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Viewing the 'Budgeting & Goals' Category

May Savings

May 30th, 2016 at 06:52 am

Received $42 bank interest for the month of May.

Snowflakes to Investments:

Redeemed $50 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card.

Redeemed $70 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $5 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$8 Savings from Target Red Card

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash
+$ 900 to IRAs

Also, redeemed $208 Barclay card one-time bonus.

Savings (From dh's paycheck):
+$ 230 to Investments

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):

+$1,300 to cash
-$400 Drama Camp (summer)

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As to dh's paycheck, I turned off the 401k mid-month. I think because we had so many bills coming up. (I don't remember exactly why I turned it off when I did). So we put 50% to 401k first half of the month, and that's it. I used his check to cash flow some of the May/June craziness. Turns out he will only get one paycheck in June so I am so glad I did that. I'll turn the 401k back up to 50% as necessary for tax purposes. Taxes were the only reason we put so much into his 401k, but in the meantime my OT was not as much as usual and his work has been slow, so don't need to put so much in the 401k. (Is not a financial priority at all, to fund his 401k, since we have more than enough saved for long-term retirement). So I will see where we are at in the Fall and what is more efficient. If we can use his fall paychecks to pay for some of BM's class trip, that would be great. At some point I know I will have to put 50% into his 401k again(maybe October - December, or something like that. He has the summer off).

The savings drain will be pretty big for the next two months. Will pay for BM's class trip and our vacation. Oh, and I got dh's MRI bill too. That's $8k+ right there. Fun Fun!

April Savings

April 29th, 2016 at 06:21 am

Received $36 bank interest for the month of April.

Snowflakes to Investments:

Redeemed $25 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card.

Redeemed $42 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $5 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$7 Savings from Target Red Card

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash
+$ 900 to IRAs

+$3,000 OT to savings (will fund my mortgage goal)

Savings (From dh's paycheck):
+$ 840 to Savings/Investments

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):

+$1,300 to cash
- 500 life insurance

{That's $6,155 total saved this month!}

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Grandma slipped me $300 for doing her taxes. I'd say we spent about $200 of that for Robot Wars and related expenses. So I just left this money in the checking account to cover expenses. Will consider all that a treat from her.

Mortgage goal is funded, thanks to OT. (I really didn't work a lot of OT this year, so was glad I made just enough for our annual mortgage goal). But as usual, I am just setting it aside for now and seeing how everything else shakes out. I will apply the $3,000 to the mortgage some time between now and 12/31.

I mentioned in my last post that we are going to spend down some of our liquidity. It's a long story. But I wanted to be clear that it's not a "spend money to spend money" kind of thing. The next step for us is hitting our mortgage hard (our only debt). The short version is that it seems to be more sensible to take care of home improvements before we start throwing large sums at the mortgage. If I have $8k to throw at the mortgage, maybe I'd rather complete some long put off home improvements with that money. On the flip side, we want to have *all* of our ducks in a row before we start throwing bigger dollars at the mortgage. I believe this is our last duck. (& if we had no ducks to tend to, then we'd be throwing some of this money at the mortgage. So I guess either way we will be spending it down).

March Savings

April 1st, 2016 at 08:02 am

Received $38 bank interest for the month of March.

Snowflakes to Investments:

Redeemed $50 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card.

Redeemed $40 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $2 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$5 Savings from Target Red Card

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$200 to investments
+$300 to cash
+$900 to IRAs

Savings (From dh's paycheck):
+$1,400 to Savings/Investments

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):

+$1,300 to cash

{That's $4,235 total saved this month?}

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It's been rather weird and quiet on the financial front. Eventually we will get hit with some bigger bills. I have no idea why I have not gotten dh's MRI bill yet.

Of course, we saved so much by virtue of February being a short month I guess. I don't feel like it was a spectacular month on the low spend front, but these numbers say otherwise (since we pay off all February bills in March, then any March savings reflects last month's spending).

April should be a bigger savings month since I expect to receive one check for 4 months of overtime. I feel like March was a pretty lax month on the spending side of things. Probably justified a few too many treats because it was busy. But that said, all the splurging was food related. There was no retail spending this month.

Work has been really slow for dh, which I think has worked well with my busy work season. We only saved so much because it was a 3-paycheck month. I believe he had at least 3 Fridays off in March. I much rather put more of his paychecks to the mortgage or taxable investments and will re-think that since we don't seem to be on track to make as much money as we thought we would this year. I think I will leave it as is but might back his 401k down to 6% from 50% (for match) come fall when maybe he should be working more. I just have to run some tax projections and is why I figure I will let it be for now.

February Savings

February 29th, 2016 at 06:08 am

Received $36 bank interest for the month of February.

Snowflakes to Investments:

Redeemed $25 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card.

Redeemed $37 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $3 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$40 Citi Price Rewind
--$ 5 Savings from Target Red Card

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$200 to investments
+$300 to cash
+$900 to IRAs

Savings (From dh's paycheck):
+$355 to Investments

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):

+$1,300 to cash
+367 Insurance rebate
-$250 Auto Insurance

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March is a 3 paycheck month for dh and we already have the cash to pay all the bills (February spending) and so I expect we will be able to save $1,500 (his entire paycheck) + the $2,700 I usually save.

This is how I Was expecting to hoard up $10,000 (for car replacement) by May. I am also expecting a $4k overtime check for this tax season, in addition to the above. I will get a lump sum in April. Dh will probably match that with his job, first 5 months of the year. Then he will have summer off and I won't be working OT. So this is peak earning season for us. Taking advantage.

How has it been him working during crazy busy time? Dh working = *shrugs*. It's been really slow and he has had a lot of time off. March and April might be a different story, but it will just fly by. I can't believe it is the end of February already!

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For February, dh's check was so small that I just threw it into investments. I believe it was $160 net. The rest of it went into 401k.

I expect his net to be closer to $700 for March (after 401k), and so will just add his paychecks to savings. I will probably keep throwing that into savings until summer. We have some big expenses coming up.

February 14, Using up Gift Cards

February 15th, 2016 at 06:20 am

February 14:
$117 Groceries
$12 Kohls
$ 2 amazon (TV show streaming)
Dinner: Sweet & Spicy Salmon w/Garlic Butter Rice

Dh did a grocery run Sunday.

I made out well at Kohls though I didn't find anything suitable for work. I think it was my mood. I tried on like 30 things (which is why I like Kohls so much - they are okay with you taking in piles of clothes to the dressing room). I just felt so "meh" and "ugh" about everything. Which is too bad because I actually found a lot of nice stuff in the clearance racks. I usually don't bother to go through those, but I spotted some really pretty colors and started going through it all. Then I tried it all on and said, "UGH!" In the end I picked up 3 t-shirts. Two are a little winter-y and Christmas-y (long sleeved). & I had wanted to pick up another plain black shirt. They didn't have the nicer one I had bought last time but they had a short-sleeve one that will do. I did take a picture of a couple of shirts that were not on sale and that I think I would have been happy with. I can look online later.

Anyway, the three shirts I picked up were $12 total. I think I did pretty good. I really loved the two winter-y shirts I got, so there is that. Oh, and I scored a plastic bag! I suppose I don't know what all the rules are with that. I was thinking it must have been the first retail store I have been into this year. But now that I think about it I went into Walgreens once and they were charging for plastic bags.

Dh wants to use up our movie gift card this week (going out while the kids are gone). We discussed using a restaurant gift card that we got for Christmas but decided to keep that for when we take out the kids. It will be nice to cut down the bill when it's the four of us. I think that is all we have left in gift cards right now. Well, other than a $2 Barnes & Noble gift card balance.

Edited to add: I forgot to mention that I also have a $20 Target gift card from work gift exchange.
Dh is planning to use it today towards a grocery run.

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Mid Month Spending Totals:

$283 Groceries
$19 Fuel
$4 TV Streaming
$209 Everything Else

That leaves $367 left for groceries and $68 left for everything else. I expect we will spend about that much on fuel for the rest of the month. & of course, we can always spend less on groceries to free up more general spending money.

We are very aggressive with paying ourselves first, and so we would never have money left over at the end of the month. Psychologically it's what works for us.

We are planning to take dh's Grandma out this next weekend though. That is such a one-off thing, as is our medical co-pay this month, that I will probably cover these things from our short-term savings. We do also save aggressively for that, which is just for non-monthly expenses during the year. So that buys us some wiggle room. Especially early in the year when we have not spent down any of that. But of course, if I can cover these things from our monthly budget I will do that. The more I can keep for more fun spending later and for the more random things that always pop up, the better.

On the flip side, we both get paid this week and we already paid all of our bills for the month. So 100% of our paychecks are going to savings. (The daily spending is put on our credit card for rewards. Will pay this month's charges off on the first of March, or the following payday).

January Savings

February 1st, 2016 at 06:19 am

Received $35 bank interest for the month of January.

Snowflakes to Investments:

Redeemed $50 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card.

Redeemed $45 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $10 cash back on Visa/dining card. {Lots of eating out in January, with a couple of weekends out of town}

I have officially phased out 5th credit card (ROTH rewards) and so all my ongoing rewards are now just cash back. 4th credit card is Target card. I suppose I should add those savings to snowflakes too. For January it's a whole whopping $1.50 saved (I have no idea how or why we only spent $30 at Target this month. Is probably a record low. Dh manages the grocery shopping there). I'll add that to "other snowflakes".

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$25 Ting Credit
--$1.50 Savings from Target Red Card

Snowballs to investments:
--Invested $2,500 tax savings (for funding Traditional IRAs)
(Funded $1,500 with tax refund + moved $1,000 over from savings)

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$200 to investments
+$300 to cash
+$900 to IRAs

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):

+$1,300 to cash
-$750 Various Insurance

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Dh did not work this month. I received a small raise that just covers increasing expenses. So I just kept our savings goals the same as prior year.

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First 4 months of year is low-spend/high-save, generally. Will hoard up cash for medical expenses (dh had an MRI this month) and some home repairs. We also want to save $10k in addition for car replacement.