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Never Boring

December 24th, 2012 at 12:18 pm

**We have a house guest for the holidays. A classroom pet snake. I suppose if we can keep him alive and well, we might have a couple of more opportunities (school breaks) to house him.

It's been a bit more of an undertaking than I envisioned because he needs to be kept at about 80F degrees, but we generally keep our house about 60F. HA!! BUT, the classroom is pretty darn cold in the a.m. and so we decided on a game plan that most likely mimicked his current setting. Honestly, he might be less shocked moving back to the classroom than if he went to one of those "75F degrees 24/7" households. For one, we decided to just turn off the heat at night, like the school does (& like we usually do). Phew!

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Dh noticed that the placeholder TV he ordered (out of stock so won't ship for another month), well, he noticed that it was in stock online. He wondered aloud what that meant, and the next day I saw the charge pending on the credit card.

So anyway, I knew that the TV shipped before dh did.
& it has already arrived. Well, alrighty then!

So far so good; still haven't decided to do with our two old messed up TVs. Decisions, Decisions...

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Yesterday we made it to a Mythbusters museum exhibit in San Jose. It was so totally COOL!!! We saw all sorts of props from the show, and got to test all sorts of myths they had done. We paid about $90 (paid for my dad to get in), but the experience was priceless. Plus, the rest of the Tech museum is pretty awesome.

If we had played it smarter, we probably should have just gotten a membership. I realized we don't have *any* memberships right now, and I we didn't have a lot of time to see the whole place.

Of course, the whole reason we went to San Jose was for the in-law gift extravaganza. So, there was that, and went out to dinner the last couple of nights. So, $$$$$$. But we definitely had a fun 24 hours or so.

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**Received an unexpected cash gift from the in-laws. They usually give us $1k, and I had already earmarked that for dh's TV. BUT, received another $1k. No firm decisions yet, but most likely will send it to the ROTHs on January 1. Will fund the increased allowable contribution for 2013. ($500 x 2 = $1000).

It was kind of tempting to throw it at the mortgage because it was so utterly unexpected, BUT, I think it is possible that we can max out our ROTHs by May 1. So, I think we are shifting to a more "one at a time" focus. ROTHs first, then cash savings. Extra mortgage payments can be decided at the end of the year, depending on how the year goes. I just don't want to do a big chunk to the mortgage, and then find myself with a huge medical bill the next day. This was always more our approach on two incomes. I feel we can do this approach again, without neglecting anything. We do really well with this kind of a savings plan. (It's just in the past all that money was going to our home - down payment. Cars. Saving to move down to one income. At this point in our lives it is all more long-term wealth building).

Feeling extremely "caught up" on the financial side of things, but next step is "getting ahead of the curve." Of note, funding the ROTHs as early as possible every year. Secondarily, working a little more on liquidity. Which is kind of moot, because if all goes well, most of that will get shifted to the mortgage at some point. Is probably delaying the inevitable a bit, but doing it in a more cautious way. Just because I "save" now doesn't mean I will never put it to the mortgage or invest it. That is precisely where it all usually ends up. We find it is usually better just to take our time and consider the environment and circumstances.

This gift topped off an absurdly prosperous year of extra income. Wow!!

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I've already been running year-end numbers and I find them kind of shocking.

Um, we didn't spend any more money than we did last year. Seriously!

We paid for our first big family vacation *ever.* We bought some furniture that was long overdue to be bought. We replaced several appliances. Dh bought a new TV. On and on and on and on!!

Why did we not spend any more than usual? Significantly lower medical bills this year - phew!!! Our autos were basically maintenance free this year. We saved a pile of mortgage interest by refinancing.

**I spent less money than I have ever spent, on the food and the materilism type stuff. I think I spent less than when I lived on $10k per year.**

The last is not of huge significance because I don't spend that much in the first place. BUT, it made a big difference - more than I would have ever imagined. Our eating out, which is usually virtually not that much, went down by like $500 for the year. ??? I spent a whopping $150 on myself all year (allowance purchases).

HOW!?!

No doubt that the credit card rewards had a lot to do with it (lots of gift cards that could be used in place of cash).

BUT, I think a bigger part was my attitude. I definitely allow myself one lunch out ever week. It is quite often just a dollar menu type thing - not a huge splurge. BUT, when we were planning our big vacation I felt very motivated to pinch pennies for the vacation. I think I just never got out of the pinching penny mode. I was pinching pennies all year, more than usual, because I knew we did so many big splurges.

& so as I think ahead to 2013, I have to keep that same mindset. IT's hard. What I am thinking right now is I haven't had this much cash since we were childless, that we may max out our ROTHs 7 months earlier next year, and that two years in a row we paid some decent extra payments to to our mortgage.

Apparently what I should be thinking is: Fiscal cliff, taxes OMG, health insurance OMG. It's hard for me to be pessimistic, but I think I need to work on it a little more. Not because I am doing badly or should be deprived. But because when I worry about a big expense that I probably can not afford, I end up having the most awesome year ever and being able to do what feels like 10 times as much, though I didn't spend a penny more.

It's also nice when all your money doesn't go to no-fun stuff. That is for sure. Spending $2k less on the medical bills (this year over the past FOUR years - since we maxed out our deductible 4 years in a row) was absolutely divine. That was our vacation money - right there.

I suppose that this whole China thing will keep me in the same mindset. Except, I didn't think it was going to be very hard to come up with the money? BUT, I think we should just go into "pinch pennies for this big amazing once-in-a-lifetime trip" mode. It works for us.

2 Responses to “Never Boring”

  1. LuckyRobin Says:

    I like optimism with a dose of reality over pessimism. I think that is what you have. You know what you need to face without having it overhwelm you and you just buckle down and do it.

  2. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    You've done we'll for your family this year. I think I spent less this year as well ( if you take out the car purchase) due to being focused on replacing my car. I foresee a similar thing happening this coming year due to me focusing on paying the car loan off.

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