll automatically pop out your net worth.
- PersonalCapital.com (free) – Similar to Mint, only with an investment slant.
I believe they’re giving away $10 Amazon cards to new members too right now – might be a good time to check out?
PS: If you’re just getting started in your journey, here are a few good resources to help track your money. Doesn’t matter which route you go, just that it ends up sticking!
- The "Budget/Net Worth" spreadsheet - the colorful Excel template I personally use.
- The "Money Snapshot" spreadsheet - a simple Excel template I created for my former $$$ clients
If you're not a spreadsheet guy like me and prefer something more automated (which is fine, whatever gets you to take action!), you can try your hand with a free Personal Capital account instead.
Personal Capital is a cool tool that connects with your bank & investment accounts to give you an automated way to track your net worth. You'll get a crystal clear picture of how your spending and investments affect your financial goals (early retirement?), and it's super easy to use.
It only takes a couple minutes to set up and you can grab your free account here. They also do a lot of other cool stuff as well which my early retired friend Justin covers in our full review of Personal Capital - check it out here: Why I Use Personal Capital Almost Every Single Day.
(There's also Mint.com too btw which is also free and automated, but its more focused on day-to-day budgeting rather than long-term net worth building)
Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!
Ok that’s it. My net worth post is coming.
I just wanted to say how totally awesome it is that you have managed to keep your house in order financially with an unstable income and a studying spouse. I mean if you have your shit together in the tough times you are absolutely going to nail it once you have another income to add to the mix.
Thanks Emma! It’s def. scary/frustrating at times, but keeping the bigger picture in mind helps out quite a bit. That, and beer :)
I hope you do start tracking your own net worth. You don’t have to share it with the world like I do, but it’ super good to know exactly where you’re at each month.
Well, in reality, your cash flow only decreased by $600 – $700 for the month, since you added $500 the the Motif Fund. At that rate, you have something like 5 years of cash left, assuming nothing else changed.
And in another 7 – 10 years, if history is any guide, the value of your stock holdings (and their dividends) should double from today’s levels. So you might be able so simply live off your nest egg ( or send your wife to work, and live off her earnings (jk))
Either way, good networth for someone in your age group. Good luck in 2015!
That would be something! I honestly don’t know what it’s going to feel like with a brand new salary coming in… I think I’ll consider myself retired then and blog in my spare time ;)
January was a good month for us as well, even with the drop in the stock market. It’s expected, since the market can’t go up forever, even though we all wish it would!
Income was stable and savings were right in track. Excited to see what February will bring!
Good luck to Mrs. BudgetsAreSexy! That’s so exciting! And, you’re smart to track everything so closely, even when you know it’s not going to be ideal (but you already knew that ;) ).
January was a good month for us on the expenses side–we were below $1,000 for all non-mortgage spending, which is always our goal (but not always our reality). Ok, I’m off to be a money-voyeur on the net worth tracker…
Nice!!! Under $1,000 is incredible… Like, I can’t even understand that? Haha… Our daycare alone costs $1,900, ugh.
You must be very excited about adding a second income to the household! Ever since I heard about Personal Capital on the interwebs last year, I’ve loved tracking my net worth on there. Seeing that little graph trend up (most of the time) is definitely confirmation that all the saving is working and for sure WORTH IT.
I don’t know what I’m going to do. We haven’t had a main second income in the house for years – I’m gonna be in heaven!! :)
Glad you’re loving Personal Capital too so much, glad it’s working out for you.
I don’t know how you do it. My assets are 1/10th of yours, and I still can’t do a net worth update every month. It’s just too hard to see the fluctuations….grrrrr. But, I can honestly say I’ve never “lost” $7K in one month, so hey! Seriously though, that’s awesome progress on your mortgage in just one month!
It is kinda tricky cuz on one hand I completely ignore the stock markets and the News and everything else that’s going on in the world for the most part (it always depresses me), but on the other hand I’m forced to look at my retirement numbers to do the net worth. I wouldn’t have it any other way though as it’s done more for my motivation than anything else with money :) Def. worth being consistent with. If monthly is too scary for you, try quarterly! (and make calendar items to remind you to do it)
It’s nice watching my SEP and Roth IRAS drop and not really caring because I am so far away from needing those funds. Sorry home ownership is still sucking =(
this is the end of my first full month tracking net worth, and im pleased to say i gained almost 4k in net worth. i busted my ass with my side hustles, and made extra car payments, and was able to add a lot extra to my investment accounts. im at a -6k, without a house yet, but we expect to get one later this year. we have 20k in student loans (still deferred, she has two classes left) and 19k in car payments left (it was stupid and before i got into my finances, but on the positive side we paid 19k back in two years, so i expect to be paid off by the end of this year because my side hustles are growing). anyway, id love to be able to post a net worth blog and be listed, but it wouldnt fit in with the rest of what im doing so for now it waits.
All that matters is that you’re tracking it for yourself! Way to go!!!! Amazing how much you can turn things around once this money stuff “clicks” doesn’t it? $4k increase is no joke – keep going!
Big congrats to your wife as she’s setting to finish off schooling and definitely well wishes for her impending job search. Our January was good, aside from the small pullback due to the market but who cares as we hopefully won’t be touching that money for years. My main concern for this month is taxes – just hoping Uncle Sam doesn’t decide to take it to us too bad…first world problems I know. :)
Hah – I hear ya.
I used to keep my tax $$ in my net worth but then it would piss me off every time I saw it leave every quarter (we file quarterly) so now I just keep it outside as if I don’t own any of it… which is the reality really, haha…
What’s the subject of the Mrs. dissertation? Blogging,Personal Finance, Mohawks? Adding a second income would be nice I’m sure. We had a good start to the new year, m employer added an additional 3% lump sum into my 401k.
Even though you’ve gone down recently, you’ve come a long way since you started tracking it. Luckily, it’s just the long term numbers that you need to worry about!
Thanks as always for sharing, J$. How bad is this? I may finally be willing to move online because of a $10 Amazon gift card. Sad. Sad. :)
Haha.. now THAT is funny ;)
But hey – whatever gets you to pull the trigger, right?
Tracking my NW since 2013 (thanks to reading your posts) has helped us crush our savings (in a good way).
YEssirr!!!! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
January ended up well for us, glad to see you killing that mortgage!!! We are attempting to do the same…death to mortgages everywhere!!!
Did you know that mortgage is Latin for “death pledge?”
Cool stuff J. I can understand the frustration with life being in transition. We’ve been there and it can be a bumpy road. But it’s going to feel great on the other end of it. And you’ll never regret prioritizing family. Stay encouraged!
We are at -$86693.68 (+$2667.78) overall. We’re paying down debts, increasing savings, and at the whim of the market.
Assets: $50494.99 (+$1899.28)
Car Values: $7720 (-$185) Normal depreciation.
IRA: $12402.06 (-$203.46) Shifted this from a target fund to a S&P index.
401(k): $22526.80 (+993.32) Continuing to increase contributions.
Cash: $7846.13 (+$1294.42) Setting some funds aside for house shopping.
Liabilities: $137188.67 (-$768.50)
Car Debt: $4679.68 (-$327.20) Paying it.
Unsecured Loan: $8103.11 (-$2098.96) Really paying it.
Student Loans: $104907.06 (-$69.09) Not really paying it.
Credit Cards: $19498.82 (+$1726.75) January had some travel costs that went here and our payoff focus is on the unsecured loan.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the past month. February will bring a nice bonus bump, my annual pay raise goes into effect, and most of the expenses for spring wedding season have been paid already.
You’re on the right track now! Those credit cards make me want to vomit, but good to see you’re aggressively tackling them :) imagine how much money you’re going to have left over when all your debt is gone??? We’re gonna have to throw a party!
Last month was surprisingly awesome. Starting to get to a place where I don’t actually feel broke ALL the time. I just have to make sure that doesn’t translate into reckless abandonment when it comes to my spending.
Last month was expensive, but I’ve increased my networth by over $7,000 YTD in 2015. Consequently I’m feeling AWESOME about getting to my goal of $36,500 for the year.
All hail the money gods.
Damn, those gods are good to you :)
I know this post is about your budget and net worth, and it looks like it’s chugging a long just fine.
What I want to comment on is, I cannot imagine being your wife in this situation. She must be even more than superwoman (like most Mom’s) to do her dissertation with a family and two small children. Busy lady :)
I agree :) And I’m going to make sure she sees this comment! Hehe…
Hey J. How do your earnings from your website(s) factor into this? Does all that money get put into investments?
All that money goes into living and supporting my family of four :) When I wasn’t self-employed, however, yes – it all went into savings or investments.
I have thought about including my sites as “assets” in my net worth though, but trying to pinpoint what those values are is a pretty tough goal. Plus I kinda like keeping the worth on the conservative side, so if at any point I ever do go and sell my sites, it’ll just be a nice “extra” to put into the mix.
Good luck Mrs!
$7,000 is a pretty big dip. I guess it’s a good time to buy! Hoping I won’t need to give you heck in May!
We had some market losses but were able to offset them with savings from income. Definitely much easier with 2 people working full time. =) So does your wife have her defense scheduled yet? So exciting for you guys to be so close to the end of her studies!
nope, she’s just now finishing the first draft. we’re pretty sure she’ll have to edit and spruce it up still before even getting to the defense, but God willing it will all go smoothly and in time before Spring!
I started a new job in December, so my first full-month paycheck came in January. Even with the bumps of trying to live in just 1 paycheck a month, my net worth jumped from 62.4k on Jan 1 to around 71.3k on Jan 31!!
Most of that is due to a rebound in my home value according to Zillow, and you saw my Twitter announcement about finally getting my head above water after 8 years on the mortgage! Thanks for the RT, BTW!!
The other major thing that helped is that I’m driving for Uber on the weekends. Much more enjoyable to be making money picking people up from the bars than spending my own money AT the bars! :)
HAH – yes! Sounds like a perfect blog idea actually “You spend it, I make it!”
It’s somehow “easy” to deal with the loss in investment accounts, but it’s rough when you see the cash go down. I know it’s tough to manage kids and one income, but I think it’s great preparation for when your financial picture turns around. We were essentially on a single income when I started my company and it forced us to make a lot of changes that we have kept in place so now that we are somewhat back to two incomes, we are able to save more and spend less thanks to the discipline and choices we were forced to make on one income.
Yes, good point for sure :) I don’t foresee us changing many of our habits whether we have 1 additional salary or 5! So def. good to figure out money stuff sooner than later before getting all caught up in things.
As always I enjoy the net worth posts. Congrats to the wife on finishing up grad school. That’s a huge accomplishment. I spent the past few years completing the CFA while working. The older you get, the more responsibilities, and the harder it is to finish things like that.
Haha yeah – every time she sat down to really concentrate, another kid popped out :)
Maybe you could have held your net worth change to zero if you sold some coins?
But what would I dive into then in my spare time?
What is it that they say? Timing the market is not as important as time in the market.
Although I hope your numbers start going the other way soon!
Managed to grow my net worth by 16% to $6087 AUD as of the 31st of January. Sitting on $7800 five days into the month thanks to a side hustle I’m taking on for three weeks before uni which is helping dramatically.
Holy crap that’s awesome. What are you, pimping? ;)
Perhaps I missed it, but whom do you have your 529 with?
So we get the tax credits AND can invest in Vanguard! (we live in VA – always start your research with your own state’s plans in case there are good benefits :))
Nice job, all considered. And best of luck to the Mrs. Having a second income would be awesome. I’m sure the net worth will just climb through the roof at that point. :)
You guys are in a great spot here. Even if you stop saving, your net worth will grow into the millions one day anyway. That’s the benefit of getting that snowball rolling early in life…compounding is awesome like that.
Keep up the great work!
Up:P We’re whittling down on mortgage with extra payments each month, the car payment is going down monthly, retirement, and savings slowly going up! Yay!
At least the money you “lost” was just via investments going down and not a total overspending problem.
I could not help but notice that the interest rate on your mortgage is 5.5% when market rates are under 4% on a conventional 30 year mortgage. And even less on 5/1 (2.5%) or 5/5 (3.3%) ARMS.
Have you considered refinancing? You could really free up a decent amount of capital that you can either apply towards the mortgage to pay it down even quicker, put it into other investments, or even just build up your cash reserves.
Just a thought. As you could free up a few hundred bucks a month.
Believe me – we’ve gone down that road and won once (it used to be 6.75% on an interest-only loan!) and failed the 4 times afterwards… It’s a funny thing with being under water – you have to bring lots of cash to the table to refi! ;)
Keep on grinding man, you guys are still killing it and when you add that second income its going to be glorious. January was our first month on a single income and I felt it a bit. Three out of the last four months have been losses.
Definitely stings, I agree. Sending some positive vibes that next month it’ll be three out of five months that are losses ;)
First time commenting but have been reading for years. You have been an inspiration.
Several years ago a divorce completely knocked all my plans off the rails… nearly bankrupt I found your site. After refinancing my mortgage from 6+% to 2.2% and paying down debts etc I’ve snowballed all those payments into recovering financially.
I’m tracking net worth monthly and have seen it go from negative to currently $257k+ in 5 years. I must say your Franken caddie posts are some of the best for me as my pet peeve is I’m still driving my late 90’s crapilier and I used to love my cars… however the only thing wrong with my crapilier is that it drives like a brand new 1999 cavalier. (great car, easy to fix yourself btw. Could have been better driving)…
Thanks for the posts, the inspiration and the support of knowing there’s method to this path some might say is crazy… it’s working well for me. Makes me sad to see others haven’t caught on yet. Wish I did earlier.