<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: September, 2014
 

Archive for September, 2014

Doing What You Must

September 30th, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I *love* this post from My Money Blog.

Must, Should, and Financial Freedom

http://www.mymoneyblog.com/must-should-and-financial-freedom...

"Should is how others want us to show up in the world — how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. It’s the vast array of expectations that others layer upon us."

"Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us."

"When reading biographies and interviews of notable people, those who made seemingly bold decisions often remark that it really wasn’t. They just did it. It was a Must. I always wonder if it was also scary for them.


That's kind of an interesting point. I am a very intuitive person and I personally don't struggle with bold moves. If it feels right, then it feels right. I can't NOT do it, if it feels right. So I can relate to that. When I look back on my life, I don't remember the fear about the bold moves. There was always a benefit or reward to look forward to.

The initial article that My Money Blog refers to was in regards to career and doing what you love. MMB referenced it as far as financial independence being his passion.

I think the "musts" apply to everything in life.

I was reflecting a bit on this anyway, as dh and I's anniversary just passed. I am so blessed that my parents married very young and were always very supportive. But that's about it. I'm hard pressed to think of any other support to our quick engagement (at 19).

Of course, I can think of many many examples on the "should" versus "must":

--The gender role reversals in our marriage. Life is infinitely easier when you can simply play to your inherent strengths, regardless of your gender.

--Parenting. I think parenting is one of those things that has been an incredible experience as far as fine-tuning one's instincts. Things seem to go fairly easy when we listen to our instincts. Doing what everyone else thinks we should be doing is a recipe for disaster.

--Career choices that I have made trusting my instincts and knowing myself.

I actually completely ignored my CPA employer who was horrified I did not accept a job offer from Arthur Andersen. You may remember Arthur Andersen, Enron's accounting firm. Of course, 15 years later I can look back and just roll my eyes about how melodramatic she was about the whole thing. Good thing I had the confidence to take her advice with a grain of salt. (I turned down the AA job because the culture was not the right fit for me and because it was not the career trajectory I wanted. It's possible she didn't freak out on me until after I turned down the job. Phew).

I could go on and on and on, but will leave it at that.

The Kids' Savings

September 29th, 2014 at 01:08 pm

The kids get $2/per week/each "allowance", to learn money management. They have had the same allowances since they were 5. We have discussed raising it but they just don't spend their money! So, will leave be for now.

I don't even think it's so much that they don't spend money. It's more that they are extremely frugal. For example, going in on most purchases together and primarily buying used goods, or just being generally creative with their purchases. Throw that in with generous grandparents and living in different times, and they just don't seem to have much motivation to spend.

SO... I am thrilled that I found 7% interest savings accounts for them last year. If they aren't spending then they are learning the power of savings. & they probably have a nice start to their car funds or college funds. Or maybe they will enjoy the blow money when they are teenagers. I really don't care what they do with it, as long as they are learning delayed gratification, learning not to keep their money under their mattress, and as long as they don't ask us to buy them things. ($2 per week is it. They do not ask us for anything. They know if they want something they can buy it with their own money).

Initial impressions of the kids spending and savings habits?

LM is the spender. But he is a frugal spender and so he can get away with it.

BM is not a spender at all. What's interesting is that he has a hoarder personality. I really think he just likes to hoard money. & this gives me insight into my own dh (a major money hoarder***). This is kind of counter-intuitive because BM doesn't buy anything but his room is piled high with crap. LM's room is very spartan, by comparison, though he buys more toys. (He also more readily gives them up when he is done - selling old toys to buy new toys, etc.).

***As to being a major money hoarder, I really don't see a downside. But I don't think either BM or my dh are too extreme, either. To the extent that they take it, it is all good.

Progress on savings accounts:

BM, age 11

$388 Beginning Balance August 2013
+ 35 Interest
+ 82 Piggy bank deposits (just allowance?)
+ 35 Birthday money
----
$540 Balance September 2014

He's been working really hard, wanting to top out his interest. (7% is only paid out on the first $500 of his savings account). He is doing so well that I told him I would match him my highest cash interest rate on his money above $500 (which is only earning like 0.1% otherwise). My current highest interest rate is 6%, so I am glad that will keep him motivated.

LM, age 9

$275 Beginning Balance August 2013
+ 27 Interest
+ 42 Piggy bank deposits (just allowance?)
+ 49 Birthday money
----
$393 Balance September 2014

I think he will get to $500 next year!

Fiscal Doings

September 28th, 2014 at 08:09 am

**Update on the fire: We had some rain and the fire is now 87% contained. It is looking fairly good for the family cabin. Phew!!! It did rain one inch (Thursday?) and there was a flash flood warning; concerns about all the debris from the fire. You can't win! But in the end, it seems the rain helped substantially.**

-----------------------------------------------------

Today I decided to sit down and get the October bills paid since I won't be in town next weekend. Now that I think about it, it is wise to get the October bills paid regardless. Where did the month go???

Bills paid (er, set to pay next week):

--Gardener
--HOA
--Gas
--County (sewer)

{These all come from the checkbook; can't throw on credit - so I pay around the first of every month}.

I set to pay these because I have enough cash in my checking account to cover.

After I get my paycheck deposited next week I will immediately pay:

--Mortgage
--Piano teacher
--September Visa charges
--September Gas/Grocery charges (Amex Rewards card)
--September Target charges (groceries)

Also, will fund monthly investments at that time.

----------------------------------------------------

This month has been spendy.

Where to begin?

**This weekend I am doing a shoe purge.

It is *impossible* for me to find (work/nice) shoes for my feet. BUT, I did a shoe buying binge and actually found some comfortable shoes. I think. (I can never tell until I wear them for like a whole week).

The short version is that after buying more and more expensive shoes at the urging of others ("expensive shoes are always better"), I found a pair of very comfortable and nice looking shoes in my closet. They were FREE. (I had gotten them in order to receive free shipping on a large purchase). I bought a second pair (same shoes) on sale this week for $25. They are not some expensive or fancy brand, I got them at Sears.

Conclusion: Spending more money is NOT solving my problem. I have been thoroughly unimpressed with the quality of any more expensive shoes that I have bought in recent years. The best shoes are free? Big Grin

Today I will work on returning ill-fitting shoes. I also purged 5 pairs of shoes from my closet. (Kept them for backups but am purging everything not 100% comfortable, now that I have more than one pair of shoes suitable for work. Also, one pair of shoes went to the trash).

**Edited to Add: Final tally. Kept 3 shoes for a total of $75 spent (average $25 x 3). Returned the rest today.**

---------------------------------------------------

Other spending:

--Dh's car had a $600 repair. (We save $750/year per car, for repairs, so that is covered with those funds).

--Dh bought tickets to a show in San Francisco next month. $20/each.

--Target had monkey PJs (basically monkey costumes) on sale for $19.99. That was actually my anniversary present! Dh told me he would have gotten one for himself too (they were in the mens section) but they were out of stock. I saw them on sale online and then the kids wanted them too. PERFECT anniversary gift. Will have to get a picture of us all in our monkey PJs.

Spending other people's money:

Dh's family gave us $80 for our anniversary. Woohoo!

$40 in cash and $40 in checks.

We had planned a decadent lunch out and so spent about $40 on that.

The cash was perfect because we have the school fall festival this weekend. It's like one of the only kind of things we ever go to the ATM for any more. So, it saved us a trip to the ATM. Was happy to donate $40 to the school, in exchange for lots of food and entertainment.

---------------------------------------------------

Dh's aunt returned to Hong Kong and so we turned off the cell phone she borrowed. It is the second time we have activated a 5th phone for a purpose like that. It was $6 for the month (Ting). She did not run up enough minutes or data to push up our bill at all. So, we were able to make her life very easy for $6. We will get the cell phone back from dh's family later.

Citi Rewards

September 23rd, 2014 at 06:40 am

I redeemed my $200 Citi cash late last week and it already arrived in the mail! Woohoo!

It's already been deposited to my bank account. I will throw it at the mortgage with the monthly mortgage payment (next payday).

I had just enough points leftover to redeem a USB flash drive, 16GB. I am fine and happy with the 8GB (another free drive?) that I put in my car, but for the long run it will be nice to have more space. Plus, BM needed a flash drive for school. I will give him the smaller one. (Doesn't that sound kind of archaic? My dh was not encouraging that route due to viruses and such. Surprised they can't just do it all online. I am sure dh will get it figured out, but we have the drive if it is a true need).

This puts us on track to earn $2,500+ of cash rewards this calendar year. Several of those rewards were "iffy," but they all came to fruition. Phew!

Phone for the Tween

September 21st, 2014 at 08:13 am

Fiscal Minutiae:

Payday was this past week.

Paid off Citi card (charged up for one-time bonus). Redeemed $200 cash; should receive it next week.

Paid a life insurance bill and transferred monthly (set) amount into savings.

----------------------------------------------------

Dh bought a phone for the kids for their birthday. It was an exceptional deal. It is not compatible with Ting, but the kids do use my old phone for games that they can not get elsewhere. With this phone purchase, they don't have to share the *one phone* so much.

Dh told me he had an eye on some other phone and won't be able to resist next time it goes on sale. This phone would be compatible with Ting. I expressed my displeasure (he's got a PHONE obsession!). My displeasure is because we have plenty of phones (3 already for the kids) and lord knows one of us may be ready for an upgrade before the kids ever need a true cell phone (which will add another hand-me-down to the pile). BUT... I will say this. BM has been using his new phone *a lot* for school. There is some app for video calling that they are using for group projects and so on. The nice thing is the phone will always ring if someone is trying to reach him; no need to leave the computer on and the program up and open (like we do for skype).

The phone is like $50. I have expressed my feelings, but will probably just have to let it go. If we do get that phone then my old phone will have to go. I think dh will agree. (Not sure if we can get anything for it, but at least we can reduce the phone clutter!)

The latest on the phone front? Dh installed the Hangouts Dialer on our cell phones so that we can make phone calls without using minutes. We were testing that out a bit last night and I am sure it will save us a few dollars here and there.

Dh was also toying with the idea of getting a google voice phone #. We decided to put it on the kids' cell phone and make BM the guniea pig, for now. As long as he has a wifi connection he can now make phone calls and send and receive texts. There is also a voice mail feature.

I think this is good middle ground because BM has absolutely no need for a true cell phone right now. It gives him some of the perks, but it's FREE.

We've been bumping up to the next tier on cell phone minutes some months when we travel more. This voice dialer app will keep us from doing that any more. The google voice will also move some of the minutes off of our home phone. (We do pay for minutes on home phone if we go over the base amount). It's not a huge savings, just a few dollars here and there. Every little bit helps!

Fire

September 18th, 2014 at 09:54 am

This drought just gets worse and worse.

Our family cabin is just a couple of miles from the BIG California wildfire. Frown

Sunday we heard there was a fire and started to worry. As of yesterday the fire was something like 40 square miles. It ballooned overnight to 110 square miles. I can't even wrap my brain around that...

Anyway, the fire started a couple of miles from the family cabin. It seems to be spreading north mostly into the wilderness. (Amazingly no structures burned yet??). The freeway is kind of a natural barrier and it seems they are having an easier time containing it on that side. (I think it's the only border that is the least bit contained). So there is hope. {I guess to be more clear: The fire is raging northwards, and a freeway divides the south end of the fire from a large amount of homes and business. Our family cabin is just a couple of miles south of the freeway}.

No one lives at the cabin and it contains no valuables. But, the home was built by dh's late Grandfather. His family would be absolutely devastated if it burned down. Some things are just priceless.

{Dh asked if he should retrieve anything, since we live the closest. No one has requested anything. Probably too late now - the roads are closed and so on}.

Of course, you can't help but feel for all the people who live there. Lots and lots of uncertainty. I heard a few days ago that it would take *weeks* to get it contained.

EDITED TO ADD: They arrested someone for deliberately setting this fire. Terrible!

Anniversary

September 10th, 2014 at 06:00 am

Yesterday:

In a couple of weeks we celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary; 19 years together.

I saw the *perfect* gift yesterday ($37) and could not resist. Rare and priceless! (I can't share more because I want dh to be surprised, but it's more of an inside thing anyway).

I just happened to see a bunch of things listed on ebay (by one seller) and it took me a while to remember my ebay login - have not used in a few years. Glad I figured it out!

I've probably seen something similar on sale before, but have not been particularly motivated to pay a bunch of money just for the nostalgia factor. BUT, two weeks before my anniversary, I was sold.

I mentioned to dh that I found the *perfect* gift and had to get it, yesterday. He said he had a similar experience and had already gotten me a gift. We mostly never get each other gifts for occasions, so it's funny how it worked out like that!

-----------------------------------------------

Dinner last night was hamburger pasta (basically homemade and "10 times better" version of hamburger helper).

I thought I'd finish my library ebook last night but still have 20-ish more pages.

Dh did some Amazon spending:

$10 CD
$10 gift (upcoming child's birthday party)
$20 splurge (something he has wanted for a long time and he bought to get the free shipping).

{With my $37 purchase, it was a big spend day}.

All of the above went on our 2% cash back credit card.

I confirmed that my $30 bonus made it to my checking account. This means my checking account is reconciled, as of last night (just an automatic thing in Quicken). Get paid Tuesday and don't plan to make any payments until then. $130 in the checkbook, but don't plan to use it.

-------------------------------------------------

Today:

Nothing planned for today.

Fiscal Minutiae

September 9th, 2014 at 05:56 am

I haven't been updating as much lately. I figured maybe I'd take a "fiscal minutiae" approach for a while.

Monday:

I know it's been asked here and there how married couples manage their finances. It's always been kind of a *shrug* to us because we are so much on the same financial page. Nothing small particularly needs to be discussed. Big things are always discussed.

I suppose this is one reason I do prefer using credit cards. Then it just doesn't matter if we forget to tell each other something. Which makes life very very easy. If anything, I feel bad that I have to nitpick my spouse so much about the credit card charges. Because #1 - I want to make sure unusual charges are not fraud.** & #2 - I need to know how to categorize in Quicken. So I do ask him a lot about every purchase. But overall, in the days of instant information, I always know every purchase that has been made. Which probably makes us pretty lazy on the communication side. Really no need to discuss it much.

**An example for #1. I woke up and saw a pending $20 charge for Walmart.com the other morning. When dh woke up I said, "Did you buy something at Walmart???" He confirmed that he did and filled me in. I admit more communication would eliminate the sinking feeling that my credit card has been used fraudulently. (IT was just a very unusual charge). BUT, you have to balance that with not feeling like you are reporting to your mother with every purchase, know what I mean?

So, I don't know that dh told me specifically about any spending yesterday. But I see that he filled up his car with gas ($35) and spent $2 at the grocery sore (I'm assuming for bread).

He spent $5 on Amazon for some music, which he mentioned. I thought he was going to buy some CDs, but I guess he just went with the digital music. It was some music he borrowed from the library first and was telling me what a great album it was.

Yesterday was a NSD for me (as most days are). Not a slight on dh - he does most of the shopping and errands. I often just have him fill up the gas in the cars, etc.

I had pumpkin chorizo pasta for lunch and will probably eat it ALL week. Dh thinks it made him sick (Doubtful; he NEVER gets sick and I think it was a flu bug). The kids didn't like it (unusual for them). & so I have enough to last me this week and more. (I'll see what I can get through). I usually don't eat the same leftovers *all week*. & I don't remember the last time dh AND the kids wouldn't eat something. Yeesh!

Dinner last night: baked chicken, rice and brussels sprouts.

Today:

Nothing on the horizon for today. Pumpkin chorizo pasta for lunch. I may go visit my friend's shop this week and catch up with her. It will give me a break and it's a food shop. IT's a good week to mix it up a bit.

I just received our internet/landline bill and so put it on the 2%-cash-back credit card. $65. (This is one of our splurges - fiber optic from a smaller local company. Until we can get google fiber anyway. Big Grin Like many of these things, don't plan to spend this much forever, but biding our time until we have more options).

P.S. I don't auto-pay *anything*. (Though a handful of really small bills that I have to autopay?). I have been told this is because I am an accountant. That is how accountants are, I guess.

Pumpkin-Chorizo Pasta and Fruit/Veggie Pizzas

September 7th, 2014 at 03:20 pm

Tried a new recipe that was a hit with the adults. I don't recall the kids caring for it much, which is kind of surprising.

Pumpkin-Chorizo Bow Tie Pasta

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/pumpkin-chorizo-bow-ties

(If the link doesn't work, just google it. It's free to join the Taste of Home website and to see recipes, BUT I generally don't share recipes that need a login. It seems to be finicky right now and depends on the browser I guess. It seems to work in Chrome if you open in an incognito window and earlier it worked in plain old firefox).

----------------------------------------

Went to a party yesterday and had some interesting pizzas.

The kids made "watermelon pizza". The white stuff is coconut. Berries and grapes make a nice topping.



A vegetarian relative also brought some veggie pizzas for her kids. They were surprisingly delicious. Instead of cheese, they grated carrots onto one pizza and added little bits of brocolli. I didn't expect much, but was pleasantly surprised by how tasty it was.

Balance

September 6th, 2014 at 07:51 am

Things are going pretty well financially. Knock on wood. (They never seem to go this well for very long, so will see...). I suppose my positive feelings and measurement of "well" is just that we have a pre-kids level of cash and are saving at a pre-kids/dual income pace. Which was a good measure of financial freedom. Today we have all that plus a heck of a lot more assets.

I still make a solid $20k less than our highest "dual income", but I am taking home more with the $20k+ decrease in taxes. I have been for a couple of years probably, but have had some catching up to do on the savings front. This tax/income interaction is really key on the balance side of things. We could easily make an extra $20,000 - $40,000 and be NO BETTER OFF. I see it every single day. Show me someone who has a $30k higher wage and I will show you someone who is paying $30k more in taxes than I am. This is an important point to understand when it comes to balance. That you can work significantly less and be just as well off.

I personally credit my parents for being extraordinary examples of balance. I don't know if I appreciated it before, but in recent years that balance and the benefits of that balance has become pretty clear. & I know that it seems to come pretty easy to me.

I don't know if I had given it much thought lately, but it really hit me as I was evaluating our current finances. I'd say we are back to our peak financial comfort level, which was pretty darn comfortable. So, what do I want to do with all this financial comfort? With more wiggle room, is there something we should be splurging on?

The answer? Nothing. There is absolutely nothing we want to splurge on. We have more than we could possibly need or want. This wasn't really the answer I was expecting to come up. But that is where our strong sense of balance has put us.

This is all well and good because I have a ton of financial pressures coming up on the horizon. Our plan is actually to do a couple of big splurges, and then nose back to the grindstone. Which is for the best with the economy, with kids nearing college age, and all the other financial pressures we know are on the horizon.

Even our splurges have a solid "Plan B". Which is also an important part of balance. So you don't feel deprived when everything doesn't go as you expect it to. So you don't even feel particularly set back when life happens. Because life will always happen.

Big Splurges?

Dh does have his eye on a $3,000 projector. His parents have already vocalized giving us that money for Christmas and it's all his. I've even given him a thumbs up to keep an eye open for sales. Will probably buy late winter (after cash in hand) unless a sales comes up before then. But we will jump on a sale prematurely if it will put us ahead for the long run. (Fall is when new models come out? So we may make a purchase next month if the price comes down at that time).

Plan B: No matter what we will upgrade his projector this year or next. I am just not sure if we will go with a $1k or a $3k purchase. Either way is a huge step up and will make him happy. I think the $3k purchase will make him more happy for longer. But we are both interested in sticking with a reasonable budget.

You can file this away under, "ridiculous splurge that we never could have justified the past few years." He's also been enjoying his higher quality TV and sulking about his loss of hearing. I am personally happy to see him excited about his movie theater again - the one we bought the extra big house for. We don't plan to downsize for another solid decade, so he might as well use and enjoy. Or the kids are getting to an age where they will use and enjoy.

I admit dh has had this projector on his wish list for a while, but this will do it for him. He's got nothing else on his want list.

The other big splurge is BM's Japan trip in the spring. That is a given and I have a creative way to fund his trip. IT's just that the opportunity popped up now, but it is good timing for us financially. Plan A is for both dh and BM to go, but Plan B is to just send BM. I don't think we will decide until next year. Will see how the next few months go financially and where we are at. It is possible (but unlikely) that my parents will chip in a bit for that trip. So, waiting to see how that sorts out before we commit to anything.

What about me? Well, it is mostly true that I have everything I could possibly want or need. But I suppose I have one caveat to that. What I want more than anything is lots of cash to tide me over for my next job transition. Both of our long-term employment situations are just clear as mud, for the moment. I just want to be able to take some relaxing time off in between jobs. (I don't know if this is possible, but it is what I want). & I want to be able to take my sweet time and find that perfect job. I have always had that time and freedom in the past (which is why my current job is so awesome - I know the awesome jobs are out there). For the first time in this economy I feel a bit of that again - that I have the luxury to take my sweet time and to hold out for that ideal job. It's also been almost a decade since my last maternity leave so I am ready for some time off and a reboot. My next job transition just seems a natural time and way to take that reboot.

& so is the plan. A couple of big splurges and then noses back to the grindstone. It's also that final stretch before BIG expenses like college and so on. If unemployment is never an issue, then we will have plenty of other uses for any savings in the next few years.

One final thought on balance. It probably pains me on some level to plan to spend $9,000-ish that can be set aside to pay 2 months of our expenses in event of job loss. But I am not sweating it. Times are good and we should enjoy. I know it will make any period of unemployment or adjustment easier because we did splurge and enjoy when we could. We've been saying "no" to a lot of things since we had kids and I know there is a lot of "no we can't do that" for the next 10-ish years until we get our kids through college. I think it's important to relax and enjoy when we obviously can. & I think we can do so while being well prepared for all of the uncertainty. & that feels awesome!

Dungeons and Dragons and Singing and movies, etc.

September 4th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Things are strangely quiet on the financial front. Heck, things are uncharacteristically quiet all around. I am enjoying the peace and calm.

**General Frugal Doings**

Dh has been wanting to get some D&D going, but strangely enough he has never played. (Seems like most of our male friends are fairly into it). But my younger child is way into it. Dh is starting to feel comfortable enough to be DM and get a game started for the kids and some of their friends. So maybe sometime in the fall. In the meantime, he has found a couple of groups that don't mind an 8yo or 9yo tagging along. So, that has been a lot of free entertainment. I guess they have been meeting about once a month.

Dh also joined a meetup and has gone to several game nights. I guess those are also once a month.

BM's bff is going to a different school this year and so we had invited them over to our house for dinner and a game night last month. I personally kind of want to start just a once a month thing, but it just seems like such a big commitment. We talked about this very seriously with our neighbors but then all hell broke loose in our personal life. & so, I don't know. Maybe it's better to keep it loose, but we should be more proactive on invites when things are calm. Like right now!

This weekend and last weekend was family get-together stuff. Relatives in town and a good excuse to get all the kids together.

Oh, and one other thing. We did some sound recordings this past weekend. My dad has a band that he has had since college. One member has passed on, (well, maybe two have), and the rest of the band is still together. I suppose now that they are all retired they are doing a lot more music. The band has always recorded throughout the years and borrowed kids and in-laws and whoever to fill in the blanks. I have done lots of singing, but am not into solo-ing and no one was going to ask me as long as my sister is around (she is an exceptional singer). But my dad had a song that was kind of perfect for me, and my sister is on the other side of the U.S., and so lucky me! It was fun and we got that all recorded and finished this past week. If LM would take it seriously at all he would have totally replaced me (he has a lot of talent). But maybe in a few years he will be the "strong male singer" my dad has always wished for.

All this to say, we have no problem finding free and inexpensive entertainment.

-----------------------------------------------------

Other doings:

**Dh has been really in the groove with his movie stuff lately. He is gearing up to produce a movie and has generated some interest on his script.

He got someone in the industry to read his script (his first script/his "baby") and they LOVED it. Not holding my breath much on that, but it's an exciting lead. (It's also really creative how he got his script to this person. He has tremendous business sense, and maybe that is just the edge he needs. It's definitely been pretty noticeable that a lot of his film making friends lack even the most basic business sense). So yeah, that is kind of exciting.

---------------------------------------------------

Financial Stuff:

**Dh asked me if Target card had closed for the month yesterday and I said, "Sure". I looked it up and it always closes on the third. I suppose that was meant to be "it always closes on the third after they count all your shopping on the third". I've paid all the bills for the month so now I have to go back and pay another $70 or $80. (I had already sent off the payment for the Target balance for the month). Dh did a big grocery run there, yesterday. (Some months we don't even spend that much, so it figures).

Oh well - this will be easy to remember - it cycles with our 2% cash back card. I just don't know that we have ever made any purchases on the third before. Or if it was unusual that those charges snuck through.

When I get home I will make sure I have the cash in the checking account for that - I believe I do. I will finish paying off the balance this week so I can move on.

**I suppose I have one other bill to pay this month. Waiting for my Citi bill and will pay that off next payday.

Then I will get my $200 bonus!

I have decided to put that bonus to the mortgage. That is veering from "the plan" but I can't resist the exact round number that $200 will get us to this month. I think it will even out as I was planning to throw a little something to the mortgage in December. This is probably less than I would have put to the mortgage in December and is likely to keep me happy well into 2015. So maybe it works well with "the plan".