December was a great month. Though we still had our fair share of aftershocks, we got to enjoy a tremendously snowy Christmas full of sledding, ice skating, hot cocoa, friends and fun. I also got to FINALLY open the Lego Hogwarts Lego sets I bought “for the kids” in August. They’re amazing (I got the 2 sets, not the one giant $400 one) and I love them so much. The girls have been playing Hogwarts everyday since Christmas and Lui got to put together Aragog’s lair and now he’s pretty thrilled with “being Aragog” when he decides he wants to play along with them. Mr. T build a pretty epic luge track that uses our snow pile as usual but goes down the backside and winds around behind the house.

This month I will also be publishing a Merch Challenge 2018 Q4 Update (after December sales numbers post mid-month), a more in-depth 2018 recap, and introduce new goals for 2019. I love a New Year!

The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (Also feel free to read my more in-depth review of Personal Capital.)

Mortgage is now at $1,900! That means NO MORE EXTRA PAYMENTS are required! We will pay it off with our usual mortgage payment next month and BE DONE!!!!! So we’re a month late. I’m counting it as a win.

Investments have tumbled considerably to $204,539. I heard the market was falling, but I was too busy to actually look at my numbers until this update and was quite surprised to see how much we lost in a month! At least we’re ending the year above $200,000. And hopefully money can start being shoveled toward this next month!

2018 Financial Goals Update:

  • KILL THE MORTGAGE – $1,900 – I’m counting it as a WIN because we won’t have to put any more extra money toward this and we’ll only have to make one more regular payment. Then it is DEAD!
  • Merch Challenge Update (paying for our 27-night Europe trip and our extra mortgage payments with t-shirt sales) –  -$1896.40 – Earned (with just shirt sales online): $19,216.46, Spent: $10,412.86 (Europe Trip) + $10,700 extra mortgage payments – So it looks bad now, but since this includes all of the “spend” and we still have December’s shirt payment coming in January, this might still happen!
  • Max out Mr. T’s 401k – Automatic – however, limits rose to $18,500/year which makes it messy if you get 24 paychecks a year. But, we’ll hit $18,000 anyway, so pretty close.
  • Stretch Goal: Put $5500 into My Roth IRA – Nopety nope.
  • Market-Based Goal: $250,000 in investments by the end of 2018 – Markets down. Not looking possible this year. Oh well.

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:

  • $1.08 – Two ice creams for the girls after using the rest of a McDonald’s gift card. I took them to ice cream and told them about Santa. I was sure to tell them that magic is created and they are now part of Santa’s team. It ended up being adorable. They came home and helped Lui write a letter to Santa and they were the most enthusiastic Santa trackers on Christmas Eve!
  • $16.85 – We were able to find the two books Florin wanted for Christmas at the best little book shop in town and I was so excited to support local.
  • $103.95 – Tire changeover for Mr. T’s car. He did it before we got our big snow dump, luckily. Yay for winter tires!
  • $209.11 – Medical bill for some tests they ran when I had bronchitis back in the summer. The insurance finally paid some and they finally sent me the final bill. Why is healthcare so expensive?! 

Financial Phrases:

These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:

  • “I have a secret shopping problem!”
  • Spoken on the Saturday before Christmas by a friend: “This afternoon, my husband is taking the kids and I get to go shopping.” My reaction: “NOOOOOOO!!!!”
  • “I think the pressure of getting his wife amazing gifts motivated his career.”