Home > Archive: February, 2017

Archive for February, 2017

It's Fri-yay!

February 24th, 2017 at 01:08 pm

Nothing much to report. I feel like this week has been crazy long for a 4-day week. A few days ago, I did get a call for a phone interview for a job that pays 10k more than the other job offer I had gotten. Since I just went through a situation with my work, I decided to show a little faith and decline the phone interview. I did make sure to let my boss know, so that she realizes she needs to follow through on some of the changes I've been promised.

I've also been up since 4 am. I feel like tonight is going to be an early night. I felt rested when I woke up, so I got up and made a huge pot of chili for DH's chili cook-off. He later called me for a name for it. He wanted to name it Midnight Barker. I told him that sounds like it's going to make people sick...

He ended up going with my suggestion of 2 B Chili (Shakespeare reference and there are 2 different beans in there). Not the most creative, but hey, it was 6 AM...

Money In, Money Out

February 22nd, 2017 at 02:44 pm

We got our tax return. We ended up paying DH's brother $650 back. The rest he said was a gift. We also gave DH's mom $100 towards his phone. DH had to get a new phone last December. He likes his fancy gadgets and doesn't ask for much, so he got the Google Pixel phone. It costs $600, and he did the monthly payments on Verizon since he's on his mom's plan. We've budgeted $100/month for the next 6 months to cover the phone just to get it out of the way quickly.

I also gave DH $300 fun money.

The remainder helped us fill out last month's income, but even so we're still not quite there (about $800 short). We should be able to do it in March given that DH should get both military pay and work pay for a 2 week period...provided his orders actually come through.

I decided to prioritize retirement above everything else. I had been diligently contributing 10% (8% to my 401k to get the match and 2% to a Roth). However, when we were wedding planning, I scaled it way back to 2% to maximize my paycheck. I think failing to plan for the future was one of my mom's biggest mistakes, so I decided that had to take precedence with the raise. I moved it back to 10%, so I'm thinking my take home will not be anywhere near as big an increase as I was hoping. Still, I think the retirement savings are important since my company does match 50% up to 4% of your total pay.

Same Job, New Pay!

February 19th, 2017 at 02:10 am

I had alluded a while back about a potential job offer. It came through. It was about a 25% raise. I spoke to my boss about it, and she immediately asked that I give my current company a chance to keep me.

I have been with this company since right out of college. I'm on a management track within the company, and I  have a lot of flexibility built up with them since I'm very good at what I do. Unfortunately, I know that I could make a lot more elsewhere, and given our current financial situation, I decided to see what else was out there.

My company came back with a 20% raise, but when I add in my 5 weeks PTO, it is actually more than the new offer. Not to mention, the new offer is a longer commute, hourly contract work, and an unknown in terms of flexibility/security.

Given all that information, I  decided to stick with my current job. There are a couple of other concerns with it, and I let them know that should those things remain an issue in the next 6 months to a year, we may end up in the same situation.

I do feel reinvigorated though. And I'm currently working on a one-off project that should be fun.

My increase went into effect midweek this past week, so I'll see it in my first March paycheck. It should be a 500-600 monthly increase depending on taxes.

Yummy chili

February 14th, 2017 at 03:23 pm

I don't know why I never made chili before. It's so easy, especially since I used a bunch of canned goods. We had a huge potful, and DH liked it so much that he asked me if I would mind making a batch next week for his work's chili cook-off. We both have some for work today, and there's 2 containers in the freezer, and two more large containers in the fridge. Tomorrow night, I will be making some sort of chicken-based soup and may also just do the batch of sausage and pepper soup while I'm at it. I'll keep small servings out of those for variety, and freeze the majority of it for next week and the week after.

DH is set to travel most of March, so I'm hoping to not buy groceries (other than eggs which I'm out of and perishables like fruit or bread) until he leaves. For March, I plan to lower our grocery budget since it will be just me.


February 13th, 2017 at 01:31 pm

We did our big grocery shop this weekend. We spent right around $300 which is our grocery budget for the month, but I think we're good for the remainder of the month minus maybe 1 more trip for eggs and greens. That also included a BJ's shop where we stocked up on toilet paper, paper towels, and trash bags.

We missed out on saving $10 on our grocery shop. I had gone through Ibotta and marked everything we were getting. Plus, there was a $2 bonus for 3 redemptions. DH didn't realize that he needed to use my phone number at Food Lion. Apparently, he put in his mom's number. When it didn't automatically hit yesterday, we realized we'd missed an opportunity. It's disappointing since I had 4 or 5 rebates (including beer), but now he knows to always use my account.

I also went ahead and placed my first Zaycon Fresh order. 40 lbs. of chicken for $55 coming out to 1.39/lb. I was hoping they'd discount it once more before the delivery, and today was the last day for 18% off. If we like it, then we will start using them for our meat purchases. I also volunteered to be a helper at their events when needed. It's a $10 credit for every hour you help, so that would help offset the purchase even more.

Yesterday, I went down to visit my mom. It was so warm there that the dogs went swimming in the lake! Last night, the temperature dropped, and it was super windy. At one point, we heard a loud noise. There was a giant branch in our backyard that had snapped right off. DH is going to go up on the roof today and make sure it didn't damage anything since he the noise happened right above him.

Lastly, we had our date night last night. It was super fun, and we spent nothing out of pocket!

Frugalness Continues

February 10th, 2017 at 12:56 pm

We've been mostly sticking with the frugal challenge and limiting our spending. The one exception thus far was $8 for 2 king pillows. There was a good deal for 3.99 pillows and I'd been shoving two random pillows into the king size pillowcase, so we spent the $8 to remedy that.

Otherwise, the only spending this month has been for groceries, fuel, and bills.

DH has been on a health kick. He's started working out daily and eating salads. I have been trying to eat a little healthier with him and would also like to start working out. I think I'll be able to ramp it up once the weather warms up. I simply hate moving in the cold - I have zero motivation. DH gets $5 a workout up to $20/wk, so that's his motivation since he likes having a little more play money.

I'm going to get some groceries this weekend to make two soups (one Sunday and one Wednesday). That will be our meals since DH has been simplifying things. I'll have to do more prep for the OAMC shop. DH's been having really bad heartburn (which partially prompted the lifestyle changes). He hasn't had it in almost a week and seems to have more energy too. While he mostly wants to stick to the salads plan, I'd like to have some meals prepped and in the freezer as the occasional splurge/my food.

For Valentine's Day, we decided to keep it super simple. We agreed to just cards and no gifts (although he did spend $5 on something small for me when he did groceries the other day...he felt bad so he confessed). I got him a .99 card that I'm pretty sure he'll love. We're going to use one of our 3 $50 restaurant gift cards to get takeout from Red Lobster and have a Walking Dead night on Sunday to celebrate. I have cheer practice Tuesday evening so probably nothing that night.

Taxes Done

February 6th, 2017 at 03:31 pm

So my taxes are officially filed. They ended up much lower than I had anticipated. I think what happened is that DH's actual W2 pushed us just over the 125 AGI, so we couldn't deduct the mortgage insurance premiums which were $7k. It's really unfortunate because our AGI worked out to 125,500 and because of that, our refund went down to about $3k. Ah well, such is life. We're grateful to both have secure, well-paying jobs.

That means that we obviously won't be able to do all the things we'd anticipated. With the much smaller return, our priorities are paying DH's brother ($650) and living off last month's income ($1900). The remainder will be split between boosting DH's personal account ($300) and cash-flowing all of our random expenses (personal property taxes for the last 2 months of 2016 in our new county, medical bills, etc.)

I do hope to have some good news this week on increasing our income which should help us reach the other goals faster.

Computer and Fencing Update

February 2nd, 2017 at 06:26 pm

Just popping in quickly. We mentioned to DH's brother about paying him back. He said to only pay half back ($500). We are incredibly grateful for his family and their generosity. Since he is still in school and living off his savings this semester, we decided we would pay him back $650. So that has moved up on our tax return priority list.

The hot tub has moved to the backburner for now. It looks like fencing will probably be more than we anticipated. At the back of our property is a line of cedar trees. The trees basically mark the property line, so we'll need to figure out whether to a) tear up all the trees (ridiculously expensive, but then we wouldn't have to worry about it anymore), b) install the fencing around the trees (I'm worried about the roots interfering with the fencing posts), c) install a less expensive temporary fence with the intent of ripping out one tree per year over the next several years and then putting in the long-term privacy fence. The other issue with the yard is that we have discovered some drainage issues with a part of the yard that doesn't get much sun due to our house blocking it. When we were doing the fencing, we wanted to look at getting a french drain put in that part of the yard as well as resodding it. Our neighbors actually go in together on an aerator each spring and have offered to include us in that. I'm almost wondering if DH and I could possibly do the french drain ourselves which would save some money.

Once the weather starts warming up, we plan to have a yard drainage expert and fencing expert come out to the house to give us estimates. From there, we'll decided on priorities.

One last random note, DH got a rare spurt of energy the other day and went to town on our utility room. It is now unpacked and completely organized. Plus, the laundry detergent soap for poison ivy is open in there, so it smells delicious when you walk in. I'm hoping we can capitalize on that and start getting some other areas of the house organized/settled. Once we got the basics unpacked, some other boxes just remained in their current state. The big remaining projects are our master closet and our storage closet in the basement.