October 2015 Accountability

Welcome to the October 2015 Accountability & Budget Recap post!

Well. This month did not go as anticipated.

H went on a business trip and did not get reimbursed. In fact, although he will be reimbursed for his flight, he is not sure whether he will get reimbursed for food. He ate cheaply, and we can write it off on our taxes (if he isn’t reimbursed), but this still hit us hard.

He also bought a business-related item and two suits. All in all, we spent $1168 on business expenses this month. Ouch.

I had to pull money from first our sinking fund (which dipped down to below $100 this month) and then from our Money Market account (which is where we hold our emergency fund / house-downpayment fund). In order to reimburse all of those accounts, we will have a cold, cold November, with no money going towards debt (beyond minimum payments) or savings. As I mentioned in the October 2015 Budget Preview post, we wanted to save all of our extra funds for a while to build up our savings, in case of a possible job change (or loss) in May 2016.

This post is broken into two sections: Budget and Debt Eradication.


Budget Accountability for October 2015:

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October 2015 Budget

You won’t see the spending that we did on business-related stuff, because I didn’t budget for it. Sigh.

Woohoo!:

  • We saved money on gas this month!
  • The nice weather meant that we didn’t spend money on heating or cooling, really, in September (because we pay September’s bill in October).
  • Came in under budget on restaurants, which almost balanced out the over-spending we did at grocery stores.

Whoops!:

  • We had more slush fund spending this month than anticipated – I bought two baby shower gifts (which I had planned to buy in November instead of October, but I decided to move forward with them because I didn’t want to forget to buy them!)
  • The lawn guys finally gave us our bill – this should slow down over the winter, of course, but apparently they mowed more than I thought between the last time we paid and now.

Total Debt Eradication for October 2015: $783

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Debt Eradication:
  • $462.94 extra payment sent to Loan 1 & Loan 2 (This wasn’t as big as usual because we put a good chunk into savings instead of sending it to Debt Eradication. This money came from snowflaking and the little bit of money we had left over beyond $5000 from our paychecks.)
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Click to embiggen

October 2015 Net Income: $1,404.84  (I honestly do not even know how we managed to pull this off, given how much money we spent. But I trust Mint.com!)


Snowflaking: $288.27 (all of this went into our Student Loan Debt Eradication Fund – if it was prior to the middle of the month, it became part of the big supplemental payment we made; if it was after the middle of the month, it’s still hanging out in the account to be used in September)

  • $41.11 – reimbursement from my mom (I can’t even remember what for)
  • $50 – H’s side hustle
  • $25.16 – used books consignment
  • $15 – from Gazelle for an iPad (first gen!)
  • $50Swagbucks (<– referral link, but it’s totally awesome!)
  • $107 – H’s side hustle

2015 Consigning Totals: 
I’m curious about how much we will make in one year by consigning our clothing and L’s old toys at my favorite consigning store (and any other sales, if I decide to participate). 
  • $0 (January)
  • $56 (February) – yeah!
  • $20 (March) – woot!
  • $80.31 (April) – yay!
  • $44.20 (May) – whee!
  • $20 (June) – woohoo!
  • $12.82 (July) – what what!
  • $60.35 (August) – wowie zowie! (can you see that I’m running out of imagination on my happy exclamations?)
  • $44.48 (September) – good golly!
  • $40.16 (October) – yippee!

2015 Consigning total so far: $378.32


2015 Mintly Snowflaking Goal Progress:

My goal originally was to snowflake at least $50 per month, for a yearly total of $600. As you can see, we’re doing better than that, so far:
  • $110.01 (January)
  • $929.75 (February)
  • $649.58 (March)
  • $534.50 (April)
  • $289.84 (May)
  • $273.91 (June)
  • $292.02 (July)
  • $430.55 (August)
  • $539.38 (September)
  • $288.27 (October)

2015 Snowflaking total so far: $4,049.54

To see more 2015 Mintly Goals, please click here.

Life Accomplishments this Month:

  • Still KonMari-ing, but I’m hung up on pictures right now. And the back bedroom has a bunch of stuff in it that needs to be cleared out through the KM process, and that’s kind of annoying, since I had already mostly done that room. It really just means that I need to get rid of more. UGH.
  • Had a Pumpkin-Carving party at our house, which was also a potluck, so it was fun and cheap.
  • A bunch of stuff that I consigned last month has sold, and I’ll be picking up the check for that this weekend (so I’ll count it in November) – and we’ve donated enough items that we are supposedly going to get back over $1000 for it on our taxes! (The value of the items was well over that, of course – this is just the estimate the ItsDeductible app says may be our tax break… we shall see!)

TL;DR: We spent a lot of money on business expenses this month and had to pull from our savings and sinking funds accounts to avoid going into credit card debt. This means no debt payment and no savings in November unless we get really lucky and have some kind of a windfall! Hope everyone else’s October was more profitable than ours!

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Ms. Mintly Does KonMari: Part 4

To see previous installations of this series, click here (Part 1), here (Part 2), and here (Part 3).

As I’ve been going through other categories, I’ve come across paper: bills, tax information, family documents, and on, and on. As I saw them, I picked them up and put them in this pile in a corner of a room:

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The above shot was from pretty early on in the process – by the time I actually got to start sorting the Paper category, there was a bit more. I also had to go digging in various filing cabinets around our house and in the basement to locate more papers. (I also suspect that there is more paper somewhere, but it will turn up eventually as I go through the remaining categories, I bet.)

Some of the types of Paper I sorted were:

  • My childhood schoolwork and artwork
  • Insurance information
  • Paperwork from buying and selling our house
  • Tax documents
  • L’s schoolwork and artwork
  • Instruction manuals
  • Bills
  • Medical records
  • Direct deposit stubs
  • Car repair receipts & records
  • Birth certificates, passports, Social Security cards, etc.
  • Magazines I had been holding on to for no understandable reason
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Some of the piles I sorted

After I sorted everything into piles, I then went through and decided if we needed to keep it. You’ll want to check with a tax professional, but most people only need to keep 7 years of tax information. I also happily dumped about 15 manuals into the “recycle” pile. (They were taking up lots of space in our laundry room….) I did, of course, save some things, like personal documents, our living wills, etc. Those need to be stored in a safe deposit box at a bank (though we haven’t gotten that far yet – they are instead stored in a fire-safe lock box in the house).

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Some of my paper categories

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Bags of paper to recycle! (I did end up with more than 2 by the end.)

Marie Kondo recommends scanning any truly important documents you have, hold on to what you must hold on to, set aside any mementos to go through later on, and recycle/shred anything you don’t need. I put the “to-shred” papers in a small plastic bin to take care of later (and just finally got it done, yay!).

Items I put aside to go through later (as part of the Memento category):

  • Schoolwork and artwork (though my plan will be to scan or take photos of the ones I want to keep/remember, and only save a few hard copies of this kind of material, whether it’s mine or L’s)
  • Journals/diaries
  • Programs and tickets from events

This process took me a bit less time than I expected. Since I had been collecting paper since beginning the KonMari process, it helped that I didn’t have as much work to do on the front-end – I was able to jump in pretty quickly. In total, it probably took me about 3 hours to go through it (I like to take my time and sometimes even watch tv while I’m sorting! Shhh, don’t tell Ms. Kondo…).

After Paper is komono which basically means “Miscellaneous.” This is one of the hardest categories, because it’s so big and broad. Komono includes all of your kitchen stuff (including food!), bathroom stuff, linens, kids’ toys and other kid items, craft supplies, gift wrap, tools, cleaning supplies, and on and on and on…. This is the category I’m currently mired in, though I’ve gotten some big chunks taken care of. Although KonMari should be done by categories, I did break out of that to work on the laundry room (though I don’t consider myself done, because I did not KonMari the cleaning supplies, some of which are currently stored in the laundry area). All that to say – I’m still working through this process and trying to find the best approach for me (and my family), so I’m making it work the best I can!

For those of you who might want to KonMari, I strongly urge you to read the book. (Not an affiliate link.) However, you should also consider supplementing the book with this handy-dandy checklist that was shared in a KonMari Facebook group.

Ms. Mintly Does KonMari: Part 3

To see previous installations of this series, click here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

You’ve seen my KonMari journey through clothes, shoes, and books. Now it’s time to go through my next step (which is, admittedly, out of order): jewelry!

This might seem like a straightforward step for some of you – but I had quite a bit going on here:

  • My own jewelry
  • My mother-in-law’s jewelry (she passed away a couple of years ago)
  • The fact that jewelry seems very tied up with the concept of “sentimental,” and sentimental items, or “mementos,” are meant to be handled at the very end of the KonMari process. When you come across sentimental items of other categories, you might deal with them then, or you can choose to deal with them later – I decided to deal with them right then so I could feel a sense of peace and completion.
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Drawers full of my late mother-in-law’s jewelry

The drawers you see pictured above were full of all kinds of jewelry: pins, woven Native American necklaces, pearls that have been passed down from her mother and grandmother, sentimental items (Boy Scout pins from when my husband and his brothers were young, for example), costume jewelry (SO MUCH COSTUME JEWELRY), and a few items that do seem like they might be worth something. I should say that when my mother-in-law passed away, her children and grandchildren did choose items they wished to keep (including me), and I was left in charge of the remaining items (to sell or give away). Now I’m finally getting around to it…

It took me about 3 hours to sort through all of the jewelry (including mine), which was about what I expected, given how much jewelry was crammed into those drawers.

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Clip-on earrings to donate – lots!

The most time-consuming part was actually trying to determine what to save to try to sell, and what to just give away. Some of it I just ended up needing to put back in the drawers so that I can take the time later to research it. I do plan to take some of the items I know are worth something to a friend of a friend who can give me a general appraisal (I hope it works out, anyway – won’t see him until Christmas, which is a long time to hold on to these items that I’d really like to see move on), and I’m attempting to consign some of the other pieces (that may be worth a little bit of something).

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A small portion of the huge amount of jewelry to sort…. (I also tried to clean up some of it as I went, which is why you can see the Jewelry Wipes there.)

However, I ended up with a TON of jewelry to donate, and not just my mother-in-law’s – I have finally decided to let go of earrings that are pretty but I just never wear (they’re taking up too much space on my dresser and I’m DONE with them), necklaces that served their purpose at the time but now should move on, and jewelry that people have given me that I don’t really need to think about anymore (coughex-boyfriendscough). It felt so good to put it in ziplock bags and add it to the Goodwill pile.

I do have to admit that I found a few more pieces of my mother-in-law’s that I decided to keep (one for me, and a couple for L, when she’s older). Since I purged so many of my own items, though, I don’t feel bad about it. I’d rather have a few pieces of meaningful jewelry than a bunch of stuff I don’t ever wear.

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Jewelry to consign

I did this about three weeks ago, and honestly, I don’t miss anything I’ve removed! Plus, yesterday morning, my eyes rested on a few pairs of earrings that made the cut the first time, but really shouldn’t have. I picked them up and put them straight into the Goodwill pile. I think I’m really getting the hang of this thing! 🙂

I haven’t seen any sales from the jewelry I consigned yet – it takes them a while to process new drop-offs, and you’re only allowed to consign 10 pieces of jewelry at a time (and I had WAAAAY more than that, as you can see by the picture above). So, it will take me a while to get through all of it (and, honestly, I may just end up donating it if it takes too long and I want it out!).

I track all I donate with the ItsDeductible app, which now shows me I’ve donated items worth a total of $3,078.75 over the course of this year! (Not all of that is from the KonMari process, but most of it is.) The app estimates that it will save us about $770 on our taxes this year, which would be AWESOME. I’m actually aiming for $1000 – that would be so amazing! It’s only an estimate, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it really does help us out that much. YAY!

Next up: The dreaded “Paper” category…. Anyone else KonMari-ing? I highly recommend the Facebook groups (just search “KonMari” to find some) for some positive inspiration!