February 2008 Review – Assets -0.5%, Debts -1.0%

Once again, it’s time for a monthly review of my finances. I generally break things down by evaluating my assets and my debts (which together make up my net worth), and then using these numbers, I attempt to set goals for the coming month. This is a useful exercise for everyone to do, simply so they can keep tabs on their overall assets and debts and make sure that they are consistently heading in the right direction. Let’s break it down.

My goals for February were interesting and varied. I had four goals for the month:

No eating out unless there’s a special opportunity with my wife. I didn’t quite achieve this goal, as I ate out a few times during the month mostly out of a pure convenience need, sadly enough. Sometimes, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what I want.

Start saving for my wife’s birthday gift. Check, though I somewhat modified what I had in mind originally.

Reduce my debt by 1%. Check, and this one was a big milestone. It felt awesome to realize that my entire debt load was reduced by 1% this month. If I were able to make this same amount of debt reduction every month, I would be completely debt free in less than six years. No mortgage, no nothing. Wow.

Spend $0 on entertainment purchases this month. Check. The only new entertainment item I acquired the entire month was a long-preordered game for the Nintendo DS that I had purchased using a Christmas gift card.

Three out of four? Pretty good. My only real disappointment was in my assets, where it went down substantially due to a second straight weak month for my retirement accounts and higher-than-expected energy bills.

In March, my biggest focus is building up some extra buffer for when I leave my job at the end of the month, so Here are my goals for the next thirty one days.

An asset growth of 0.8%. I’m going to pull back the throttle on my rapid debt repayment schedule for a while and instead build up more cash in my savings and checking accounts for the moment. Thus, I’m shooting for a decent asset growth this month.

Completion of my 2007 income taxes. I have to pay in a little bit based on my thumbnail estimate. During the month, I hope to get this all finished up and sent in.

A very detailed plan for the first six months of my layoff. I already have a rough sketch of the first year, but I work best with specific plans and deadlines, so I’m going to literally lay down a daily schedule (four days a week) for the first six months after I leave my current job. The fifth day would give me room to breathe and also some space to work on other projects.

That’s my personal financial plan for the coming month. What’s yours?

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