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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.

Spring Break

April 24th, 2019 at 01:07 pm

Just a quick check in. I noticed that it looked like pictures were working again (but no one mentioned it was fixed).



I did my first spring break in about 20 years. I hadn't realized it was Easter weekend when we booked. So it probably magnified things, but I learned I wasn't missing much. Crazy expensive and kind of crowded. The last couple of times we went to this hotel was around Thanksgiving and we had the place to ourselves. & the weather was better in November. But it's nice to know I haven't missed much.

It was a very well needed break. Certainly no complaints about a relaxing/long weekend. The kids only had one school day off together, so we just took a long weekend off.

I am very cautiously optimistic that things will settle down in the next month or so. Lord knows they have settled down, a ton, but I am still working more than I am used to. I think between that and just being so emotionally exhausted from the last 15 months or so. It will take some time to recover. Hoping for some peace and quiet this summer.

I am only keeping second job through May 12th. So just a few more weeks of "busy". A couple of weeks after that MM will be done with school, he will be a self-sufficient driver next school year, and so my schedule is going to free up significantly over summer.

March Savings

April 3rd, 2019 at 04:43 pm

Received $83 bank interest for the month of January.

Also received a $150 bank bonus.

Snowflakes to Investments:
--Redeemed $30 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card.
--Redeemed $46 cash back on Citi card.
--Redeemed $9 cash back on dining/gas card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
$ 4 Savings from Target Red Card (grocery purchases)
$100 Tax Refund
$170 Dividend

TOTAL: $359 snowflakes to investments

401k Contributions/Match:
+$800

Snowball to Savings:
+$ 0 MH Paychecks
+$ 750 February self-employment income

TOTAL: $1,550 snowballs to savings

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

Mid-Term Savings (cash saved for non-annual expenses/emergency):
-$ 890 Elliptical purchase (dropped gym membership)**

**My super awesome discount gym closed and transferred my membership to a really crappy gym.

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):
+$1,400 to cash
-$ 450 Misc. Expenses (school lunches pre-paid for a few months, medical bills, etc.)

TOTAL: $2,750 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.

I don't know what happened to MH's income. I wasn't able to save any of it (around $900) which is totally ridiculous. But I am still pretty buried and it is most likely an accounting error. Either that or we over-spent something like $400 last month and $400 this month. That is more likely. I know we didn't over-spend $900 this month. Anyway, I share to explain why I saved -$0- of that, but will chalk that up to "life is chaos." Because I track our spending so closely, is why I am fine with, "I don't have time to track it down and don't care." I suppose is the flip side of working crazy hours/extra money. Our life is usually more slow/relaxed, and lots of time to pinch pennies. Life is just the polar opposite of that right now.


All of this is still true. I put $2,000 medical bills on new reward card. I pulled this out of savings in April, along with $11,000 to fund IRAs (for 2018). All of this will show up on my April report.

{I ended up funding our IRAs today}.

I also didn't save any of MH's income in March (again) and couldn't tell you why. It's kind of moot because March is really just paying all of February expenses (credit card charges). So this month was already over (spending-wise) when I did my last monthly update. I don't know that anything has particularly changed, but March expenses (paid in April) ended up balancing to about the penny. & that was during a crazy busy month when I doubt we were particularly frugal (except for being too busy to spend money). I actually just found $150 I accidentally transferred to savings for April, and will fix that by the end of the month. I expect I might find more stuff like that if I look back the last two months.

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.

I will try to do some more work posts later. But I am starting to feel more *chill* about dropping second income. Some of my reluctance to drop the second income was not having any real idea how things would go with new job. But after 6 months, I feel pretty confident I have found a long-term work home. I also think it's pretty likely I will replace my old salary this year (with the one job). This was part of my strategy and willingness to take a pay cut in the interim.

This & That

March 17th, 2019 at 07:27 am

I had a post mostly typed up, but it disappeared. *sigh*

I don't even remember what the heck I had written about.

What I do remember:

I got the *all clear* on two different medical fronts last week. Woohoo! Even better, I got to enjoy this good news for more than like an hour or a day (before the next disaster).

I'd say that things have significantly settled down in the past couple of weeks. On the medical front, I have been monitored for two different issues for about 12+ months. In fact, I got the one questionable medical result the same day my old/forever employer announced he was selling the business. So all this stress has been intertwined. I know I also mentioned DL(13) for some reason (in disappearing post). I don't remember why I mentioned, but I think he has turned a good corner. I was saying that any one of these things is a huge stressor, but it's just been everything piled on top of each other. So removing potentially *three* huge stressors has been pretty awesome.

Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of people going through a *lot* of horrible crap right now. But I guess it's settled down a bit in our closest circles. I feel like I can relax and breathe.

I suppose #4 is that I got all of the clients (the ones I took on personally) transferred over to "twin" and her new firm. Phew!

I probably had a good 4 weeks to catch my breath (took time off from side work), but now I am diving into helping "old employer" for the next couple of months. It's still very "playing it all by ear" and wouldn't be surprised if it all ended tomorrow. But I think my current plan is to work another 8 weeks or so.

As to the workload, *shrugs*, I am working less hours than usual for this time of year, and I have not offered to do anything but super easy work. I've left behind 100% of the stress and responsibility. But I think I'm tired because it's been such a slog for the past 2 years or so. I was just checking the calendar, and we do have our beach weekend in 4 weeks. Which is something I could have never done at my old job (take a long weekend during April). So that will be nice. I think that will break up the next couple of months nicely.

I am getting through a lot of chores; I think I have a little more energy these days. Today I am going to get the car washed so that I can get my carpool stickers affixed to the car. (I received them a few weeks ago but just haven't made the time to deal with it). Yesterday I asked MH to mail off the kids' taxes while he was at the grocery store (also our closest postal center). Slowly but surely.

In other news, I just happened to notice that our assets have surpassed $900,000. $1 Mil hadn't been particularly on my radar before. But the $900k+ did jump out at me, as we just achieved that. I suppose that $1 Mil is our next big financial milestone. I've got a ways to go as to "net worth" with the mortgage, which is probably why I hadn't particularly noticed or thought about the "$1 Mil mark." But I think it's an exciting milestone, regardless.

Imperfect Produce

March 3rd, 2019 at 11:15 am

I signed up for Imperfect produce a couple of weeks ago and am really happy with the service so far.

This is a "farm direct" produce delivery service, but the jist is that it's a lower cost service for food that otherwise would be tossed (with the goal of reducing food waste). Because the food has minor imperfections and is not super market quality, etc. They advertise "30% below grocery store prices" for these imperfections.

First Impression = Awesome!

I don't know if they pick carefully for the first box (new customer) but the food was absolutely beautiful. I think some of it was on the smaller side, which is a lot of what their food is.

I didn't realize when I signed up that they also had snacks and other items (overstocks). We had a Nature Box subscription in the past, so it was kind of like combining our old CSA subscription with Nature Box.

The thing I like best about Imperfect Produce is that you don't have to get every single week. They have a "every other week" plan (what we signed up for). & it's very easy to skip weeks if you want to make that a "once a month" delivery. When we tried the CSA before, I think it was just too much. I am thrilled that we have two weeks to get through all this food, with Imperfect Produce. (If we don't go through it or the food doesn't last, we may consider the weekly option of a smaller box).

The kids LOVE it. DL(13) in particular has been eating through it. I think with the apples we got last week, they were a more expensive variety than we usually buy, and were just so fresh. Those were gone in a flash.

The reason I like these services is to kind of force us to try new recipes/veggies. So the "new" thing we tried was fresh snow peas. Have never bought or cooked fresh snow peas before. They were divine.

Of course, they don't deliver everywhere, but if you are interested check it out with my referral code:
[url]http://imprfct.us/l86gI[/url]

With the referral code, you get $10 off the first box.

They mostly deliver to the west coast & Texas (a handful of cities), but you can check out the map.

As for us, we have really low cost produce where we live, so I wasn't expecting much. I just put everything I would want to buy into our grocery store online shopping cart to compare prices. Some things were more expensive (much more expensive) which didn't surprise me at all. But anything we could save money on I did order through imperfect produce. On those items, our savings was about 20%. There was a $5 delivery fee, which made it a wash. But given the other benefits, I was willing to try it. I also was able to get my first order for free. So, nothing to lose as to trying it out.

I should back up a bit. If you just ignore it (don't want to do anything after you sign up), they will send you an automatic box of produce. But you can customize to your heart's content (you have a time window to do so). The whole thing was way more flexible than the last CSA we had signed up for.

February Savings

March 3rd, 2019 at 06:47 am

Received $80 bank interest for the month of
February.

Snowflakes to Investments:
--Redeemed $50 credit card rewards (cash back) from our gas/grocery card.
--Redeemed $89 cash back on Citi card.
--Redeemed $13 cash back on dining/gas card.

Other snowflakes to investments:
--$13 Savings from Target Red Card (grocery purchases) ~ this month included some clothing purchases

TOTAL: $165 snowflakes to investments

401k Contributions/Match:
+$730

Snowball to Savings:
+$ 0 MH Paychecks
+$2,500 January self-employment income

+$ 200 Missed prior month when moving money around - moved back into savings

TOTAL: $2,700 snowballs to savings

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

Mid-Term Savings (cash saved for non-annual expenses/emergency):
-$ 360 Driving School (for 15-year-old)

Short-Term Savings (for non-monthly expenses within the year):
+$1,400 to cash
+$ 210 Insurance Rebate
-$1,289 Various Insurance
-$ 175 Dentist
-$ 200 Vacation (Weekend Away)

TOTAL: $3,800 deposited to cash and investments

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Driving school was very one-off and nothing I specifically saved for, so it comes out of the mid-term savings.

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.

I don't know what happened to MH's income. I wasn't able to save any of it (around $900) which is totally ridiculous. But I am still pretty buried and it is most likely an accounting error. Either that or we over-spent something like $400 last month and $400 this month. That is more likely. I know we didn't over-spend $900 this month. Anyway, I share to explain why I saved -$0- of that, but will chalk that up to "life is chaos." Because I track our spending so closely, is why I am fine with, "I don't have time to track it down and don't care." I suppose is the flip side of working crazy hours/extra money. Our life is usually more slow/relaxed, and lots of time to pinch pennies. Life is just the polar opposite of that right now.

Checking In

February 18th, 2019 at 09:28 am

Step 2 of reset: Getting some time off!

I still am not optimistic that I won't end up knee deep in some emergency. *sigh* But... I do have the week off!

I am no longer drowning in everything, so it should be a good mix of catching up on some things and relaxing. I did basically nothing the last two days. Absolutely nothing on my plate. Catching up on some sleep and relaxation. Tomorrow I will start working through my To-Do lists. But I think I can do so at a very relaxed pace.

After 20 years of "no time off" December through April, I am also just enjoying the novelty of the time off. We also planned a long weekend at the beach, for April. Would have preferred to do mid-week, but the kids don't have any time off together except one Friday. (IT's crazy expensive, will probably be pretty crowded, and so my first impression is that I haven't been missing much. But I still really look forward to going to my special place).

As I turned my attention to my household this weekend, I decided to buy some plastic bowls to replace the old hand-me-downs we use for feeding the cat. Those things must be 30-years-old. I've never bought any cat food bowls before. They were looking pretty sad, so that was a nice and inexpensive upgrade.

I also took MM to Ross and Target Saturday for some new clothes. We did not spend much at all.

I haven't watched any movies in several weeks and I know I owe MH big time. We are still watching the "Top 100" movies. I think we got stuck on a couple of very long movies. Will probably get through Lord of the Rings today. Then we have a few super depressing movies to get through. Hopefully things pick up a bit after that.

I'd like to try to blog more, but admit it's pretty low on my priority list at this point. Will see.