I have been tracking our monthly bills and expenses since 2008, but it wasn’t until just a few years ago that I really took a hard look at our finances. We had debit like the majority of people do. There was a mortgage ($1800), car payment ($315), truck payment ($450), undergraduate loan ($220), and a graduate loan ($270). This was over $3,000 a month is debt alone. If you add on top the monthly bills of cable, electric, cell phones, daycare, trash pickup, water, and insurances and so on you get another $1,400-$1,700 a month in bills. We still have to account for food, gas, beer, eating out and misc spending, yet another $1,400 a month. A total of $5,800+ a month!!! Wow! And I thought we were doing well. I was paying the credit cards monthly, was saving (401K), I was living the dream, just like everyone else. I was doing exactly what the world was telling us to do.
We took immediate action and cut cable and eating out from our lives. We reduced misc. spending to almost nothing. Next came the snowball debt pay down which happened over the course of a couple of years. The truck payment ended and the $450 was used to pay down additional debt. Next, the undergrad loan was paid off. This increased our addition money to pay down debt to $670. There was a constant need to resist the urge to spend that money. Eventually, my daughter entered school and the daycare money was added to the additional pay down money. Soon the car and graduate loan were paid off! Yes! The only remaining debt was the mortgage which allowed our savings to grow rapidly over the course of the last couple of years.
That said, I have never tracked our net worth on an official basis. I would occasionally do some quick math to get an estimate, but starting this month I will be tracking our net worth monthly and reporting on it. I will be using a tracking sheet that can be found on thousandaire’s website. You can find the same sheet by going to http://www.thousandaire.com/downloads/ and clicking the net worth tracking link under spreadsheets. The sheet is pretty straight forward with instructions included in the sheet. Keep an eye out for the first Net Worth Report later this month.