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Home > Reached April debt goal! and other Saturday night musings

Reached April debt goal! and other Saturday night musings

April 27th, 2013 at 09:13 pm

I'm home alone with the kids and just finished up a fun movie night with the older one. Smile Spring has finally sprung in Minnesota and everyone's in a fabulous mood, including me.

I checked AS's student loan and the payment had hit, with $129 going to principal. That takes us to $2607 of debt paid in April, surpassing the $2500 goal. Woo hoo! (That loan, by the way, is now at $10,043. By this time next month, AS's non-mortgage debt in her name will be down to 4 figures.)

The payment also counts toward our big-picture goal, so that takes April progress to $14405.04. Even more way ahead of where we need to be. Which is a good place to be!

On to other musings:

We actually had a bit of money left in the grocery budget from the last two-week period, which is good since this budget has to last us three weeks (happens a couple times a year). We may spend a bit more than a third of what we have (still have a couple things to pick up tomorrow), but even if we come close I'm happy. For the last two weeks in May we'll be on vacation, so we can use vacation money for food, but if we're on track we can add some grocery money to our vacation budget, so that's why I'm trying to stay vigilant.

Just used Amazon instant video via our Wii game to rent a movie last week. It was pretty slick: $3.99 and you have it for 24 hours. I remember when I had video-store memberships, it was about $3 for a new release and you had to walk/drive/bus to a store, so this seems like a good deal. Many movies we want to watch are available on Netflix, but this expands our options.

I forgot to mention when it happened, but a few days after April 15 (US tax day), the forms for NT's UK taxes arrived. (How I wish I knew that eye-roll emoticon right now!) It's not due until early October, but still. STILL. I know I'll probably be doing two sets of taxes my whole life, so I'd better just get used to it.

I've been having a lot of fun planning mini-vacations for after we get back from England. It'll be nice to have other things to look forward to, though obviously not as momentous as our big two-week trip. Since we're using so much vacation time early in the year, we agreed we wouldn't do any other long vacations this year, so that actually frees up travel budget funds for a series of little fun things. Besides that, I asked my dad for Xmas if he'd give me some money to help us get to the family reunion, and instead he gave me a voucher to pay for the whole trip. Smile I booked plane & hotel & car for $1262 for the four of us who can make it. I told my dad it was $1200. We'll pay for gas, food and any other transportation needed, because he offered WAY more than I asked for.

So we've booked thus far:
-May 16-June 1: Trip to England (Exeter, Oxford and possibly a couple day trips to London and some smaller towns)
-June 14-16: "Strawberry Social" at our CSA farm, plus whatever other fun we can find that weekend in Southern Minnesota
-June 24: Spa day in town while we send the kids to daycare
-July 15-16: Family reunion in Ohio

Other things we have our eye on so far:
-"Braham Pie Day" (a small-town MN festival) Aug. 2
-Dinner at the restaurant down the block, which is a fantastic gourmet place we've only eaten at once (a friend's wedding reception so we didn't have to pay)
-A hotel night where we get someone to stay overnight at our home with the kids

I'm sure we'll come up with other ideas. Should actually be a lot of fun to spread our travel budget over a lot of little indulgences vs. 1 or 2 big vacations.

Speaking of the UK trip, I have to do some fancy mental financial calculations soon. So we saved up the spending money for the trip in our US checking account, but we're planning on using NT's UK credit card, which is linked to his UK checking/savings account, to actually make purchases over there (to make sure we avoid any harsh transaction fees).

We have more than enough money to cover our vacation budget in UK savings, but it's all allocated to various things: the emergency fund, the house/moving fund and the girls' savings.

So I just have to decide how to reallocate UK and US money in a way that benefits us the most. The girls' money is the easy decision; if it's in US dollars I can use it to open/enlarge mutual funds. The house/moving fund, too. But we'll also need to use part of the EF money too. Currently I have US$5000 in our US savings and 6250 pounds (US$10000) in the UK account. I like those round numbers, and I like having two-thirds of the money in a harder-to-reach place. So I may continue to shuffle money after the trip to get the UK portion of the EF back to $10000. Like I say, it'll just take some fancy financial footwork and possibly a minor migraine to figure everything out on my spreadsheets.

I'll probably do the first part of the calculation May 1, when the last UK mortgage payments before the trip happen. Then I can see exactly how much we have in the UK accounts.

While we're in England, I'm thinking we should take advantage of the opportunity and meet with an immigration-focused lawyer, to get someone's take on what our real chances, and biggest obstacles, are. If so I'll take that money out of our regular budget surplus, not the travel budget. It would slow our big-picture progress, but in the long run could help us focus our efforts and maybe save us mental effort, time AND money. We'll see if I can get it together to schedule something.

Another related expense we'll have to take on eventually is getting the girls British passports. While there's no official dual-citizenship status that one can seek, Americans with a British parent are allowed to obtain a second passport, which we see as a helpful foothold should we ever move (or should the girls want to live there someday whether or not we do).

Listed a few things on Craigslist today, things that have been hanging around for a while: a rusty bike with a broken wheel (NT bought a new-to-him bike and gave me his old one, so I can ditch this one), a supportive device for babies for the Chariot stroller brand, a Bumbo infant seat, an Apple Airport device, an armchair we have no room for in our living room, and a baby monitor. If we get no nibbles on these, I'm happy to Freecycle them instead, but thought it was worth the 15 minutes of effort photographing and posting them to maybe make a few bucks. I did get a $25 offer for the Airport but am waiting until tomorrow to see if I get an offer closer to the $40 we're asking. If not, I'll try to bargain this guy up to $30.

AS made a fast $45 working a couple hours on a freelance editing project for a co-worker of mine. The lady also took me out to lunch and AS out to coffee, so it seems like she's nurturing a longer-term relationship to maybe use us for editing off and on. This could be a good source of lower-paying but faster and shorter jobs (as opposed to the grueling book-length freelance projects AS gets that pay well but really drain her energy and our together time).

OK, I think that's it. May make it an early night, since all I'm doing besides blogging is snacking and watching TV. Smile

6 Responses to “Reached April debt goal! and other Saturday night musings”

  1. Looking Forward Says:

    You are doing great on those goals! Yay! Big Grin

  2. ThriftoRama Says:

    Family reunion in Ohio? Any chance you'll be near me? I'm in central!!

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    Shoot, I'm flying into Akron/Canton and staying in Massillon--probably a bit far north of you, huh? Would be fun to sneak in an SA meetup Sunday morning!

  4. rob62521 Says:

    Good job on those goals! Hope you have a good time at the reunion and all the other trips. You are a good planner.

  5. snafu Says:

    Great job exceeding your goals month-by-month. Your focus is really impressive.

    While you likely have a packed schedule in Britain, I wonder if a relative could refer you to a broker or Estate Agent who can keep you apprised and up-to-date on RE values/cost/rates both for existing holdings and the type/size of unit you'd expect to buy there in the future. Do relatives mostly live in flats, terraced units, row house or single family homes?

    New British colleagues always seem so pleased by the size of accommodations supplied by our employers in Thailand, China, VN etc. while we find square footage adequate but small by Canadian standards.

  6. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Ceejay - my mom was born and raised in Massillon. I have an aunt who lives in Orrville (just outside of Massillon.) Been in that area many, many, many times.

    Roll eyes --- colon rolleyes colon -- no spaces. Rolleyes Smile

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