Net Worth & Life Report: January 2017
February 6, 2017
Our normal income is two full time day job salaries.
The goal is to replace our day job income before my health gives out and prevents me from working. Any purchases you make going through my Amazon links keep these blog lights on!
Our normal spending includes the living expenses for two households, these updates ignore those ordinary expenses.
I stopped tracking our expenses to the penny five years ago because it was too time-consuming. That was fine for a couple years but I’ve observed increases in our spending in the last three years, mainly unusual expenses, that need to be budgeted for. For a fresh start this year, I’ve created a new spreadsheet where we list the bills we paid with an average spending amount listed in the budgeting column. Specific types of spending (food, gas, groceries, utilities, insurance, etc) are paid by credit card, so those will be mildly opaque but we seem to do better when we aim at reducing aggregate amounts rather than “$100 per month on drinks”. Not that we spend that on drinks.
We became hyperaware of our spending this month as we faced our unexpected housing challenge. We’re mentally spending $1M – $1.2M on a new place to live. YIKES. Nothing’s set in stone yet, we haven’t even found a suitable candidate on which make an offer so it’s early days yet, but mentally it sure feels like we’ve spent massively.
I had WOOT CANAW!
Do you count your spending when you’ve committed to it, or when you actually pay for it? I had a surprise root canal and two fillings this month which would have cost $1600, but for insurance. We’re waiting for insurance to pay their bit first before I pay the remaining balance, estimated at $350. Mentally, that money is also already spent, but they think it’ll be 6 weeks before I have to actually pay it. Then, it goes on the credit card to earn rewards which also takes advantage of the float, so I’m guessing it’ll be March before that money goes out of our account.
Property taxes: $3000. The second half of our taxes is due three months after the first. I’ll never understand why our county bills this way but it’s a bit annoying. Going into 2017, instead of stressing over cash flowing it, I’ll be transferring a tenth of the expected taxes due to a savings account per month to be held in advance of the tax payment. This makes more sense when anticipating an expensive year.
Saving and investing
We max out a 401(k) and IRA every year and save 20% of cash of our net salaries.
New CDs to ring in the new year
I picked up two 5-year Ally CDs at 1.73% interest using our emergency fund on the 1st. I didn’t have any immediate need for that cash so it should work harder to earn money while it’s waiting around. Well, I didn’t, at the time.
We’ve had some cash sitting in the Tradeking account for a while. Nothing caught my fancy, and the dividends were also making a small heap in the cash held column. Since there’s no point in trying to predict what the market will do and when, I picked up a couple more sets of dividend stocks at prices I was willing to pay and called it a day. This has been a surprisingly effective technique over the years.
I’m delighted to be taking part in the Rockstar Forums’ giving project where they send out a $20 gift card to forum participants each month. I have a list of places to donate to. Among them: Project Night Night, National Immigration Law Center, Donors Choose – dental care project, Donors Choose – snacks for kids.
It’s hard to pick just one, but I’m just happy that I get to start somewhere, even if our own money’s quite tight. Unfortunately there was a hiccup with the January cards so you’ll just have to check back in at February’s update to see where my first donation went!
Net worth: increased 1% from the beginning of the year.
I wipe the slate clean each year but that wouldn’t be very helpful with the charts, would it? I’ll keep it a rolling 12-month chart.
This update is a bit weird, though. PiC and I decided to remove an asset from the net worth tracking list because it’s an odd account that may not stay with us and so I’d rather not count it while I’m tracking our money. This creates a dip, but that’s fine, I’d rather know what assets we can truly include.
Links from this month
- 2016: Our year in review
- The day of unfortunate events
- My kid and notes from Year 1.10 – fun with JuggerBaby
- The day(s) I spent in court for our protection
On purging clutter from our home: We donated two huge boxes of good clothes that we can’t use any longer, passed along three piles of hand me down clothing, and cleaned zir closet (which has become our catch all closet and I hate that) so that at least one door can be opened and shut safely. Three more bags of clothes sit on the closet floor that are being posted for sale, and if those don’t go, they’ll be donated too. I can see floor! And carpet! And walk into the closet! It’s a miracle!
Also I went through my desk drawers to clear out unnecessary paperwork, and organize our tax filing paperwork that goes back to Tax Year 2010. I double checked the IRS to confirm I could purge Tax Years 2010, 2011, and 2012. Since 2013 was filed in 2014, so that can be shredded this April.
Keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, if you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return. Keep records for 7 years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction.
(Of course, this always happens to me – as soon as I shred paperwork that I haven’t needed in years, I think of some reason I needed it. *tsk*)
Rehash: I spent a bit of time fixing things that should have been completed last month.
- My application to fund our trust with our Ally accounts was returned because they wanted more postage.
- 3 holiday cards were returned because the recipients moved a week (or, uh, a year and I forgot) before I sent them. And I sent them early December, too! Curses, I hate being thwarted.
Damn those germs! It was hubris, I don’t mind telling you. I thought I’d make it through this month without getting sick and I let down my guard. One too many drooly kisses from JuggerBaby infected me and it was back to the Robitussin for me. Sadface. The good thing about being able to avoid the office most of the time is not infecting my coworkers, and it’s easy to be a germy mess without worrying about how it looks. Who wants to worry about looking professional when you might have coughed out a lung??
Last year’s stash of fancy tissues with lotion (rapidly running out!) has been sparing my nose admirably but not this time! Pro-tip: after each bout with a tissue, a smear of Vaseline rehydrated my nose so it’s not a gross peeling mess when I have to show up in the office.