I’m counting on this blog to keep us accountable for the Keller Household financials. That being said, I thought it may be time for a quick financial check in.
So far, 2016 has been an expensive year for the Keller Family! I may have gone a little bit overboard on birthday presents and celebrations for BK.. I’m afraid we definitely blew through that budget! Additionally, I’ve had a hard time this month staying under budget for shopping. It’s only mid-month, but I’m over budget there, too! I also booked and paid for a vacation for the kids and I (poor Mr. Keller can’t take the time off from work). Luckily, these issues have been offset by several other things so that the Keller Family’s financials actually look great!
Mr. Keller has worked every Saturday but one since the beginning of the year. Financially, it’s been great. Lots of over time pay. Of course, at this point, we would rather that he be home for at least one or two Saturdays a month, but it has offset some of my excess.
We’ve also benefited from the weather and lower fuel prices. I budgeted for much higher natural gas, electric and gasoline costs than we’ve actually seen for the year.
The biggest helper, though, has been the bonus we received through my job. It’s smaller than last year, but we are still more than satisfied.
In all, even though we blew through a few budget line items, we earned more money and saved in other areas. Since the beginning of the year, we have saved about $9,000 into our regular savings, $6,800 in retirement, and paid the house down by $13,000 for an over all increase of nearly $20,000 to our net worth. Not too shabby for not quite 3 months.
This overall net worth increase is impressive, but it really could have been better. That shopping bug hit me hard this month! I also really haven’t been grocery shopping very economically, but that’s a decision that I may continue to make. I’ve really enjoyed having fresh fruits and berries in our refrigerator and eating a greater variety of proteins. Mr. Keller and I did talk briefly about financials last week, and I think we intend to save more of Mr. Keller’s pay checks directly into savings. After all, the best way to save is to pay yourself first!
In fact, the best way to win at the game of life is to pay yourself first! What’s that mean? It means putting money into savings and retirement each month before you make any other payments. Obviously, you can’t put more into savings than you can afford; rather, you should work out a monthly budget and determine how much you can/will save, and put those little green employees away first. Even better if you can automate those savings. Each month, my retirement savings go straight into my 401k, and every year I have it set so that the savings percent automatically goes up.
Now, you may be the type of person who would rather enjoy themselves today and save for the future in, well, the future. That’s certainly an option, but you’re really short changing yourself. Literally. You see, even though your income will surely be larger in the future, You will have lost out on the wonders of compound interest. Compound interest, should be in my opinion, the 8th wonder of the word. Historically, the stock market grows at an average of about 10% per annum (that average includes the Great Depression, too!). Run that through your calculator a few times, and I guarantee that you’ll not only be saving every year, but you’ll be doing what you can to save more every year!
You may also be sitting there and thinking, “I’ll invest later, when the stock market is up.” Don’t be that person! When you’re in the wealth compiling stage of your life, a down stock market is a gift! You’re buying when things are on sale! Take it from someone who likes to shop: a good sale is a wonderful thing! Truly, though, as long as you continue to put money in while the market is down, history would say that you are sure to come out ahead. At the minimum, be sure to save enough to earn your employer’s match!