Get a Snapshot of Your Finances

money tips

If you want to handle your finances better in 2012 than you did in 2011, then getting a financial snapshot can be a huge help.  Today’s money tip is quick and easy. It should take more than 15 minutes to set up.

Once you have a clear picture of where you are, you can see what you need to improve on. The problem for many is getting that snapshot ready in a reasonable amount of time. If you don’t already use Mint, get it set up today (takes about 10-15 minutes).

The fun part is  getting the answers to all of the questions below. I suggest tackling one question every other day. It’ll give you a bit of time to really think about what you did well with last year and what you can improve on this year. money tips

  • How much am I (or are we) in debt?
  • How much income do I/we take home each month?
  • How much are the monthly expenses?
  • How much do I (or we) have in savings?
  • Am I behind or delinquent on any bills?
  • How much is in my retirement account?
  • What’s my (or our) net worth?
I’ll share some of our answers; I’d love for you to share yours in the comments.

How Much Are We in Debt?

Right now, between the mortgage and teh student loans, we’re about $128,000 in the hole. However we right now have a positive net worth when looking at all of our accounts, cars (no loans), and equity.

How Much are the Monthly Expenses?

As I mention when we created our family’s 2012 budget, we’re basing it on what we averaged in actual spending in 2011. Here is what we came up for our family’s monthly budget for 2012:

  • Mortgage: $850
  • Extra Mortgage Payment: $175
  • Groceries: $350
  • Home Association Fees $100
  • Electricity $100
  • Gas: $15
  • Cellphone $150
  • Internet/Basic Cable $75
  • Car Insurance 87.58
  • Dining Out: $100
  • Student Loan: $150
  • Entertainment: $35
  • Shopping (Personal Care/Household/Baby Stuff) $165
  • Irregular Bills: $60

What’s my (or our) net worth?

As of January 31, 2012, when we did our last review,  it’s currently at $72,412.30. It may seem big, but a portion of that is tied to the house’s equity. We’re working on paying down the student loan this year and refinancing the house to a lower interest rate.

Thoughts on Financial Goals

What your biggest goal this year? How do you plan on accomplishing it?

Photo Credit: The Cleveland Kid

VINE & LACE

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