When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’
(Mister Rogers has always been my favorite!)
This Christmas season, we’re making an increased effort to be those helpers!
This month is BIG for the blog. Coming soon: we have a very exciting Christmas post that’s definitely out of the ordinary. (Mr. T and I spent hours putting it together and you’ll LOVE IT. I promise!) In two weeks, I’m introducing something BIG and I’m super excited about it… details coming Monday, December 19th! YAY YAY YAY YAY! Ahem. Okay… what you came here for…
You guys… if you haven’t signed up for Personal Capital, I think you’re nuts! It’s free! I look forward each month to logging in and seeing all of my accounts in one place. It shows all of my credit card accounts, my mortgage, my investment accounts, analyzes my fees, and is very visually compelling. I mean, it’s a geeked-out way to see it all in one glance without spending too much time. Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! It has cut down my end-of-the month reckoning significantly since I can see all my accounts together (with graphs!).
Markets are up in the stratosphere. I’m not going to complain, since we’re now sitting at $126,530 in investments… that’s right… we hit our crazy market-based goal for the year! And we’ve officially more than doubled our investments since starting this blog nearly 1.5 years ago! Woo hoo! Our mortgage balance is looking pretty great as well. We’re down to $53,700 (details on how below!). Just $8,700 to go before we’ve officially halved our starting balance of $90,000 when we started the blog! (If you haven’t noticed, there are always markers to celebrate along the way!)
For our savings percentage, we track the percentage of our pre-tax (or gross) income and the extra payments put toward the mortgage are included in the amount saved. Savings percentage for November: 61%. You read that right… 61%! That’s insane! (Again, thanks to including the extra payments we make toward the mortgage!)
2016 Financial Goal Update:
With just $11,000, we could realize all of our goals for the year!
We have hit EVERY SINGLE GOAL except the 2 Roth IRAs! But here’s why I’m not considering this a total loss: since the beginning of the year, we’ve invested $15,250 into Mr. T’s 401k and that wasn’t on our goal list at all! So… we may have redirected the Roth IRA funds toward that. I still want to make sure I am funding retirement accounts in my name, so if we end up actually contributing to a Roth IRA at all before April, mine will come first. Here’s the rest of the update:
- $125,000 in investments by the end of the year ($126,530/$125,000) – DONE! – I can’t even believe this happened. Again, market-based goals aren’t great because we have no control over them. That being said, I’m probably going to set a crazy market-based goal for next year!
- Max out my Roth IRA for 2015 by April ($5500/$5500) – DONE!
- Max out my Roth IRA for 2016 by December ($0/$5500) – nope
- Max out Mr. T’s Roth IRA for 2016 by December ($0/$5500) – nope
- Mortgage balance below $55,000 by the end of December ($53,700 – DONE!)
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:
- $1223 – A digital piano we purchased for our family Christmas present. The kids know we’re all buying each other a piano so they can start piano lessons. (The piano was on sale at Costco for 999.99, but it costs $223 to ship it up to Alaska.)
- $43.99 – My anemia is back, so I had to get more unicorn blood (half the price of the local store on Amazon!)
- $29.95 – Elf on the Shelf – Ugh. This is what my girls asked for from Santa. They keep saying things like: “Kylie’s elf always hides while they’re sleeping. Paige’s elf always does silly things while they’re sleeping. I wonder what our elf will do!” Sit on the shelf like he’s SUPPOSED TO DO BASED ON HIS NAME! Elf on the Shelf is the prime example of Pinterest-mom-shaming! Now my kids have expectations! Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? What does yours do?
- $63 – The cost of Thanksgiving. Turkeys are $1.68/lb unless you spend $50 at Fred Meyer’s and then you get it for $0.59/lb. So, I had to buy some shampoo, candy for stockings, and a few other things we use along with our dinner food to get the price of the turkey down to nearly 1/3 of the original price! (worth it.)
- $63.60 – The cost of the eye doctor appointment for Florin. She’s worn glasses for a pre-lazy eye since she was 18 months old. This appointment, the doctor said she may have grown out of them! She gets to do a six month trial without glasses! Yay! Cheers all around!
$0.90 from my Bookscouter Affiliate Link
$100 – Personal Capital Affiliate Link – I have to say that when readers sign up through my links, I feel an immense outpouring of love. More than the money, it feels like you’re giving me a big, virtual high five and I am honored and grateful. Thank you.
$5,000 – An inheritance from Mr. T’s grandmother given with the stipulation that it would go straight to our mortgage. Thanks Grandma!
$15 – Some Facebook settlement. Yay!
These are things said by actual people that were either talking to me or near me enough that I could hear them:
- “When we bought our first house, we didn’t have enough credit history, so we had to get a second loan and then we had to refinance and it was a nightmare. And then we finally did all that and then we had to move!”
- “It’s way too easy to get credit cards.”
- Not directly finance related, but my Penny (8 years old) told me last week: “You need to love yourself first. If you don’t, it’s hard to love other people.”