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Happy Friday!

January 18th, 2019 at 06:17 pm

Happy Friday Bloggers! Hope weather is being kind to you. And, if not, I hope you are safe and snugged up some place warm.

Today is a beautiful day in Florida and I have taken the opportunity to assess the flower beds. Many plants need to be trimmed back and some did not make it through the last cold snap. Yes, we get frost (& sometimes snow) where I live.

But the warmer weather makes me think of spring cleaning and getting the house in order. I need to go through what I have. My parents died in the recent years, first my dad and then my mom, and I kept some of their things. At the time I could not part with some of their possessions. But, to be honest with you and myself, the things I kept are just things. They sit in a pile and aren't being used. Someone who could use them may appreciate the rocking chair, the wall hangings, etc. I am working on letting go. I have watched Marie Kondo on Netflix. If I was honest with myself, my parent items rarely spark or bring me joy. So, this is my spring project!

Financially, we continue to be in good shape. Pay checks come in, bills get paid. We live on last month's income. The credit card bill is higher than usual having put some of the new car down payment and the extended warranty on it. I have a play to pay the card off in full by the due date.

The extraordinary car related expenses were charged to the credit card for the points. Credit card points pay for our vacation air fare. Hotel points from work travel pays for the lodging. So, when we travel, we only really need to pay for food, activities and souvenirs. I really am fortunate.

If I can figure it out, I plan to add to the side bar, the titles of books I am reading (& the amount I save by borrowing from the library). Thanks CB for the inspiration!

Sorry this isn't too financially related. Enjoy the rest of your day!

January 9th

January 9th, 2019 at 10:48 pm

And all is alright in my tiny corner of the world.

There is general peace and calm in the house. I was expected meltdowns as the kids returned to school after a long break. For them, and for me, early morning wake ups have been tough, but we are surviving.

My son has "matured" and is now showering every morning. This is a vast change/improvement from a month ago when I would be "when did you last shower/go shower" campaign each night. With boy showering in the morning, there are now three of us via for water pressure and hot water. Most days, I am in the shower by 5:10am and my daughter follows at 5:25am. If I am still showering, water pressure drops.

I write all this because now that four people are showering daily, I am scared of the water bill. But I guess I should just chalk it up to 2019 price increases. Everywhere I have been so far, there are nice little signs saying service prices have increased effective January 1st.

Prices go up, the expense column in the budget gets adjusted and less money gets saved. I should be happy that there is still some positive in the bottom line. I did qualify for a merit increase at work, albeit is somewhat small at 2.3%. And yes, compared to others, 2.3% salary increase is good. And yes, I'd rather have 2.3% increase on my salary than others. But, somehow, the increase never seems to get too much greater than the increase in expenses.


The other day riding home from work, I caught an interview on talk radio. It was with Dean Graziosi, author of Millionaire Success Habits. The tips discussed sound like the usual - don't have a greater life style than your income, don't go in debt, etc. But perhaps it is presented in a different way. I may borrow a copy from the library. (Would that tip be in the book? Borrow, instead of buy?) Has anyone else heard of this book? Any review to share?

Well, the house is quiet as the kids are at CCD tonight. I'm going to end now so I can enjoy a little light reading.

Best....

Dec 31 2018 wrapped up

January 1st, 2019 at 06:31 pm

Does anyone else do a personal balance sheet? Last year (yes, 2018), I started to do one quarterly. It looks great when you don't add on debts and the market is up.

But the market is down compared to the prior quarter end and we made an expensive purchase late yesterday. This past week, we noticed that our 2008 Honda Odyssey (with over 200K miles) developed a strange sound and started having a burning smell. We took it to the mechanic and the diagnosis was not good. Front right axle and and transmission were "going." So, after discussion of "do we put more $ into the car, or do we buy another car", we called my husband's friend, the GM at a local Honda dealership, and went and bought a car. Yes, we bought a new Honda Odyssey. That's right, not a "new to us" car but a new new car. Based on incentives offered, and a friends/family discount, the new Odyssey was only $1200 more than the best priced, low mileage used Odyssey on the lot. Yes, we could have gone with an older model with more miles but we keep cars to they die....

Next came the debate of finance or pay cash. I opted for a short term low interest rate loan because my credit union is paying better on savings than the cost of borrowing. So, now we have a car payment. It fits our cash flow but I'll be anxious to through more at the payment in order to pay off the loan sooner than later. I will definitely want the debt gone before I retire in 2021.

So, market has been volatile and we now have a consumer debt in addition to our mortgage. December 31 balance sheet is still good but not as good as past quarters. My net worth is still better than I thought it would ever be. I just need to relax, be diligent in paying down debt, mindful of future expenses and enjoy the new car smell while the mini-van has it.

One day, I'll work on an income statement....

2018 Financial Wins and Fails

December 28th, 2018 at 02:57 pm

Wins:

Cash flowed Christmas!

Have kept track of spending - excel spreadsheet of major bills and six months of grocery store spending. Who knew a family of four could spend $1000 per month on groceries alone.

Took lunch to work over 80% of the time, when working in the office.

Tracked travel expenses and transferred extra expense money to savings.

Saved ~$500 by borrowing digital books from the library. (Love my kindle!)

Reduced family eating out to once per week.

Started this blog!

Fails:

On average, spent over $1,000 in groceries each month.

Invested in the stock market and the market has been falling ever since. (Yes, you can blame me!)

Haven't paid anything extra on the mortgage.

Survived the holiday - Next!

December 28th, 2018 at 02:01 pm

New user error! I had a great entry written and now it is lost. Frown

The blog was about the cost of Christmas. Adding up receipts and guesstimating for expenditures not recorded, we spent about $900 on Christmas. This does not include the big ticket family gift of a cruise in July 2019. I think $900 sounds modest for a family of four. We spent about $600 on our kids gifts, small gifts from kids to my husband and I and food and decorations. We had a simple meal, using freezer and pantry item and only purchased a roast from the grocery store.

Now I am faced with the kids home from school until January 7th. I am sure we will see a movie or two and attend a hockey game or two. I will try to keep costs down.

While adding up the cost of Christmas, I realize that this amount was "cash flowed" from extra December income sources (extra in the paycheck from no social security deduction and an extra paycheck). I have been watching budgeting videos on Youtube. I am curious about sinking funds. I don't do sinking funds per say but move any extra $ in the checking account to savings.

I have tried YNAB and EveryDollar (ED) previously but could never quite figure out how to start. We live on last month's income (meaning that I have already set up to pay January bills and we still have money left over) but I can't figure out how to start YNAB and ED. Do I start with $0 and allocate the next paycheck received?

Any advice on YNAB or ED and sinking funds would be appreciated....

Family COO - Let me introduce myself

December 22nd, 2018 at 08:42 pm

Hi all,
I've been lurking for sometime now, commenting when I felt I could add to the discussion. Otherwise, I was a silent member of the audience.

I'm hoping to use this blog to document my trials and tribulations. I am the primary breadwinner in the family, and I have a good job. My job does require me to travel, so the downside is I miss out on evenings home with the kids. But, my husband would say, on the upside, you miss out on evenings home with the kids. It's all perspective, I guess.


I make decent money, have great benefits and I still feel as if I'm struggling to make ends meet. I have a great retirement account and plenty of liquid funds. I just have the mindset that maybe it won't be enough. My financial adviser tells me that I will have more than enough money for retirement and that I'll likely leave money behind for my children. Yet somehow, I can't enjoy spending money.

I would love, love, love to have a LV Carry All bag but the thought of carrying a $1200 purse/tote chokes me. I would love to enjoy dinner out with my family (4 of us) and the thought of spending $80 - $100 on dinner (with tip), makes me choke.

I know that I am blessed. I just wish I could relax and enjoy what I have.

Does anyone else feel the same way?