Sunday, July 4, 2010
Do A Mid-Year Review
Tip #263 - Do a Mid-Year Review. It's that time of year again. Whenver Independence Day rolls around it is a reminder to me that we just passed the middle of the year. And that means it is time to review what we have accomplished so far this year with regard to our finances and to evaluate whether we are on the right track to reach our goals.
If you wrote up financial goals at the beginning of the year, pull out that paper and look them over. Are you reaching your goals or have you forgotten about some of them? Are you about halfway with your savings goals or where you wanted to be with paying off debt? A good way to evaluate this is to write up a financial worksheet or net worth page. A net worth page just tells you your financial worth at a given point in time. It can be a useful tool to write one up once or twice per year so you can compare your net worth today to that of 6 months ago, 1 year ago or 5 years ago.
If you are still following the budget that you wrote up, and you should be, look it over and see if you were off the mark on any categories or if anything major has changed that would cause you to adjust some of the amounts, such as a raise, a loss of job, a rent increase, etc.
Take some time out this holiday weekend to evaluate how far you have come so far this year and where you are headed for the rest of the year. Get yourself back on track for your goals and then at year end, you will hopefully have met more of your goals.
In Real Life (IRL) - We had a few unexepected events happen while we were away. The second to last day of our trip, we discovered my daughter had lice (YUCK!). In addition to spending lots of money at the drug store buying things to get rid of it, we got home and had to wash all of the bedding that we left behind. As if that wasn't bad enough (it was!), we found water in our basement, yet again. A call to a waterproofing company and a couple hours of cleaning it up, and we collapsed in our beds that night. It wasn't until yesterday that I realized the mid-year mark happened.
So I took out our budget and financial goals that we wrote up at the beginning of the year. In reviewing our budget, the only major category we changed was summer camp. In light of my husband's job situation, we want to try to put away a bit more if we can. If his job ends in a year and a half to two years and if we decide we want to stay here versus move to North Carolina we are not counting on him finding a job making as much money as he is now. Because of that, we want to build up our savings a bit to cover any expenses we won't be able to afford at that time. Camp and other summer activities seemed like the easiest thing to cut. They are still doing some camps but not as many, and we will try to fill in with cheaper or free activities. We didn't specifically change our food or clothing categories, but we are trying to cut down in those areas if possible.
Next I looked at our financial goals we had set for the year. One of those goals was for me to find a part-time job come September while my youngest is in preschool 3 mornings a week. Although, with him not being potty-trained yet, he might not even be going in September. And even if he does, it is very difficult to fit in a job for 3 hours a day 3 days a week, especially with how often young ones get sick, school holidays, etc. Instead, I have decided to build up my eBay business more. I am going to set up some goals for number of items I wish to sell per week and how much I hope to make. I've done this before and it worked. But then I slacked off and just sold whenever I felt like it. Come September I will set aside a certain number of hours per day to devote to this work.
Lastly, I spent an hour last night updating our net worth worksheet. I like to do this four times per year, although I think twice per year is sufficient. Because of downturns in the stock market, our net worth actually went down slightly in the past three months despite paying down 3 months' worth of mortgage payments and setting aside a few thousand for retirement. Regardless, we feel good about where we are. We will have to dig into our household savings account to pay for the basement to be waterproofed. We are expecting this will cost several thousand dollars (ouch!), but it has to be done, especially if we end up movingn in the next couple of years.
And that's where we are at mid-way through this year. I hope that my readers find themselves moving along with their financial goals. Happy July 4th!