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Home > Update on tax/dental bill goal: DONE!, travel spending, and what's next

Update on tax/dental bill goal: DONE!, travel spending, and what's next

July 10th, 2016 at 10:35 am

As you may recall, our goal got a big boost when our neighbors gave us $4K toward buying their share of the house, and I decided to just count it toward the debt. Any other time I probably would have put it toward our mortgage or into an EF, but we're just so sick of having to make up our tax bill and dental expenses. So that cut it down quite a bit before we left.

While we were gone, AS got two more freelance payments: $1226 and $758 net. We had to take some travel expenses out, but NT's raise hit with a $50 boost to his paycheck, so even with the travel expenses, our current deficit was reduced from about $1800 to just about $100.

Then I checked the Chase Sapphire rewards card. The bonus had hit and we could either get $601 cash or $775 travel rewards. Again, any other time I'd have saved it to use on travel expenses for our next trip. But seeing the end of the tax bill in sight, I couldn't resist: I cashed it out for $601.

So the upshot is, we've fully funded the tax bill and current dental bills and have a current surplus of $507! Our future projected surplus including all the money AS is anticipating from booked work: $7950!

Now, we still have a few dental bills expected later this year, and with how crazy this year has been, I'm not counting on that money at all. I'm just going to leave it there and we'll use it if we need it. But I declare the tax/dental challenge officially completed.

So what's next? Well, honestly, after about four months of this, there are so many deferred wants that it's hard to choose just one. But generally, we're going to continue to examine our purchases and try to be sensible for the rest of the year, so we don't get caught out by something like the tax/dental double whammy again.

I stopped tracking our spending on vacation once it became clear we weren't going to go over our limit, so I'm not sure exactly how much we spent from our UK account. Somewhere in the ballpark of 2,000 pounds or $3,000, about $200 per day. This included about $300 for car rental insurance, some bus journeys, souvenirs, groceries, eating out, petrol (gas), etc. We also spent some on our US credit cards, but that's already been taken from the budget surplus mentioned above. So I don't feel the need to do a detailed spending tracker, but I'd estimate it was:
UK flights & travel insurance: $5500
(UK lodging paid for by NT's parents)
Rental car & insurance: $900
Barcelona flight and lodging: $1300
Other spending: $2500-$3000

So, roughly $10K or $11K all told. Wow! But it really was an incredible and unforgettable trip, so no buyer's remorse there.

I can't tell if we're still waiting for some pending charges to hit NT's UK account, but I think they're all accounted for. If so, we have about 437 left over ($655). If so, we're saving that as the first drip toward building an emergency fund again. Yay for EFs!

Speaking of, I've decided for now that the EF goal will be $10,000. My reasoning is that we do tend to have a big surplus each month so could conceivably lose one income and still survive. (Technically we could probably survive if we lost one full income and half of another.) So we don't need a massive EF at this point. But I want to have at least enough to pay off our downstairs neighbors if the house deal were to fall through for any reason, plus a little extra. We "owe" them $9K, so I figure $10K is a reasonable figure.

I don't know that we'll go full tilt at this goal or just add to it incrementally. But for now I'll count the $655 in the UK account and go from there.

I'll try to post a more fun travel wrap-up with a few pictures later!

10 Responses to “Update on tax/dental bill goal: DONE!, travel spending, and what's next”

  1. CB in the City Says:


  2. NJDebbie Says:

    Hi CeeJay, can you elaborate a bit on your neighbors? Are they co-owners of your home? Just curious Smile

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    Hi NJDebbie! Yes, I've mentioned it here and there but it's been a couple years since I really laid it out I think. Basically, we bought a duplex with the intent of renting the other half to two of our best friends (who are a couple). Which we've done, and it's working out fabulously. They're more than tenants; they take care of the place as much as we do and even share some of the expenses. They even paid $5,000 of the down payment, which we were going to pay back. Somewhere in the process or shortly thereafter, they expressed interest in purchasing their share of the home, so they told us to keep the $5K as the first part of their payment.

    One of them (NJ) is a lawyer who formerly worked in real estate law. He said he had an idea for how to do it and would draw up the papers. Then we'll run them by a lawyer to make sure it's OK. Over a year ago, he said the contract was 95% done, but he stalled out on finishing it. I wondered if they'd lost interest or were just too busy. Then a couple weeks ago he gave us another $4K and said they were still intending to follow through on it. So we'll see. I don't mind either way (if they stay renters or purchase their portion of the home), so it's really up to them and what they want to do. I'm still considering the $9K a loan unless/until we have a signed contract with one another.

    I haven't seen the contract, but NJ tried to explain it to me. Basically it would be a lease-to-deed type of arrangement where once they paid their fair share (partly through their rental payments, but they would also have to make up some of the other costs), we'd draw up a new deed where they'd be equal owners. (And if they didn't finish paying it off, the contract would be null and void.) I believe they'd intend to put our kids in their will to inherit it, since they have no kids, only a few nieces/nephews, and our kids are like family to them.

    As I said, I'd want to run everything by another lawyer to make sure everyone is treated fairly and it's in everyone's best interest.

  4. rob62521 Says:

    Wow...things are going well...congrats!

  5. VS_ozgirl Says:

    I found that my spending for my three week UK trip came in at $4548: $1773 flights, $139 travel insurance, $339 hotels/train tickets/activities and $2300 spending money

  6. VS_ozgirl Says:

    I found that my spending for my three week UK trip came in at $4548: $1773 flights, $139 travel insurance, $339 hotels/train tickets/activities and $2300 spending money. The majority of the lodging was at my friends house.

  7. ceejay74 Says:

    Thanks VS, that makes me feel like our spending was somewhat in line! You were two people, right? We were five, so a proportional amount of money spent.

  8. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Welcome back, and congrats on kicking the debt!

  9. VS_ozgirl Says:

    Unfortunately I was only one person! A big part of the holiday cost was the airfare and travel insurance though and I was away for three weeks. I feel like I got to enjoy myself, which is the main thing - I don't feel like I went nuts spending nor really missed out on anything.

  10. ceejay74 Says:

    Missed the part about 3 weeks! And 2 of ours were kids who had no expenses for a week, so I think it is proportional to what we spent. We too avoided going crazy, but things add up away from home.

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