September 2014 Recap

Copy of  January 2014 Accountability


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Click to embiggen

You know what the best way to start a monthly recap post is?

Putting in a baking sheet of kale (soon to be delicious kale chips!) in the oven and pouring a glass of wine.


So, let’s dig in, shall we?

September 2014 was a month of weirdness. Financials go out of whack when one sells one’s house. (Look for an upcoming update post on moving costs, too!)

Let’s first talk about those crazy numbers you see above in those fancy charts!

As I note at the bottom of the first chart, paying down our mortgage aggressively was never one of our goals. We have been focused on consumer debt, and, when that was paid off, student loan debt. Indeed, our student loans are at the top of our Debt Eradication list.

We sold our house, and we even came out ahead, making over $8000. (We won’t talk about how much the downpayment was when we purchased the home, nor how much we spent on painting it and replacing the water heater, etc….)

For now, that cool $8K will sit in our newly-opened Money Market account (hey, that baby brings in 1% interest, which is competitive with just about all the fancy online savings accounts you see advertised out there!). That Money Market Account has been combined with our regular Savings/Sinking Fund account above just to simplify the chart for now. I may add a new line item in the future.

So, getting rid of that $190,000+ load of debt feels good! Paying less for rent than we did for a mortgage feels good, too! But it does make our debt-paying look way skewed, and I’m not sure how I feel about that, given my chart design.

Additionally, we also got an amazing gift of $5000 from my grandparents. WHAT. WHAAAAAAT. Can you even believe that?! Right now it’s sitting in our savings account, because there’s a hold on it (the check was from out of state, and at that amount, I understand the bank’s concern – but it’s still frustrating). We’re planning to use most of it to pay down Sallie Mae loans. Effing Sallie Mae.

In any case, I hope that explains the drastic upswing in our Sinking/Savings Funds as well as our vastly-reduced Total Debt! Please note, though – the reason our debt doesn’t seem to add up quite right on the chart is because there are some credit card purchases that have been paid down (but haven’t gone through). Sorry about that!

Our net worth didn’t go up the way I thought it would, though, mostly because we had to pay out to the lawyer and the real estate agents. We also paid the taxes, which will be reimbursed to us from our mortgage company since it was already in our escrow account. (But I can’t get too excited – that $2000 will go to H’s dental work that he got done, not realizing that crowns were the kind of procedure you had to wait 12 months to get before his insurance would cover it?!)

The Numbers

We mostly kept to our budget when it came to everything but food and shopping. In fact, I didn’t even have a shopping budget. But you know what? I got horribly sick before we moved, I felt completely crappy while we were moving and while we have been trying to unpack, and I’m still not 100%. And you know what I do when I’m sick/stressed? Apparently I online shop. I’ll say that ALMOST everything I bought was useful and/or needed. However…. well, it’s no good excuse. I spent a lot of our extra money this month, resulting in having to borrow from the paychecks we got today, which means our expendable income for October is… well, pitiful. But that’s a story for another day. In October. (No, I promise you that we’re dealing with the problem. I’m just not feeling like it’s a good idea to clog up this post with October stuff.)

We had saved for all the big things – that moving post, part 2 I keep talking about? yeah, that – and I’m so glad we did. I’m really looking forward to diverting money back to savings and to Debt Eradication, though, in the coming months.

Additional Money this Month: $81.69

– $25 – American Express September statement credit
– $16.59 – Mary Kay order
– $10.10 – I sold one more book to (I don’t have any more I know of that I can sell right now – too bad, because it was awfully easy – I highly recommend it!)
– $30 – something from a lamp I sold to a friend

This was all snowflaked to the Moving Fund (which is now completely wiped out, so no more Moving Fund to feed, thank goodness).

Savings/Sinking Fund: $15,370.03

H and I are talking about the best way to manage these funds, especially in light of the fact that we have this huge dental bill to pay. Ugh. I’m super psyched, though, to have that much cash around. Our emergency fund may only have about $200 in it, and our travel fund may only have $700, but at least if we really did have an emergency right now, we would be able to use this money. Preferably, though, I’d like to let it sit there and work for us, making interest!

My IRA: +$1000

I used some of the $2525.25 I got from my leave days from my former job to beef up my IRA. I’m still nowhere near maxing it out, but I think our priority still has to be debt, although I’d like to put up to $100 in this each month, once our budget settles down (with my new job).

H’s Student Loans: -$1525.25

Of course this number is misleading, as the extra payment didn’t get applied entirely to principal the way it was supposed to – and even after we contacted them, the only thing they fixed was not advancing the due date. I followed all the directions on their website, people – they are just committed to making you pay as much as they can. Makes me want to swear some more.

Money Accomplishments This Month:

Uh, really, I can’t say that we really had any, except that we didn’t go over-budget on the movers or planned expenses associated with moving. Yeah. Exciting, I know.

Money Setbacks This Month:

As I stated above, I overspent on random online shopping (clothes, L’s Halloween costume components, stuff for the house we’re renting, and on and on…..)

Plus, since I’ve set my tax exemptions at “0”, I made even less money this month than I expected! I was pretty disappointed, and even remembering how awesome our tax refund might be didn’t really help me feel better. Apparently I should have gone with “1”? I don’t know.

Life (as in, Non-Monetary) Accomplishments this Month:

  • Went to a conference related to my new job – yay! It was informative, not least because the person I went with was a goldmine of gossip about our place of work!
  • Got quite a bit unpacked – though it was very slow-going.
  • Transitioned L well to her new home (though that was mostly her own accomplishment, not ours).
  • L has started reading to us from books she brings home from Kindergarten, which is pretty exciting (again, her own accomplishment, though, not mine!).
  • Got L signed up for piano lessons again – with someone who I believe will be superior to the teacher she had last year. It’s expensive ($30 a week), but we’ve decided to make it a priority.
  • Went to a farm, went on a hayride, saw baby chicks, and went through a corn maze. Or is it “maize”? (Hardy har har.)
  • Got myself to book club, even though it’s now an hour away for me on a Thursday night once a month. I can totally do that, though – fun and definitely worth the drive!
  • Got the budget planned for October (sad though it is), and also the rest of the year (after October, we should be set to send a good chunk of extra change to Sallie Mae every month – keeping our fingers crossed).

So, what I want to know is…. what exemptions do YOU claim on your tax form for your paycheck?

P.S. I burned the kale chips. But I ate most of them anyway. And now my mouth tastes like stale cigarettes. (Though, honestly, I’ve never eaten stale cigarettes.) I’m only a little sorry. I think I’ll have another glass of wine….

We Sold Our House!

Just a quick note to say that we closed on our house today, and they are mailing us our check (whatever is left over from paying the lawyers and the real estate agents) tomorrow morning! It took me signing the papers early on my way out of town for a conference and my husband going later with L to get his part all signed, but it’s done! Honestly, though, until we get the check cashed and cleared, I’m afraid to breathe a sigh of relief, but I’ll take my chances of tempting fate by posting this anyhow!

Selling a house is hard work, and I know our house-selling experience wasn’t nearly as hard as many people’s. I am feeling very thankful. Whew.