Personal Balance Sheet – April 2012

When it rains, occasionally it pours. Nope; it doesn’t always pour when it rains. But sometimes it does. And April was one of those times. Luckily, April showers bring May flowers, right? Okay, enough of the sayings because I’m beginning to confuse myself. Let’s start over…

April was a tough month financially. I moved into a new place, mostly in an effort to get a yard for my dog since I was previously in an apartment. Maybe I should add these expenses to the costs of raising a puppy. However, I’d be lying if I said that was the only reason. We also now have a washer & dryer (which we paid for) and a lovely patio (which we had to buy furniture for). The costs of buying new items for our apartment, as well as the double-rent we paid for half of the month, hit my finances a bit and caused me to make no progress in my balance sheet for the month of April. I also wasn’t able to keep up my savings pace in all areas. But I’m not worried at all. I knew the expenses were coming and I was prepared. Not a big deal. I’ll bounce back in May.

Personal Finance Balance Sheet April 2012

One positive thing that did happen is that I was finally able to open a Roth 401(k) at work. This essentially allows me to bypass the deposit limits of my normal Roth IRA account. I am contributing $250 per paycheck to this account. With my increased contribution and the $100 additional withholding I have signed myself up for, my cash flow from my job has definitely taken a hit. I’m going to need to make sure my side business keeps contributing to my bottom line.

Blog Related
I didn’t quite make my goal of five posts this month, but I made a couple of posts I’d been wanting to. I finally posted a Warby Parker review update and also a Plastic Jungle review based on my experience buying and selling. More interestingly, I posted a quick article on the S&P 500 breaking even, which surprised me. Lastly, I published my list of the best used cars under $8,000 as a follow-up to my popular list of the best used cars under $10,000. Hopefully there’s a little something in there for everyone.

Personal
With the move and work I didn’t spend the time necessary to continue to lose weight. I gained two pounds. Losing weight takes dedication, and I wasn’t dedicated during the month.

Balance Sheet – March 2012

March was another good month for my finances. The usual things happened. I made decent money, watched my spending, and thus had a good chunk left over for saving. It seems to be the pattern this year. My net worth increased an average of $2,900 per month during the first quarter of 2012. My taxes for last year affected this number, otherwise it would have been on pace for around $3,500 per month. However, my balance sheet has been cash-basis, otherwise I would have been accruing for for that tax liability. I’ve increased my withholding at work to cover that amount for 2012, so if I begin to earn significantly more money I’ll want to start actually accruing for the tax I’ll owe.

Balance Sheet March 2012

If I take my investment gains out of my net worth increase and add back in the taxes that were for last year’s income, I’m currently saving more than $2,500 of my monthly income. That puts me right on track to reach my financial goals for 2012. My goal that I set in January was to save a total of $30,000 for various purposes, which are displayed in the right sidebar. To do this, I need to save $2,500 per month. However, I just made this a little more difficult. I finally became eligible to contribute to a 401k at work and I haven chosen to contribute $250 per paycheck to my Roth 401k, which ends up being $6,000 per year. This takes affect in April. That means that in order to continue my current savings trend and reach my yearly goal, I need to increase my earnings about $500/mo from its current level. I think I’m up to the challenge.

Blog Related
This month was another strong one in the blog-related field. I published an updated Ally Bank review. I also wrote about how I thought that target date-retirement funds are great beginner funds for people who don’t want to be bothered figuring out their own asset allocation or who do not yet have enough money invested to make it worth holding multiple index funds. In addition to those, I also covered the best discount brokers of 2012 and compared term life and whole life insurance.

Personal
Still the same weight as February. Always good to not step backwards, but I also didn’t make any steps forward. I’ll be making more of a concerted effort in April.

Balance Sheet – February 2012

Nothing too exciting happened during the month of February. I made good progress toward my goals and managed to hit the ones that I had missed last week. I guess that’s how you win in personal finance. A lot of small decisions all going in the right direction lead to smooth sailing. It makes good financial sense, but doesn’t lead to entertaining blogging.

Financial
I increased my savings all around, and I’m now ahead of schedule on a few of my goals, which will allow me later to save toward a house (or more for the wedding). I’ve now saved 30% of the amount I wanted to save during the year toward a car, and my wedding/honeymoon and Roth IRA savings are around 20% right now, which is also ahead of schedule. Side business income wasn’t quite as high as I would hope, ending up a little over $500 profit for the month. I’m hoping to really kick that into gear in the coming months. Net worth up a little over $36k over the past year. It helps me to look at numbers like that because it’s clear that I’ve made significant progress.

Personal Balance Sheet February 2012

Blog-related
I did a lot better in the blog department this month over last month. I surpassed my 5-post goal, and did so with what I consider to be some quality posts. I alerted readers about the great $300 cash back deal offered for Chase Freedom right now and did some research about the connection between used car prices and previous new car sales. I also posted a couple of posts about selling your car on Craigslist, and the companion guide for formatting your Craigslist car posting. I absolutely want to continue on this trend and really post some good stuff.

Personal
I’m down a total of 12 lbs now, so that’s 2 down from the end of Jan. Of course I’d love to have made more progress, but at this point I’m just happy I didn’t put back on some of the weight. February was a tough month at work. When I’m working long hours at work, I definitely eat less healthy. I would have been perfectly satisfied with staying the same weight, so I’ll consider it a bonus that I lost 2 lbs.

Overall, everything is chugging along as hoped for. Nothing exciting (which I’ll consider a good thing at this point). Hopefully this progress is sustained going forward.