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Archive for November, 2014

December debt goal, finishing NaNoWriMo & other news

December 1st, 2014 at 04:34 am

The goal in December is once again to pay the minimum on debt--at least $1550.

That's because any extra money gets stashed at the bottom line in anticipation of taking a loss on our condo if we sell. I think I only managed to set aside about $250 extra this month, and some of that may go to a dental bill, and possibly a new suit for NT if we can find a good deal.

No news on the two bites and new showing, but it is the weekend after a holiday. Hoping we hear something in the coming week.

I completed NaNoWriMo! I finished writing my novel and made it to a little over 50,000 words at about 2 a.m. the morning of the 30th. So I had 22 whole hours to spare. Smile AS finished hers later in the afternoon. It's a great exercise but we're SO glad to be done.

We all have tomorrow off to celebrate a milestone: 9 years of dating, and Tuesday marks 8 years of marriage. (But Monday worked out better to take the day off.) I've racked up $160 in plasma donating money on a prepaid card, and I also have a $25 Amex gift card from my work. We have a reservation at a nice restaurant and I'm perfectly happy to spend it all. We're also going to brunch in the morning (I can use my weekly spending money for that) and shopping during the day (we each have a Xmas budget we're allowed to spend on ourselves and the kids). It'll be a spendariffic day but all the money was carefully set aside, so I feel pretty good about it.

We have free babysitting from my friend whom I've been helping with budgeting. Our tenants/friends are giving us some free babysitting two other days this month. Three in one month--that's incredible! Since we don't have any money or time lately, we simply haven't been going out for fun this year. But one by one, the things that are causing time and money crunches are falling away, just by us being patient and waiting them out and being hypervigilant about our spending.

The biggest time-suck (besides AS's old job that she ditched) is NT's education, and he's done in three weeks (two more weeks of classes and one of tests--I know I keep repeating that, but we just cannot wait).

The biggest money issue is carrying the condo and association dues, and preparing to take a big loss when we do sell it. Once that biggie is out of the way, there are a few other things that will clear up our budget further: refinancing our main mortgage, NT getting a raise, less money toward flex spending and (later next year) daycare, AS possibly ramping up her freelance work.

But once NT has graduated and we sell the condo, things are going to be much rosier even without all the rest of that.

November debt goal reached

November 28th, 2014 at 09:57 pm

Just a quick check-in on a lazy day after Thanksgiving. AS's student loan payment hit with $137 going to principal.

That takes us to $1569, exceeding the goal of $1550.

Will set a new goal for December this weekend.

We have two people who have expressed interest in the condo and another showing tomorrow. Really hoping one of these turns into an offer.

I'm at 43,502 words on my NaNoWriMo novel (which explains why I've barely blogged for a while). I think I can get it done by the end of the month.

Three more weeks until NT finishes college!

That's the big news in a nutshell.

November 2014 net worth update

November 16th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

NT's UK pensions:
#1: 17,105 pounds ($27,368)
#2: 20,501 pounds ($32,801)
#3: 4,452 pounds ($7,123)
NT's 401(k): $33,536
NT's Roth IRA: $7,393
AS's trad. IRA (V): $13,240
AS's trad. IRA (E): $1,682
AS's Roth IRA: $19,848
CJ's 401(k): $76,954
CJ's Roth IRA: $7,393
NT's flat: 140,000 pounds ($224,000)
CJ & AS's condo: $140,000
CJ/NT/AS house: $440,000
Total Assets: $1,031,338

Total Debt: $667,357

Current Estimated Net Worth: $363,981

October 2014 estimate: $339,481

Change in net worth: +$24,500

Summary: The market turned upward again and we reversed the losses of last month plus added some value. One of NT's UK accounts sent a statement which boosted its value, and his company gave some bonus 401(k) money as well. All in all, a great month for net worth!

I'll update the Individual Net Worth page shortly, breaking it out by 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..60 for every British pound.

AS got more work!

November 12th, 2014 at 01:30 am

She booked three separate jobs with different places today, to the tune of $1550! Big Grin One of them will take her a long time, and one is in-house work for my job that doesn't take place until December. But still! This takes her so close to her goal of funding healthcare and replacing net pay from her old job through the end of January. Just $909.94 to go on that goal. Smile

After that we'll start on funding her federal and state tax prepayments. I'd like to have those sorted out by early January so we can send in an early payment. Next we'll start on retirement. Then it'll just be a case of funding each month's net pay, taxes and retirement, starting with February.

Once we sell the condo, her pay will just be gravy. We'll use it to fix up the house, go on vacations and plump up our depleted emergency fund. But for now it's very much necessary to keep everything going, so I'm really grateful to have the peace of mind of so many paychecks accounted for in advance.

Financial & other news (nothing big)

November 11th, 2014 at 02:22 am

I'm at 14,065 words on NaNoWriMo. I don't think I'll get much done tonight because I'm exhausted, so that means I'll be about a day and a half behind going into tomorrow. Not too bad; I could make that up on a good day.

I had insomnia randomly last night. Didn't feel scared or stressed, so I'm not sure what it was about. I finally got out of bed and did some work before going in so I could leave early. It snowed about 6 inches today so all the buses were going slow, but it only took me 15 minutes longer than usual to get in.

After work I gave plasma for the second time. The first time was Friday (I had the day off) and it took about 4 hours as they did all the training and testing. This time it was more like an hour and a half. Not too shabby for $40! I get $40 the first four times; after that it goes down to $20 the first time in a week and $22 the second. I don't know if I'll do it when it's that little; I guess we'll see how my finances look then. I'm relieved that except for the waiting, it's easy and relatively painless.

They put it on a prepaid card and there are all these different fees, so I have to be careful to use it in a way that doesn't eat up the money. So now I have $80 on the card. I intend to earn as much plasma money as possible and use it for our anniversary Dec. 1.

We had two more agent previews followed by showings by those agents. Good ratings but no interest. At least I know agents are looking at the condo and deciding it's good enough to show.

AS got some more work and is partly into funding her January paychecks. Woo hoo!

I took SL for a mom-daughter date Sunday, since I've had so many one-on-one times with AA lately. SL is two so she doesn't need much to keep her entertained. We went to a local global shopping center. I spent $3 on candy for her (and a little bit for her to give her big sister later) and $2 on coffee for me. We wandered around and then hung out at the indoor play area.

I decided against a cooking class with my friends, which would have been $69 just for me. I'm still deciding on a play some acquaintances are putting on; it's one of my favorite plays I read in college, but I also have the anniversary to think about and just wanting to have some money left over for little things.

I will be glad when I can be looser with money, but I have to say that I'm enjoying finding free or cheap ways to enjoy myself. And my family is making me proud; they promised they'd make sacrifices if we could move into the new home earlier, and they've stuck to it with virtually no complaints.

That said, one of my favorite free activities is fantasizing about things I'll be able to afford again one day! Wink

Various updates on life

November 6th, 2014 at 02:45 am

I'm at 6,017 words in NaNoWriMo. A bit behind, but at least I'm making progress. And it's all been in the after-kids'-bedtime hours, when my brain is the most tired and slow. I'm going to try and write 2000-4000 words tonight. We'll see how it goes.

I have this Friday off so I'll try to get some writing done in the daytime. I'm also going to the plasma place to see if I qualify. (My blood can be a bit low in iron at times so I bet it's a possible disqualifier.) If I do get to give, I can try to write some while it's happening.

My payment to the crazy seller was taken out of the checking account on the 4th! First time it's made it by the 5th, which is technically the grace period. Well, the first payment did, but he didn't know it was my payment so he thought I was late that first month. I'm just so relieved I don't have to email that unpleasant person this month. I have December's payment schedule to reach him Nov. 25, so hopefully it'll get to him by the 1st. AS says the mail carrier must hate him for his mail to be late all the time like that! Big Grin

We had an agent preview the condo yesterday and that same guy scheduled a showing for this evening. At this point it's hard to get excited about showings, but this is the first non-agent one in two weeks, so I am a little hopeful.

NT has only 6 more weeks of college! 5 weeks of classes and then a week of finals.

I guess that's about it! Still holding steady on not spending, unless it's out of a fixed budget line such as groceries. We cook dinner every night, I bring in breakfast and lunch to work every day, barely go on any dates or to anything that's not free. Don't buy anything I don't absolutely need. I have four pairs of work pants and about six sweaters and I just cycle through them every week for work clothes. Every bit of extra money gets socked down to the bottom line to help minimize the loss when we sell the condo. I've got nearly $4000 saved so far. Holding the line now will help us recover faster and more strongly when the budget allows us to.

November debt progress

November 4th, 2014 at 12:48 am

All our mortgage payments hit:
US condo: $491
US duplex:$628
UK1: $218
UK2: $47
UK3: $48

Takes us to $1432 down, $118 to go for the month of November!

Super cheap (and fun) kids party, NaNoWriMo progress, etc.

November 2nd, 2014 at 08:50 pm

Today we had a playdate/party that AA has wanted to throw for a long time. About six kids and six adults came. We had it in the morning so kids could nap afterward; afternoon/evening parties tend to cause meltdowns in preschool kids, we've found.

We served breakfast-y food: fruit, mini-pancakes, waffle sticks and banana bread. Juice and water for the kids, coffee for adults. Probably spent $5 more on groceries than we normally do. We bought $3 worth of party favors: a bag of superballs and a bag of toy ponies.

The party was princess- and pony-themed, so the night before I cut some construction paper into crown shapes, and let each kid decorate a crown with stickers before custom-taping it to fit their heads. NT found some coloring-book pages online and printed those out for kids to color.

I found a My Little Pony album and other kid-friendly playlists on Spotify.

It was great! For less than $10 we had a festive and fun party. It's so much better entertaining kids in the new home, because the intensity is spread out over several rooms and floors instead of all being in one or two rooms.

I stayed up late last night writing the first scene of my NaNoWriMo novel. Got 1679 words done, which is a bit more than 1/30th, so a good pace. It was slow getting started but hopefully will be easier now that I've described and introduced the main characters.

My dad emailed that a guy he lets hunt on his land in WV saw plastic markers in a line across the land, so maybe indicating where the pipeline would go. Not sure if that's progress or if that's been up for a while.

Not much else to report. Lots to look forward to over the next couple months, though! This month there's NaNoWriMo, a comedy show we've already paid for, a daycare sleepover for the kids, lots of days off for me, first Thanksgiving in the new home. December is our wedding anniversary, more days off, several holiday parties, NT's graduation from college, and Xmas and New Year's Eve. Fun fun fun!

November goal

November 1st, 2014 at 11:45 pm

We are still in the mode of minimum debt payments, so the November goal is the same as October: to pay at least $1550 of debt.

Other than that, no big news. NT's mini-bonus came in a couple hundred dollars more than I budgeted for, so that felt like another snowflake. Also, the CSA is splitting their shares into three seasons now. We're going to opt for the summer only, which is slightly shorter and slightly cheaper than this year's. Since that was already in the budget, I entered the lower number and counted the money saved as a snowflake. We now have nearly $4000 in the budget to help with selling the condo; it's just a drop in the bucket, but a much bigger drop than before, so I'm feeling more comfortable.

I booked my days off work and realized I'm only working 16 days in November (at least 2 of them from home and probable half days) and 14 in December! I may try and give plasma on my first day off, which is next Friday. We'll see if I can; sometimes I have low iron and I'm not sure if that will be a factor.

Halloween was so much fun and I only spent about $20. $10 of that was for a costume AA ended up not wanting to wear; she wore a fairy outfit from her play clothes. So Halloween COULD have been $10! Oh well, lesson learned. Our street is great for trick-or-treaters; we actually ran out of candy but the girls were back from their run, so I used some of the candy they'd collected to hand out to the remaining kids that came by. Smile

AS is still doing great with her freelance work. She's almost done funding December. Once she finishes January, I'll go back and fill in money for taxes and retirement. Though I may put off the retirement contributions and use that money to help get out of the condo.

Speaking of that, the agent preview was just a realtor checking out the competition. At least he said our unit was better than the one he's selling, and we're priced $4K lower. No new showings though. I think slowdown is normal as fall turns to winter.