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Archive for November, 2013

Reached November debt goal, quick news bites

November 26th, 2013 at 10:36 pm

AS's student loan payment hit, with $133 going to principal.

That takes debt progress to $910 for the month, just over the $900 goal.

I was hoping to use what little surplus we had this month for a snowflake toward one of the student loans, but lots of minor purchases ate it up. Winter gear for the kids, new litter box for the cat, batteries, bike stuff, etc., etc. I didn't even bother keeping track of specifics. I've got about $75 of surplus left, so if we haven't spent it by Nov. 30, it's going to student loan debt (it will count toward December debt progress).

I've had a crazy productive November, so I haven't been blogging m (uch. I'm 3000 words away from finishing a NaNoWriMo novel! I've never even gotten close to this before, so it's kind of astounding. I've been writing for at least two hours a night, every day this month.

We've also been doing DietBet (me and AS). I'm a little over 50% of the weight loss required halfway through, she's at a little less than 50%. If we can survive Thanksgiving weekend without gaining, I think we can make it.

Despite not getting to pay down much debt in November, I'm kind of feeling invincible right now! I know that feeling can either be dangerous or extremely helpful in accomplishing things in life. But I'm not feeling lucky -- just feeling that I'm capable of hard work and being reliable about sticking to something I set my mind to. For a while it only seemed to work for certain things, like budgeting and not eating out, but now it feels like I can just set myself to a task and it'll get done.

I want to preserve this feeling of confidence, because I have to write my annual self-assessment at work next month and I really want to talk myself up. I've worked harder and more strategically at work this past year than I ever have before.

More good money news!

November 19th, 2013 at 03:39 pm

It's been a really good month overall (except finding out about the extra dental procedure). NT went to an anniversary/transfer of power party at his company, and they handed out bonus checks on the spot. $500 after tax! And they still intend to issue a year-end bonus; NT reckons that could be as high as $5000 (before tax).

NT and AS requested that we set this smaller bonus aside to pay for a fancy anniversary dinner as well as babysitting for a couple of upcoming parties. I agreed as long as I could have the bigger bonus, which I've already pre-spent in my head! Big Grin They agreed to that.

(Tentative) good news on medical bills; big-picture goal progress

November 18th, 2013 at 09:32 am

NT's big $4K medical claim finally processed in his insurance account. I was holding my breath, thinking they might make us pay up to our max out of pocket, but it was nowhere near. Cost to us for that particular expense: $579.97.

So I'm feeling pretty good! I had $3,250 set aside in case we had to pay the max out of pocket, and so far we're just going to owe $1,543.56. No new bills have come in for weeks, though I know that's a possibility. But since we already have four claims, we might be done! That would mean we have $,1706.44 left over.

I don't want to jump the gun and put that money toward debt (much as I'd love to), so instead I'm putting it into the medical EF. Plus 31 cents interest that was added to the account last week, that's $1,706.75 to the medical EF, taking it to $3,221.01! That's more than double what it was before, and just $1,778.99 short of the $5K goal. If I have to take some out to pay more medical bills, it'll be a bummer, but not a tragedy.

November 2013 net worth update

November 18th, 2013 at 09:02 am

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
#1: 15,544 pounds ($24,870)
#2: 19,653 pounds ($31,445)
#3: 4,452 pounds ($7,123)
NT's 401(k): $26,874
NT's Roth IRA: $6,407
AS's 401(k): $11,313
AS's trad. IRA: $1,682
AS's Roth IRA: $15,729
CJ's 401(k): $63,901
CJ's Roth IRA: $6,407
NT's flat: 140,000 pounds ($224,000)
CJ & AS's condo: $145,000
Emergency fund (shared asset): $15,000
House down payment/moving fund (shared): $4,562
---
Total Assets: $584,313

Total Debt: $247,885

Current Estimated Net Worth: $336,428

October 2013 estimate: $326,715

Change in net worth: +$9,713

Summary: Big gain again this month! Mostly due to retirement fund increases (including an annual update to one of NT's UK pensions, and a bonus to his US 401(k)).

I will update my "Individual Net Worth" page shortly so you can see how it breaks out per person.

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are approximate. I don't have a way to check NT's UK pensions or flat value, so their values stay static for the purpose of this update (unless I happen to get some info by chance). UK asset values and debt amounts are calculated figuring $1.60 for every British pound.

Quick update - money out & in

November 15th, 2013 at 03:17 pm

Got the bad news this week that I *will* need the extra $2200 procedure on my mouth next year. Sigh. So that brings my estimated costs up over $5000. But, as I detail in this post on my other blog, I have ways of making up about half that money in tax savings and CC rewards. Smile

In other money in, money out news:

- Got an unpleasant jolt when I saw $80 in charges from the wine place we thought we'd canceled membership for, plus a $25 late charge on the credit card (since I hadn't even been checking that card's balance anymore)

- NT called the wine place and got an $80 refund! So I called the credit card company and got them to reverse the charges. It was a good feeling to see that unexpected $105 expense just disappear. (I'd paid the bill in a panic when I saw the late charge, so now I have to wait for a refund check, but still!)

- Our grocery co-op sent us a $20.02 profit sharing check. I never remember these are coming!

- NT sold (on eBay) a Wii set he found on the free table at our condo: We're netting about $80!

- Got some more free clothes from one of his co-workers, and she's going to check her ex's house to see if she has a snowsuit in AA's size!

- Our anniversary is coming up in December, and we found out that our daycare lady is having a sleepover with all the kids (NO extra charge!) just a few weeks after that. So we moved our celebratory dinner to the night the kids will be gone. Free babysitting and no curfew, woo hoo! She's getting an extra bump in her bonus this year; this is the third sleepover she's had for our older daughter and the first where she'll be keeping our younger kid as well.

- I keep forgetting to blog about this, but I'm transitioning over to an annual vs. monthly budget! It's pretty much in place, I'm just fine-tuning it a bit. Basically instead of one budget sheet that I paste into my "future checkbook" and adjust all the escrow stuff and dates, I have a 12-sheet spreadsheet with actual dates, where I don't save up for 12 months for annual expenses but rather just have more or less surplus each month depending on whether the big expenses are due. I think I'm going to like it once I get used to it!

- Our net worth next week should look really good if the market doesn't crash; I got an annual statement for one of NT's UK accounts that showed an increase, plus his company put an extra bonus in his U.S. 401(k).

- I joined a DietBet like FrugalTexan! One of my friends started it. I don't care if I win extra money, I just really want to make the goal weight so I get my $35 bet money back! I've been really strict about calories since it started, so hopefully I see some good results at my weigh-in Sunday. The bet goes over Thanksgiving (gulp)!

- I pretty much gave up drinking at home for the month. I still have a drink if I'm out somewhere, but no wine with dinner. I did it to A) cut calories and B) have more energy after the kids go to bed so I can work on my NaNoWriMo novel. But I've found a C) benefit -- more spending money left over! Wine only costs about $25 every three weeks (we take turns paying), but hey, that's $8 more per week I get to keep in my wallet. Smile

Bummed about FSA limit

November 5th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Darnit! We just received our 2014 benefits guide at work, and I learned that there's a $2500 flex spending maximum for healthcare costs. My for-sure dental costs are $1200 and $1646, so the possible extra $2200 will have to be paid for after taxes.

I would cancel my scan this month to determine whether I need the extra procedure since I don't need to know before the open enrollment period ends now, but A) I'm still curious so I can finalize my 2014 budget some more, and B) I've got a weird hard lump in my gums that's probably a tooth fragment, but I wouldn't mind seeing what the dentist thinks about it.

Progress on the November debt goal

November 1st, 2013 at 11:30 am

All our mortgage payments hit today.
US: $470 to principal
UK1: $214
UK2: $45
UK3: $48

All told, that's a lucky $777 down, $123 to go on the November debt goal.

No other financial news that I can think of. This is Nov. 1 so I'm going to start trying to write my NaNoWriMo novel. I have some general idea but am missing a main plotline, so I'll need to do some scheming! Luckily I'm leaving work early and taking sick time, so that will give me time to think. (I'm not very sick, just run down and have a squirrely stomach.)