September's update. Here are my two guesses as to why:
1) Kelly Blue Book increased our car values by about $2,000 each. Not really sure why because I went through the same process as last month and even made sure to note wear and tear where applicable. I'll take it but am not really convinced.
2) Our retirement funds had big gains - partly because we significantly increased our contributions but also because there have been some decent gains since the last time I looked at our net worth.
Challenges: We spent quite a bit on medical expenses and travel in recent weeks so our checking account is a bit slim this pay period. Fortunately, we just got checks in the mail for some of our side hustles and will be using that money to catch up and get back on track. Until then, beans, rice and veggies will be a part of our diet.
The upcoming holidays also mean spending a little more than a typical month due to gift giving, travel, holiday parties, etc. We already have most of our travel paid for so we're in pretty good shape. As far as gifts, I find the best thing to do is make sure you communicate with your family and friends in terms of gift buying. Some years my family has enforced a spending limit, and other years we have only purchased gifts for the kids. Depending on your financial situation, it might be in your best interest to start the gift buying conversation. You may find that others have financial concerns as well but may not want to speak up about it.
2011 Goals: Two of our goals this year include creating a $15,000 emergency fund and maxing out our 401(k) contributions. Unless some sort of miracle occurs in the next month or so, we won't be accomplishing these goals during 2011. But that's okay. Considering we just started saving in September we are still doing pretty well - halfway to our $15,000 emergency fund and a significant increase in our retirement contributions. I think it is safe to say that we will complete our emergency fund in early 2012 and will also be able to fully max our retirement next year.
What's Ahead: We are still annoyed at our last student loan and have been thinking about starting up our debt payoff program again so we can finally get rid of it and be debt free! Maybe after our emergency fund is fully funded? We'll see!