First Financial Report of 2016

Image source.

It would seem that the fourth Monday in a month is the best time for me to look at finances. The first Monday Justin hasn't been paid … sometimes money hasn't been sorted by the second, and the third Monday is a book review. So fourth Monday it is! … whether I like it or not.

Let's start with the good:
• We began the year with a bang in Germany before moving on to Czech Republic and France. It was awesome, and I could never regret it. ever.
• We spent time with friends that we've only seen in person twice before. Another situation where there are no regrets.
• We went to shows (The Rockettes, Moulin Rouge, a concert at St. Chapelle) … and I only kind of regret 1 of the 3. But if I had never gone, I would never have known… So no regrets there.
• We went to a good mix of cheap and expensive restaurants in Europe. Then, the mean wife that I am, I let Justin go bar hopping. I got warm drinks on a cold night … so … no regrets?

Are you noticing a theme?

Everything we did on our trip was worth it. I would do it all again.

BUT, that being said, I also learned some valuable lessons. For example: It's hard to plan a trip and get all of your work done beforehand during the Christmas season. Packing light when you don't have time to actually contemplate what you are packing is also difficult. Then, if you don't pack light, you have to pay for taxis or struggle on the metro. I mean, honestly, there were too many lessons to count and not all of them had to do with being too stressed to pack smartly. Most of the lessons did have to do with money though. Perhaps in the future we will be able to save more money while traveling than we did this time. … Or at least that's my goal. And not on restaurants or spending time with friends, I'm talking about not wasting money on silly mistakes and getting hotel rooms with points.

A few other high points not having to do with travel:
• I didn't shop for or buy clothes this month! (Even at 40% off!)
• Our assets are higher now than they were last year at this time! Woot!
• Taxes are done.
• Through strategic planning, we are getting 4% back on car insurance!
• Received a free thermostat! $240 value! :)

Anyway, now let's talk about the bad, because there is a lot of it this month.
• While we were in Europe we received a notification that my husband's Serve account had been closed. No more manufactured spend or 1% credit card transfer fees for us! :(
• We spent more this month than we did in January 2015, but less than we did in December 2015…

Spending Graph
green = this year; yellow = last

• Income is 1k less than last year and 2k less than last month. :(

Income Graph
green = this year; yellow = last

• Net income is on the edge. If we don't spend much this week, we will probably break even.

Net Income Graph
green = positive; red = negative

• Debts. :( They look better in the graph to follow because of how much we paid off with student loans last year, but the graph does not include our car loan. Add 15K to our number. Car loans and student debt aren't pretty my friends. Don't do it unless you have to. Current payoff date is remaining steady at Feb. 2023. 

Debts Graph

• Credit Card Payoff date: December 2016.

Goals for next month?
• Sell something.
• Pay off one credit card. Transfer money from one card to a 0% APR card, if possible.
• Buy less food.
• Do something fun – once with friends, once without. Or both with friends. Whatever.
• Don't shop for clothes! (Experiences are better.)
• Start investing in stocks?

So … how is January going for you? Do you have your finances under control? Or did traveling take a toll on them? Do you have big plans for staying on track come February?

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