Yearly Update – (most of) 2017 – January to July (+$56,037.80, +23%)
I started keeping track of our finances shortly after I graduated from college in 2011. My wife and I recently decided to put ourselves out there and start this website to track our journey to financial freedom. I have collected data from all the way back from 2012 and I’m trying to play catch up on getting all of this information posted.
Our first update was a giant post spanning from 2012 to 2016. This update will be a bit different as it’s a “yearly” update but only for the first 7 months of 2017. I wasn’t sure if this was the best way to present the last 7 months or not and I might go back and split this up into monthly updates at some point in the future.
2017 has been a busy year so far and there’s lots to share. In trying to keep this post from being crazy long, I’ve only added a few pictures of us this time.
Our youngest son turned one in July, so of course we went with a 4th of July theme! I had to look through about 200 pictures to find one with him actually look at the camera and smiling. (I’m not sure how my wife will feel about posting one with her in it… but it’s all we got).
And here’s a random picture of us all coordinating blue. I’m not smart enough to be able to able to pull this off so it must have been my wife.
Anyways… on to the numbers! How did we do over these 7 months?
Net Worth Breakdown:
These last 7 months we have had some tremendous growth. The S&P 500 gained about 10% during this time which really catapulted the majority of our progress. Our net worth gained $56,037.80 (23%) over this period, which I feel pretty confident to say that is the largest growth we’ve seen in any 7-month period since we’ve started!
The housing market in DFW is hot right now, and our house value portrays that pretty well. The “Zestimate” says it grew 5% from the beginning of January to the end of July, which added around $15,000 to our bottom line.
Home – $14,032.14
Last year we spent about $26,000 on total housing expenses. It looks like this year we’re currently on pace for about $24,055.10. I’ve tried to place a higher priority on cutting expenses on our house, such as:
- Not leaving TV’s/lights/electronics on all the time.
- Trying not to keep the A/C on as low as we can in the summer. We still aim for around 70 degrees at night (I can’t sleep if it’s not cold in the house).
- And sort of out of our control, but we haven’t had to spend as much this year so far on home repairs.
Food & Dining – $6,077.36
Eating out is our main focus point to try to reduce. $6,077.36 comes out to $868.20 per month on food. Our ideal grocery bill is around $400 per month for a family of four, but I don’t think we’ve realistically hit this once.
Our oldest kid only eats peanut butter and honey sandwiches, which sounds like this wouldn’t cost much, but he’s on a gluten-free diet. And for some reason, gluten-free foods cost way too much. I believe we pay about $4 for a half loaf of gluten-free bread, and this kid eats about 3 half-loaves a week… so $48 a month goes to just his bread. Our youngest eats like a horse, but a much better variety. I haven’t calculated how much his food cost yet, although I might give that a shot sometime.
If we can cut out eating out altogether, that would free up $3,000 – $4,000 per year. If you’re curious to see how much Chick-Fil-A we’ve been eating, check out this post.
Shopping – $3,778.61
I was curious to see how our spending actually broke down. The second area of our expenses that we’ve been focusing on reducing is Amazon purchases (I don’t know why but seeing those little Amazon packages on your doorstep is so addicting). And of course, it’s our highest area of shopping expenses.
The majority of our shopping (79%) occurs at Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Target. We do buy some groceries at Wal-Mart and Target but most of our groceries come from Aldi.
Auto & Transport – $2,180.95
$440 of this went to toll roads. We’ve been focusing on not taking toll roads as much as possible, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. We live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and there’s plenty of destinations that would be 50-55 minutes without tolls, or 25 minutes with tolls. We try to take the long route to avoid paying anything, but with 2 kids screaming in the back seat, you pay the dang tolls.
There’s not much else to say about this category, just the routine gas station stops and normal maintenance.
Charitable giving – We currently sponsor a child through Compassion International. $38/month.
Baby Boot Camp – My wife has been working out here regularly for almost a year now. Basically, you bring your kids and workout with other moms. It’s a pretty cool idea, and she really likes it. $60/month.
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