Busy month

So I had two work trips in July about a week apart where I flew out on a Sunday and came back Thursday. Both trips were work related and allowed for some great networking but having to eat out all of those days definitely hurt the bank. My first trip was to the Baltimore area and my second was to Chicago for the NCMA World Congress conference. I’m happy I went but man did I drop some cash.

My mom, who lives in Florida, was in Chicago for a reunion and my brother, who lives in Costa Rica was in Chicago on vacation so we had two nights where the family got to have dinner. We had a great meal at Gibson’s Steakhouse and we treated Mom because she’s always treating us even though we’re grown and can pay our own bills. Everyone in my family has been there a million times but surprisingly it was my first time eating there. The food was amazing and even though my steak was $60 it was totally worth it.

I also have a cousin who is an event manager for one of the hotels downtown and she had the cast of one Emmy award winning show in there because they were filming in Chicago. Also had the dancers of another show in there as well so it appears my cousin is doing really good, plus she booked 7 or 8 hockey teams for when they come to town to play the Blackhawks.

Since its only been a few weeks since I posted totals I’m not going to bother this time but progress is always being made. Little goals that are being hit feel great and even though there is a ton of shit I would love to buy I stop myself 99% of the time. In fact the only thing I’ve bought lately have been t-shirts for working out since I keep dropping weight.

On the physical side of the house I’ve lost 15 lbs in the last month or so with CrossFit & diet and I know my strength has definitely gone up. Even on my trips I was very self conscious about what I ate and really only cheated once or twice. Now that I’m home and have no trips for the next couple of months I’ll just be hitting the gym, eating good and putting some money away for a trip for the wife and I.

Nothing more for right now so have a good rest of the month, all three days of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another one bites the dust

So I’m happy to announce that I made my last payment on a card this morning. I had to do the math to make sure I was good but $858.51 was made early just because of the fact that I have 3 pay periods in June. That just leaves me my truck and house now. With only the truck left the plan is to pay it off at $1770 a month for 5 months. The reality is I can do $1400 a month and pay it off by December and give myself some breathing room to buy some Christmas gifts and do some nice things for the wife the summer/fall.

Every time I make an update on my everydollar app I just feel like I’m in control of my finances and even when unexpected things pop-up it’s not the end of the world now. The wife and I can have a quick talk about it and move on because we aren’t struggling to find the money to do stuff.

Have a good 4th of July everyone and keep working for your own Independence day.

Last Payment

The Bills

Revolving Debt: $0.00 (last update $3,132.46)

Vehicle: $8,156.91 (last update $8,713.51)

House: $183,647.59 (last update $184,383.47)

Total: $191,804.50 (last update $196,229.44)

Difference: $4,424.94

 

 

 

My favorite month

So as luck would have it the month of June is great for a lot of reasons. First and foremost is that it’s my birth month. Second is the fact that there are 3 pay periods for me in the month. Lastly, I also got my bonus this month. So with the extra paycheck and the bonus I’m actually able to pay off another bill. When it’s all said and done I will have put $3132.46 since my last statement (15 May) towards one bill. I had to do my numbers to make sure I would have enough for food, gas, etc but this bill is done come 30 June.

So next month when I start I’ll have my truck and my house and that is it. All of my revolving credit will be at $0.00 balance. I will owe $8700 on my truck but with the snowball I’ll be putting $1800 a month on it for 5 months and it will be done and after that is the house. I plugged my numbers into the debt snowball spreadsheet that I use and I created a different spreadsheet specifically for the house so I could get my formulas as close as possible to what we were actually seeing with the way we put extra down towards principal. In a perfect world we would have a ton of money to put down at the beginning of the month and everything would be easy. Unfortunately, we each put $125 per paycheck throughout the month towards principal so even though the numbers for my spreadsheet are close it was just easier to do some computations and make up my own formulas and spreadsheet.

So the wife and I have been doing really good about planning all or most of our meals. At the beginning of June I went to a local butcher and they have a variety of meat packages for everything from family packages to grilling packages, etc. The wife and I got a variety package and a package for two that came with enough protein for her and I for the month. The really cool thing is if you spend over $200 you get another 10lbs of cut up chicken. So that is 3 whole birds, or 6 nights of dinner for her and I, already cut up that we can grill or throw in the dutch oven. The worst part about the meat is that everything comes wrapped in butcher paper so we have to unpack everything and put it in foodsaver bags. In the grand scheme of things it’s not bad at all and more importantly we have a well stocked freezer and we know where our next meal is coming from.

Since we know what meat we have now, our veggie shopping is a lot easier as well. We can do our menu for the week and do our veggie shopping on Friday/Saturday at the farmers market and pull what we need from the freezer at the same time. We do our breakfast and lunch food prep on Sunday together and after that we have some wine or a drink on the patio.

So around April 22, Ash started the whole30 diet. I supported her but I didn’t do it with her, I like my beer way too much. But a lot of what she was making was really tasty so I started making my meals more whole30/paleo friendly to support her. She stuck with it, which I’m extremely proud of her for doing, and she lost 11 or 12 pounds and 3 inches. So after her 30 days she did start drinking wine again in moderation but neither one of us has had a real craving for sweets or breads, etc. So I just started doing a regular paleo diet and joined a local crossfit gym. I go 3-4 times a week right now and I can see how it’s addictive to people but my gym is close to my job and not my house. So on days when I telework I don’t make it to the gym.

Moving right along

Well I’ve been busy paying bills off and everything is really coming together. I paid off my Visa last week so that money will snowball onto my next bill. The good news with that bill is that I’ve only got 2 months of payments on it until it is at a zero balance. The only thing I have after that is my truck and the house. As long as everything goes to plan the truck will be paid off by Nov/Dec this year (about 9 months earlier than planned).

Other than that, the wife and I have just been trying to lead/live more productive, healthier lives. We definitely plan our meals and our diet for the week and although it would be nicer to be able to make our meals further out we just don’t have the fridge/freezer space at this time.

For the 3 people that read this I would say the biggest thing that helped us was using the EveryDollar webpage/app. Knowing where the money goes has been the biggest eye opener for us. I also had to realize that there are things that are cool to have but not required. I love my craft beer but trying to chase stuff down and spend the money I was for it was kind of ridiculous looking back. I have enough booze in the house and my taste aren’t so crazy that I can’t have something off the shelf and be happy with it. I think the bigger thing is seeing that I spent $X.xx amount of money on something later and then asking why did I do that.

Hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend.

It has been a few months since I posted my breakdown of where I am with my bills so since there are some big gains I figured I would post again. So looking at EveryDollar I have 60% of my money going to debt/home. 35% of my money goes to debt and 25% to the house. Surprisingly with that much money going out I still feel like we do quite a bit and we aren’t sacrificing anymore than we did before. It was more just a change of mindset.

The Bills

Revolving Debt: $3,132.46 (last update $6,445.76)

Vehicle: $8,713.51 (last update $13,056.92)

House: $184,383.47 (last update $190,07.17)

Total: $196,229.44 (last update $209,575.85)

Difference: $13,346.41

Still chipping away

Sorry it’s been a little while since I’ve posted. Everything is going great bill wise, I finally have my wife really on board with getting the house paid off early as well. She pays her last credit card off in May and then her plan is to help me put more towards the principal on the house. Each of us has been putting an extra $250 for a little while and she’s going to bump hers up.

Our next door neighbors are putting their house on the market in a few days so we’re really looking forward to what they actually get for it. They said they were listing it for $259k but the realtor said that there have been a lot of bidders’ wars lately and they may get $265k-$270k for it. The great thing about this is that the building is an old brownstone from around 1910 and we have the other half. So realistically our house should get whatever they are asking if not more. They were saying that ours was the last remodeled and actually had some upgrades that the other houses didn’t have. If there is a bidding war for their house we’re thinking about maybe putting it on the market while it’s hot and selling the house and getting an apartment for a little while. We could either invest the money in some land or hold onto it for up to a year to see if we find a place we really like. I think if we hold on to it and the market takes a dive again we’ll be bummed out we didn’t do anything when we had the chance to maybe make $70k-$80k.

We do know that once their house sells we’re calling up the bank to let them know so they can drop the PMI we have on the house. That money would turn around and go straight to principal, but an extra $70 a month towards principal helps.

We’ve also decided to do some exposed brick in a couple of the rooms where we have some plaster damage/issues and we still want to put in our working fireplace, something else none of the other houses have. There are other upgrades we want to do to the house and some issues that need to be addressed but I think our house would do really well with a fresh coat of paint and some minor maintenance.

So bills are looking great and one of the best things that I did was change my work IRA from a Roth to a Traditional. We had someone bring it up to us and when we looked at the numbers it made a huge difference. We did some research for tax reasons and found out that (based on our age and income) that we should be doing a traditional IRA right now because we’re in a pretty high tax bracket and it would be better for us to get the tax deferred right now as opposed to later when we’ll be a in a lower tax bracket since both of us will be retired when we start pulling money out. We had a spreadsheet that did everything and we’re counting on the fact that tax rates shouldn’t be crazy in the future. Once we changed everything I was able to put more money away and my paychecks were only slightly lower because my taxable income was obviously less. I’m investing about $110 more per paycheck but with taxes, my pay has only gone down about $60 per paycheck. So before I would give $81 per check and get matched that same amount plus an extra $27 for a total of $190. Now I do $190 by myself, they match up to $111 and the $27 for a total around $330 every two weeks. Luckily my wife’s company does matching as well so she gives about $400 every two weeks and gets matched a percentage.

Other than that work has been really good, the team I’m on has a couple of work trips coming up and I’m getting a bonus this year, nothing amazing but any extra money is good and it will all go towards bills. I’m also taking a certification test for my career field and while it doesn’t make me promotable in my current position there is a lot of potential in other places. I’ve been studying for it and have 3 months before I test so the next couple of months will include my studying on a nightly basis for an hour or so in hopes of passing this exam. Ash and I have also been working on our Rosetta Stone French. There are 5 levels and I told her that once we both get to level 4 we’ll book a trip to France for a vacation. My mom replied to that saying that enough people speak English over there so we don’t need to wait but I think she was missing the point of learning another language and going over there as an educated visitor as opposed to a tourist. Plus having a second language is always a good skill to have and could possibly open the door for other opportunities.

That’s it, don’t have my balance info to put on this sheet but doing good with paying the bills. We actually got a refund from Uncle Sam this year but they sent us a letter saying that they were putting our refund to our taxes that we are still paying on from last year.  Was kind of crappy to see that because my plan was to pay off two of my bills with the refund since my tax money comes out automatically. In the end it all works out the same, once taxes are done they’ll stop taking $350 a month from my checking account and that money will go to the house as well.

 

 

Taxes and the IRS

So we had a little stumble this week. We received a letter from the IRS saying we owe $2250 in back taxes from 2014.During next tax season we’ll actually refile and hopefully get some of that back, hopefully. The good news is they gave us until 14 November to pay (yeah, not really good). So since I was close to paying off my credit card it looks like I’ll have to put that amount on it. I guess if there is a silver lining it’s that by putting all my paycheck on my card it really did keep from spending money on anything else unless it was a necessity. I’ll keep doing this and I know this will only set me back about 2 months.

For the month of October I put $1,725 towards my card. I did use it, but certainly didn’t use it like it was cash.I also have a $600 payment scheduled for the 1st of November and a $1,000 scheduled for the 4th. Then depending on what I needed to finish it off would’ve been from my paycheck on the 18th. Now it seems like all of my 18th paycheck will go and I’ll just keep chopping away at it.

Awesome time of year

So the weather just started getting cooler which is nice because it means for one, maybe two months, we can keep our windows open instead of running the AC. The AC is one of Ash’s bills but I obviously want to help her as much as possible. We dropped our AT&T for internet and TV and went with Charter. That saved her a little over $100 a month and the cool thing with Charter is that there are no contracts so we can drop them whenever but they locked us into the current rate for 3 years which is unheard of and we can cancel at any time. She also dropped our membership at the gym (which we haven’t used in a while) and another one of her monthly subscription services. All in all she’ll be saving an extra $200 a month now which is awesome.

I’ve been doing really good with my budget and I’ve been knockout out bills and just trying to be healthier and spend more time with the wife and dogs. We actually noticed that by both of us cooking and doing what we’re doing we actually have more quality time together and we’ve been drinking a whole lot less (not that we were bad before). We did go to a local cocktail bar this weekend but limited ourselves to three drinks each. The bartender was super cool and gave us the recipe for one of our favorite drinks on their menu. We had most of the ingredients but still need one before we can make them at the house, but it beats spending $8-$10 a drink down the street.

We did our shopping at Costco this weekend and unfortunately she didn’t have a lot of money in her account at the time so I picked up that huge tab. The total was $240 something but we stocked up on all of our protein for all of our meals for the next month. The main thing that she needs to get or worry about now for meals are the little things. So for breakfast I usually make my eggs in a muffin tin, 1 per tin, that I scramble up before dumping on top of some ham and cheese or sausage and cheese, this week was ham and cheese to use the last of my ham up. So I usually get my hash browns at the store in the refrigerated section but I figured I would try the Golden Grill hash browns that they have at Costco. I was actually really hesitant but when I got home and read the reviews I was really happy, and taste wise they are really good. They are at Costco for $6.99 for the 8 pack and and although it says 7 servings per container I only got 4 servings but that is perfect me. So that comes out to $0.28 a day for me and I got our eggs from Costco as well so my breakfast each day comes out to about $0.60.

With any luck I should be able to get an extra $200-$250 towards my credit card with what I have left after everything is budgeted for.

The Bills

Revolving Debt: $6,445.76 (last month $7,214.93)

Vehicle: $13,056.92 (last month $13,578.77)

House: $190,073.17 (last month $190,908.72)

Total: $209,575.85 (last month $211,703.42)

Difference: $2,127.57