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Archive for December, 2019

December Savings

December 29th, 2019 at 04:00 pm

Received $60 bank interest for the month of December.

Snowflakes to Investments:
--Redeemed $0 credit card rewards (cash back) from our grocery card (maxed out 2019 grocery rewards).
--Redeemed $83 cash back on Citi card.
--Redeemed $33 cash back on dining/gas card; used for grocery rewards this month

Other snowflakes to Investments:
+ $231 Re-Invest Dividends
+ $ 8 Savings from Target Red Card (grocery purchases)

TOTAL: $355 snowflakes to investments

401k Contributions/Match:

Snowball to Savings:
+$1,100 MH Income
+$ 500 Bonus
-$ 250 Charity

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

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):
+$1,400 to cash
-$ 482 Flood Insurance
-$ 195 AAA
-$ 160 Vacation Expense
-$ 125 Yearbooks (2)
-$ 100 School Concert

TOTAL: $4,053 Deposited to Cash and Investments


Vacation expense was $100 fuel and $60 eating out, MH's LA trip. We planned to spend a wee bit more on that trip, but I ended up sick at home instead. We canceled the one hotel night we were going to pay for, he used his parents' timeshare for two nights.

$100 school concert ~ $60 to buy tickets for us and all the grandparents. We also ended up spending $40 to feed everyone the night of the concert. This is the art school we pay -0- to, so I am always happy to contribute monies. I save a bajillion dollars with all the free/public art classes.

I guess MM(16) was sick that night (before he gave me his awful flu). Always someone can't make it last minute and I give away the $9 tickets. It always makes someone so happy. So when we got there I went up to the box office and told the lady buying tickets I had an extra student ticket if she wanted it. She didn't even look at me or say Thank You. I told MH, "Wow, that was really unsatisfying." Usually the response is more like, "Really????!!! Thank You!!" She looked so stressed out buying those tickets, I'd like to think I made her life a little easier.


So... I am completely dumbfounded by this update. This was our level of savings when I was working second job. But I guess that it comes down to getting my raise and getting that $800/month back. I wouldn't have thought it was going to be a particularly lucrative month, was more just our typical savings kind of month.

But... This probably sums up pretty well how I ended up with an extra $3,000 that I felt comfortable throwing at the mortgage. I decided quite unexpectedly and last minute to knock that goal out. Sidebar is updated. (Had $3k+ cash left over after setting aside $12k for IRAs; we also have a 12-month emergency fund).

401k was a little extra this month because I received a 3rd paycheck 12/31 (my small business employers always advance the last paycheck of the year for tax purposes). I did also receive a bonus, which bumped up my 401k contribution.

The bonus is a new thing I have never had before. I didn't blog about it because it was not too exciting. I mean, it's EXCITING. But... I didn't pay any taxes in whatsoever for my self-employment income this year, so I put most of my bonus to taxes. It was a choice that I made. (This had been my plan all along, but I had expected a summer bonus to cover it). It's nothing like it sounds. My tax rate only ended up being about 10% on all that side income. Because I ended up with $8k orthodontist expenses to offset my income. I know there is definitely a huge element of financial savvy and strategy that comes with my tax knowledge. Like knowing I can just withhold my SE taxes from my paycheck, and it's all the same in the end. (Which I felt was prudent because I had no idea where on earth my taxes would land this year, until I got confirmation of bonus this month). But... Honestly 90% of the time it is just being in the right place at the right time. I had $10k of write-offs I wouldn't have had in prior years, between the ortho and tax law changes. So I made out pretty well.

I still had $500 left over (from bonus) after that, which I threw at savings.

Edited to add: We did our "gift from in-laws to Charity" thing over the weekend. I ended up making all of our donations Sunday night, and realized I was about $250 short of what I Wanted to do. Which makes sense, because we used to allocate my old Christmas bonus ($250) every year to charity. {I guess I consider that more of a "Christmas Gift" than a "Bonus". My bonus this year was a few thousand dollars, which is the very new and different part. I have absolutely never before had an employer give me extra money "just because". To clarify why I said I hadn't received a bonus before}. I ended up subtracting $250 from bonus above and updating numbers.

Christmas Wrap Up

December 29th, 2019 at 02:02 pm

I just put this as part of my comment in the forums. But I had wanted to share, so will just copy and paste.

How Christmas went this year:

1 - We did NOTHING for Christmas this year. Just dealing with a lot of personal crap and didn't have the time or inclination. We are always pretty mellow about the Holidays (buying the kids maybe one $20 gift each, something they could really use or enjoy). I would have thought doing nothing was more of an extreme/bah humbug kind of direction, but also not a big change from our usual. But... It was amazing! It forced us to be more thoughtful and creative and we had the best Holiday. (Including, my son made a sculpture for my other son. It was absolutely unexpected and hilarious). Other than that, we baked for each other and had some extra quality family time.

2 - My in-laws started a charity tradition a few years back. What we had said many times was, "We don't want anything, we'd rather help the less fortunate" and was more what we had been doing with our kids. So the first year (that MIL agreed to do this) my MIL bought a billion gifts AND gave us some money to give to charity. I've felt very many times, "She's not getting it". It's nice and I like the change, but there was lack of *getting* it. Until this year. This year there was a very noticeable shift. The gifts were very reasonable. If I was happy with it, this must have been extreme 180 for my MIL. (I got *one* material gift and a couple of gift cards. About the same for my kids). We focused far more talking about all of our charity choices ($250 per person to spend) and all the good causes we were excited about. We were able to donate $3,000 (as an extended family), and it was really neat.

Slowly but surely... (It took 12 years. I distinctly remember doing "contributions to charity in lieu of gifts" when my kids were in daycare and the only person in my circles that balked at that was my MIL. She has come a very long way).

I was actually completely dreading our Christmas celebration with the in-laws, because MIL had been on a particularly toxic/insane rampage this year. So... Having such a pleasant day with them was really unexpected. Phew!

Unfortunately, we got some really bad news over the Holiday. It looks like MH also has a parent with failing health who needs a lot of time from him. *sigh* So now we are potentially facing with both of our parents. I felt like the rug was yanked out from under us. Like, at least I could deal with all this insanity if at least MH's parents are perfectly healthy (which we thought they were). But... it does explain some things and allows us to be more proactive than reactive. We had both been getting pissy with how much his parents lean on him. There may be more to it (we know now), BUT a lot of it is my MIL doesn't comprehend that MH has a job now, that he has other commitments and is busy. (In her mind, he just eats bon bons all day??). So this was why we were getting so irritated. But it's different if you realize some of the underlying reasons they need so much help these days. Okay so, maybe something else has to give and MH needs to set aside one weekend per month to spend with his parents. Something like that. I am hoping this pushes us a little more out of "constantly putting out fires" mode.

I've been vague because I don't really feel comfortable getting into it, because have mostly not discussed with our families at all. But I think we both potentially have a parent with dementia. 😞

Another CC Reward

December 25th, 2019 at 03:17 pm

2019 TALLY:

$550 Gift Cards (Citi, Moi)
$150 Bank Bonus
$ 70 Amazon Gift card (Amazon Prime, MH)

Other Rewards:
$ 29 Citi Price rewinds (RIP)

Ongoing rewards (through 11/30):

+$320 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/streaming services)

+$70 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)

+$144 Visa Rewards (3% cash back fuel/restaurants)

+$804 Citi 2% card (2% back everywhere - health insurance/medical is the big expenses that we charge, is more than our mortgage payments)

Grand Total = $2,137

I am just doing an update because I did another reward.

I am so insulated from consumerism (average middle class consumerism, it's not like we don't buy anything...). But I sometimes feel so insulated that I am exposed to it more on SA than anywhere. Every once in a while someone will mention something I haven't heard of, or something that sounds really cool.

Well, it happened. $150 happened. There as some mention in the forums of electronic gadgets. Most of them I hadn't even heard of and I marveled a bit since we clearly like our electronics. But I guess more "useful to our needs and wants" electronics, versus "what everyone else has" electronics. My husband did buy some expensive bone conducting headphones earlier in the year but I considered that more of a disability purchase. (He only has hearing in one ear, can't reasonably wear one ear bud and hear anything going on around him). I was dumbfounded when he told me he was not able to listen to anything at his job and he felt it would make his low-skill job more bearable. I was completely horrified, like yes you have to buy this yesterday! He's been listening to books on tape and I think makes the work day much more bearable.

But... I didn't think anything beyond that until I saw a conversation on SA about the same headphones. Yeah, I don't have any headphones and I could probably use some. But I have never liked ear buds. So I had my light bulb moment and asked MH to buy me some. It looked like they were on sale significantly from what we paid, but he did choose the premium ones. I told him, knock on wood, honestly I never lose or break my things and I just wanted to get the premium ones too. (He had bought some in the past he did not like and didn't keep. So there was definitely a huge step up in quality with the higher end ones that were worth the money).

He was looking on Amazon a couple of days ago, but it would be like $80 instead of $150 if we signed up for the Amazon Prime card. IT's not a card we have ever had, so it was a no brainer. MH was kind of, "Really?! I thought you wanted to slow down on the rewards. I thought you wouldn't do these things for less than $200." Pffffft. It doesn't get any easier than signing up for a credit card to instantly get $70. I don't need to do anything. We didn't even need to put the charge on the credit card. I could probably cancel it tomorrow and be done.

It's most likely I will just cancel the card very quickly. It does come with 5% back on Amazon purchases, but we already have a 4-card system and it's becoming more of a 5-card system if we are going to use MM's credit card to max out our grocery rewards. I don't want a 6-card system. We don't shop enough at Amazon to bother.

{How I manage is I set all my cards on a monthly cycle and just pay them all off the first of every month. No tracking statements whatsoever. I also use Quicken/transaction downloads so I have all our charges/balances compiled in one place. & I pay them all out of my bank bill pay, so just one place to track and one place to make all the payments every month. Still, I don't want a 6th card}.

I am sure I could have saved more money (I later saw the Amazon store card was $100-off sign up bonus). I am sure I could have strategized or planned better. But in the "this will take a couple of minutes of my life and save me $70 right now" category, it works for me.

I will have to update our December rewards next week, but will probably end up at $2,300 for the year.

Edited to add: Amazing purchase! I thought I would just use for listening to podcasts on my phone (keeping up with Top 100 movies podcast), but I have been loving the hands-free phone calls. Makes my cell phone generally more usable (for calls). I was talking to my friend the other day while running around doing other things. I might be able to use at the gym but I have to make room for music on my phone. I don't have any other bluetooth devices so will need to use a cell phone to listen to music on new headphones. (In the past I've been more of a "cell phone for emergency" cell user, but I am slowly using more phone functionality. I've absolutely never played any music on my phone before, so I need to figure that out).

***CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless you are in full control of your credit card spending. We treat our credit cards like debit cards; only charging if we have the cash on hand already. We've never paid a cent of late fees or interest.***

Raise Achieved

December 22nd, 2019 at 03:06 pm

I did get my raise (two months ago). I received a 10% raise. I did some financial/tax planning and revised the budget. I've just been muddling through in the meantime, keeping our savings goals as our #1 priority. We've had enough side income to make do. Unfortunately, raise is all going to the budget. I increased grocery budget by about $200/month which is more realistic. +$200/month for significant tax increase next year, due to tax law changes (maybe not by dollars, but very significant increase by percentage). $150/month for a couple of years of health insurance increases. I also added +$100/month to short-term savings AKA "non-monthly bills" (a lot of small increases for various bills).

That's about it, except I added $100/month to our mortgage. Last I ran refi numbers, it actually didn't make sense to lose another 1% of interest. Is because we only plan to be in our home another 5-ish years. The savings has always been significant with 1% drop, on a 30-year mortgage. But not on a "5-year" mortgage. Anyway, we have never felt comfortable with a 15-year mortgage in current city with the economic uncertainty, and also because our health insurance is so expensive (far more than our mortgage). But we've paid down enough that a 15-year mortgage will now only add $100/month to our current mortgage payment. That, I can do. Is not a long-term commitment or an extra $400/month, which is what it was in the past. So we will just make an informal commitment to pay down our mortgage in 15 years. While well employed. I am relieved to be able to skip the red tape of another refi.

Even though I had initially lost $1,000/month (salary) with this job, it wasn't apples to apples. I lost $1,000 net salary every month but I gained +$600/month retirement benefit. Which was more what I had posted before, that I only had about $4,000 per year to make up. This raise puts me at -$600/month cash but +$700/month retirement benefit (compared to my salary at prior job). So I am up $100/month and am happy with that. I really did not expect to get up to my old compensation so quickly. My new job is significantly easier than my last job. It feels very win-win.

We will have to fund our IRAs with MH's income. That puts us way too "retirement heavy" or "retirement poor", but makes more sense than adding to taxable investments. I only feel comfortable doing this because we can access ROTHs any time. More win-win.

Since it's so relevant to this post, here is where my 2020 goals will end up. I am pretty much back to where I was in 2017 or 2018. The funding details are just re-arranged a bit (I used to fund IRAs with my salary, but I didn't have a work retirement plan).

2020 Goals

[ ]$7,000 to savings
...($0 @ 1/1/20)
...$550/month, plus interest.
...Topping off with snowballs

[ ]$1,500 to investments
...($0 @ 1/1/20)
...Funded with snowflakes

[ ]$1,200 to mortgage
...($0 @ 1/1/20)
...It was cheaper to just add $100/month (15-year payoff) than to refi down another 1%. We will just commit to the extra $100/month pay off while well-employed. Our plan is otherwise to just pay off when we sell in a few years.
STRETCH GOAL: $3,000 to mortgage
...I am moving 2018 mortgage goal here, to make up in 2020. Will see how I feel in 2020, but right now I feel is doable. It will also depend how college choices start to shake out end of 2020. Definitely a 12/31 kind of decision.

[/]9% of my full-time income to work retirement plan
...This is the minimum for the match; I'd otherwise rather fund IRAs.

[ ]$12,000 to IRAs 2019 (MAX)
...($0 @ 1/1/20)
...Will fund with MH's income

This puts our overall savings rate at 32%; 30%+ is generally what we aim for.

Edited to add: I changed the mortgage goal after cash (bonus/gifts) settled end of 2019. I added the stretch goal.

Little Bit of Everything

December 22nd, 2019 at 02:28 pm

I am skipping Christmas this year. After another year from hell, capped off with a few weeks sick in bed. Just can't bring myself to care. We don't do much for Christmas in the first place, but I don't know that I've ever literally done nothing for Christmas before.

Our kids are content and don't want anything, so is not an issue.

MH has been so buried with everything that we didn't even put the tree up. We discussed light decorating at some point, but it hasn't been done so I think the boat has been missed.

Oh yeah, and DL(14) told me he disliked giving and receiving material gifts, so was not participating this year. He is doing some baking instead (the gift of consumable food; costs him -$0- to use our kitchen and ingredients).

In other randomness, MM(16)'s auto insurance came due. I was quoted $1,000 per year at some point and that is exactly what it ended up being for the next 12 months. MM actually hasn't had any expenses since he last paid insurance. He did a credit card reward that will cover about 5 months of gas. He's still churning through that reward. But he threw the $500 insurance on his credit card and will have to pay off next month.

For some reason, I was looking at his auto renewal and I noticed it was for 10,000 per year miles or something that is far beyond what he is driving. We had been reporting our miles and getting discounts for several years, but I guess that specific program ended in the past few months. I quickly changed his annual miles estimate (online) and was very generous in my estimate, presuming he may have a summer job and drive to more places than just school. (With track, he has mostly been driving to school because they bus them everywhere they need to be and he has no time for anything else). He's been driving about 2,500 miles and so I estimated 5,000 for the year. I didn't expect much because I figured about 99% of the cost of his insurance is "teen male driver".

So I was stunned when I received a $125 refund (for 6 months premium he just paid). I just saved him 25% with that catch. WOW!

So... I decided to just wrap the refund in a big box and to surprise him with that on Christmas Day. He will be very surprised and also very happy with that.


Really, the only thing going on here is WORK. Work work work. I am digging out after missing a few weeks of work (bad flu season), and also digging out on the home front.

It doesn't matter what I do. I changed jobs. I dropped second job. I hired someone to do like 80% of my work at new job.

So I left work super late some night last week and was griping to MH (when I called him to tell him I'd be home late). I told him, "First world problems". Have experienced way too much unemployment/job uncertainty in my life to take the work for granted. So... First world problems. Well, he had the same story. After being told that Friday (12/20) would be his last day (he always has a long winter break). After that, they were starting to say he would get zero time off. UGH! & they were trying to appeal to whoever they were selling this to, so were saying it would be great he could pay his bills. 🙄 You know, this is a very part-time job so he can mostly be home with kids and fatten our retirement accounts. I don't know, but they sorted it out before he could tell him he didn't really want the work. The latest news is that he is working through this next week (which has become typical in recent years) but probably has most of January off (also typical). Phew! I am happy because *we* need a break. He is happy because he is getting paid for two Holidays next week. Kind of, "If they want to pay me 5 days to work 3 days, whatever."

My work situation should improve. I am only signed up for the one 9-5 job and will get to sit out my first tax season in 20-ish years. So it's all good. Like I said, I've done absolutely everything in my power. Just waiting for the Universe to cooperate with me.

Car/Fuel Updates

December 14th, 2019 at 01:41 pm

I was doing some financial chores this morning and was looking at our total expenses for 2019.

One thing that stood out was our decreased car spending. I am long overdue for an update.

We purchased a plug-in hybrid in Fall 2019 when I changed jobs. Was a purchase we were probably going to do anyway, but the math changed substantially when I doubled my commute. I expect most of our "it's cheaper just to keep the old minivan we don't want" was due to how little we drove in the first place. I was scheming for many many years to replace. First, just doing a lateral change, and later wanting to buy an electric car. At the end it was 13-years-old and it was time to move on. But the math just never made any sense, and then suddenly it did make sense.

Which reminds me, we are comparing 8 months of gas minivan versus 12 months of hybrid car. I wasn't even thinking of that at first. Makes the numbers more astounding.

2019: $370 Electric fuel for hybrid
This pretty much covers my commute and small weekend trips. + any small errands in the evenings. Rounds out to $30/month. My commute is 200 miles per week.

The same commute would have cost $2,000 per year in minivan fuel. The savings is no small beans.

{We try to do *any* city driving in this car, because the fuel costs pennies in stop-and-go. This is why we also use this car for most night and weekend driving}.

2019: $270 Gas fuel for hybrid
This would just be Bay Area trips. Presume we did 20 trips, that would be about $13.50 per trip. Also substantial savings here. We can do part of the trip on electric, and the car gets about 45mpg on the gas engine.

2018 (8 months): $900 fuel spent on minivan

So I saved $260. Big whoop? Saved $700 when you adjust for a full year of minivan fuel.

Nope. Actually, we drove the minivan as little as possible. It was *mostly* my commute vehicle, but lord knows I drove our gas sipper whenever I could. The few months MH doesn't work, whenever I had to drive somewhere else during the day or needed to park in a small parking lot, etc.

2018 Gas sipper Fuel: $1,563
2019 Gas sipper Fuel: $ 820

Saved $743 on that car too. So we are back to *substantial* gas savings. Even though I *doubled* my commute. Did I mention that part?

Total fuel savings: $1,443, or $120 per month.

The hard part that is hard to carve out of this is MM(16)'s driving. We did pay for his fuel the first half of 2019 and added $166 fuel to our expenses for third car (plus I am sure he drove our cars a lot while he was still learning). But anyway, he was on his own the second half of 2019 and I am sure that also decreased our fuel costs somewhat.

Conclusion: Teen Driver + electric car = significantly reduced fuel costs.

Oh, and the other thing. MH only does city driving during the week, his commute and taking kids to school. So his car is only getting 25mpg or something horrific right now. UGH! I can no longer call that car the "gas sipper". It seems silly that I ever called it that. It does get 40mpg on the freeway and is why I called it that.

Which leads to the next couple of things.

We had a lucky year on the car repair front. Very Very lucky. It was or first year as a 3-car family and we probably had a record year for car repairs (almost nothing).

Hybrid car is supposed to be very very low maintenance. Night and day compared to a large gas powered vehicle. It's also a much newer vehicle and will be under warranty for a while.

2019 Repairs: -$0-
BONUS: Oil change only once every 2 years; not due for another 9 months.

MM(16) is driving his car about 200 miles per month. Thought it's a 17-year-old car, low-miles driving keeps the costs down.

2019 Repairs: -$0-
BONUS: Mechanic told us to skip 6-month oil change this year because car was driven so little. (Basically, refused to change the oil when we took it in, because did not need). He may have an oil change this month.

MH car 2019 Repairs: $385
New battery, charge A/C, oil changes, replace windshield wipers, replace brake lights.

I had actually decided to just leave our "forever car repair" budget of $1,500 per year, even though we added a third car. Didn't have any room to increase that in the first place. But just let it go because I figured 2 new cars + one really old car would even out. Most years it's been a little more lopsided where we might have a 5yo car and a 15yo car. Now we have a couple of newer cars (don't expect much in repairs first 10 years) and we have a really old car. This year clearly worked out very well, but I feel like we were also just lucky. There is always something. Even on newer cars, tired need replacing, etc.

& finally, our plan to buy a second hybrid car...

Wish list: Want to buy a second Volt. We are *that* happy with the car. Somewhat of a lateral trade, with MH's vehicle. Actually, 100% lateral trade, if you factor the money we have saved (for 5 years) to eventually replace his car. Would be more short term cash outflow, but big picture/long-term wouldn't be spending more money than we would otherwise. The only thing I can come up with is we pay extra sales tax with more frequent car trading. Which would be very easily offset by fuel savings in this situation. So maybe some of why it feels so *shrugs* financially.

Last we discussed, we are considering a second Volt or an all-electric Bolt. We haven't test drove the Bolt yet, but it seems nearly identical in many respects.

For the short run, the all-electric Bolt is a no brainer. It would more than cover all of MH's city driving and save us a bajillion (more) dollars in fuel. It also has a decent enough range for our frequent trips to Bay Area. My only hesitation is that it would be such a short term purchase. MH has been looking for work (who knows where he may end up commuting to). DL(14) only needs a ride to school for 1.5 years at this point?

We last left it that we should wait one more year. It may make more sense to gift or sell MH's old car to MM(16) if he needs it for college. That is the other big question mark right now. No idea if he will need a car for college or not. (The car he has now is shared with his brother, so it stays here when he goes off to college).

It seems moot. We spent so much of our cash on this first Volt. In this case, we are looking in the $15k range (what we had spent on our last few vehicles). The Bolts seem to be losing value faster and more in our price range. The longer we wait the cheaper this car will be. I also still have hesitation about owning two identical cars. If any problems do crop up then it's problems x2. It's just so against my nature to put all our eggs in one basket so it weirds me out a bit. For these reasons, we may go all-electric. Get a slightly different vehicle, even if it is mostly the same. For MH's commute (a few miles per day, 8 months of the year) it would really cost pennies to run that car. It won't be anywhere near the $30/month I am spending on electric fuel. The all-electric is also even more low maintenance. I really do expect to significantly decrease our fuel costs for the long run.

If MM(16) does end up needing our car and we just give it to him, I suppose this also significantly increases the amount of cash we need to come up with to buy this newer vehicle. It should be a lot more clear next fall and that gives us time to save up the cash.

Gift Card Balances Dec 2019

December 8th, 2019 at 06:59 pm

Just tracking my gift cards. Usually I have more credit card rewards, but not so much this time.

$ 20 x 6 Target

$100 Regal
$ 25 AMC

$50 Cracker Barrel
$50 Olive Garden
$ 25 x 2 Jamba Juice (Birthday Gift)

$50 Kohls (Christmas Gift)
$ 50 x 4 Target

Note: Edited over time to remove used gift cards.


We never ended up using any of the restaurant gift cards last summer, as planned. I think we are just not "eating out" people, but is probably compounded by "kids busy with their own things."

Will get through these eventually, but may not be tempted to get more restaurant gift cards any time soon.

I did pick up $300 worth of Target gift cards today, 10% off. For several reasons, I never did the full $300 before. But today I just bit the bullet. I always keep a stack of $20 gift cards to keep on hand for last-minute gifts. The rest, will use towards grocery purchases. (Still have one $20 card left over from last year, there were some others from last year that we used this month. I kept the one because it was a "happy birthday" theme).

Edited to add: Received a $25 AMC gift card. Strange gift since we have no AMCs in our region. Will add to the re-gift pile with most of the gifts I have received to-date. We decided most likely we will hold for FIL's birthday after Christmas, so I wanted to make sure I wrote it down and did not forget.

November Savings

December 8th, 2019 at 02:26 pm

Received $60 bank interest for the month of November.

Snowflakes to Investments:
--Redeemed $0 credit card rewards (cash back) from our grocery card (maxed out 2019 grocery rewards).
--Redeemed $59 cash back on Citi card.
--Redeemed $30 cash back on dining/gas card; used for grocery rewards this month

Other snowflakes to Investments:
+$100 Birthday Cash**
+ $30 Surprise gift from credit union
+ $ 6 Savings from Target Red Card (grocery purchases)
- $95 Annual Fee on grocery card

TOTAL: $130 snowflakes to investments

401k Contributions/Match:

Snowball to Savings:
+$1,100 MH Income
+$ 215 Self-employment income

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

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):
+$1,400 to cash
-$5,750 Property Taxes
-$ 432 Disability Insurance
-$ 227 Car Registration
-$ 85 Museum Membership
-$ 50 Medical Expenses

TOTAL: -$2,314 Net
(Invested +$905, -$3,219 from cash)


**I decided to add my birthday cash to investments. Otherwise, I'd only have a $30 deposit, which is probably below the minimum that I can add to investments. There is absolutely nothing I want or need, so is probably the best use of Birthday money.

I was just going through the kids' accounts and saw that they also both received $10 from our credit union. Nice for them!

November was another month from hell. I was so sick that I missed work for 2+ weeks.

We had to cancel our LA trip. Well, MH went for a couple of days and MM(16) stayed home to take care of me. I feel pretty *shrugs* about it because we were maybe going to go twice in the first half of next year. I mean, it's a bummer and I had been really looking forward to the adults-only trip, but we may get a redo soon enough.

I've got a lot of friends and family going through some very tough stuff, so that is the stuff I need to tend to when I feel a little better. On top of everything else (which has been way too much), GMIL had a stroke on Thanksgiving. (I think she will be fine). There were other worse things that happened...

On the flip side of the coin, net worth is up $90k+ for the year. Finances just keep swimming along in the background. It will be interesting to see where things land 12/31.