We actually got some snow in January, which makes for a good winter, but then it all melted and we’re back to a slushy, wet, and icy January. Curse you global warming! We’ve settled back into life after Hawaii and started our major purging efforts in our home. We’ve completed everyone’s clothes, all the books in the house, and everything in my bedroom and under the bed! We delivered our first big trunk-full to Salvation Army and it felt great! For the next few Wednesdays, I’ll be documenting this journey starting this Wednesday with the process I took to get rid of half of my clothes!
This month, I outlined our non-financial goals, had a weird dream that changed my whole day’s outlook, and we had a day off thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We also went on both a food and spending cleanse that helped us re-evaluate our habits and survived a major earthquake.
I also posted this month about my alternative to the Bucket List called the Fill-the-Bucket List and issued a challenge for participation. It’s been really fun reading about the opportunities everyone has taken as they’ve filled their personal buckets. So far, submissions include the wonderful bloggers over at: Half Banked, Ditching The Grind, The Yachtless, Mr. FireStation, Generation Y Retirement Account, Frugal to Free, and Mortimer’s Money Machines. Go check those out! If you haven’t participated, it’s not too late! We want to see your Fill-the-Bucket list!
We started using Personal Capital to get a snapshot of our monthly finances. It really is a geeked-out dream for someone like me that loves to see graphs and make spreadsheets. If you don’t like doing that, it’s also really user-friendly and does all the work for you. Best part? It’s free! Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence!
January wasn’t a great month for finances for us even with our spending cleanse. Our net worth actually went DOWN for the first time since September. That has to do with the markets tanking, of course, which is fine by me because we’ve got an Energy Rebate to put into those markets in February. I hope the sale lasts until then! Right now, our investments are down to $65,860. Doesn’t look good for hitting our goal of getting this number over $125,000 in 2016! Or maybe it will motivate us to really hustle to get there! We’ll have to see!
We also weren’t able to put the extra $1500 toward the mortgage this month as we had hoped. We did manage to pay an extra $600, so it wasn’t a total fail, and our mortgage is currently at $78,670. Since I get paid hourly, I didn’t get a paycheck at the beginning of January because I was in Hawaii for the last pay period of December. No regrets! I do, however, hope this isn’t an indicator for the year ahead. I hope to have our net worth back on the up side next month even if the market continues to tank! And I hope to start with the $1500 payments next month on the mortgage. The market is also messing with my plan to get my investments to surpass my mortgage balance quickly! It will be interesting to see how long it takes for that to happen (maybe February?!).
As for our self-employment goal of doing one small thing a month, we’re spending today taking marketing photos of the holiday bazaar products to put up on Etsy and also to pitch locally. Small step: completed (a day late, but I’m counting it)!
Notable Expenses This Month: The Story Our Money Tells:
These are expenses that tell an interesting story. A peek into our lives through our pocketbook:
Since we were on a spending cleanse this month, we don’t have a lot of expenses on our list that weren’t food or gas, but here are all of them:
$5.23 – Cards and stamps for birthday cards for my mom and brother-in-law.
$21.67 – Birthday presents for two of my nieces and two of my nephews.
$6 – Parking at the hockey game.
$144 – Swimming lessons for my girls this March (these classes fill up in under four hours!).
$116.17 – Medical charges from the hospital – Still paying for that darn quarter my daughter swallowed back in October!
These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:
“We’ve all but decided the house isn’t for us. We want to retire early like you!!”
“We looked at our investments this week. I don’t think we’ll ever retire. I’m not even sure you can even plan to live on investments anymore. I don’t think anyone can retire on that.”
“Why would you even look at the market this week?!”
“We had our money in several different investments. If we had just counted on my husband’s retirement fund from work, we never would have retired. We were able to do it because he started investing right out of college in several different places.”
“I highly endorse hacking life… but, early retirement is probably a little hyperbolic. I think of ‘it’ (which is an ideal that I am not claiming to have achieved) as ‘not being afraid anymore,’ because I think it’s mostly fear that drives our decisions to not pursue what we want.”
“With life spans increasing, we need more mid-career sabbaticals.”
“Instead of ‘retiring,’ we should call it ‘repositioning’.”