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Archive for July, 2022

June '22 Savings

July 17th, 2022 at 05:50 pm

Received $38 bank interest for the month of June.

Received $120 I Bond interest for the month of June.


Snowflakes to Investments:

--Redeemed $39 credit card rewards (cash back) from our grocery card 

--Redeemed $69 cash back on Citi card

--Redeemed $7 on dining out/gas card


Other Snowflakes to Investments:

+ $8 Savings from Target Red Card (grocery purchases)

+ $9 Rounding (to reach an even $1K for first 6 months of year)


TOTAL: $132 Snowflakes to Investments


401k Contributions/Match:



Snowball to Savings:

+$1,175 MH Income

+    340 MH Extra Paycheck (worked way later into June than usual)

-     340 Dryer Repair


Savings (from my paycheck):

+$950 to cash (mid-term savings)


Pulled from mid-term savings:

-$200 Movie Expenses (Film Festival Submissions, etc.)

-$120 New Dishes


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

+$1,500 to cash

-$  240 50th Anniversary Gift

-$  200 Vacation Spending (Monterey)

-$  105 Misc Spending

-$    55 Field Trip/School Expenses


TOTAL: $3,930 Deposited to Cash and Investments


Hybrid Miles Driven June:  680

Fuel Costs: $22 Electricity 

(assumed 50 miles & 14 KwH per full charge)


Electric (EV) Miles Driven June: 910

Fuel Costs: $19 (home) + $7 (out)

(assumed 300 miles & 60 KwH per full charge)


Most charging (both cars) was done at home or at free chargers.

Note:  Higher summer rates kicked in this month (home charging)

We did 60 miles of free charging this month. 

Did a separate post due to longer update.


Note:  I am always lagging a month behind because any bills charged in May will be paid off June 1 and reflected in my June numbers.  I charge in one month and the next month I figure out how to pay for everything (if I need to pull anything from savings).  So this update reflects May spending & June savings.

Note:  I Bond interest hit because we got past 3-month penalty time period ($0 interest).  

Big Picture: Emergency fund is funded. Cash set aside for college rent next year.  Remaining cash = $5,000.  Most of that excess was clearly built up this month.

I know we will very likely have $3K in medical bills this year (our deductible).  & would like more buffer for some of the more foreseen.  Home maintenance is the obvious.  In addition, starting to save for junior year college costs, with a general plan to spend sophomore year saving up for the last bit of expenses we expect for MM college.   So there will be some overlap while we have extra funds for multiple school years.  

{This does not include I Bonds, which are loosely earmarked for college expenses.  Or gifted college funds.  We have a few buckets to pull college expenses from.}

July is kind of "meh" and August is going to be deep in the red.  Could maybe squeak by in the black otherwise, but MH is off work, I have the biggest mouth to feed, and tuition/rent will be due in August.  In addition to some other bigger expenses we've already run up (that will be paid off in August). 

I still have *no idea* what our college costs will be next year.  I've heard that scholarships sort out in July, so we should find out soon.

{We were okay with the one-time scholarship because it's a very inexpensive school.  We will need to pull $2K for tuition in the fall, if MM gets -$0 scholarships.}

I peeked at the big big picture recently and we were down $30K.  I feel very *shrugs* about "the stock market being where it was just a year ago."  But am also very happy with stock/bond/cash mix.  Hint: never bought into going all-in on the stock market, which became very popular during very long bull market run. 

There's that, and also in the accumulation stage it is much better to buy lower.  I welcome the rare chance to buy stocks at a discount. 

I am bracing for a bumpier ride.  Non-fussed about it in the moment, but clearly hear the alarm bells and am bracing for the eventual bumpier ride.  

Edit:  I just realized I needed $9 to reach 1/2 our snowflake investment goal for the year.  I just threw $9 to that.  $1,000 of $2,000 invested, for the year. 

MM Update

July 17th, 2022 at 01:21 pm

MM(19) update...

I dropped MM(19) off at work a few weeks ago and then I didn't see him again for a while.  They drove him out to a job site (close to home) and he got a ride home after that.  So much for our carpool.  He is mostly commuting to the job site.  They had told him he would mostly be in the office, but I now think they meant the construction office.  Which works out pretty well because it is such a short commute.  He's paying less for gas than originally expected.  Even without the free EV carpool.

He had a house sitting gig for a while too, paid for in food.   Which is why I didn't see him for a while.

MM(19) is a couple of thousand dollars richer.  He is getting paid every week ($500).

I had totally forgotten about college gift money from in-laws, because they skipped the last time.  It just completely fell off my radar.  So that was a nice surprise with the kids' birthdays.  I can't think of a better use of new college money than to fund his spending money next year.  So he has an extra $1,000 cash now too, with that.

Last year MM spent $500.  This was everything during the school year that wasn't tuition/room/board/medical.  Off the top of my head, his spending would have included school books/supplies, transportation, club dues, haircuts, clothing, dining out, entertainment, gifts, toiletries, ATM withdrawals, etc.  I did spend about $250 on bigger purchases for him, when his very liquid funds were getting low.  So I think $750 was a fair annual number ($500 + $250) and he will be very comfortable with the $1,000 next school year.  ($111 per month).

Summer will be different.  Way more expensive.  If nothing else, car expenses.  & he needs the car to get anywhere.  Our house is not the same "all inclusive resort" vibe than he's gotten used to at college.  Even if he just wants to go on a hike, he's going to have to spend some gas to get there.  

I did put his next 6 months of auto insurance on his credit card and sent him off to get an oil change before he started his work commute.  He also needed work boots.  He shopped carefully and did coupons/sales for these expenses.

In the end, he was down to $545 more liquid cash left.   He received one or two paychecks before he paid $407 credit card bill.  It was cutting it pretty close, new paychecks aside.  His job fell through last summer and we didn't expect that he'd still have this $500 tied up in the 7% interest account (he technically aged out of the 7% rate).  & he has $5,500 tied up in mega high yield savings accounts, that he can of course tap if he needs to.  It was just his preference not to touch that.  He squeaked by.  

That reminds me, I talked to MM(18) about I Bonds and he is excited about that.  If we cash out his 3.5% account ($5,000) he can probably come up with $10K by end of summer.  & of course, he doesn't have to tie up a full $10K in I bonds.  I think we will both want to scale it back a little bit, after things got so tight this year.  But he has the luxury to wait and make sure his fall job is working out, before he locks in the 9.62% I Bond rate. 

Most likely use of his savings?  Buying a car.  I don't know how certain it is, but he's starting to talk about wanting a car his last two years of college.  & logistically, the kids are going to need their own cars (2) next summer.  For this reason, I Bonds are a better choice than funding his ROTH IRA.  (& of course, we will float him if he locks in I Bonds in September and wants to buy a car in June.  I Bond minimum holding period is 12 months.  We will help him out so that he can get the mega interest).

MM(19) had his birthday this last week too.  We had a small party for him.  He wanted to invite his friends over.  We bought him a bakery cake.  It ended up being something like $4 after coupons and rebates.  That was an unexpected surprise.  I am kind of surprised he didn't just want home cooked food for his party (after 9 months of awful college food).  But maybe MH didn't give him that option.  I don't know.  We did order out for his party.  He is hard to shop for and never wants anything, but MH bought him some gadget.  I bought him some drink coasters that I thought might be nice for his apartment next year.  His girlfriend bought him some kitchen gifts.  Stuff like towels, pot holder, a spoon and a spatula?  With the hand-me-down kitchen stuff we have (plates, silverware, pots, pans, etc.) I don't know that he will need much else.  I haven't had the mental energy to figure any of that out *and* he's probably not going to coordinate with his roommates beforehand.  So we may just wing it with what we have and what he eventually figures out that he needs.

DL & MH Updates

July 17th, 2022 at 12:18 am

DL(17) update...

DL had his birthday last weekend.  We got saved by the bell because he wanted to go to his bestie's house (they share the same birthday) *and* MM(19) was available to drop him off and pick him up (after sleepover).  Phew!  MH and I ended up busy with my parents' emergencies.  

DL(17) scored a free guitar and MH bought him some electronic/music thing that he loves.  A sound mixer of some sort.  As to the guitar, someone just abandoned it at his friend's house some years ago.  He asked if he could just have it.  He said he doesn't think anyone else had ever touched it (since it was left there).

I guess we did also order out his favorite food on another night.  & MH took him to a couple of thrift shops last week, to spend some of his birthday cash.

Things have been pretty normal here for a very long time.  The one exception is the teen animal shelter volunteer program.  The organizer and some of her adult helpers have autoimmune disorders, so they have been very slow to resume. In the end, they resumed around July 1.  DL(17) had signed up around Feb 2020, so he has been waiting very patiently.  He's done two shifts and really enjoys it.

I went over to the old free charger last time.  It's very isolated and not my favorite place to charge.  But with my hybrid car I can at least get 1/2 the drive covered.  While sitting there, I thought maybe I should check if any new chargers had popped up.  There were several new free chargers in the area but most of them were not accessible or were turned off during the weekend.  I did find one a block or two down, but someone was using it.  Today I gave it a try and no one was charging, so I got this new charger to myself.  It's probably a toss up which place is better to charge, but I personally felt a little more comfortable at this charging station. 

& I did remember to take the EV this time.  It charges twice as fast as the hybrid, so am basically able to get free fuel for the entire drive.   I got about 50 free miles today (for a 40-mile roundtrip drive).

I didn't even think about it while I was charging last time, but afterwards I thought to look for a free fast charger.  Those are more unicorns and I really didn't expect to find anything.  But in the "It never hurts to ask" vein...  I found one!  I would have checked it out today but the car was pretty well topped off.  We left it charged after Bay Area trip last week because we didn't know if we'd have to go back to help my mom again.  It seemed likely we would.  Most any other time we can plan a little better and I will try the free charge next time.  (The car charges faster if the battery is more depleted).  Next time...

I suppose I also have a couple of MH updates.

He was working on a movie production but it was abruptly canceled a couple of weeks ago.  MH is super bummed about that.  But at least it was earlier on before too much work was done.  Don't get me wrong, he's put many hours into this thing already.   But the bulk of the work had not been done yet.  It sounded like maybe a dire emergency and we were really concerned, but it ended up being more that the guy making the movie has a big and unexpected move.  I guess that's an extra bummer because MH enjoyed working with him.  Less potential for future projects if he moves hundreds of miles away.

MH also found out he got into another local film festival.  But...  They canceled due to COVID.  It's only the second one he has gotten into, so that is a super bummer.  I mean, I think they are moving it to online.  He wanted to network *and* see his movie with an audience.  It doesn't seem meant to be. 


July 16th, 2022 at 02:21 pm

Ugh.  I accidentally deleted my last post.  User error.  It was a more in depth June EV update.  Oh well.

Note for the future:  Returned from Tahoe round trip with 80 miles left?  Something like that, if we didn't charge.  

The last week or so has been pretty rough. No time or inclination to get into it all.  But I've never gotten past this work jinx where everyone is in the hospital and their life is a cluster (5 years at this point, across multiple jobs).  I can't imagine what it's like to have well employees who show up.  My employee is on her 10th? emergency of the year (not exaggerating) and so I am scrambling to cover for her *and* replace her.  I also had a difficult weekend re: aging parents.  Compounded with extreme cheapskate.  Age + cheap is not a good combo.  

Edit to add:  Employee ended up quitting on Friday (after being out 2 weeks).  Thankfully, we already have a replacement lined up but she can't start for a couple of weeks.  & we haven't had to train anyone new since MM(18) started helping us out in 2019.  Everyone's given notice and trained the next person.  So...  I've got one or two months of extra work chaos.

They finally figured out what her current health problem is.  She needs brain surgery.  It's not good.  At least it's not a brain tumor.  My last job was all brain tumors.  Brain surgery is never good, but she sounded optimistic about the whole thing. 

I am so relieved that we already hired her replacement.  It was an easier task when we were feeling put out from her constant absences.  It quickly turned very somber and depressing. 

So...  That was one of the craziest weeks I've ever had.  But it's still nothing like 2018/2019.  If I have time to blog and share any of it, it's not as insane as most of those years were.

Ideally I'd like to get out a few shorter blog posts, but I am not holding my breath.  I'm amazed I was even able to get this one posted.