Home > Archive: March, 2018

Archive for March, 2018

Increased Take Home Pay and Other Happenings

March 30th, 2018 at 11:38 am

I managed to increase my take home pay a bit by adjusting my tax witholdings. My paycheck is just over $100 more now. This will help pay things a bit faster. I'm still doing well with YNAB. I think it's sticking so far. With the increase, I used $50 to get the yearlong subscription. I noticed that it's helped make me more aware of my choices. It's a lot more difficult to justify that $7 fast food meal when I have to pull it from another category since I've already blown the eating out budget. In the past, my mindset has been more of 'the money's there, so it's not a big deal to spend it.' Now, if I have to take it from the auto fund or the buffer to last month's income, it gives me pause. I even managed to have $4 left in the eating out budget to roll to next month.

I am going to have to WAM some things because we've found out that we have bats in the attic. More home ownership joys! We started hearing scurrying last year, but DH went into the attic looking for squirrels and didn't see anything, so he chalked it up to twigs rolling on the roof. Yesterday, as we were coming back from our walk with the dog, we heard squeaking. After some time, we discerned that it was coming from the vents at the front of the house. DH went back into the attic, crossed to the front of the house using the joists, and discovered a small bat between the walls. We think that was the youngling, and the others were out. It explains why I really only heard the scurrying during the day. We have pest control coming out today to see what can be done about it.

We've been doing much better about eating at home. My Zaycon Fresh order of chicken breasts came in and I processed it into about 20 crockpot meals. We've had the ginger peach chicken and the chicken philly cheesesteaks. Tonight is buffalo chicken sliders with carrots and celery.

I've been trying to eat more veggies and am doing well so far. Last night, I used up some extra carrots, spinach, peas, onion, and a red bell pepper to make stir fry to go with the leftover rice. I tried a homemade sauce recipe, and it turned out delicious. Definitely one of the better meals that I've just thrown together. Considering we're hardcore carnivores, I'm especially proud that it was meatless.

Taking control

March 22nd, 2018 at 03:46 am

I'd like to thank everyone for the support and recommendations on my last post. I do have access to some of those resources mentioned that I'd forgotten about (EAP, etc.). Since DH is in the Reserves, I did also find that the Family Center offers 12 free counseling sessions (joint, individual, etc.). I haven't had time to reach out to them yet.

I have been feeling better though, and I think it's because of my control issues. I always feel better when I feel like my life is in my hands. To that end, I've been focusing more on finances, fitness, and food. My goal is to try and lose 20 lbs. I did it last year and accomplishing it again would put me back at a reasonable weight. I've also been more focused on eating from our pantry and not giving in to the urge to eat fast food. Over the last week, I've used up grapes, triscuits, a cheese block, hamburgers patties, and a jar of turkey gravy. Today, I used up half of a bag of broccoli and half of a bag of shredded cheddar to make crockpot broccoli potato soup. I used up bananas, almonds, and chocolate chips in making breakfast muffins. I also used one of 4 bags of marshmallows in making rice crispy treats. It all turned out delicious and reminded me why I enjoy cooking so much.

Tomorrow, one paycheck goes in and then the other goes in Friday. Looking forward to some YNAB budgeting.

YNAB (again...) and a random tax question

March 19th, 2018 at 12:35 pm

I got another 34 day trial a few weeks back, and so far, I really feel like it's helping. It's eye-opening just how much we feel like we need to 'treat' ourselves. That money would serve a much better purpose somewhere else. I have been trying to be easy on ourselves for the eating out these last few weeks given everything we've been dealing with, but it still hurts to see that we've spent almost $250 on eating out. For comparison, we've spent $273 on groceries which includes household items.

I did take our BEF down to $1500 and put an $1183 payment to the main credit card we use. I had been good about paying this in full until we encountered all the pet issues with our dog. It currently has a balance of about $4700 before the payment.

I also put just under $500 to our goal of living off last month's income. I wasn't entirely sure how to set it up, so I just created a Rainy Day Fund category to allocate money to until it reaches the full month of expenses and then I'd budget it to the following month.

I'm itching to budget out the paychecks coming in later this week, but since that's not the point, I'll be patient. I do have the projected budget in my Excel spreadsheet. Since I adjusted my witholdings, I'm hoping to have extra to buy the year subscription. Since I'm more on the go, it's easier to be able to access things online rather than relying on one computer with the software.

I need to get my amended federal return and state return sent in. Does anyone know how it works if I haven't actually mailed in my original state return, but then amended the federal? Do I mail both the original state return and the amended one from TurboTax? My amended return will be an extra $240 while the the state return was just under $800, but will be closer to $900 with the amended one. It was going to go to savings, but I need new tires and am just starting sinking funds, so I'll use it for tires and any remaining will go to debt. I'm very close to getting some things paid off - one cc by the end of April and another in July (sooner if I get the $240 before then and put it to that).

Emotionally, I'm really struggling. I'm going to look into mental health options available through my insurance. Our FSA account is still rather sizable and no longer needed for the baby, so I do have a bit of wiggle room for some much needed therapy.

Trying to move forward

March 7th, 2018 at 04:19 pm

DH and I are still devastated, but we're trying to get back to our daily lives. We did decide that given everything that's happened, we don't need the full 3200 in the EF. For now, we're going to take it down to 1500 and use the rest to pay down some debt. We have a Capital One CC that has been pretty close to maxed out for awhile. Since I was only paying the minimums which barely covered the interest, we weren't making any progress on it. I just transferred a little more than half of the remaining balance to our Navy Fed CC which has half the interest rate. We're using the extra $1700 to knock out the remaining $1400. The other $300 we are using to take a weekend trip to NY to get away and focus on us. We were supposed to go to NY to see a Broadway show over Christmas, but I was sick and not up to it. I'm planning to join several show lotteries over the next few weekends, and if we win one, we'll pack up and go. Otherwise, we'll just keep the money set aside.

From excitement to devastation in less than a week

March 2nd, 2018 at 01:40 pm

I'm numb. On Monday, we found out my water had broken early. By Wednesday, I went in to labor and delivered my sweet angel boy. We have a long journey ahead of us to even attempt to come to terms with this.

In the meantime, I'll try to keep myself busy by continuing to get our finances in shape for when we are able to start a family. I restarted YNAB, so I got another 34 day free trial. I do have some unaccounted for funds that will go towards a payment on the lowest CC - NFL Points ($305). Since we don't have to be so aggressive with savings anymore, most found money will go towards paying some things off.