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July Savings

August 3rd, 2017 at 01:38 am

Received $50 bank interest for the month of July.

Snowflakes to Bills:

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

Redeemed $53 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $3 cash back on Visa dining/fuel card.

Other snowflakes:
--$10 (sold old skateboard on Craigslist; MM got a new/bigger one for his birthday) ~ I set this money aside to pay for gymnastics (it's cash only)

Savings (From my paycheck):

**skipped $200 to investments**
+$ 300 to cash (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

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

+$1,300 to cash
- 500 Dentist/Medical/New Glasses(DL)

{Note: MH has no wages during summer months}.

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**Interest should bump up to $55 per month. I found a savings account that pays 3%. (This month was only a partial month, so a little less).

**I am always a month behind on savings withdrawals because anything I charged in June will be settle up in July. July was a birthday/Murphy month and also had a $600 insurance bill come due, so that will reflect in next monthly update.

Because it was so expensive this month (which reflects more in August), I decided to skip funding investments this month. It's not something I do lightly. But I seem to be doing this (skipping investments) about once per year. I don't mind cutting ourselves some slack since we generally err on the over-saving.

I redirected our snowflakes to cover bills. (I do usually invest snowflakes).

I've already paid all of the August bills (which were mostly July expenses).

I guess not much else to report. August and September will be spendy months. August will be paying off all this birthday/Murphy spending (which I've already done). September will be paying for August Europe trip.

Harvesting Tax Gains

July 20th, 2017 at 07:50 pm

Today I harvested some tax gains. Is a strategy to keep "taxable" investments tax-free.

In the process, I just converted to admiral shares and way lower expense ratios. In theory, I'd generally just immediately buy back what I sold; selling solely to lock in 0% tax rate on those gains. But in the end I decided to move funds over in the process and to be a little more efficient.

For myself, technically any long-term capital gains are tax-free for Federal. But... That's not entirely true because bumping up our AGI (even just a couple of thousand dollars) wreaks all sorts of havoc on the rest of our taxes. It decreases what we can put in tax-deductible IRAs and reduces our medical expense deduction, etc. But, whatever. It's not like it's going to get better than a 0% tax rate. (I mostly expect our income and taxes to be much higher in the future).

Since we've mostly been able to shelter our investments in retirement funds, this is the first time that I've had a tax-free gain to harvest. At about $3,000 for long-term gains and I figured I could live with that. (I probably wouldn't want to add much more to our tax return. We are already on track to maybe have 10% more wage income than last year).

For the kids, I have been selling off funds frequently to the same end, though I got a bit of a break the past two years. But for today, MM was at a good selling point. $1,000 investment income is tax-free for them. $1,500 is just some very minimal state tax. I might have timed it well enough that they are more in the $1k range and won't owe any state taxes.

Note to self:
$1500 investment income is the sweet spot for kids


If you have no idea what I am talking about, here is a link that explains:

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Tax_gain_harvesting

I guess this came to front of mind because my dad *finally* sold some mutual funds that he had wanted to sell a few years back. He's waited for tax reasons, and I guess given my tax perspective I have no idea what he has been waiting for. !! I mean, Obamacare was the reason the last two years, but now in 2017 I would have sold January 1. Not sure how long 0% investment tax rate will be around and am glad he finally took advantage.

As for the kids' "college" money, it's conservatively invested (balanced fund) and I have an equal amount in cash (our cash savings/emergency fund). So I feel that I Can shoulder any short-term market fluctuations. It seems way too premature to do anything with that. Kids start college in 4 & 6 years. Keeping in mind that we used our own "college money" for a home down payment instead of college. (College is still super cheap here and housing is only more insane now than it was then). This really could be money that remains untouched for 10+ years. So for now, we have no plans to cash out any college money or to shift to a more conservative allocation. We may set aside more new money in cash, as college becomes more imminent.

June Savings

July 1st, 2017 at 05:15 pm

Received $39 bank interest for the month of June.

Snowflakes to Investments:

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

Redeemed $48 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $5 cash back on Visa dining/fuel card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$15 Savings from Target Red Card
--$7 refund from Amazon (some sort of settlement)
--$140 Dividends
--LESS: $70 diverted to Europe Trip

Snowballs to Europe trip:
--$481 credit card reward (travel credits applied)
--$200 credit card reward (cash)
--$200 sale of old TV
--$ 70 Diverted from Snowflakes

Note: $0 cash out-of-pocket needed for Europe spending this month

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

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

+$1,300 to cash
- 425 Misc. Expenses**
- 90 Dentist

{Note: MH has no wages during summer months}.

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**Misc. Expenses: Had some time to do some catch up shopping, and had some little things come up. Bought a (fancy) sleeping bag for MM(13) because he had a field trip coming up and outgrew his old one. I figure he will keep this one for a LONG time. Gave some money to the kids' school to top off our "hours" requirement. We were generous with Mother's Day gifts this year. MM needed some clothing. (These were all May charges, which is when my work let up a bit).

With that, I've pretty much exhausted our short-term savings. The second half of the year will all go to property taxes, insurance, car maintenance, and the dentist. For summer, I will keep pulling form short-term savings and will just figure it out at the end of the year. In Fall, will have to pull from MH's paycheck if anything comes up. (I expect his paycheck to cover kids' clothing, and stuff like that. Since they are growing and we need a bigger clothing budget now that they are getting to be adult sized and I can't just buy everything on clearance for $3). What this means is a very tight summer. We pretty much did all our splurging for the year already, so this is the flip side of the coin.

That said, it is some give and take. We are still at "peak liquidity" and will continue to be as long as no huge expenditures come up. I am probably going to spend a lot on MM's birthday (taking 6 kids to the expensive water park). It's not the kind of thing we do very often, but it seems silly to say "no", given our current means. In the end, the admission is way cheaper than I expected, but I imagine the food in the park is where they get you.

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I am still working on 3% savings account. Having some technical difficulties on that. Will probably have the money moved over around July 5th.

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I decided to just pull from snowflakes this month, to cover the rest of the Europe money. If we can still add $400-ish to investments, then it is all good.

{I still will work on selling a couple of items from around the house. Will just invest the snowflakes like I usually do, or can maybe use for some fun summer money}.

Mortgage Update

June 22nd, 2017 at 01:48 pm

I think it's been a long time since I have done a mortgage update.

The short version is that our last refi was in 2012, for lower interest rate. Given the high unemployment rate here, we've not felt comfortable with a 15-year mortgage. (Well, between that and our health insurance literally going up by $1,000 per month). But we also did not want to reset the clock all over again for 30 years. So our goals with our current (30 year) mortgage have been to pay more principal than interest, and to also not have a mortgage on this house for more than 30 years total.

To that end, as long as we are well employed, we do throw an extra $3,000 per year at the mortgage. I fund with my overtime. (I think we did a bit more in the beginning to have more "principal than interest." Maybe an extra $1,000 in year 1).

We will want to shave off 10 years, so that we don't have a mortgage on this house for 40 years total.

I do have to say that these lower interest rates are absolutely amazing when it comes to mortgage amortization. Our first mortgage on our first condo was $1,500/month. We paid $1,400/month interest! (Only $100 was going to principal). We really barely paid anything down the first 10 years or so of home ownership. (We had basically the same mortgage amortization when we bought our current home).

In contrast, we've paid $40,000 off of our $200,000 mortgage, since our last refi. We are paying off about $8,000 per year, and that is just accelerating with time. So it feels like we are making some real progress. & to be clear, this is with much smaller mortgage payments. It's just that so much less of the payment goes to interest.

Current status:

We have shaved off 4 years off this loan. So that leaves 6 more years that we want to shave off. Will keep chipping away at it.

{Note: Our last $3,000 payment shaved off 7 months}

We don't have any plans to throw any (additional) extra at the mortgage. We have kids starting college in the near future and so are hoarding up cash and investments to that end. Would rather err on saving up enough for college and not having to take out any new loans.

It's all fairly moot as it is 100% likely that we will sell our house in the next decade (while still in our 40s). I am guessing it is most likely that we will sell before we ever pay off? It seems more prudent to save up the down payment for our next home. (Our plan is to downsize and pay cash for our next home. But I am guessing we will settle in our next home before sell current home. A down payment will give us more options on that front, versus having to wait to sell first).


May Savings

May 31st, 2017 at 05:44 am

Received $36 bank interest for the month of May.

(I did lose higher interest CD, but I guess that is offset by parking OT in savings.)

Snowflakes to Investments:

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

Redeemed $26 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $7 cash back on Visa dining/fuel card.

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

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

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

+$1,300 to cash
-1,000 London Hotel
- 140 passport expenses
- 100 wireless router (issues with old one)

In addition, we pulled $600 from mid-term savings to cover the rest of the hotel.

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We've already tapped out our regular vacation budget. We had no plans whatsoever to fly anywhere for the foreseeable future. I still really think we will revert to our modest vacation budget (future years). Knocking out Europe with $2,600 hotel/airfare was just too good to pass up. We could have paid less, but were willing to splurge on the unexpectedly affordable hotels. We didn't even look at anything with less than 5-star reviews.

Our short-term savings is pretty weak right now. We usually vacation in the fall. & we only prepaid the hotel because of the favorable exchange rate. (I decided to hedge my bets on "most favorable exchange rate in 30 years"). Anyway, usually we build up more before we spend down, but I expect the timing to just work out a little differently this year. It doesn't really matter. It will all even out by the end of the year.

The rest of our London expenses will come from savings, or MH's job. We've allocated about $500 from his job since we will save $500 by not traveling during his work season. Credit card rewards should cover most of our tours.

April Savings

April 29th, 2017 at 02:30 pm

Received $35 bank interest for the month of April.

Snowflakes to Investments:

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

Redeemed $65 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $4 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$20 Savings from Target Red Card (made a big purchase)
--$40 Insurance refund

Snowball to investments (MH Paycheck):
+$500

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

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

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

+$1,300 to cash
-$1,000 airfare London
-$ 500 life insurance
-$ 400 Drama Camp

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I had a CD mature this month, so a little less interest income. Since we do want to replace our vehicle, I think I will keep this CD money in our savings account. There is that, and I am also just completely exhausted with work. Maybe in a month or two it will sound appealing at all to jump through hoops to earn more interest. For now, I am over it. (Now that I think about it, I haven't done one of those since MH was unemployed. We've had this "nice and simple" CD for 22 months. Though my exhaustion speaks more to my work situation than his. So we will see in another few months).

I had a complete DOH moment today. American Express is really finicky with their gas rewards. They often don't give rewards for gas stations they clearly label as "fuel" on their statements. ??? I has a DOH moment today as I recalled we might have gas rewards on other cards. We do! In the end, we can get 3% back on our CU Visa. It will take me a while to remember, but MH is really good at keeping track of all this madness. I'd rather use our credit union than the big banks, any day. So this is good.

My last entry I mentioned OT status, so nothing new there. I don't know when I will literally transfer the $3k to our mortgage. Maybe soon, since I also have all this cash that had been tied up in a CD. I just need some time before I tie up money indefinitely. I will put it to the mortgage sometime between now and January 1.

From short-term savings, I paid off the London airfare. I did also fund drama camp, apparently a full month earlier than last year. Drama Llama LOVES his drama camp.

Neither kid was interested at all in other summer classes. We didn't push it. I think us parents just need a break. We will have a very lazy low-spend summer. It sounds absolutely divine!

March Savings

April 2nd, 2017 at 03:09 pm

Received $40 bank interest for the month of March.

Snowflakes to Investments:

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

Redeemed $53 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $0 cash back on Visa/dining card.
(Didn't eat out)

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$4 Savings from Target Red Card

Snowball to investments (MH Paycheck):
$1,000

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

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

+$1,300 to cash
- 280 Auto Insurance
- 140 cell phone for MM
- 100 car maintenance

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Other Snowflakes:
--$25 Focus Group

I didn't invest this snowflake; I donated it to DL's school.

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MH's work has been slow, which is nice because my work has been *completely insane*.

I still needed to get $1,400 "tax savings" over to our investments. For now, I am just hoarding MH's paycheck to that end. I have $1,000 to throw at that today and will probably have $400 in another couple of weeks.

It probably works out that I will get that funded by April 15th. Around then I should get my OT for the year and we will have to look at our tax situation and figure out the rest of the year.

February Savings

March 1st, 2017 at 03:57 pm

Received $38 bank interest for the month of February.

Snowflakes to Investments:

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

Redeemed $74 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $5 cash back on Visa/dining card.

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

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$20 Citi Price Rewinds (price match for computer parts)
--rounded up $3

Snowball to investments (MH Paycheck):
+$365

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

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

+$1,300 to cash
+ 260 insurance refund
-$1,342 Insurance (various)
-$1,200 Auto Repairs
-$ 90 dentist
-$ 95 Windows OS (for new computer)
-$ 50 Professional Fee

Edited to add: I later realized that I forgot to update short-term expenses paid out this month. It was a spendy month! (I hadn't realized or particularly thought about it because most of these expenses were charged around Jan. 1 and paid off Feb. 1. But I include in February because that is when I transfer the funds out of my savings account).

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One of the insurance bills that I paid was my disability insurance. In the past I have had a $4,200/month benefit without having to have a certain income. I can "up" this to $5,000 monthly benefit now. I really should make this a priority.

I noticed that our gas rewards aren't calculating correctly, so will have to keep an eye on that.

I did receive $1,000 tax refund and have yet to literally deposit that into our investments. It works out because we usually charge health insurance around the 29th, but it went through a few days early with the short month. We actually didn't have any big bills on our credit card this month, but the health insurance was charged twice (1st and 28th). So I will just use the $1,000 to float that. Will put it to investments in April. Just kind of worked out in an easy peasy kind of way.

I am still in a groove where I just pay all the (cash) bills on the first of the month, which includes paying off all prior month credit card charges. Then I don't have to think about it again for another month. (I am just not into automating things. I have to look over things carefully, and this may also be largely driven by not having direct deposit. Lord knows when I actually get my paycheck sometimes, like if we are on a vacation).

March and April are big savings months for us. MH is back at work & all my OT gets paid out in a lump sum every April. Plus, we are just both super busy with work, so we aren't spending money. It is always interesting to see how those months shake out. But then we generally relax and enjoy the rest of the year.

I do have a CD maturing mid-month and will have to figure out what to do with that. I've seen some good options, but will just depend what's available when I get access to the cash. I'll let you know what I find.

January Savings

January 29th, 2017 at 03:42 pm

Received $41 bank interest for the month of January.

Snowflakes to Investments:

Redeemed $5 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card.

Redeemed $90 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $6 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$4 Savings from Target Red Card

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

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

+$1,300 to cash
-$1,120 insurance (various)
-$ 200 dentist
-$ 100 school lunches (for rest of school year)

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All of the expenses above were December charges that we paid off in January. So this wraps up 2016.

Not much to report for January. MH had no income this month.

Financial Updates - 2016 Year End

January 1st, 2017 at 10:01 pm

I think this is my last post for the day. I am getting to all my financial updates, since I have time today.

We did really well on net worth for 2016. Up $60,000 for the year. Our goal was to increase net worth by $42,000.

We paid down the mortgage by $8,000. The rest of our net worth gain was investments.

Home Equity is at $250,000.

Cash/Investments have surpassed the $300k mark.

I don't know if I have ever said specifically, but I have a very comfortable emergency fund for next job transition. (It's been a BIG goal for me, and we made it!)

ROTH IRAs and Traditional IRAs seem to be about 50/50, as to their balances. We do not contribute to ROTHs given our current tax situation. But we heavily funded the ROTHs while my spouse was not working (low tax rates). I would guess that the Traditional IRAs will pull ahead in 2017, since we are contributing to those.

Our savings rate was 30% in 2016. 25% of our income went to long-term investments and retirement. The other 5% went to cash savings.

If we paid off our mortgage, we'd be debt free and we would have $150,000 in investments. We'd have to cash out our ROTHs, cash, and taxable investments to do this. We could leave college money and Traditional IRAs intact. I suppose it's feasible (for the first time ever), but not wise. I don't think we would seriously consider this unless our mortgage was in the $50k range. & we wouldn't cash out our ROTHs to pay off our mortgage. So we have a ways to go. I just know that we will ponder more as this number gets bigger.

Our household income hit six figures for the first time. I am just counting "salary" for this purpose. I really thought we had an income around $100k last we both worked full-time. But it turns out we had peaked at $99,000 (per old tax records). This year our salary income was something like $100,200. We just squeaked by. So I guess that is kind of an exciting milestone. Of course, our income is kind of the same as it has been. I just did the math, and once you figure how much less OT I worked and how much less money we made in side hustles, economically we made the same amount in both 2015 and 2016. So while pretty much everyone generally reacts like we are suddenly "made of money" with MH working, it's more as I expected: We are the same financially either way. We've just replaced some side hustle income with wages. & the wages are WAY less efficient, of course, but the motivation has been for resume and "future employment" versus more immediate financial gain.

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My long-term goal has been to get to a point where our net worth increases by our expenses every year. I figured if we could do this in our 40s that we would consider "financial independence" at 50.

Of course, this would be an average of a $60k increase per year, since our annual spending is at the $60k level. But I am fine with aiming for $50k since this will probably be a more reasonable expense level when our mortgage is paid off (and kids are grown). Also, if we can achieve these net worth gains, I know they will just grow with time, as investments compound. All this to say, my goal for the next 5 years or so will be to grow our net worth by $50k per year. In 5 years I will probably re-evaluate and hope to push that goal up to $60k or $70k per year. Maybe averaging $60k per year, for this next decade.

Estimate Net Worth Change for 2017:

Cash: Increase $5,000
Mortgage: Paydown $8,000
Investments: Contribute $9,000
Retirement: Contribute $15,000
Investment Returns: $13,000 (would need 4% gain)
TOTAL INCREASE: $50,000

Of course, it also seems likely that the value of our house will increase significantly next year. It's been rather stagnate for a few years, but things are starting to take off in recent months. It looks like a $60k net worth increase is feasible, factoring home equity gains. OF course, almost anything is feasible. I don't get too hung up in the "year over year" changes, as I am more concerned about the next decade as a whole. But this is just what I am starting with.

I had said that maybe I would change my blog focus to "countdown to financial independence" when I turn 40 (last month). But... It's still too far away and nebulous with way too many moving parts. So I am laying out our more long-term plan. I feel that there are way too many unknowns to start a countdown at this point. It's just a very loose plan, for now.

The loose plan will be to get our kids through college, to have $1 mil in investments, and to downsize into a paid-for home (smaller than what we have now, and lower maintenance). We should be able to achieve this in 10 years.

2016 Goal Update

January 1st, 2017 at 09:43 pm

I am copying and pasting sidebar, to memorialize in my blog. Brief Commentary below.

2016 Goals

**Financial**

[X]$11,000 to IRAs 2016 (MAX)
...($10,850 @ 12/1/16)
...$10,800 savings;$50 credit card rewards
...We save $900/month

[X]$5,000 to savings
...($5,287 @ 12/1/16)
...We save $300/month, plus interest.
...Topping off with snowballs

[ ]$7,500 to investments
...($7,000 @ 12/31/16)
...$2,416 from monthly contributions; $2,084 snowflakes; $2,500 tax savings
...We save $200/month, plus snowflakes
...Will also invest tax savings when contribute to Traditional IRAs

[X]$3,000 to mortgage
...($3,100 @ 12/31/16)
...$3k per year to pay off in 15 years (from last refi); also ensures that we pay more principal than interest
...Funded with overtime

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Note: Savings goal ended up with a little extra to top off the IRAs, so the IRA goal was met.

2016 was fairly similar to 2015. I just fell short of investment goal by about $500. (Same thing happened in the prior year).

I am VERY happy with how the year shook out. We also had about $6,000 in unexpected vacation expenses. So it does not bother me that we fell a little short of our financial goals.

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Edited to add, because I forgot this one:

[/]50% of dh's income to 401k
...This is the max that he can contribute

We did 50% for most of the year, but not all year. We did what we needed to do for our taxes. Otherwise, I *much* rather put that money towards our mortgage or keep some of it liquid for college. So I do not consider this a goal fail. We ended up putting about 1/3 of dh's salary into 401k. We also put 1/3 into MM(13)'s school DC trip, which I think we only entertained seriously because MH was working. If you want to know why we did not achieve 50%, that is the obvious answer. But lack of tax motivation (at year end) was also part of the equation.

December Savings

January 1st, 2017 at 08:11 pm

Received $41 bank interest for the month of December.

Snowflakes to Investments:

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

Redeemed $95 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $10 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$15 Savings from Target Red Card
--$ 5 American Express Credit
--$ 1 Citi Price Rewind

In addition, I added $16 to investments to get up to a total of $7,000 contributions for the year. I fell short of my goal, but figured I could round up $16 to make it even.

Other snowflakes:
--$85 Craigslist sale

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

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

+$1,300 to cash
-$143 Auto Expense
-$470 Dentist/Ortho

Short-term savings was otherwise drained for the year so I pulled the following out of mid-term savings:

-$500 computer expenses (MM)
-$250 Sketchfest tickets (3 shows)


November Savings

November 30th, 2016 at 01:56 pm

Received $39 bank interest for the month of November.

Snowflakes to Investments:

Redeemed $25 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card. But... Paid annual $95 fee. I will subtract $95 from snowflakes/investments.

Redeemed $64 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $7 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$17 Savings from Target Red Card
--$40 Focus Group (survey)

Savings (From my paycheck):

+$ 200 to investments
+$ 300 to cash (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

Savings (From dh's paycheck):
+$ 500 to Investments

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

+$1,300 to cash
-$200 Tahoe Weekend
-$200 Monterey Weekend
-$185 Auto Expenses
-$200 Medical
-$325 Life Insurance
-$5,400 Property Taxes

& with that, we have drained short-term savings for the year. Still choosing to pay ahead property taxes, paying just once per year for simplicity.

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Our fiscal year should be over. I paid all of the December bills already. Mostly expecting any expenses this month to affect our 2017 bottom line. Anything that comes up in December will most likely be charged and paid off in 2017.

I will update sidebar through December since I will fund December savings tomorrow with 12/1 paycheck. It's just the investments that I do at the end of the month and it looks like I will need to top off a bit. Oh, and I don't plan to pay extra $3k to mortgage until the end of December. Just making sure no surprises come up before I part with that money.

October Savings

October 30th, 2016 at 03:39 pm

Received $43 bank interest for the month of October.

Snowflakes to Investments:

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

Redeemed $62 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $7 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 (mid-term savings)
+$ 900 to IRAs

Savings (From dh's paycheck):
+$ 500 to Investments

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

+$1,300 to cash
-$860 Auto maintenance/insurance/registration
-$280 Medical Bills
-$255 Hotel Deposit (40th Birthday)
-$185 Donations (just random stuff that came up)
- $50 School Expenses

In addition, I pulled $350 from mid-term savings to cover some tree trimming and shrub removal.

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Our fiscal year is just about over. I paid all of the November bills already. Mostly expecting any expenses this month to affect our 2016 bottom line, but anything that comes up in December will most likely be charged and paid off in 2017.

This month was pretty boring on the financial front. As planned, we funded our VR splurge with MH's income. (I've already paid off October charges, so it's paid for). The other 50% went into his 401k.

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That reminds me, I also sold the knee scooter. We had paid for it with focus group cash that MH had received the day before we bought the scooter. Since we had paid $150 for it, we just listed it for $150. it sold easily at that price. Net cost was $0 to use it.

I decided to just use that cash for MM's gymnastics, since they only take cash. This should cover him for the rest of the year (particularly with all of the holidays). I also used some of the cash for a school fundraiser. I will account for gymnastics somehow when I do the 2017 budget. But for this year I was able just to wing it.

September Savings

September 30th, 2016 at 04:18 pm

Received $40 bank interest for the month of September.

Snowflakes to Investments:

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

Redeemed $41 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $6 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$6 Savings from Target Red Card

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
-220 school expenses
-188 Medical Expenses
-110 Large Purchase**
-90 Dentist
-40 Took kids/friends to fancy pool

**MM was going to reimburse us partially for a shared electronic purchase. I think we just forgot in the chaos. I'll check with MH on this.

Edit to add: MM reimbursed us $55 for large purchase

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

July Flashback:

In August we really need to get moving on some home improvements. I know I am procrastinating because I don't wanna. *sigh*

August Flashback:

No movement on this. I can't imagine readying for contractors in my current state. Though we have lost MH's free summer time to deal with this, work is really slow for me this time of year and I can handle it. I need to at least start getting some quotes in September.

September Update:

No progress on this front because life is chaos right now. I don't see how/when until things settle down a bit.

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

MH is back at work. He got a nice raise but is working less hours. It almost evens out, though making a little bit less.

For this month I am just putting his paychecks (3 weeks) towards replenishing our checkbook for vacation expenditures & gymnastic spending.

Next month he will put his 401k back to 50%. He's pre-ordered a VR system, which will take all of his income in October. November income will pay for the hotel on my birthday. I guess that except for the 50% 401k thing, we are just splurging his income most the rest of the year. (We have cash for these things, but we are also working on saving up for some big expenditures, so it will be nice to just cash flow our big splurges).

Until I typed this out, I thought we had maybe gotten used to the extra cash flow and were over-spending a bit. In the end, I was $750 short in the checkbook, after MH being off work for 3 months, which is easily explained by $250 vacation overage plus about $500 of gymnastic spending. Now I just feel silly. We have enough float in the checkbook so I was just kind of muddling through in the interim. I had forgotten that I hadn't otherwise planned for the gymnastic expenses.

I was expecting that MH's income would cover the kids' extra-curriculars. In the past we've covered with other windfalls or they just haven't been significant expenses. I can't say they were a big financial priority. But now we are in a better place to afford this type stuff. I think a lot of it will be moot given the kids' school changes for this year and next. So any bigger expenses will probably be rather temporary. For the next calendar year I can plan ahead better.

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

Overall, I'd say that this month was chaotic. Probably too much stress spending.

More fun spending is planned for October. MH and I are going to Tahoe this weekend, and next week we are taking the kids to Monterey. (Instead of the usual big October break that we usually take advantage off, the kids have only one day off together. {Which is why we moved our DC trip up to June}. Though technically MM is skipping his math class so that we can go to Monterey during the week).

August Savings

August 30th, 2016 at 03:42 pm

Received $41 bank interest for the month of August.

Snowflakes to Investments:

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

Redeemed $43 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $4 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$10 Savings from Target Red Card

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
-900 Auto Insurance and Maintenance
-300 Staycation Spending
-165 70th Birthday Party
-100 Kids' Birthdays

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

Other Snowflakes:

--I did earn $250 in gift cards but have yet to be able to redeem them.

--Dh earned $150 cash from a focus group. We invested in a used knee scooter/walker and I am hoping we can sell it next week. When we sell it we will probably buy a used violin for Drama Llama. I don't expect that to cost an entire $150. It seems more sensible to buy used than to rent.

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

Kind of a boring month financially. I have some medical bills that will charge next month. Most the expenses above were for July spending. August has been more of a "stuck on the couch" month for me, and busyness with back to school.

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

July Flashback:

In August we really need to get moving on some home improvements. I know I am procrastinating because I don't wanna. *sigh*

August Update:

No movement on this. I can't imagine readying for contractors in my current state. Though we have lost MH's free summer time to deal with this, work is really slow for me this time of year and I can handle it. I need to at least start getting some quotes in September.

This week we are taking the kids to the Doctor (well visits/shots), putting new tires on the newer car (replacing low quality stock tires before rainy season) and I got a referral for tree trimming and dead shrub removal. I am pulling a list of contractors to call but I don't know if we will get to that this week. As long as we are steadily ticking things off the list, it can wait a bit longer. Physically, I might be up to dealing with readying the house this weekend.

P.S. Also labeled this post in the *one income* category since dh had no income during June/July/August. His income is more in the "snowflake" range anyway. (If he had a larger income I don't know that I'd differentiate on or off months, but I am definitely feeling the difference without the extra breathing room). I am not even entirely sure he has a job still, so I guess that is some of it.

July Savings

July 30th, 2016 at 01:24 pm

Received $39 bank interest for the month of June.

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

Nothing was pulled out of Savings in July.

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

July was kind of a crazy spendy month, but that will be funded with August income. We spent $1,500 on auto insurance, auto maintenance, auto repairs, birthdays (3), and our trip to San Francisco. I will deduct all this from short-term savings next month.

I decided to apply snowflakes to bills this month. That was my instinct last month but I stuck to the investments. This month am going to take a break since the budget needs a breather.

Snowflakes to Bills:

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

Redeemed $75 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $12 cash back on Visa/dining card.

--$20 Savings from Target Red Card

I also received a random $50 settlement claim check.

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

I did round up the mortgage payment by $9 since that got us down to the next $xxx,999. I could care less about round numbers and would rather see a lower number in the thousandth place!

I just tend to round up when I make a large extra payment (one or twice per year). I guess I felt I should snowflake something this month.

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

In August we really need to get moving on some home improvements. I know I am procrastinating because I don't wanna. *sigh*

P.S. Also labeled in the *one income* category since dh had no income during June or July. His income is more in the "snowflake" range anyway. (If he had a larger income I don't know that I'd differentiate on or off months, but definitely feeling the difference without the extra breathing room).

June Savings

July 2nd, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Received $40 bank interest for the month of June.

Snowflakes to Investments:

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

Redeemed $182 cash back on Citi card. (Lots of travel expenses this month)

Redeemed $20 cash back on Visa/dining card. (More travel expenses)

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$6 Savings from Target Red Card

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
-$2,000 Airfare (Entire vacation budget)
- 725 Dentist (3)
- 20 Vet (shots)

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

More spending than saving this month. Pulled the following amounts from long-term savings:

-$1,300 MRI
-$2,700 8th Grade Trip
-$3,000 Family DC Trip

It probably won't get much better. In July we will work on some big home improvements.

I suppose for this month it should be called "June Spending".

May Savings

May 30th, 2016 at 01:52 pm

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)

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

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!

2016 Stats

May 15th, 2016 at 01:46 pm

I wanted to do a reality check on our spending for this year. I just had to spend a minute or two running reports in Quicken to gleam the following.

2016 Stats through April 30th:

--Spending is $15,580 for 1/3 of the year.

This is $3,132 less spending than same time frame last year.

Major difference is that we paid $3k for Japan trip in spring 2015.

I'd say we are pretty consistent. The Japan trip was clearly a one-off.

One thing I was concerned about is if we were justifying more spending with dh working. I'd say the answer is no.

In fact...

--Gross Income is up a mere $326. Versus the same time period last year.

Factoring taxes, I'd say our net income is lower.

Is dh working for the money? Clearly no.

{I made less OT money and didn't chase as many credit card type rewards}.

Other Stats:

--Net Worth is up $20,000, from January 1.

--If we paid off our mortgage today we'd have $125,000 left in savings/investments.

I think we have crossed the line to feasible. This would leave our Traditional IRAs and kids' college money (gifted) intact.

Is not something we will consider until we can do so without raiding our ROTHS. But, we are getting there... It's starting to snowball down the hill. We went from $0 to $125k in just 3 years, and that should just continue to accelerate.

April Savings

April 29th, 2016 at 01:21 pm

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!}

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

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 03:02 pm

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?}

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

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 02:08 pm

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

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

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!

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

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.

January Savings

February 1st, 2016 at 02:19 pm

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

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

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.

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

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.

Net Worth Update

January 3rd, 2016 at 01:53 pm

2015 was a big year for us. We had a peak net worth of $498k in 2005, and then our net worth went down years 2006-2011. Our house lost $400,000 in value during that time, while we were saving and doing well with the rest. Housing started to turn around here in 2012. Our house is still $250,000 below the peak, but we've been increasing cash and investments over the years.

& so it seems like it took forever, but we finally did it! We surpassed $500k net worth in 2015. Moving on up!

We also made our net worth goal, which was to increase net worth by $42k (70% of expenses).

This is what I had estimated for 2015:

Cash + $5,000
Investments + $5,000
Retirement + $11,000 (Max IRAs)
Investment Returns + $14,000 (assumes 6% returns)
Mortgage Paydown + $7,000
---------------------------
net worth + $42,000
---------------------------

& here is how 2015 shook out.

2015 Actual:

Cash + $0
Car Purchase + $13,000 (Added asset to net worth)
Investments + $6,000
Retirement + $11,000 (Max IRAs)
+ $5,500 (2014 IRA)
Investment Returns + $0
Mortgage Paydown + $8,500
---------------------------
net worth + $44,000
---------------------------

I am fine with leaving this goal the same for next year. I think it will be doable. But overall, we want to start increasing our net worth by a full $60,000 per year. Even though that is 100% of our current spending, it is actually far more than I Expect that we will spend in retirement. I'd like to get to this somewhere in our early 40s. With dh working, maybe we can get there at 40. I really do expect to hit a seven figure net worth by age 50, which we will call "financial independence." I expect our 40s to be our last final push on the earned income/growing net worth stage of our lives. I expect to earn far more from our investments by the time we are 50, and in turn I expect "work" to fall down the importance scale significantly.

I am sure if we start hitting $60k annual increases early on that those amounts will increase over time with investment compounding. On the flip side, gives us some room to still make our goal with normal market fluctuations.

2016 Estimate:

Cash + $10,000 (saving to replace vehicle soon)
Investments + $10,000
Retirement + $11,000 (Max IRAs)
Investment Returns + $15,000 (assumes 6% returns)
Mortgage Paydown + $7,000
---------------------------
net worth + $53,000
---------------------------

Wow! More than I would have expected. Maybe at 40 I will just revise my goal to $50k annual net worth increases.

2015 Goal Update

January 2nd, 2016 at 02:46 pm

I am copying and pasting sidebar, to memorialize in my blog. Brief Commentary below.

2015 Goals

**Financial**

[X]$11,000 to IRAs 2015 (MAX)
...($11,000 @12/31/15)
...$10,850 savings;$150 credit card rewards
...We save $900/month, plus ROTH credit card rewards

[X]$5,000 to savings
...($5,000 @ 6/30/15)
...We save $300/month, plus interest
...Received an unexpected gift and so will stop tracking savings this year. Just want to have $5k cash more than last year.

[ ]$5,000 to investments
...($4,596 @ 12/31/15)
...We save $200/month, plus snowflakes

[X]$4,100 to mortgage
...($4,100 @ 12/31/15)
...$3k per year to pay off in 15 years; $3,100 *this year* will be more principal than interest!
...Funded with overtime
...Added $825 (gift) to get balance below $175,000

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

I am putting this under the "one income" category because these goals were based on my income alone. & dh brought in a whopping $2,000 in 2015, which was more of a snowball. I did not use any of his wages for the above goals.

We fell a little short of our investment goal. I am fine with that since I will have a tax refund to deposit in a month or so (getting us to $10k+ in taxable investments, which was more my "bigger picture" goal). Since the "big picture" is currently much better than I expected for 2016, I just can't bring myself to care that I Fell short of my 2015 goal by $400.

December Savings

January 1st, 2016 at 02:55 pm

Received $35 bank interest for the month of December.

Snowflakes to investments:

Redeemed $50 credit card reward to ROTH IRA.

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

Redeemed $67 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $1 cash back on Visa/dining card.

I was also able to add an additional $670 from Christmas cash received.

Reinvested $325 Dividends

------------------------
Total snowflakes: $1,138
------------------------

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
-$1,500 to home/disability insurance

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

In addition to the above, added $825 to the mortgage (using Christmas money received). This put us below a $175k balance.

{This was all I did with Christmas money before check bounced. Also threw $1k to the credit card to cover recent splurges. This is why I didn't go more in the hole with that. When I get the check replaced and cleared we will fund our IRAs. Which we'd do anyway, but this just saves us from moving money around and keeps our savings account fatter}.

I believe dh made $189 this month and I didn't do anything with it. I suppose I will consider moving that over to investments. I just haven't got that far yet. (Everything is a bit of a mess because of our bounced deposit!)

Edited to add: Cleaned up Quicken a bit today and don't seem to have any money leftover, so will just use dh's checks in December to cover concerts/events we paid for. I had not used gift check for this and I did not pull from savings to cover this. He actually received $635 and we paid $625 for shows. (I forgot he had one bigger paycheck the first of December, for November work).

November Savings

December 1st, 2015 at 03:41 pm

Received $36 bank interest for the month of November.

Snowflakes to investments:

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

Redeemed $48 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $2 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Savings (From my paycheck):

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

Snowballs to savings:

+ $ 85 Citi Price Rewind
+ $207 credit card reward
+ $220 freelance video work (net of expenses)
+ $300 Chase checking reward
+ $900 Dh's paychecks

I am just hoarding up cash for now. Waiting to see how things shake out 12/31.

{P.S. What a month!!}

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

+$1,300 to cash
- 340 Auto registration and insurance
- 550 Dentist(3)
- 5,000 Property taxes

I went ahead and just prepaid property taxes again, for the whole year. It is so much simpler.

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

Goals for 12/31:

--6 months' cash efund (bare minimum cash for long run)

--Have $11,000 cash to fund 2015 IRAs, in addition to the above

--Put an additional $1,400 to investments

--Put an additional $825 to the mortgage

I am hoarding cash and seeing where we end up. I know at the least I can probably attain all of the above if I fund IRAs in January or February. Not so confident doing it all by 12/31, but will see.

October Savings

November 1st, 2015 at 03:06 pm

Received $40 bank interest for the month of October.

Snowflakes to investments:

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

Redeemed $80 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $10 cash back on Visa/dining card.

{These last two were much higher than usual due to vacation expenses}.

Other snowflakes to investments:

--$12 rounding (gets us to $3k)

--$ 25 Ting credits (no cell bill this month)
**This is the final free month since we've run through our credits**

Savings (From paychecks):

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

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

+$1,300 to cash
- $150 Auto registration renewal

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

A little commentary on our savings goals:

With dh working, I expect to increase our savings rate roughly from 30% to 40%. But I suppose we will work through that next year.

IRAs: I just happen to expect another $50 credit card reward to my ROTH and so we will get exactly to $11k max this year. It usually doesn't work out quite that perfect. I usually try to get close and just top it off end of year.

I did see that IRA limits are unchanged for 2016 so this goal will remain the same for 2016.

Investments: I am thinking of abandoning this goal. Not in a bad way though. I had intended to invest $7,500 this year.

I've yet to fund $1,400-ish from my OT. Sure we've had a splurge-y year and maybe that is a lot of it, but we have also had a very charitable year (by our own standards). I am thinking of letting this go since we have given about this much to charity. & I definitely foresee charity being a higher focus next year with dh working. For this year, we just knew a lot of people suffering a lot of hardships. A lot of stuff came up that we felt compelled to give cash to. I know next year we will probably have more means AND also switching to more cash giving as we have less time to donate. (We've been infinitely more focused on donating *time* since having kids - with lots of time and less money, but that is starting to shift the other way - probably more 50/50 in the interim).

I was also going to invest our tax refund, estimated at $2,500. I was going to invest around 12/31, since we have the cash, and reimburse our cash when we get our tax refund in early February. I am still going to invest the refund, but I am not going to count it towards this year. I will just invest it when I get the money. I was thinking the money was really saved this year, and it's true, but I'd also rather keep it simple.

I've revised my sidebar for the $2,500 (tax refund) and we can wait and see on the other $1,400. I've still got time to scrounge it up.

September Savings & Spending

October 1st, 2015 at 01:52 pm

Received $40 bank interest for the month of August.

Snowflakes to investments:

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

Redeemed $33 cash back on Citi card.

Redeemed $3 cash back on Visa/dining card.

Redeemed $50 AmEx rewards as a ROTH contribution.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$ 30 Ting credits (no cell bill this month)

Savings (From paycheck):

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

+$1,500 cash gift (to savings)
-$1,500 to pay off medical bills

I suppose that last part was a wash.

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

+$1,300 to cash
-$ 385 auto insurance (other vehicle)
-$ 325 Life Insurance
-$ 120 School Lunch for 6-12 months

{I'll be draining the "short-term" part of our savings in the next month or two to pay property taxes}.

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LM has hit $500 in his savings account! I can't tell you how motivating the 7% accounts have been for the kids. Now that they both have $500 that is the max that can earn the 7% interest on.

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Dh did receive a $125 focus group payment this month but I didn't snowflake it. We seem to be in the hole this month. Spent more than we should have.


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