It is time to update our spending in April. I would not say it was a great month, however any month that our net worth increases should be considered a success. My goal is steady progress, which is what we having been making the last year or so. Check out the Moneystepper Savings Challenge for a way to add some accountability to your savings and net worth goals!
In some ways we overspent, but once you get past a certain savings rate I feel like there is a reduced benefit from each dollar saved. The most frugal people would disagree, but I think there is a balance in the lifestyle that can be achieved by watching the big dollars, leaving some room for non-essentials, and eliminating the frivolous spending. That being said, I try to avoid being a mindless consumer and make sure to think through my purchases and find the best deal when I am going to buy something.
Our income was consistent with previous months. There were not any unexpected inflows in this area, though I would really like to include the Apple (APPL) dividend and Costco (COST) special dividend in that number as both were significant. While it does influence my net worth, both of those amounts are locked in to tax advantaged accounts.
It was actually a pretty quiet month on the income side. My wife has been working on a small side business, but she was not able to devote much time to it for the month. Most of the income from it went to offset inventory purchases from March and April.
The biggest event for the month was baptizing our youngest son. That lead to a cookout which meant we went way overboard on buying meat, sides, and drinks (including lots of beer) for the celebration at our house after the ceremony.
We had a fairly large car repair bill for 2 new tires and alignment on my wife’s car. The damage was about $334, but having a safe car is worth it. The vibrations made driving the car a bit unsettling. It had been a while since we had anything more than an oil change, so we were probably due for something to happen. I think a new windshield last summer was the last repair expense we had.
I bought a table saw and some nice blades for it for just under $400. I am thinking about returning it as I don’t think I will get to my cabinet and closet projects anytime soon. I think I am having a little bit of buyer’s remorse here. Update: Before I posted this I decided to return the table saw and use that money for something else. I will have a whole post dedicated to why I am buying a security system!
We also bought some gift cards for our nieces and nephews. They all play sports, so we get them $20 Dick’s gift cards and send with a birthday card. It was $80 in total (all 4 birthdays are pretty close together).
I am closing in on having solar power for a year. While I will dedicate an entire post to how that has worked out, I wanted to mention that our power bill for April was -$125.46. This included a credit we get each year in California of $29.00, so it was really a $96.46 credit for producing more power than we used. Since we have not really needed to run the air conditioner yet, our credit balance is building heading into the summer (almost $200 in total). I still anticipate getting a check later this year from SCE (you can get paid once a year or roll the credits over).
Net Worth Progress
Our net worth increased by about $15,000 in April 2015. I am again pleased that it keeps going up at such a good rate. I can’t say enough about putting savings on autopilot! While I self-direct most of the choices (outside of the work plan), I make sure that the money gets moved before we can spend it. The market is going all over the place and since I have a lot of individual stock investments in my portfolio, I have a decent amount of volatility. Broken down our net worth gain looks like this:
- +$2,500 from paying down debt (car/mortgage/solar)
- +$4,500 from retirement contributions to 403b and 457b (also includes match and pension contribution). This also includes minor market changes.
- +$5,000 from gains in my IRA accounts (somewhat of a recovery from March changes). No additions to those accounts this month.
- +$3,000 from an increased house value according to Zillow. I don’t think Zillow is incredibly accurate, but I watch the sales in my neighborhood and think it is in the ballpark.
- No college savings this month (already at $3,000 of $4,000 max for the year in Coverdell ESA accounts, or 75% of the goal)
- No contributions to Prosper, taxable brokerage, or other after-tax investments for the month (I need to post a Prosper update, too)
- My cash savings technically went up a few hundred bucks, but since there are some outstanding charges on credit cards, I am calling it $0 for the month
I am pretty slow posting this, but how was your April? Do you look at net worth month over month or more often?