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Archive for May, 2019

Quick Check In - Found Emojis!

May 24th, 2019 at 08:36 pm

I wrapped up Job #2 (old employer) on May 15th. Phew!

Stuff is falling off my plate, left and right. Yesterday was the last day for the high school. I can't believe I no longer have to take MM to school! We've scheduled his driving test this summer.

I will be switching to an earlier work schedule, now that I don't have the morning commitment.

I'd say that our "new normal" doesn't start until next week. I am feeling pretty overwhelmed. I would love nothing more than a quiet 3-day weekend. But my sister is flying in today from the east coast. That whole thing is emotionally exhausting, to add onto the load of emotional exhaustion I already have. But after that, maybe I can breathe at all.

Money seems to be falling from the sky this past week or two. I have an unexpected $1k in hand, and it might be a couple of more thousands of dollars over summer.

In the meantime, we paid cash for braces this month and have already replaced that money (with side income). I paid for a ridiculously expensive house rental in Yosemite. It actually fits in our modest vacation budget, but will be about 95% lodging this year (otherwise, we are just driving and enjoying nature ~ this trip and the Beach trip we did last month). Usually we plan ahead better and find better deals. A more last minute trip to Yosemite is not cheap. I am just happy we found anywhere to stay. A luxurious house is better than I had hoped for. Anyway, we usually we pinch pennies and plan more. In a year where I've had no time to plan, I am happy with throwing extra dollars at things. Though it is coming from our vacation budget, home rentals are generally non-refundable. When I received an unexpected $1k last week, I used that as motivation to just bite the bullet. The extra money insures the extra risk. & it made it easier to justify the splurge.

I tried to wash our mattress topper in the wash yesterday but it seemed to be ruined. The only other one I have is pretty sad, so I bought one online yesterday. I told MH, "You know what we really need, is a new mattress." He's kind of, "Duh," but he's been waiting for me to come around. We paid $1k-ish in 1999 and it is an absolutely amazing mattress. But I will admit it's not as comfortable as it once was. Throw that in the, "buy things half as often, keep them twice as long" strategy that applies to many different things. If it's recommended to keep a mattress for 10 years, will keep it 20. But at the 20 year mark I am fine with letting it go. I've been stubborn in the past because it was still as comfortable as the day we bought it (I couldn't imagine gambling on another mattress). MH has been wanting to replace for a while, I guess. I'd rather do anything else but mattress shopping this weekend, but it's the time to do it, with the sales. We will also replace MM(15)'s 25-year-old mattress (my old mattress) because it's far past time. He just hasn't had any complaints about it and we hadn't seen the point. But I am not buying myself a new mattress without getting him one too.

Will see... We may wimp out and put that off to the next big sale. No rush.

In other news, MM(15)'s cash was piling up ($2,000+) and so we opened up a high-yield savings account for him. The kids still both have their 7% accounts ($500 max balance). Not sure how long that will last because that CU is merging with another.

I think MM has about a gajillion expenses to figure out in the next 5-10 years, so this is just the first bridge we will cross for now. As we get more clarity on college situation and his ability to find more steady work, we can maybe start addressing more advanced areas of personal finance. But for now, the kid needs cash to pay for all the expenses of his "loaner car" that he has for the next two years. Once he's got that figured out, financial goal #2 might be saving up to buy his own car. & the cost of housing in California (renting or owning, either way) is ever looming.

Maybe not so quick after all, but I've been feeling very, "I don't even know where to begin" after mostly not blogging for several months. Those are some quick highlights.

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Did you know if you right click there is an emoji option? 🙈🙉🙊

I just accidentally found this! 😎

Electric Car - April Update

May 12th, 2019 at 06:36 am

Electricity costs: $25

1,060 Electric Miles Driven

306 kWh Used x $0.0819/kWh = $25

{306 kWh overnight electricity usage, per electric bill. This is the easiest/best approximation of how much electricity we are using to charge the car}.

Fuel Savings: $174

1,060 Miles/ 20mpg old minivan
=53 gallons of fuel

53 gallons x $3.75 = $199
{This is probably very conservative because presumes I could have gotten 3-4 gas coupons in one month}

$199 cost of commute in old minivan
-$25 cost of commute in new electric car
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=$174 FUEL SAVINGS

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As an aside, I had a clarifying question on my last blog post. I am just tracking the savings I am experiencing with the automobile change. Sure, I could have switched to a gas sedan, but that would have still cost money. I do not believe the cost savings would have been worth changing gas vehicles. I think mostly it's more complicated than that and we wanted to test the electric waters. The Volt was my absolute dream car (style) if money was no object. This was not a 100% financial decision.

I will say that we had wanted to trade to a more fuel efficient sedan for the last 10-ish years or so, but it never made any financial sense. Even the electric we just couldn't justify until I suddenly had a longer commute. Then the math started to make sense. I didn't run the math on a gas sedan because I didn't want a gas sedan.

Along the same lines, the $8,000 has nothing to do with electric car costs versus gas sedan costs. It's the premium we paid over our own car budget, for the car that we wanted. We were willing to make the up front investment because the fuel savings will pay for this premium. With the fuel savings, it works into our modest car budget.

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We will most likely replace our gas sedan with a Volt, in the near future. I'd say probably in the next 12 months.

I made a comment on last post that was incorrect, so I will just clarify here. We had already decided we want to pick up a second Volt. We are giving it a year (probably?) because it sounds kind of weird to put all our eggs in one basket (one car model). & so we are waiting, saving up cash, and making sure that we aren't being too rash.

I do not believe that we will be buying outside of our car budget for this second Volt. Our "forever" budget of $100/month gives us $5,000 (today) plus trade-in value of our gas sedan. Or about $15,000 cash to buy a slightly used Volt. This wouldn't change any part of our financial picture long-term except lower car maintenance and cheaper fuel. We usually would have waited at least 15 years to upgrade our car again, but spending "4 years of savings" to buy a "4 year newer car" is the same difference in the end. It doesn't affect our bottom line or big picture.

Anyway, I saw some barely used Volts in the $13k range. One year older model than mine, but same exact car. O.M.G. I'd like to continue to wait out price drops and save more cash. If it doesn't get any better than that, then clearly we just buy next spring when they come off lease and flood the market again. We generally buy our cars this time of year, because of these deals.

I mentioned offhand to MH, and he perused the cars on his own time. He came to me yesterday and he said, "Nope, that is NOT our car. They do not make our car. How on earth did we find this car?!" I think mostly we bought lower level model with premium features (just the features we would have wanted). Most notably, anything with heated seats and premium sound comes with leather seats, which MH despises. I told him I could probably live with leather seats. It wouldn't be my first choice, but I don't know that I despise them as much as he does. Depending on the color of the new car, I might be willing to take it. I've otherwise kind of been, "Don't touch my car. Get your own."

Anyway, MH Was pointing out that the cars that are more in line with our car and have the same features are still in the $20k range. Fair enough.

I expect that these are decisions we will be making in the next 6-12 months.

April Savings

May 4th, 2019 at 08:09 pm

Received $72 bank interest for the month of April.

Snowflakes to Investments:
--Redeemed $42 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card.
--Redeemed $33 cash back on Citi card.
--Redeemed $12 cash back on dining/gas card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
$ 12 Savings from Target Red Card (grocery purchases)
$ 1 Rounded Up

TOTAL: $100 snowflakes to investments

401k Contributions/Match:
+$700

Snowball to Savings:
+$ 800 MH Paychecks
+$2,000 March self-employment income (received April)

TOTAL: $2,800 snowballs to savings

Savings (From my paycheck):
+$ 550 to cash (mid-term savings)

Mid-Term Savings (cash saved for non-annual expenses/emergency):
-$ 2,365 Medical Expenses
-$11,000 Fund IRAs 2018

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):
+$1,400 to cash
-$ 720 Auto Insurance
-$ 500 Life Insurance
-$ 300 Dentist
-$ 294 DMV (Auto Registration)

TOTAL: $1,443 deposited to cash and investments

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Last month's commentary:

Still just hoarding cash. Second job is winding down (I hope). I have $3k medical bills coming up, want to pay cash for braces this year (x2), have to cover all my professional expenses going forward, etc., etc. Just hoarding cash for all that, and preparing for a big income drop this summer.

Second job is definitely winding down. I am hoping to deposit another $3,000-ish in the next couple of months. But I am only working two more weeks for old/forever employer. I am cramming on deadlines this weekend and then it's just running up as much hours as I can to pay for braces. The work is there, since their workload is far beyond their capacity at this point. It just depends on my motivation. Which has mostly been wavering, but I have a dollar figure for braces. I am paying cash up front this week. So this is my renewed motivation. Is another post for another day, but it feels good to have more clarity on that situation and to cross a large financial goal off my list.

Last net worth update:
Net worth is up about $40,000 for the year. Or about 2/3 of our annual goal. Most of that is stock market recovery from end of last year.

Net worth is up $60,000 for the year, which is my goal. I am feeling pretty good about dropping second income at this point.

The reduced salary at my new job has little to do with our forward financial progress and is more shifting things around. I've traded $11,500 cash (used to fund IRAs) for $7,500 in retirement benefits. I only need to come up with $4,000 net to be whole. So while I am bracing for significantly less cash in June, I don't expect any change to big picture goals.