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.
Archive for February, 2016
Received $36 bank interest for the month of February.
$38 Game purchase for LM
Dinner: Masala Baked Indian Tofu with Turmeric Rice
I also got some more free tangerines from work.
So I guess LM is being a little spoiled this month!
The kids always buy computer games off of Humble Bundle:
In the book bundle this week they had some role playing game and LM is way into that. For $25 you'd get the game (which is what it sells for on Amazon) but you also get like 20 books that go with the game. Holy Cow! I was asking LM about it because I didn't even really see dh all week (he was at the movies). But though I was initially horrified by the amount of books when I saw them on the website, LM told me they were digital. Phew!
Yeah, I totally see why dh bought that for LM. He's been wanting to set up a D&D game night for his friends and this will give him some tools to get that started. It was an opportunity purchase.
Humble Bundle is a resource we use to save tons of money. Usually it's a $5 or so purchase for whatever they want. This larger purchase was unusual. Oh, and we usually just by electronic content. The catch on this was that the game was $25 but the shipping cost $13. In this case it was worth it. Most the time the kids spend $5 here and there with their own money.
Dinner: Spinach-Basil Lasagna
All our credit cards have closed for the month and I have March income and bills laid out accordingly (the bulk of our March spending is to pay off February charges). I am glad we got haircuts out of the way. This maybe the most non-Murphy month I ever remember having! So even with a little splurging, it's probably the lowest spend month we have had in a long time.
Accordingly, I thought it would be fine for us to all go to the movies this weekend, but dh remembered that LM's party coincided with the Sunday matinee. & I work Saturday. So we will just push that off one more week. (It's a movie that is only playing at another theater, and it's way too expensive for us all four to pay full price for).
I do know that we have grocery spending planned for this weekend. Not sure that we have any other spending planned. Since it's a new fiscal month for us I am open to whatever.
Edited to add: Dh told me plans were coming together with friends. He will be driving 100 miles round trip tomorrow. Closer friend offered to host a BBQ (which is unusual, so will see. I had presumed they would go out). He was asked to bring beer or produce. When discussing grocery plan for the week he said he was good for 4 dinners and thought he would just get a few groceries mid-week. I'd like to get some stuff for the work week but am not prepared for the last minute change up as I head out the door for a full work day. Maybe tonight he will know what he is to bring and I can make a short grocery list, and we can just run to the store together for a few things. Other friend is broke so dh just wanted to see what he wanted to bring and he will cover the rest. He'd just bring everything (both beer and produce) but you know, doesn't want to offend his friend. We leave a fair amount of "cooking for others" in our grocery budget. So we don't blink at this kind of stuff. Usually it's more that we cook for other people in our home.
$2 Burger King
$10 gift card (gift)
Dinner: Spaghetti Pie
Dinner: Southwest Vegetarian Bake
Monday was a bad food planning day. I had a bit of an upset tummy and all we had was spicy food in the fridge. So when perusing food to grab on the way to work none of it sounded very good. I just grabbed a quick lunch at Burger King.
Out of laziness, I did order a Target gift card online. I don't know if we will get it in time for the weekend. But when trying to talk LM into a more creative cash idea he told me he just wanted to roll up a $10 bill and tie it with a ribbon. So I suppose either way will save a trip to Target. We can just use the gift card for groceries next month, if we don't gift it.
Tuesday and Wednesday were no-spend days.
Dh got 4 free movie offers this week. Advanced Screenings. Two were on the same night, so he could only see 3. We also already have two movie nights lined up for next week. We are all going to one of the movies.
Since nothing came up last week, I think he kind of feels like he should just see them all and figure out the system. So far he has been able to get into everything by getting there one hour early. Even the more marketed and crowded ones. (Which pretty much means waiting outside 1/2 hour, sitting inside 1/2 hour, but not having any adverts or previews. We pretty much always go an hour early when we go to cheap movie nights, because they do get crowded. So it's not a big change from that except maybe standing outside a little longer than inside, with these free movie screenings). Whatever he went to yesterday was no line and wasn't crowded. For all we know there could be a dry week or two after that. So trying to get he hang of it. I am sure for the long run he will be more discerning. Plus pretty much all of these have been in our zip code, so what the heck. Nothing really lost if he showed up and the line was too long.
$14 Fuel for gas sipper ($1.84/gallon)
$17 Movies for 2 (LM's request)
$15 Girl Scout cookies ("gift" for niece)
$15 Birthday Gift for LM's bestie
Dinner: Salmon & Rice Pilaf
Salmon was on sale again this week so I made salmon last night for dinner. I looked up a new rice recipe. The kids could use the calories and they love fried rice or garlic butter rice (just rice with lots of butter and garlic!) But I know they ate junk all week (donuts, ice cream, eating out, etc.) and so made it more low key yesterday. I chose a rice pilaf recipe since I had all the ingredients on hand.
I did also make more pumpkin bread with leftover pumpkin. The pumpkin was a little iffy, so hopefully it turns out okay. (I Was going to make it last weekend but never got around to it).
I just consulted on birthday gifts with LM and he wanted to be a little silly. So we basically spent $15 on more of a gag gift. Will probably also pick up a $10 Target gift card to round out the gift. It is his best friend. (We just bought gift online, Amazon. Took about 5 minutes out of our day).
Edited to add: Gift already arrived, 9am this morning!
I did also just order a Target gift card online. We have free shipping with our Red Card. Will see if we get before next weekend. Would love to save a trip to Target this week. I was just thinking how nice it was to buy gifts online and how I could probably just get a gift card online too.
It's appropriate to do a monthly summary at this point. We've never made big adjustments to our budget (try not to spend more money over time) and so kind of just subconsciously know our limits. I don't know that it's anything we overly think about. As things come up we know if we have the money for it.
But... Around the last week of the month I do sit down to pay bills and review. The reason is I have some bills due around the first of the month. & though the first is pay day for me, I don't have direct deposit. So I tend to just pay those bills with float and then pay the larger things when I actually get my check deposited. & with my bank's online bill pay I have to set these to pay a few days before they are due.
So, yesterday I set up to pay those bills. What I do is go through and enter all anticipated income and expenses in Quicken for the following month. & then I set up all the bills to be paid (which is just about $200 due on the first of the month). I won't pay off the credit cards until the month is over and I know the balance of this month's spending.
How I came out in Quicken was having -0- left for the rest of the month. (March 31 Quicken balance is -$0- once all February credit card charges are paid off). But that's not entirely accurate since our credit cards generally close on the 28th. Is more of a 28th-28th cycle and I just go with that. The calendar month tracking in my blog is not lining up with that completely. Pretty much my dining out card closes tomorrow and the gas/groceries and everything else card will close on Friday. So I pretty much have $0 until Friday. (They are closing earlier with the short month). But I also have enough float that I won't sweat it if anything comes up. Which is how we run it so tight and I say we never would have money left over at the end of the month. I have float to cover whatever random thing might come up before our credit card closes. I may have missed something, but for the moment it is literally breakeven/$0. It's just random that is where we are at.
& also, if we did have money left over at this point I'd probably make sure to take care of anything we had been putting off. If we had a little extra money left at the end of the month. Which is all the more reason we never have a surplus. There is always something.
Anyway, it's a pretty simple method to put everything into Quicken and see how much cash you have left once you pay off current credit card balances and all of next month's bills. I also put our monthly savings transfers into Quicken (pay ourselves first).
Since our credit card cycle will close in a few days, it looks like I will probably just be able to cover medical co-pay and birthday lunch with our monthly variable budget. I believe this is only the case because we had a REALLY easy month, and I am glad we got some spending out of the way in such an easy month (like haircuts and some extra trips to the movies, plus birthday lunch for Grandma). We did not have to feed our kids all week ($$$$ saved) and I don't remember the last time we spent so little on gas. ??? Never, since moving to our current city? Our gas spending included two out of town trips?!
Our monthly variable spending is $900 and our calendar month spending is $885 so far. On a calendar month basis we seem a little behind since we do have one more grocery run planned. But again, we have some float to cover that, so even if our credit cards were on a calendar month cycle I would just get groceries next weekend and not worry about it. I'd probably in that case pull $130 from short-term savings for medical co-pay and birthday lunch. We put aside extra money every month for bigger random expenses.
$900 monthly budget is generally $650 for groceries and $250 for everything else.
$885 spending 2/1 - 2/21:
$ 76 fuel
$101 Eating out (includes birthday lunch)
$ 69 dh purchases
$ 12 moi purchases
**Other is movies, haircuts, ebook, birthday gift, medical co-pay.
Friday night I turned off work and everything and just had a quiet night at home.
$46 Lunch out for Grandma's Birthday
$14 Fuel for gas sipper ($1.69/gallon)
Dinner: Free dinner out
Saturday I completely blew off work, since we had plans to pick up the kids and celebrate GMIL's 91st birthday. (I will pay later...)
Taking Grandma out was priceless. We just went to a diner and she had a 20% off coupon. So we got off pretty easy. $46 for lunch. GMIL was over the moon to get us to herself.
We spent the rest of the day with dh's parents. They were pretty demanding, which is probably why we never give GMIL any time with just us and why she was so over the moon. I didn't mind going over to in-laws' house and thanking them for taking care of the kids, but they do live a bit out of the way. We ended up getting there later than expected and then dh got sucked into all their TV problems. (Lord forbid your TV is not set up right!) So we ended up staying pretty late. But we did get a free dinner out of it. Ordered some take out food.
We did see my parents for a bit too, since they had the kids and we initially picked them up from their house.
We did get gas on the way out. I forgot how little dh was driving without taking kids to school. So why he did not need gas any sooner though he did a lot of driving on Monday. We filled up the tank yesterday since we expected to drive 250 miles.
When we were at the gas station yesterday dh mentioned that we should have used up one of the 10-cent gas coupons we had piling up since he didn't have an empty tank. Our coupons have been piling up because some gas station down the street (that no one seems to know about) has been super competitive lately. We already pay "cheaper than Costco" prices at our grocery store, and so this gas station is even cheaper than that. Well, sometimes. Not this week. But when it is, our grocery coupons just pile up unused.
Anyway, I think it's good we used a "25-cent off per gallon" coupon yesterday because those are piling up too, and we did get 8 gallons. But I mentioned to dh today it would be nice if he got gas while he was at the grocery store. He can use a 10-cent off coupon and then we shouldn't need gas again until next month. We aren't really much into getting gas more often than we have to (we run the tanks to empty), BUT it is also kind of a PITA to get gas in the middle of the week any more, with him working. Thankfully he agreed. I spoke his language because he wants to use up some 10 cent coupons.
Dh will do the gas and grocery run for the week. If he wasn't working he would just wait a few days because we have enough food for the next few days. I realize we probably don't have the flexibility to save more money this month (because it's a short month, I mean). If he wasn't working he'd get groceries around Wednesday and we wouldn't need any more groceries until March. & is how we usually take advantage of a short month. Just realizing we don't really have that flexibility. Which is fine, because maybe don't need the flexibility so much with the extra income. IF we "needed" it we could certainly get groceries in the middle of the week. Just prefer not to.
As to other spending today...
LM decided he felt left out since he did not see the new Star Wars movie. (This was the peer pressure with spending the week with cousins, I guess). He was certainly invited before, on opening night, and he did not want to go then. Dh had already seen it a second time because he wanted to analyze it some more and try to see what everyone else was seeing in it. He didn't like it. But he is also obsessed with analyzing movies (& is also watching them in terms of pacing for his own movies and so on, so not just from an entertainment standpoint). I am sure he wouldn't mind picking it apart some more in terms of general film making. Or maybe he will choose to just sit back and just enjoy it. I nominated dh to take him. I said in a recent post that the kids buy their own crap and in general don't ask for much. So if the kid wants to see a movie we will take him. Especially since dh loves the movies so much and wants to get him to enjoy going to the movies. Is why he will drop everything to take him to the movies. I have not seen Star Wars but I already blew off all my chores this week and have a lot of catching up to do next week at work. & dh already dragged me to the movies this week. Just seems like a crazy time suck to me. If it was a slower time of year and I hadn't already spent hours watching movies/TV with dh already this week I'd probably just take him.
After movies and grocery spending I will see where we are at for the rest of the month. Dh wanted to take us all to some other movie today and I had already told him next week would be much better for me. I suppose financially I will see where we are at too. We can push that off another week if need be.
$11 Haircut (Dh)
$ 6 Pizza
Dinner: Smoky Chicken Enchilada Skillet
I've been craving pizza for a while so I caved Wednesday night. Personal Round Table Pizza. Dh does not really care for pizza. He was already making dinner when I discussed with him but I assured him I would appreciate leftovers for lunch. When I got home we did talk about the rest of the week and he told me he didn't want to eat out. So I think we don't plan to spend any money today or tomorrow (except maybe gas) but admittedly I have not asked dh what his plans are.
I have never been big on denying things I want. It's just much more reasonable to get a pizza when it's just me and I don't have to share with the kids. So I figured I would give in to the pizza lust. If the kids were here I might have just gotten pizza for lunch on a work day.
Dh got a haircut also. He needed one and had some extra time since he didn't have to rush to pick up kids after work. & he saw the new haircut place by grocery store had a sale.
We were planning to try to hit a free movie screening this week but the offers dried up. I guess the last few weeks there were just a lot. That said, we did both receive offers to a movie where they wanted parents to bring their teens. My 12yo could certainly pass for 13 (or 15), but of course we get one of those offers when we don't have kids to take along. We were more hoping for a free date night. Especially since we are more reluctant to take advantage of these when we do have the kids. Going to the movies is one thing, but you have to go wait in line early for these and don't really want to ditch the kids all evening.
We didn't spend any money Thursday but I committed to buy some girl scout cookies from my niece.
The problem these days is grandparents. When you have newborns and your husband loses his job you just go with it. We've been asked to never buy anything for any of our nieces and nephews. We didn't have any money anyway, so sounded fine with us, early on. I know my in-laws are over the top, but my parents respond by pretty much doing nothing for my kids. (To-date it's absolutely never been brought up by my kids. I honestly think their impression is just that their other grandparents are over the top. They understand that is not normal, but they maybe don't realize that it's not normal that no one else feels like they can buy them anything). So, this is my family. BUT... All the nieces and nephews have two sets of grandparents who spoil them like crazy. In turn, we've been asked never to buy anything for them. I am appreciating over time how it's only one-sided for us. Thankfully my kids aren't getting two mountains of gifts for every occasion.
So when my niece asked us to buy some girl scout cookies, I was super excited to help out in some way.
Oh, and LM's best friend is having a birthday party next weekend. So we will buying a gift before then.
As is the overall weather trend in recent years, the more cold it is everywhere else the hotter it is here. This past long weekend we had beautiful spring type weather. So now the trees think that it is spring. I noticed one lone tree blooming a couple of days ago, but today I noticed the blooms everywhere.
Today was a great day for money snowflakes! Technically tomorrow was the big snowflake day but our credit union gives us all direct deposits at 5am the day before. Okay then!
Redeemed a $40 Citi Price Rewind. Which is just a price match. I didn't think of it when we got our car speakers, which we did google briefly and saw we were paying less than retail. But Citi reminded me I could do a Price Rewind (since it was a big purchase) and a couple of clicks on the computer will net me $40. Woohoo! Just had to let them watch internet pricing for 60 days. So that 60 day period just expired.
I'll throw those in our investments with the rest of our credit card rewards at the end of the month. I still have to get approved and don't expect to get the $40 until next week. I just submitted my claim today.
I did also receive an insurance rebate. It was $400, or about 50% of what I paid for life and disability insurance with my professional association during 2015. I did also score an extra $25 simply because I let them deposit the money directly into my bank account. (Do you really have to pay people to get them to get their money faster??). In the past I have snowflaked this sum. But this year I am just going to deposit this into my short-term savings to offset my insurance costs for 2016. I figured if I did that I could maybe get away with not increasing my monthly contributions to short-term savings this year. It was just one of those years where everything seemed to be going up. But I will hang on here for as long as I can.
Of course, since it was a "direct deposit" then I got it a day early too.
Dh also got paid for a pretty pathetic couple of work weeks. I believe he took off one day for medical stuff and 2-3 days because work was just so slow. His net check was $160 and I already threw that at our investments. (He did also add $195 to his 401k).
$11 Groceries (Target)
$ 7 Groceries (valentines candy clearance)
$16 Lunch out (w/co-workers)
$11 Ebook purchase
Dinner: Cashew Chicken
I'd probably put the ebook purchase as an allowance item for dh. (& I don't even remember the last time he paid for an ebook. ???). But he told me it was for the kids. They are way into some series that just had a new release yesterday. This is why I usually put this stuff in the allowance pile. I don't understand *at all*. So you can't just wait until it is at the library?? Ugh! I do know that the kids are enjoying this series so will just put under the "kid" category. We rarely buy them anything. They save up to buy most things with their own money.
Dh used up our Target gift card. Since he had the day off work and needed some cashews for his recipe he went and did a $31 grocery run. $11 after gift card. I had asked him to check out the reeses valentine candy on clearance. But he told me it was only 30% off and it had already been picked over.
Which is fine since I ran by the grocery store and got a couple of bags of candy, 50% off, on the way to work. I thought maybe I didn't get a discount on one bag but it turns out the Reeses hearts are just crazy expensive. Dh was going to price them at Target for me, just out of curiosity, but nothing good was left when he went to Target after lunch.
Dh did drive the kids half way to drop them off with his parents and I think his dad treated dh and the kids to lunch.
$29 Fuel for gas guzzler ($1.73 per gallon)
$ 7 Movie Theater
Dinner: Citrus Chicken
With the kids gone we decided to take advantage and have a date night. We used the last of our movie theater gift card. We went last night because it was $5 movie night at our local theater.
I don't know that we expect to spend any money during the rest of the work week. Except dh may need to refuel at some point since he drove so many miles on Monday. There are loose talks of going out to dinner one night with the kids gone, but I am kind of over all the eating out. We plan to be out all day Saturday also. Dh has not eaten out half as much as me this month so I will just leave it up to him. Whatever he wants.
The kids are having a blast with their cousins and grandparents. (Cousins just happened to have the same week off of school). Monday it was so crazy warm that they went swimming. There is a storm rolling in today and so my dad made sure to take them on a hike yesterday while the weather was still nice. I don't know what else they have planned this week.
I don't know that we usually eat such varied dinners, but it seems that we have been finding a lot of good recipes lately. The Korean Beef Bowl that I made earlier in the month is a recipe that I found recently that takes about 10 minutes to make. So it's a nice addition to my "quick meal" repertoire. Citrus chicken is an old favorite that doesn't make any leftovers when the kids are here. So it was a nice one to make for just the two of us. We did try a couple of new recipes this month. I find it hard to believe that we will repeat anything we have already made, this month (except tofu which I left out/ruined and dh wanted to make again).