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Archive for July, 2018

Fixing up the yard

July 31st, 2018 at 05:00 am

Debtfreeme pointed out on my last post that I don't pay rent...I've been in the house for almost 2 years now and still refer to my mortgage payment as rent...oops!

To honor my stillborn son's original due date, my boss gave me a butterfly bush. She knows we have a ton of yard, and landscaping isn't our thing. She came over to help us plant it, and we ended up spending hours out there starting to clean things up. Apparently, we have boxwoods and azalea bushes in the front. (I'm terrible with plant identification.) We used the new hedge trimmer to clean them up and shape them nicely. We dug out a bunch of weeds and small trees that were popping up. The butterfly bush looked beautiful for a few days, but then the rain stopped and it shriveled up. My boss was shocked because she said they're really hardy. I'm really hoping it perks back up because my whole concern with planting something was that I wouldn't be able to deal if that died too...

This past weekend, DH cut the grass since there was a break in the rain. I decided to use the hedge trimmer (I'm obsessed with that thing) to clean up the shrubs and bushes in the backyard. 4 hours later, we'd actually moved on to start clearing out the line of overgrowth that had provided privacy between us and our neighbors. We'd torn down their 4 ft fence and replaced it with a 6 ft privacy fence, so the overgrowth wasn't needed anymore. Unfortunately, most of it is on our property. The longterm plan is to turn that side into a small vegetable garden (lettuce, zucchini, peppers).

Everything looks so much nicer. Next year, I'm looking forward to hopefully putting some perennials in a few areas that we've cleared.

Never been richer or poorer

July 30th, 2018 at 05:52 am

I'm experiencing the YNAB poor phenomenon. There's currently over 5k in my checking account, and yet I have no money. That probably doesn't seem like much by most people's standards, but that's far more than I normally keep in there. It's usually a toss up as to whether I'll hit the $1500 daily balance minimum needed to avoid checking account fees.

For the first time in a long time, I can afford rent on the first rather than using our first paychecks from the new month.

These are small, but very exciting wins. As mentioned before, debt payoff is going to slow a bit as we build some momentum towards the savings goals, but I do feel very grateful that YNAB's philosophies finally clicked with me.

It's been a rough month, but I'm still here.

July 25th, 2018 at 06:36 am

Some quick financial wins. We're slowly working our way towards last month's income. We're about 40% of the way there with our available funds and 60% of the way there if we were to clear out the sinking funds and count them towards the buffer. Considering the weird paychecks with DH's work travel, I'm feeling pretty encouraged. Adding in the BEF would be 75% of the way there. We want to get there without counting the SF or BEF, but it's still nice to feel like we're making progress.

I also finally paid off the BoA CC. It's been next on the list for awhile, so it was nice to finally see it gone.

I did do some Prime Day shopping. I ended up moving my Amazon CC on budget in YNAB and entering the transactions, so that they would come from the right categories. I had all the money already set aside to pay the unplanned spending in full!

I adjusted my direct deposits to contribute a larger amount to our joint account - an extra 800/mo!

I have also decided on some midyear goals that I think are achievable by the year end (DH is on board by default since he trusts me to handle the money):
1) Pay off 2 more credit cards (Ashley Furniture and the Marriott card totalling about 3k, stretch goal would be 3 including Capital One at 1300)
2) Save 10k in a replacement car fund (6k of this will come from DH's bonus)
3) Live off last month's income
4) Fulfill fireplace fixing and dining room pantry savings goals (about 800 total)

It's going to require a lot of diligence and a little luck to achieve all 4 of these things, but I've never felt this in control of my money.

One last note... For anyone who was curious, I decided to forgo the match on my 401k through the end of this year in order to make some serious progress on getting to some stable financial footing. Beginning January 2018, I will increase my withholding back to 8% to get the full match and DH and I will just make do with slower debt reduction progress. (If all goes well, we'd have about 28k CC and 30k student loans.) DH has increased his contribution to 15% since he started later than me with retirement funds.