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One of those weeks

November 2nd, 2018 at 04:58 am

It's been one of those weeks that feels like it'll never end. Wednesday felt like Friday since it was Halloween. Then, Thursday felt like Friday since it seemed like it had been forever this week. And now today finally is Friday.

This month is DH's 3 paycheck month. While I'm hoping to make some progress on our goals, I'm also hoping to be able to put some more aside for shopping. I know it's silly to suddenly cram every house project ever in to the few months remaining until my (hopeful) due date, but that's what we're trying to do. This month is getting the fireplace working. For some reason, I'm obsessed with the idea of wasting my winter nights away reading in front of the fireplace.

The next few months will be a flurry of organizing, decluttering, and fixing up the nursery. We have almost all of the big things, but I want to redo that room a bit. We've picked out paint colors and wall decor (we're framing puzzles and my mom is drawing some original artwork). Since DH's dad is a contractor and so excited, we're hoping he'll be willing to get his hands dirty and help. We'd like to switch the carpet to laminate that looks like hardwood, add a ceiling fan and overhead lighting, and (probably) add crown moulding. We also want to insulate more between the garage and bedroom since the two rooms over the garage are horrible with temperature.

My two wish list items for Black Friday include family tablets (would like 3, but may just go with 2 since I probably won't use it nearly as much as I'm thinking: one each for DH and I, and one that will stay with the recliner in the nursery) and a Nest thermostat with sensor. I'd like to put the sensor in the nursery, so we'll be able to handle temperature in there a bit better.

I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend and really hoping the projects and holidays will make the next few months go by quickly.

A Bit Nervous

October 25th, 2018 at 05:36 am

Today's the day where we find out if everything is okay after the trip. Everyone was incredibly worried about me driving that far given what happened last time. Since I'm stubborn, I refused to miss out on it just because I'm expecting. I'd feel really terrible if everything isn't okay given everyone's concern. I did clear the trip with my doctor beforehand and feel like I did everything in my power to take precautions. I feel good and haven't had any concerning signs, so I'm hoping everything is fine.

In financial news, I found out at my therapy appointment that I owed another $80. I had been told that the counseling facility was covered by Tricare. I finally figured out how to access my EOB and account info. I found out that I'm at $297 of our $300 deductible and $950 of our $1000 catastrophic cap. Since I still have almost $500 in the FSA, it should more than cover any remaining medical expenses through the end of the year.

Trip Report

October 24th, 2018 at 05:37 am

It's been brutal adjusting to being back. The trip was really relaxing and just what I needed. The drive there and back was a bit rough given my condition, but it was so nice to be able to tell family and friends in person. We did spend quite a bit more than anticipated considering the 'budget' that I'd set barely ended up covering gas. In the future, I'll have to actually do some math rather than just guessing at a random number. All told, we spent just under $700 which I covered by pulling from other categories. I'm really grateful that we were able to make these memories without stressing about money or going further in to debt.

Debt-wise, this was a poorer month in terms of payoffs. I didn't make much leeway on my goals, but I'm trying not to beat myself up about it since we have a lot of competing priorities at the moment. All I can do is keep pushing forward.

Getting spendy

October 15th, 2018 at 05:08 am

We've had a lot of random spending lately (groceries, household, gifts, and entertainment). I currently have about 8 categories that are over budget. The reality is that the money is there in my account, but I really don't want to pull from the car fund, so I'm letting it sit over budget until Friday. DH's paycheck Friday should catch us up. That coupled with my paycheck next week will fund us through the end of October. If I top up all my goals categories (which I'll likely do), then our first November paychecks will go towards rent. I'd like to be more ahead, but for right now, it's okay since the car fund is sitting as a giant buffer in our account.

One other thing that I did recently was increase my retirement. I had always interpreted the 401k match incorrectly, thinking that it was 50% matched up to 4% meaning their max contribution would be 4%. That would mean I need 8% to max it out. However, it actually means that they only match on the first 4%. Since I already contribute 3%, I increased it to 4% to take full advantage of the company match. It will likely stay there for awhile. My latest projections have us debt-free except for the mortgage by 2021, so at that point, we'll start playing catch up.

Riding the credit card float

October 12th, 2018 at 10:25 am

I just set up a credit card payment to pay the statement balance in full for the credit card that we use for everyday things. Technically, there's another $150ish set aside for the payment, but I just did the statement balance. The money was set aside in YNAB for current purchases put on the card, so this officially means I'm riding the credit card float. It's strange that this is a big milestone, but I certainly consider it one. This is the first time since early last year when our dog got sick that we've been able to pay a balance in full on this card. The goal is to have the card paid off completely by December (which will also be the one year mark of losing my dog).

Beyond Exhausted

October 11th, 2018 at 05:08 am

I'm so, so tired. Since I'm out on my trip next week, I've been trying to make it in to the office every day this week. Today was incredibly difficult, but I made it. I'm leaving a bit early for a therapy appointment. Hoping the therapy helps with everything I've been dealing with.

Financially, we're slipping a bit, but mostly holding it together. I need to get a better bill payment system in place. With me being out of it, I've paid 3 bills late so far this month. The money was there. I just forgot. Fortunately, we're in a much better place now thanks to YNAB, so it's not terrible. My 'Idiot Tax' category has been getting some use though.

I've also been trying to get out more to help improve my mood. My friends have a whole October schedule planned. We did apple picking last weekend. This weekend is a local event where they use pumpkins to create these elaborate sculptures and then an afternoon of fall crafts. I opted out of the event because it's almost $30/ticket. I've been wanting to go for years, and DH said it was my call, but that next year would probably be more special with a kid in tow. For fall crafts, we're mostly trying to use what we have on hand. I'm going to host since I have a yard for the dogs, and my friends know that moving is hard, so they offered to come to me. We're going to do Italian night. I'm going to cheat and get the Stouffer's veggie lasagna, one's bringing pasta/meatballs, and of course, garlic bread! I may also pick up a salad even though I can't necessarily eat it. I'm getting better at the veggies, but only if they're hidden.

September Goals Update

October 9th, 2018 at 05:04 am

Edited - Forgot to update intro...Below are our original goals for the remainder of 2018 along with how we're tracking to meet them. As I thought, September was difficult. Hoping to get things back on track through the end of the year for everything except last month's income. Since kiddo is (hopefully) due in April, we plan to have last month's income in place by then.

1) Pay off 2 more credit cards (Ashley Furniture balance: $827, Marriott balance: $2500): On track - Paid $544.01 extra to Marriott (1621.64 remaining) in addition to current charges and interest payments. Paid $180 to Ashley Furniture ($370 remaining).
2) Save 10k in a replacement car fund. (Original balance $50): Slightly behind - I was able to put aside $800ish this month. We'll see how this continues tracking, but the goal will be a new-to-us car with whatever balance we end up with. New balance is $5854.86.
3) Live off last month's income. (Orginal - $2500): Behind - I've decided this goal is lowest on our priorities list. I actually didn't put anything towards this choosing instead to throw as much as we could into the car replacement fund. Current balance is $0.
4) Fulfill fireplace fixing and dining room pantry savings goals ($160): On track - Fireplace account has $480/$800 set aside. Behind - Home Maintenance (where we'll pull the dining room pantry from) currently has $0. We actually added $160, but wiped out the category to get a pressure washer and leaf blower.

Take Two

September 28th, 2018 at 04:57 am

I was going to wait a little longer to post this, but since some of my recent purchases can't be explained without it, here goes...I'm pregnant again!

Yesterday was my 12 week checkup, and I'm due next April. (Fingers crossed!) I haven't really let myself be excited about it, and I've had a pretty rough first trimester, so I'm hoping it lets up soon. Since it's been so difficult, I just kind of leaned into it. There was a lot more eating out than normal since I had no energy to cook, and even if I did, the food aversions were so bad that I couldn't actually look at food for more than 5 minutes before getting violently ill. Once I realized how bad it was, I started buying more convenience food to enable my husband and brother take on more of the load, so we could eat out less. Two weeks ago, my mom stepped up big time. She visited and cooked a week's worth of healthy-ish (certainly better than the frozen stuff) meals. She offered to do that for as long as I need. This weekend, my brother is delivering the next set of foods. Since I have really bad veggie aversions, I tried to think of ways to sneak them in to the meals she's making. The menu is fajita mix, spaghetti meat sauce, broccoli cheddar soup, beef stew, and chicken fried rice.

I can't even be in the grocery store for long without gagging, so DH has been making the trips with me. At Costco last weekend, we ended up with several impulse purchases, including a big one. We bought new potholders and a king size blanket (from the Household budget). We also bit the bullet on our last remaining big purchase for the nursey - a recliner. I knew I wanted a recliner, so we could use it in the living room furniture eventually. Costco had one for $350 that was electric and had massaging and heat options, plus a USB port. The ones I had been looking at were around the same price without the bells and whistles.

For other baby planning, my dad and stepmom had already bought our crib last pregnancy. We'd also bought a dresser before losing him. When Toys R' Us had their closing sales, we went ahead and got the infant travel system, high chair, extra infant car seat base, pack n' play, and bassinet. At this point, I think we're mostly set. I don't want a lot of toys, and we're set on clothes. I don't want to heavily stock up on diapers, bottles, etc. because I have no clue what the little one will actually tolerate or take to.

Obviously, this changes financial plans yet again. More to come on that soon.

Lots of paydays and a trip

September 21st, 2018 at 10:30 am

Today was essentially 4 paydays - my personal account, my contribution to our joint account, DH's paycheck, and a payment from my brother. It's all been appropriately budgeted out.

One thing I haven't yet mentioned is that next month, my brothers and I are going on a road trip. My dad moved from California to the deep South. It's now about a 14 hour drive to see him, so we hope to go down once a year or so. This year, we timed it for my brother's and our stepmom's birthdays.

I've only budgeted $300 to the trip. We're going to drive straight down in one shot, but break the drive into 2 days coming back. I used my rewards CC free night for the hotel. We're staying with family and will mostly just focus on family time, so the $300 is gas, road snacks, hotel parking, and then a trip to the aquarium on the way back home. The trip fund is fully funded. We also have the money for my kitchen pantry set aside, so I'll probably pull the trigger on that soon.

A Fresh Start

September 20th, 2018 at 06:20 am

Apparently, my company has 2 financial planners as free resources. They gave a presentation the other day, and I decided to meet with them to get some ideas. They asked me to give them a look at my financial picture, so that they could help me develop a plan. I'm still working out what information I actually want to give them, but it did force me to look at my financial spreadsheet and recalculate debt payoffs based on where I am today and some things that we're anticipating. According to the new calculations and not accounting for raises and bonuses, we should be debt free (except for the mortgage)by the end of the first quarter in 2022. If we push hard and stick to this plan, we may even be able to do it earlier. My 35th birthday is in December 2021. That'd be a pretty nice gift to myself.

Can't wait to free up money

September 18th, 2018 at 06:38 am

I'm trying to cut myself some slack because we have a lot of things we're juggling right now. I currently put aside about $1250 across 5 goals - Marriott CC payoff, Ashley Furniture CC payoff, fireplace fixing, property taxes, and an old loan that I took for my mom that she just completely stopped paying me on. All of these goals minus the old loan were planned to be completed by the end of the year. Rather than rush to live off last month's income, I'm going to use the $1050 freed up from everything else to pay off the Mom loan (there'll be less than $1k left) in January (if I can't find the cash before the end of the year) which would free up the last 200. That extra $1250 will give us breathing room to up my retirement to 10% and still give us at least an extra $500/month snowball. Looking at the next few months, it looks like Last Month's Income will happen first quarter of 2019. We also won't have $10k for a new-to-us car, but we're going to stay within whatever we manage to come up with (it's looking like about $8k). That'll also free up whatever money we'd been saving to that goal - not sure what the number is yet since October will be the first normal pay month we've had in awhile.

Life's Hard

September 14th, 2018 at 06:12 am

It's been so difficult adulting recently. On the one hand, our financial situation is probably the best it's ever been. On the other hand, we still have light years to go, so it feels impossible. To be fair, we are not even remotely gung ho about the debt payoff, so I guess that I can't get upset if I'm not actually willing to commit to the sacrifices.

A random list of financial things:
- I moved our baby emergency fund of $1000 out of our checking account and in to savings. (I used to keep it in checking to ensure that we'd have the $1500 account balance.)
- Our checking account saw over $10k for the first time ever which is huge. It's still sitting up that high, but all of the money is accounted for in various YNAB categories.
- I won't be able to make all of my goals for the rest of the year. I know the living off last month's income will be short, and I'm pretty sure the car will too, but I'm still going to try. We'll just find a car within whatever we do have saved. And DH will have one extra paycheck month by year end which will get us kind of close on the last month's income.
- I set up our credit card payments today and realized that if I found an extra $500ish, I could pay off last month's balance on the Marriott card (our main one) and officially move on to riding the credit card float rather than paying interest.
- I also should have an extra $500 coming in from DH, but that might be better funding ahead rather than allocating it to the credit card.

August Goals Update

August 31st, 2018 at 10:16 am

Below are our original goals for the remainder of 2018 along with how we're tracking to meet them. It's a bit misleading as we received a big influx of money from DH's work payment. In September, we'll only receive one and half paychecks for DH, so things will be tougher.

1) Pay off 2 more credit cards (Ashley Furniture balance: $827, Marriott balance: $2500): On track - Paid $544.01 extra to Marriott in addition to current charges and interest payments. Paid $280 to Ashley Furniture.
2) Save 10k in a replacement car fund. ($50): On track - Right now, YNAB says we're on track since we were able to put aside DH's bonus. I know this will fall behind in coming months, but we'll do our best. New balance is $5064.54.
3) Live off last month's income. ($2500): On track - This will fall behind in September since we won't have 2 full paychecks for DH, but right now, we're ahead. Current balance is 2970.34. We need about $5600.
4) Fulfill fireplace fixing and dining room pantry savings goals ($160): On track - Fireplace account has $320/$800 set aside. Home Maintenance (where we'll pull the dining room pantry from) has just over $100. The pantry I'm looking at runs about $200.

So far, we're doing well. September will be tough, but then I think we'll be able to make some headway again in October when DH's schedule should be back to normal.