It’s time to check my goals and cash flow! I firmly believe that tracking your finances is the first step toward financial independence. How can you control your finances if you don’t know exactly how much money is coming in and going out? If you don’t keep track now, try it for a few months. It’s actually nice to see how our finances are doing and I look forward to updating my spreadsheet every month.
February was a pretty good month financially. The weather was mostly rainy and we didn’t go out and spend money very often. We had a really nice sunny stretch last week, but the grey sky is back now. Okay, let’s go over my 2016 New Year goals first and then see how we did in January.
Non Financial Goals
Improve Fitness – (February result = 99%)
I got a Garmin Vivofit 2 for Christmas and I’m using it to track my activity level. I improved a little this month. I think we had a few more nice days so I got outside a little more. I didn’t meet Garmin’s steps goal, though. I had 174,468 steps in February. That’s 6,016 steps per day which met my 6,000 steps per day goal. However, Garmin’s step goal is dynamic. If I exceed 6,000 steps, then the goal increases a bit for the next day. Anyway, 99% is pretty good and it was an improvement from January.
Control my triglyceride level (WIP)
I’m trying to eat better to control my hypertriglyceridemia. I’m cooking more fish and vegetables, but I don’t think it will make a big difference unless we change our diet completely. I will get a blood test in about 6 months to check the triglyceride level. I’d probably have to increase the dosage of my medication.
Try 6 new great restaurants (33%)
We only went out once in February. It was just too rainy to go out much. I cooked on the weekdays and Mrs. RB40 cooked on the weekends. Things have been going smoothly in the kitchen so we didn’t feel the need to eat out.
In February, we tried a restaurant we’ve been eyeing for a while – Boke Bowl. It’s right across the bridge and only takes a few minutes to get there. We splurged for the $30 half KFC (Korean fried chicken.) It came with buns, rice, seaweed, and a big plate of pickled veggies. The KFC is only available on Thursday evening. The chicken was perfectly cooked and seasoned just right. I’m glad we went with the KFC instead of the typical ramen. It was definitely worth the $30 to try something new. We would definitely bring visiting friends and family to this restaurant.
Take an extended trip to Thailand ($1431.52)
I’m planning a 3 week trip to Thailand in November. I want my family to experience the Loy Kratong festival in Chiang Mai. It was a big deal when I was a kid and I had fun with the various activities around the holiday. Saving for this trip is made very easy by using Digit. Digit deducts a small amount from my account every few days and I don’t notice the “stealth” saving at all. Check out my Digit review if you don’t know about them. The current balance is at $1,431.52. This is a great way to save for a trip.
Attend a conference – WIP
I got a ticket to FinCon 2016 in San Diego! I still need to reserve the hotel room.
Visit a national park – WIP
I booked a campsite near Crater Lake. I can’t wait for summer.
Start a non-finance website – On hold
I will start this after kindergarten begins in the fall.
In February, we saved $2,119 in our tax advantaged accounts. That brings up our total to $7,405 so far in 2016. I didn’t contribute to my i401k account last month because I’m hoping for a bigger pull back.
Increase Dividend to $11,500 (13%)
We got $708 in dividend in February. That’s $1,499 so far in 2016. I also picked up a few shares of KMI right at the bottom so that felt pretty good.
Surpass $50,000 in RB40 Junior’s 529 account
The stock is going to be volatile this year so I don’t know if we’ll meet this goal. We will continue to contribute $400 per month. The account is now worth $42,846. That’s just about the same as January.
Increase Net worth by 3x risk free rate (currently -1%)
The 10-year US government bond yields about 2%. So my target net worth increase for 2016 is 6%. This will be very difficult to achieve if we have a bear market this year. Currently, our net worth gain is -1%. I guess that’s not bad considering the S&P 500 decreased about 5% YTD. We’ll see how it goes.
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Take Home Income (target > $5,000)
Our take home income is a bit higher than usual this month at $6,085. That’s because I did not contribute to my i401k. I will probably contribute in March or early April. Other than that, things look normal.
Mrs. RB40’s Paychecks: $4,909
Rental income: $630. This is the ideal amount of monthly rental income I’d like to see in 2016. It won’t last, though. We have a few repairs to deal with this year.
Online income: $2,008. I’m hoping to average around $2,500 per month this year so this is a little lower than I’d like. We’ll see how it goes. I will break down the online income and expenses in our monthly newsletter so if you’re curious, sign up with our email list.
Dividend: $708. Not too bad. You can see my dividend portfolio here if you’re curious.
Interest: $9. The interest rate is quite low so this will be minuscule for the foreseeable future.
P2P lending: -$39. Argh! I hate it when the default is more than income. Our ROI is holding stable at 8%. That’s not too bad. I’m looking at a management company to help with P2P lending. I’ll write up about it soon.
Misc income: $0.
Expense (target < $4,500)
I think we did pretty well with our expenses in February ($4,185.) We spent about $180 on entertainment and miscellaneous. Everything else was core expense.
Housing: $2,256. Mortgage, HOA, and property tax.
Cash Allowance: $100. We’ve been using our debit card for grocery purchases so we don’t use much cash anymore.
Groceries: $569. Our groceries bill is a bit higher than usual this month. We had an expensive Valentine’s Day meal and we didn’t go out much.
Child/Dependent: $595. I’m really looking forward to sending him to the free full day (9am to 2pm) kindergarten at our public school..
Bills: $250. Electricity and insurance.
Entertainment: $109. Gym membership fee, camping ground reservation, and a bottle of Pernod.
Misc: $70. Mrs. RB40 got some new shirts and I got some light bulbs from Home Depot.
Transportation: $94. I got an oil change and washed the car so this is a bit more than usual.
Extra Saving ($2,654 so far in 2016)
We were $1,900 in the green last month. I’ll take it in the win column.
All in all, we had a pretty good month in February. The $1,900 extra is a little deceptive because I didn’t contribute to my i401k like normal. I’m still hoping for a big downturn so I can finish my 2015 contribution. Let’s see how the market will do in March.
Did you have a good February?