Saturday, August 22, 2020

Big Expenses to Fit into the Budget, Weekend Plans and My Health

Happy Saturday all!  I have some large expenses from the last couple of weeks that I need to figure out how to pay.  I say that because I hate taking money out of savings once I squirrel it away. 

So before we left for vacation we had both our cars serviced.  LoML's car was around $400 but mine was $1,500.  D#2's car doesn't have working a/c or radio so they are taking my car and we will take LoML's car.  All of us drive 13-14 year old cars.  We bought 2 of them new and 2 used but all have been well taken car of.  We never got the a/c fixed in D#2's car because the quote we got to fix it is about the same as the actual value of the car.  LOL!  D#2 doesn't care, though.  She loves her car and neither kid has a car payment to start their independent life.    But now I've got to try and cash flow the costs without impacting my plan for extra payments on the mortgage.

We also need to buy a new queen sized bed.  D#1 and her BF moved into their new house last weekend and in our family when you move out you get to take your bed with you.  She has been moved out since she graduated but while in college she bought a $50 queen bed from the college "free & for sale" facebook page one Spring and has been using that.  Now they have a 3 bedroom house so she put the $50 bed in the guest room and took the nice expensive bed for their master.  We have left over bunk beds from when they were young that we can put in as twins, but I'd rather make it a proper guest room.  We have time, since based on some of our extended family's behavior during this pandemic (as seen on social media) we won't be hosting everyone for our traditional Christmas Eve Seven Fish Dinner. So I  will have at least until the new year to address this.

Earlier this month I did pay LoML's life insurance, which makes me choke every year.  I'm covered thru work and it is also a retiree benefit so we cancelled my purchased one last year.  Our kids are no longer in college, our mortgage is no longer huge and we both make decent money and have plenty saved so we felt safe cancelling it.

All of that combined with the chunk of money we gave D#1 as a gift for her new house has made this August the most expensive month since D#2's graduated.

It's all good though.  We are blessed with good jobs, great kids and savings to support all of it.  I have no complaints but I do like the challenge of trying to cash flow this stuff and maintaining my savings goals and mortgage pay down plan.  Not sure if we can do it but it's worth the effort!

This weekend I have to mow the lawn, continue cleaning up my gardens, plan my fall garden and plant the seed starts that I have for the fall, And I have some decluttering to do.  I also really need to focus on my health going forward.  My work is so busy and stressful.  This week every day I started at 7 or 7:30 a.m. and finished around 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. every day and barely got off my butt to do anything else.  I can't sustain that for another 6 months so this weekend I need to make a plan on how to live this life and focus more on me and my health.  Probably the biggest challenge I have out of all of them.


Saturday, August 15, 2020

Vacation Pics, Garden Update and Other Things of Note

I thought I'd share some from the last couple of weeks.  Starting with our vacation, we literally drove to my sister's and didn't leave the the property once.  We all quarantined for two weeks beforehand, which isn't hard since we all work from home except D#2 but she works in a lab so always has a respirator/mask on.  Sis and BIL also quarantined so we all felt comfortable being together.

The first picture is the view from the upper deck of my girls in floaty chairs tied to the dock.  This was the afternoon after Isaias rolled thru so it was still a little grey.  My sister and I took a spin in those chairs too.  Hard to get into but an awesome place to relax and stay cool.

This is my youngest and her BF kayaking.

This is the seagull my BIL named George.  He showed up after the storm with stripped flight feathers, extremely hungry and thirsty.  Definitely was beat up by the storm.  We caught minnows and fed him and gave him water all week.  Surprisingly intelligent.  He is still hanging out on their dock and they are still feeding him but after consulting with a local bird rescue they are attempting to catch him to bring him to the rescue place because they told them it will take months for him to molt and grow new flight feathers, poor thing.

Next are a couple of pictures from our bedroom of the shrimp boats at night.  

And finally the summer sunset.  

Moving on to the post storm, post vacation garden.

Here is what we picked as soon as we got home. Lots of tomatoes, 2 regular cukes, 3 lemon cukes, 2 over-sized patty pan squash (but delicious none-the-less) and some padron peppers.  Sent the kids home with a bunch and shared with our elderly neighbors.  

My beat up garden.  Not the best pictures. I'm not sure how or why but 4 of my tomato plants are dead.  I still have a green zebra, a yellow brandywine and 2.5 bumble bee cherry tomatoes left.  I say 2.5 because of the 3 cherry plants one seems to be having issues but is still producing so hopefully it will recover.

On the work front I am beyond busy (over-whelmed) and it will ramp up through the fall and winter.  It's going to be a rough year.  This Friday on our weekly all-company COVID call we were told that our remote work will continue until at least January 1, and since I'm in the 3rd group of the re-entry plan I won't be going back (if at all) until April or May of 2021.  I work in a critical industry and they are taking this pandemic and our health very seriously.  They view this whole thing as a paradigm shift of how we will work going forward and they are re-configuring our offices/cubicles, limiting elevator and conference room capacities, looking into the HVAC system and other processes and tactics to make sure we all stay safe and able to do our jobs into the future.  That will also involve alternative work options, like permanent work from home, and other flexible plans.  Crazy times.

And finally, to end on a fun, cute, happy note, here are pictures of Mrs. and Ms. Kravitz on duty.

I hope everyone has a nice weekend.  I have to cut the lawn, clean-up my gardens, finish the laundry, bake some bread and also a bake sweet for the week.  I think I'll make a lemon blueberry upside down cake. 

What's on your agenda for the weekend?  How is your garden doing? 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

July Month End Financials

My monthly financial update is late this month because we were away on vacation.  We were visiting my sister and BIL on the coast.  It was a fantastically relaxing time with good food, drink, fishing, crabbing, drinking, relaxing, reading, swimming, and taking care of a friendly storm battered seagull who couldn't fly due to having his flight feathers somewhat stripped from riding out Isaias, poor thing.

We arrived the night the storm hit and it was gone by the next morning.  The rest of the week was perfect weather and we are all refreshed, replenished and ready to tackle work again.

Retirement Savings Update:

Having received most of the 2nd quarter statements for our retirement accounts I think we are fairly up to date on the numbers.  The new current all-in total of all of our retirement accounts, minus my pension is about $905,700, an increase of about $52,800 from what I reported last month.  

I continue to contribute a little more then the max plus max catch-up for the month which means I'll hit my maximum annual contribution limits before the end of the year, which is just fine.  When that occurs I'll dump that extra take home pay into my extra mortgage payment.

Mortgage Pay-Down Update:
With my August mortgage payment I again paid an extra 3 principal payments:

January Balance:        $96,555.69 - 3.5 principal payments
February Balance:      $94,242.49 - 4.75 principal payments
March Balance:          $92,429.89 - 3.6 principal payments
April Balance:            $90,429.93 - 4 principal payments
May Balance:             $88,397.84 - 4 principal payments
June Balance:            $86,326.50 - 4 principal payments
July Balance:             $84,215.12 - 4 principal payments
August Balance:        $82,068.40 - 4 principal payments

Of the amount I am currently paying every month 85% is going to principal and only 15% is going to interest.  I'm digging that!  If I keep up this average extra payment amount I should now have this paid off by August of 2023.  If I throw my bonus and tax refunds at it I can get it paid off sooner, but we have some work to do on the house and I have other savings targets, like a new car/maintenance fund, emergency fund, and insurances sinking fund. And if this COVID situation continues I'm not sure I'll even receive a bonus next year.  We shall see.

Regular Savings:
I continue to sock away about $2,700 a month into our savings account.  I've completed my savings goals for our vacation fund and home maintenance fund.  Now I'm beefing up the the emergency, new car and home improvement funds.

I did take out a small chunk of money from my Emergency Fund to help D#1 and her BF buy their first home.  They have their own money saved and have already been approved for their mortgage, but they want to put as much down as possible in order to not have PMI for very long.  Smart kids!!!  

Neither of my kids have received their COVID Stimulus money yet, so we fronted that to them.  If they eventually get their payment they will pay us back and then we will donate it.  Gotta love this government who can't effectively pay out promised stimulus to its legitimately eligible tax payers.  They can't even pay the regular tax refunds correctly.  D#2 got her Federal refund electronically deposited, and then received a check from them for. . . are your ready for it?  She received a check for ONE DOLLAR. WTF???!!!  Why?  Our tax dollars hard at work people!!!  Can someone out their please explain to me what real benefit ANYONE but the wealthy has received or experienced PERSONALLY, that is a result of this Administration.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

So how did your July go?  Did you and your eligible young adult kids all receive their COVID stimulus money?  Was your IRS refund properly conveyed to you?  Anyone else able to get away and relax?  

I hope you all have a peaceful Sunday.

Fall Is Too Early!!!

 I love the change of the seasons.  Don't get me wrong - Fall is probably one of my favorite seasons.  But where I live we don't usu...