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2009 Totals

January 1st, 2010 at 11:05 am

2009 was an awesomely awesome financial year for us. Phew!


My salary went up $1500 for the year, and I earned another $3k in overtime (over the year before). In fact - best overtime year by a mile, since having children.

Gifts were up $2k this year, since MIL randomly gave us $1k they got for turning in an "old clunker" to the state. A state program - not the "cash for cars." This was a TRUE clunker. My mom also ended up giving us $1k for the MRI. So, got $2k completely unexpected, and this was a large reason why we decided to just pay cash on my auto body work. Borderline to file a claim anyway - and ruin our perfect driving record. This way - we had the cash and it was done. No rising insurance to worry about. Phew!
MIL always gives $1k each to the kids, and $1k to us, every year. So we had a fruitful gift year.

Interest income was about $240, as opposed to $350 last year. Though I had MORE cash! Ouch!

Our other income was down about $600 this year. A bit of a bummer. Looking closer - we had a lot less focus groups this year. Last year dh sold a projector for $250. He did a wedding video for a family member for $100. $500 credit card rewards. About $300 focus groups. The rest, about $700, was ebay selling and such. In 2009, $500 credit card rebates, and about $800 in ebay sales. I don't have the grand total of what dh sold. I think he sold a lot more this year (though summer was a very slow patch). BUT, $800 is all he gave me for bills/saving. I am quite sure he netted $1200 this year - as was our goal.

His ebay sales, which are very helpful, will take a big hit this year with his surgery. But he may be able to make up for it when both kids are in school in the fall. He should have a lot more time to make a go of it, then.

In addition to all that, I did get a 10% employer contribution in 2008 - to retirement. As always. In this economy though, I don't take it for granted. Won't know for many months about 2009.

That covers the income side of things.



I was more careful to check everything was included in this report, this year. I can not, for the life of me, get my mortgage principal payments to show up. That will add about $3500 to both years. Leaving my YTD expenses at about $65k. My goal is to limit expenses to $60k, but does not necessarily account for big, one-time items. I also will be able to reduce annual daycare (preschool) expense by about $2k, in a few months time. So - pretty darn close. If I hadn't of smashed my car this year - we'd be about there.

**Allowances - Dh and I generally give ourselves $50/month. Just to have the freedom to buy whatever the heck we want! I am not much of a strict budgeter, and this year I pretty much ignored it. (Dh tends to save up for bigger items so I usually track more closely, for him). Anyway - I find it funny how we both kind of ended up about $600 for the year. We just know our limits.

I actually cut down my clothing buying by about $300. I bought a bike instead, this year! Which was a most awesome purchase. So I used my allowance quite well this year.

**AUTO - We spent about $800 less on gas, thanks to lower gas prices. Insurance/registration was all about the same, though dh and I both had to renew our driver's licenses for a fee. Service/maintenance was the usual $1500 (for 2 cars) though I spent $2200 to repair my van (the pole run in). WE spent about $800 on the van (stupid stuff) and $600 on the old Ford (new brakes for the first time ever - 100k+ miles - new tires and work on the AC). About $100 on oil changes for both cars throughout the year. Pretty typical. The "new" Dodge is a PITA and dh's old car is extremely light on repairs/maintenance - always has been.

Chalk up the $1800 increase in Auto expenses this year to my run-in with a pole. Hopefully we can avoid that next year.

**Bank Charge - I stupidly got an overdraft charge last year. You wanna know why I don't bank with the big boys? So a stupid mistake only costs me $3. This year was a typical no-fee year.

**CASH - Dh talked me into using my card more this year. I used to reserve it for over-$10 purchases and such. This year I see a slew of $1-$5 charges on my credit card. But it is nice not to carry around cash. (But for the token amount for emergency - I no longer carry any cash).

**CHarity - It looks like we were more charitable, eh? Not particularly. Oh - our usual $250 donations for 2008 didn't get made until January 2009. That is part of it. The rest is just school stuff. Every dime and donation to the school is tax-deductible, and this was BM's first full calendar year in school. We also have memberships to a couple of museums and such.

**Childcare - In 2008 both kids were in preschool for 1/2 of the year. In 2009, Ms. PReschool up and moved. So we haven't been paying as much for preschool. The new one we found is very cheap. This is also a large reason why our auto fuel expense went down. This is also why I Was able to work more overtime. Found a preschool closer to home. Ms. Preschool was worth every penny though and we miss her TERRIBLY. I am so sad she can not care for LM while dh is in the hosptial, etc.

Dh and I did not pay much for babysitting this year. We were able to squeeze in a fair amount of lunch dates while the kids were in school - much cheaper.

**CLOTHING - BM grew like a weed, and I actually splurged on some workout clothing this year. I was actually surprised to see how much we spent compared to last year. BUT, I did really go through my wardrobe and upgrade things this year. Things that were just falling to pieces, etc. These were not "allowance" items. We had a little more money to buy what we "needed" this year and made more of a priority than other years. Even dh bought a few things - though mostly thrift.

**Dining - we spent a fair amount more this year. As mentioned, dh and I did a lot of lunch dates. We also ended up spending a lot on eating out with my dad in the hospital so much, and with our own issues at the end of the year.

**EDUCATION - This is just karate classes for BM. He got bumped up to the big kid class, which cost more. Also bought 2 belts for him this year, etc. He is officially yellow belt, now! Through the community center - which is far cheaper than any of the private places around here.

**Entertainment - is just our blockbuster online. More than the movies, we also get free game rentals and such, with this plan.

**Gifts - I suppose we were predictable here.

**Groceries - up $200. I suppose consistent here, too.

**Household - last year we bought a lot of thermal drapes and CFLs and such. This year we did a lot more low-cost maintenance. Also - $80/month for the gardener - my #1 luxury.

**ID Theft - I started this category to track expenses when my Identity was stolen. Since then we have had a lot of fraudulent credit card activity (completely unrelated. I don't think I have ever had fraudulent activity on my own card - in over 15 years of having credit cards. Last 2 years have been the pits!). Anyway, I just throw any improper expenses here so I don't forget - make sure it gets taken care of. Not sure why the -$19.99, but that's all it is.

**Insurance - we upped our umbrella insurance a bit, this year. Everything else was pretty status qou.

**Medical was about the same. BM didn't have a pile of cavities in 2009 (phew), but we did have more medical bills and higher premiums than last year. Still came out a tad ahead, I suppose? Not so lucky for 2010, that is for sure!

**Miscellaneous - We definitely had more cash this year. & spent a little of it. This year we did Little League and swim lessons. Stuff easier to justify with lower preschool costs. We also went ahead and bought a GPS and a tent. So was a little more spendy than the year prior.

**Mortgage Interest - with our refi around January 1, 2009, we saved $1800 in mortgage interest. Which is totally super awesome. The principal is being paid off about the same rate as before.

**Personal care - just haircuts for the 4 of us.

**PRofessional Dues - all of these are reimbursed by my employer, but I tend to make political contributions with my dues. Which is what remains.

**Subscriptions - just the newspaper - we renewed to weekends again. All we ever wanted, but they stopped offering for many years. Dh can't give up his paper.

**TAX - this is just our property taxes - they went down a bit this year. Much more down for next year.

**UTILITIES - I have no idea why our utilities went down. We are still in limbo. Hoping to change to Surewest for cable. Still waiting to test out their *new* DVR, so we can drop DISH. We did switch to high speed internet with Surewest. I believe it was this year that we first dropped long distance and call waiting (I finally convinced dh). I suppose this was also the first full year of sharing our cell phone plan with my folks, which also brought costs down. High speed internet was justified with the nearing end of expensive preschool. Phew!

Our gas/electric did go down 10%. Though most of that is due to lower rates. The CFLs were a bust as an investment, in my opinion. We apparently already had some sort of efficient bulbs (which also last forever - we gave a pile of 8-year-old bulbs to our neighbor - still going strong). I don't think we will bother going CFL with the rest of the bulbs. We had only changed the most used bulbs in the house - since we have SO MANY lightbulbs.

I suppose we got sucked in by hype. Which is good to be aware of. For example, our hot water heater costs pennies to run. I suppose it would be stupid to replace it eventually with a tankless heater. Which costs FAR more - and yet won't really offer us any cost savings. I didn't foresee the light bulbs would be the same way - but they are.


Thinking to 2010...

I suspect most of our spending will be similar in 2010. With the exception of expected medical bills.

Our flood insurance may go up, from $300 to $1200-ish, per year. They have been wishy washy about that - all politics.

I know we will have a lot of "convenience/daycare" type expenses with dh's surgery. Some of these will mirror last year - since we drive a LOT to the Bay Area and helped out my parents when my dad was ill. WE will have a lot of similar costs with dh having surgery in the Bay Area, and such. I mostly plan to fund these with our "vacation fund" though. The last 3-4 years we have been trying to set aside $1500 for vacations, though had been low on our priority list and set to $0 for the few years prior. Basically - it's the first thing to go.
That frees up $1500 for daycare and convenience - more eating out and such. Which should really more than cover it. I also expect that our miscellaneous spending will be down a bit since dh will be out of commission for a while. HArd to say, since in January - March I tend to be so busy with work that we don't go out and do a lot of things together. It tends to be very low spend months anyway - the time while dh is recovering. But, will just have to see.

Anyway, with all this medical hoo-ha, I certainly don't expect to keep our expenses down to $60k. BUT, will of course, TRY!



I ended up saving about $10k cash in 2009, as well as putting $4k into our ROTHS.

2009 was the first year I ever contributed to our ROTHs regularly, from income (as opposed to funding later with cash - or with gifts, etc.). I wish I could say the same for 2010, but we are going back to the lump sum method for 2010 - depends how the medical bills stack up. If we feel we have any to spare, will do a lump sum contribution towards the end of 2010.

2009 was good - hopefully after this hump we can pick up where we left off!

2 Responses to “2009 Totals”

  1. mom-from-missouri Says:

    I'm a firm beliver in the CFL's. Before I married I changed out my house and the electric bill dropped right then by $40 a montn (all electric home). When I married, I removed all the bulbs and brought them with me. Even though we are home all the time (homeschooling), the electric bill is still less than it was when it was just him here, and being gone 12 hours a day for work.

    The thermal drapes are also a huge savings--year around for us--easier on the AC and heat.

  2. monkeymama Says:

    I suppose it depends on the type of bulbs you had before. My point is our non-CFLs performed just the same as our prior bulbs. Exactly the same! It is likely they won't even last as long as our old bulbs. No noticeable savings. (Or I suppose my point is that there are non-CFL options that work in an identical fashion).

    People keep telling me the CFLs will at least last longer, though I have regular old "energy efficient" bulbs I used every day in my kitchen that lasted 7 years before I gave them away to make way for CFL.

    Unless these were insanely expensive bulbs - which I doubt, since the builder put them in.

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