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Archive for March, 2023

This & That

March 22nd, 2023 at 03:59 pm

March is determined to be absurd.  In January I refused to believe that January set the tone for 2023.  That we were going to have another *crazy* year (after the last several crazy years).  But I give up at this point.

My newest employee has been out sick 3 times already this year (once for a whole week) and had her third emergency this week.  This work jinx clearly remains (this is everyone who works for me).  My other employee was hospitalized last weekend.  It's just how it always is.  We just had a few months of peace before newest employee's life went to heck.   I am very burned out, between busy year end stuff and all this constant covering for employees.

My kids are exhausting.  I thought it was supposed to be easier with adult (or almost adult) kids.  😁  MM(19) got jury duty so I helped him to get that postponed.  I had to do a double take because I was sure when I saw the envelope that it was MH or I.  & of course, still no idea MM's housing situation.  Might be scrambling next week to figure it out.  This is the big crazy stressful thing and I will be happy to move past this.  The rest of his college years should be pretty easy once we find him a place to live.  DL(17) has never been my *easy* child, but I do appreciate how much simpler it will be with him going to college close to home.  

We had postponed St Patty's Day dinner to this weekend, when MM is home for spring break.  DL(17) just informed us that the marathon he was planning to do is this weekend.  !!  So MH was supposed to talk to his parents about that.  Hopefully we can just bring them the corned beef and they can host.  The marathon is in their city.  It's the first I heard of it.  But...  I am used to MM(19) being the easy child and taking care of stuff.  Time is flying, the school year is almost over.  This is what DL(17) is doing for his senior project.  Now that he mentions it, yeah, it had to be coming up fast.  It just wasn't on my radar.

Plus we just have a bajillion other things going on.

Last weekend I did move some money out of our mega high interest bank.  It's been at 3% - 3.5% during lower interest years but is no longer competitive.  I expect they will eventually bump up rates but I don't care enough to wait around or keep the account open indefinitely.  For now I moved most of the money back to Ally (4.0%) and will happily close the other bank account if they don't bump up rates in the next few months.  Will give it a little time, but would mostly be happy to have less banks to keep track of.

MM(19) is coming home for spring break next week.  It's basically a repeat of his last spring break.  Taxes, dental cleaning, internship interviews, etc.  A real chore week.   He's got some money piling up not earning anything and so I will recommend that he open up an Ally account.  Or maybe he would just be happy to put some cash at Fidelity.  Will give him some options to consider.  He still has some Ally account (with a $0 balance, that I asked them to close some years ago).  It's been a nightmare to get some of his minor accounts moved over (Fidelity was very difficult, but it's done.)  So is some of why I want to tend to this while he is on break.  In case Ally makes it difficult.  

MM(19) has $3,000+ that should be earning some interest.

I had a comment about interest on my last post.  I bought more I Bonds earlier this year, so interest should continue to bump up.  & waiting another month to see what 12-month I Bond interest is compared to other options.  I have another $20,000 I can dump into I Bonds.  

I had a good declutter streak last weekend.  Listed some odds and ends on Craigslist and they were gone within 24 hours.  Also have a charity coming by for a pickup.  I missed the last pickup.  I have accumulated two bags of stuff.  All of the above had been set aside at some point.  I just hadn't gotten around to the last step of disposal.  

MH shipped some books to some family that was struggling and that misses the ability to buy books.  $37 to ship a pile of books he got for free.  Some part of me is, "Meh, that's what the library is for."  Lord knows no one ever bought me any books.  Which is probably why I am more than happy to just utilize the library and not clutter up my home. (Is just how I am used to reading books.) But with all the free scholastic books we got when our kids were little, I also don't mind paying it forward.  I mean, ask me again how often this happens.  (I expect MH had a little sticker shock at the post office.) In the meantime, I am happy to have that pile of books gone.  I took some to work for my coworkers to sift through and MH shipped the rest.  (MH had gotten all the books for free because they were "damaged."  90% of them had no visible damage, or nothing anyone would care about.)

Feb '23 Savings

March 18th, 2023 at 02:24 pm

Received $127 bank interest for the month of February.

Received $246 I Bond interest for the month of February.


Snowflakes to Investments:

--Redeemed $35 credit card rewards (cash back) from our grocery card 

--Redeemed $108 cash back on Citi card

--Redeemed $10 cash back on dining out/gas card 


Other Snowflakes to Investments:

+ $9 Savings from Target Red Card (grocery purchases)


TOTAL: $162 Snowflakes to Investments


Snowball to Savings:

+$1,250 MH Income

-$  945 Replaced Tires

-$  400 Over Spending


401k Contributions/Match:



Savings (from my paycheck):

+$  250 to investments

+$1,000 to cash (mid-term savings)


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

+$1,500 to cash

+$  222 Insurance Rebate 

-$1,380 Various Insurance

-$  410 Vacation Expenses (beach weekend/college drop-off)

-$  160 Dentist 

-$    80 Misc.


TOTAL: $2,322 Deposited to Cash and Investments


Pulled from Gifted College Funds




Hybrid Miles Driven:  699

Fuel Costs: $14 Electricity + $8 (Gas)

(assumed 50 miles & 14 KwH per full charge)

We drove my car to San Francisco.  We decided to use up the gas that MH had put in the gas tank for the Oregon trip.  (We ended up with two Oregon trips canceled due to weather).  But the tank got so low, we did put a couple of gallons in when we got home.  I like to keep 3 gallons in the tank.  This should last me an entire year. 

In March I forgot to charge once and it's been crazy cold, so we put some more gas in the tank (will see in March update).  It was probably more the cold.  (I took the EV to work when I realized I had forgotten to charge.  Not worth going to a gas station *and* wasting an extra $5 on my commute.) 

Week of 3/13:  The cold is backing off.  Instead of needing to burn through a few miles of gas to get home, I am now getting home with 10 miles electric range left.  I feel like the car is over estimating at this point.  But 70F degrees and sun is more optimal for the battery.  


Electric (EV) Miles Driven: 1,146

Fuel Costs: $14 (home) + $5 (out)

(assumed 300 miles & 60 KwH per full charge)

Most charging (both cars) was done at home.

MH went to the Bay Area to help his parents look at cars and visited his grandmother.  He did a lot of driving around and spent $5 at a fast charger.   Went to the Bay Area another weekend to work on a movie.  He did not need to stop and charge on that shorter trip.

With warmer temps, switching back to EV tires (both contributing to longer electric range), and the in-laws having a charger at their house now.  We may be done with the bulk of our "out and about" charging.  


Note:  I am always lagging a month behind because any bills charged in January will be paid off February 1 and reflected in my February 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 January spending & February savings.

My first impression of January spending (paid for in February)?  Ugh!  But I am letting it go.  We were clearly feeling flush with cash and did dome splurging (after the Holidays).  To the point I was about to subtract from January savings.  But I had already transferred MH's January paychecks into savings.  So I will just leave it be and will save less in February.  & I mean, MH received a $100 check for his birthday and we did a $100+ dinner out.  Then I put the birthday check into savings.  Duh.  (The overall theme is that I was too quick with dumping every extra penny into savings.)

Sometimes I scratch my head when things are really out of balance.  But it's very clear and obvious this month.  When I add up all the extras, it adds up to $400.  MH spent $145.  At this point he's probably contributed more than we received for crowdfunding.  He's still feeling generous on that front (paying it forward).  I spent $60 on gifts for MH's birthday.  We haven't exchanged gifts in ~20 years, but I didn't think the kids were getting him anything and it felt appropriate to buy him a gift.  Gifting is something we may resume (on some level) with adult kids and both of us working.  It probably won't be all the time, but it will be more than "never".  Misc. $186.  Stuff like a school donation, replaced toothbrush heads, toll refill, annual backup expense, etc.  A lot of this is more what I'd usually put to short-term expenses, but we ran through short-term early on last year.  I am a little reluctant to pile up the misc. in months while MH is working.  Would rather save short-term space for one-income summer months. But I am also reluctant to bump up the ST savings because I expect some expenses to fall off soon.   

That pretty much sums up over-spending.  We used our "breathing room" to do a little extra dining out.  Everything else is accounted for above or is a fixed monthly bill.  Or I guess I should say that the rest is within fixed monthly budget (things like groceries).

The college fund note is in regard to kids' money.  But that money is in our name and I include it in our net worth.  So it will continue to be a drain on our own assets, as we draw down those funds for college expenses.  

EV Purchase - Part III

March 8th, 2023 at 02:17 pm

For the Used EV credit, the IRS states very clearly that you need to get a signed statement from the dealership that includes certain information.  Purchase needs to be from a licensed dealership or something like that, can not be a private party purchase for the used EV credit.

The two dealerships my in-laws went through had never heard of the credit.  They had no idea about the $25K cap but were happy to haggle once my in-laws pointed it out.  (I mean, they had to walk out to get their attention, but obviously they aren't paying $25,001+ if it will cost them a $4,000 tax credit.  The dealership got the point that they weren't going to budge.)

Now that they have the car, the dealership refuses to provide this tax information.  I don't know if it's worth fighting in the moment.  They should eventually figure it out and it may be easier to ask for this information at the end of the year.  Let other people fight this battle?

They are supposed to provide documentation at time of sale *and* also to the IRS.  I am less concerned about the latter.  As long as we have the documentation, is really all that is important.  

I had been thinking that it would be pretty enticing to buy a hybrid and to get this credit, for MM(19).  Something like my car, that I saved my whole life working up to and is very luxurious.  A car like that is $16,000 right now and would only be $12,000 with the used EV credit.  MM(19) has the cash for that and it would last him a very long time.  Though he has a very cheap heart and might want to go more used.  The used EV Credit will swing the pendulum substantially towards an electric hybrid.  I wouldn't have recommended before, given the uncertainty of long-term situation (how long he will be renting, etc.).  I think without a charger at his residence, the full EV would be much easier/better for his situation.  But is also more expensive.  (Easier to charge out and about, with the fast chargers.)  I just don't see how you'd ever charge a hybrid, in contrast.  But if you can save $4,000...  I've seen a lot of people say over the years they only drive in gas mode or EV mode, and it doesn't seem to matter much either way.  

But...  This whole idea is off the table until the dealerships straighten up.  I would refuse to purchase if they had no idea what I was talking about and couldn't provide a tax document.  

I figured I'd share as a warning, if you are considering the used EV credit.  Heck, this also has to be an issue with the new EV credit.  This is a dealership that sells brand new EVs.  So they have to be giving new EV buyers the same runaround when it comes to providing tax documentation.  If not, they would have any clue what we were talking about.