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Archive for April, 2018

April 2018 net worth update

May 1st, 2018 at 03:08 am

NT's UK pensions:
AV: 17,967 pounds ($22,459)
SW: 26,544 pounds ($33,180)
FL: 6,462 pounds ($8,078)
NT's 401(k): $63,240
NT's Roth IRA: $26,961
AS's trad. IRA: $19,162
AS's Roth IRA: $47,743
AS's SEP IRA: $23,603
CJ's 401(k): $126,091
CJ's Roth IRA: $31,085
NT's flat: $212,500 (200,000 pounds value x1.25 -15%)
CJ/NT/AS house: $427,281 ($454,554 value -6%)
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,041,383

US Mortgage $388,990
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $32,850
UK Mortgage 2 $6,925
UK Mortgage 3 $7,293
TOTAL DEBT $445,058

Current Estimated Net Worth: $596,325

March 2018 estimate: $588,981

Change in net worth: +$7,344

Summary: We had an OK month, and we're almost back to the January high. But since some of that is debt paydown, I know our retirement assets haven't fully rebounded and won't bother checking in on our retirement goal this month.

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are approximate. (I do have my eye on a comparable listing for the UK flat, but it's been on the market a long time.) UK pension values updated about once a year. UK asset values and debt amounts are calculated figuring $1.25 for every British pound.

Medical costs, money from savings, goals check-in

April 14th, 2018 at 04:57 am

Well, even though birthday month is over (it bled into April since AA had to reschedule her party due to strep) life hasn't settled down at all. Work has been really busy, AS has a ton of nighttime obligations (teaching, board meetings) and so does NT (his hat business seems to have reached some kind of tipping point where he's in high demand -- which is exciting for him but means he goes out even more often). I too have had some night things such as dinners with clients, music shows, hanging out with friends ...

Anyway, there's been a bit more spending than usual, and also the medical bills have started to roll in from our March illnesses. Oh, and my mammogram came up with something that needs a follow-up ... I think I've had maybe one that hasn't, out of 4 or 5, so I'm not worried, but it typically runs me about $600 to get a follow-up exam. I think I might check into how much it would cost to just get the 3D mammogram (which isn't fully covered like the regular one), because if it's less than $600 and requires fewer follow-ups, it might be worth it. It's so hard to figure these things out, but maybe I'll ask the mammogram place to run an estimate by my insurance company or something.

I scheduled the follow-up for early May. Of course in the back of my mind I realize it could be something -- that's why I'm not ignoring it -- but I'm just not too worried since this seems to happen every time.

So a day or so ago, I was feeling like this deficit would never go away. We want to be saving really hard for the kitchen and for travel, but I finally gave in to the idea that maybe we should pull some of those savings back out to just take care of the deficit. We had a family meeting, talked about upcoming expenses and the current deficit, and decided that we could take some out of reno savings, even though it will set back the date we can start working on the kitchen. We decided to keep the meeting with our designer and contractor in May, because that will give us a much better idea of the number we're saving toward, but we pulled nearly $5K out of savings and used about $2K to eliminate the shared spending deficit. I'm holding the rest of it separate from our shared spending but will put it there as needed (like when medical bills come in... such as the nearly $900 bill for NT's ER visit when urgent care was closed and he had to get his cough checked out...sigh...but I insisted he go in, so I have only myself to blame for that one).

We also agreed that probably we'll only do one solo trip per adult this year instead of the 2 we each did last year. With three family trips planned (two to Va. and one to UK after Xmas) and everything else that's come up, unless we get a big financial boost we'll try to stick to that.

Our kitchen savings are at about $20K now. But we feel better not having that shared spending deficit staring us in the face all the time. I think it's OK to admit that our expenses exceeded our spending money, as long as we're taking the money from something optional (like renovations) and not from like the EF or retirement or anything.

Other goals...I've been trying a looser approach to drinking and screens and it's been going so-so. I was hoping to average 3-4 days per week of 0-1 drinks, and it has been more like 1-2 days per week for the first two weeks. Still, it's better than my habits were in 2017, so that's something. Screens have been hard to measure because I just haven't had a lot of downtime anyway. I'd say I'm a little better at not being on screens all the time than I was before my Jan-March days of enforced no-screen time, but I could do better.

I've been practicing up a storm on guitar but haven't made any progress on my writing goal. I haven't added to my preparedness supplies because of the ongoing shared spending deficit and probably won't for a while, but we did have some organic EP progress. There was a tornado warning siren test and NT took the opportunity to run some drills with the kids about getting to the basement. He also went over fire drill procedures and talked about the rope ladder and fire extinguishers we have. While we were at it, I showed them how to access 911 on my phone even when it was locked, and when I asked them to demonstrate it today, they both did it correctly. So we have made a little bit of emergency preparedness progress this week!

April 2018 debt payments

April 4th, 2018 at 03:52 pm

All our mortgage payments have hit:
US: $717 to principal
UK1: $179
UK2: $38
UK3: $40
In total, $974 was paid to principal.

New total household debt amounts:
US Mortgage $388,990
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $32,850
UK Mortgage 2 $6,925
UK Mortgage 3 $7,293
TOTAL DEBT $445,058

Best Easter dinner

April 2nd, 2018 at 12:41 am

We had the perfect meal tonight! We all remarked on that, so I thought I should document it:

Vegan ham, sliced thin and baked at 375 with a brown-sugar

Text is glaze and Link is
glaze for about half an hour.
Oven-roasted asparagus
Simple pan-cooked broccoli
Mashed potatoes
"Melting potatoes" (roasted at high heat)
Brussels sprouts slaw
Parkerhouse rolls

And for once, we had enough for a few leftover meals but not way too much food!

Various doings

April 1st, 2018 at 07:40 pm

No more AS checks came in on Saturday, so I closed out the quarter. Quite a bit of the work she did hasn't paid yet, so I moved those payments to Q2.

Q1 came to about $11,000. Lower than 2017 and 2015 but higher than 2016. Q2 should be bigger (even though it's only a two-month quarter) because she's already worked a lot of the expected payments. In fact I'm hoping she'll get about $10,000 in payments in April alone!

After NT's and SL's birthday parties, and accounting for what we need to pay in taxes, but with a few of AS's payments offsetting slightly, our shared spending deficit is about $2300. Upcoming expenses this month are a donation to my alma mater on "Giving Day" and AA's party space rental. And medical bills from our various maladies last month; we've gotten about $300 of bills so far. I'm in no hurry to pay them as there doesn't seem to be any consequence to paying them a month or two late! But I will have to contend with it eventually.

AS and I both want new clothes for the spring and summer. We always try the cheaper thrift stores first, but sometimes it adds up, depending on how many things we need to buy new if we don't find what we need at the thrift stores.

I'd also like to make a donation to an environmental nonprofit whose founder died last year, and I'm still interested in this line of facial products. But I'm holding off on those until I see how our money goes over the next month.

The good news is, I don't foresee any more big expected expenses that aren't already in the budget. So I'm hoping AS's April payments get us close to eliminating the deficit even with the aforementioned upcoming expenses. March is always tough because we budget for gifts, but party expenses have to come out of shared spending, and we all love having parties for our birthdays! And it seems most of the kids' friends who have birthdays also have their parties in March, so those gifts hit the shared spending as well. The clothes shopping might make it challenging to break even, but hopefully we'll get close.

Last week I slipped and only did one day of no drinking and one day of no screens after work. Since I'm structuring my goals differently for April, I won't try to make those up. In April the goal is minimal, intentional screen time at both work and home Monday-Thursday, and 0-1 glasses of wine (0 at least 2 days per week) Monday-Thursday unless there's a social event or other special occasion.

Now that birthday madness is almost behind us, I really really hope I get re-motivated on my novel-publishing and emergency preparedness goals! Another thing I want to do in April is build a really nice capsule wardrobe. I have my colors, and preliminary window shopping has made me interested in possibly some floral prints. I haven't done many patterns at all for the past couple years, so it might make a nice change.

My weight has bumped up this weekend, which is a bummer. But hopefully that too will even out.