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Archive for February, 2020

Vacation spending

February 19th, 2020 at 08:11 pm

We took a short trip to Atlanta this past weekend; the kids had a couple days off work, and we wanted to get a break from the cold and snow. It was only in the 50s and a bit gloomy there, but that felt heavenly to us!

Here's the spending totals for a four-day trip (left Friday night, came back Tuesday afternoon). Travel can really add up for a family of five!
Airfare: $994
Lodging: $655
Checked luggage: $60
Taxis & rideshares: $284
Food & drinks: $947
Tickets (aquarium & music show): $231
Souvenirs & misc.: $223
TOTAL: $3,394

I had a little sticker shock at food and drinks coming to nearly $950, but that basically amounts to $47 per person per day, and when you take into account that most midrange restaurants' entrees are priced around $15, not counting drinks, appetizers, desserts or tips, it starts to make sense! I'm just not used to it because we cook almost all our meals at home.

We just booked airfare and car for our next family trip, which is to UK in August. That came to $5,595, but doesn't include lodging (which NT's family is taking care of for us) nor food/drink/entertainment/gas.

So between the two trips that's $8989 of expenses so far! Nearly half of that was paid in cash; the other half I'm floating in the budget and will gradually make up with AS freelance income and other money that comes in. I'm pretty confident we'll be able to pay for it all without dipping into reno or other savings.

Got a raise/promotion! And general news catchup

February 7th, 2020 at 09:11 pm

As some of you know I've been applying for jobs because my current company was looking shaky, and I've also been contemplating going full-on freelance with AS.

Then a job was posted with my company for a position a half step up from mine. I decided to go for it. There was some confusion and delay, but finally this week I was told I'd gotten the promotion, along with a 10% raise!

I think my company is stabilizing; our results were OK the last quarter of 2019, plus they haven't been giving out promotions and raises for a while, so I take mine as a good sign. I'll still keep an eye on other options, but now I'm feeling better about my current company again.

I won't know my new take-home amount until 2/14. However, I went ahead and bumped up my 401(k) contribution by 1%, and did the same for NT's 401(k) and AS's SEP IRA.

That'll help with our retirement goal, which also gets more ambitious when one of us gets a raise!

Other news:

- We had another meeting with our kitchen designer and it seems like we're on the home stretch of finalizing the design. Once we're done, we can get a detailed quote from our contractor and see if/how much financing we'd need to complete it. Then decide how to handle that.

- We've engaged an estate agent in England and NT's flat will be going on the market soon. Asking price is going to start at 210,000 pounds. We still haven't decided what we'll do with the money if/when it sells; considering all options including U.S. rental property, investing in a stock portfolio, paying down our home mortgage, paying off the kitchen reno, and/or some combination of all that.

- We've started using a professional housecleaning service again, for the first time since we moved into the duplex. It's more expensive than the condo because the square footage is bigger, so we hesitated for a long time (about 6 years I guess!), but we finally concluded it was worth the expense. We are busy all the time and the house just wasn't getting cleaned very well or often. We've had one cleaning so far and it made such a difference!

- AS's freelance business is going exceedingly well, so she's started eliminating some lower-paying jobs and focusing on the most profitable clients.

I guess that's all on the financial front! Maybe I'll do a non-financial update at some point. Life's been busy, plenty of ups and downs but overall very good these days.

February 2020 debt payments

February 7th, 2020 at 08:56 pm

All our mortgages hit:

US: $765 to principal
UK1: $182
UK2: $39
UK3: $40

That's $1,026 toward debt this month!

New household debt balances:

US Mortgage $372,665
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $28,874
UK Mortgage 2 $6,086
UK Mortgage 3 $6,410

TOTAL DEBT $423,035