I'm not sure why I haven't been posting! Everything is on auto pilot I guess. I have been around commenting and reading your blogs. I'll give you some various updates.
I did the first half of October's budget without my husband. I still have over $400 to allocate, so I will get him involved this weekend to figure those funds out. It seems like a lot of extra money for the first half of the month.
Retirement accounts are up big time with the recent stock market surge. Since January balances are up $80,000. That does include contributions. The more you have the bigger a 1% increase makes.
Interest earned on our cash in October was $92.04. Close to $100 a month in interest isn't anything to complain about. I did notice one bank increased their interest rate slightly (0.05%) again. We have $131 automatically deposited from my husband's paycheck to a savings account. I need to roll a couple months worth of those deposits into one of the CD's we have that is paying 2%.
My cell phone completely died on me this week. It is 3.5 years old, and some things have been failing so I've been working around them. In the meantime, I've switched my SIM card to my daughter's old cell phone. I have a VERY hard time deciding on phones. The newer ones Verizon offers seem so expensive!! I'm also debating moving to an iPhone since I have a Mac. Those are also expensive, but coming down a bit with the new release coming up. I would like the phone to have a good camera, too. I use it for my main camera. I have $195 in my cell phone replacement category and could easily find more money if I go with a more expensive phone.
I returned two pairs of shorts to Kohl's last week. That put $30 back in the budget which helped cover some new shoes we purchased for our older daughter.
We have saved quite a bit of money on high school football games recently. My husband and I have been volunteering in the concession stand for the band. This allows us to get in free (saves $14), and we get a free drink at the end which would cost us $4 if we have purchased. Last night even our daughter skipped buying anything to eat. Saving at least another $3. There have been four scheduled home games, and just one left. Overall savings is over $100. I wish we did this last year too. We will still have plenty of competition admissions this month, so the savings helps!
I've been purchasing some things recently too. It's part of my Getting Things Done series on my Organized Friends blog this month. Just yesterday I purchased two picture frames (both 50% off ) at Michael's for $29. This is something we have wanted to do for awhile, but I've put it off to avoid the spending. It feels good to get it done though. The amount spent is minor in comparison to our overall budget.
That's the money news!
Viewing the 'Income' Category
I'm not sure why I haven't been posting! Everything is on auto pilot I guess. I have been around commenting and reading your blogs. I'll give you some various updates.
Ha. Ha. A typo in the title that I decided to leave. I would like to be the Money Inn, where money comes to stay for as long as it wants.
I received a $5 rebate on some vitamins I bought last month.
I redeemed Swagbucks for $25 Paypal cash. My Swagbucks added up fast after buying some Gillette razor blades. It was a money maker!
We received $1,112 from the VA. That's the monthly housing benefit we are receiving from the GI Bill. That money is going in savings to pay us back for making the upfront housing payment.
And tomorrow is payday, so that is pending in our account as well.
Did I mention my husband completed his training, graduated and is now finally back home after a very long summer? On Friday, within an hour of arriving home he submitted his travel voucher for the trip. And it arrived in our account today!
The grand total amount of per diem and some mileage for first trip and last trip came to $5,348.25! A very nice chunk of change.
We will spend time talking about how to handle these funds. I personally just want it to go to the Big Goal, but at a minimum we are going to replace an old set of speakers in our family room. They are going out and we talked about replacing them at Christmas, but then had a change of plans for that money. Now is the time to make it happen.
I'll let you know after our next budget meeting what the plan will be.
The interest earned on our savings accounts and CD's for the month of July was $94.44. As I mentioned yesterday we have one CD maturing in August, but have opened another 3% CD with the same bank that I can roll most of the money into. Very happy about that!
The lowest interest rate we are earning on our funds is 1.1% interest at FNBODirect. The highest is a 3% CD at Navy Federal Credit Union.
So thankful rates have risen a bit recently! May that trend continue so us savers can earn more.
I totaled up our interest income for the month of March. It amounted to $91.85! No complaints on that money.
We just allow our interest to accumulate. We don't specifically look to spend it. I think I will start counting this towards our big goal, which I still need to start tracking!!
The big goal is money saved towards the next purchase of a home, which we currently don't expect to be for another six to seven years when my husband retires. We have about $40K currently that we could put towards a house right now, but we are renting so that isn't happening!
The goal would be to save $160,000 to add to that money for a total of $200,000. That doesn't mean the home will be that much, but if it's less than great! If it is more than that is okay, too. Right now we don't entirely know what we want long term or where we will end up (although we think somewhere in the midwest...although I do love this Southeast weather most of the time!)
My husband told me today that we will be getting about $105 from his recent travel reimbursement. This was the trip where he bought some friends dinner to the tune of $140. That meal isn't specifically being reimbursed, of course, but it will offset that expense a bit. I didn't think he was getting anything extra.
Our college daughter was home for spring break last week, so we did a little clothes shopping, went out to eat a couple times, and celebrated her birthday with cake from a bakery. And now the funds left that we budgeted through the end of the month are getting slim.
I did jump ahead in the budget a bit and bought tickets for my husband, daughter and I to see a local Sherlock Holmes play in early April. Those three tickets were $55 total. And we will be seeing Beauty and the Beast in the theater this coming weekend. This much more than we usually spend on entertainment in a short period of time. But thankful that we can afford to do so when we find something that is of interest for all of us.
I listed four CDs on eBay today in a lot. Not sure if they will sell or not. I think I may have listed them for sale in the past, but I don't have a record of it on my account any longer. So if I did it was more than two months ago. I figured I would try one more time.
I've been doing pretty good at accumulating Swagbucks, but I'm going to need to spend my time getting my garden planted soon. I'm going to do zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, lettuce, snow peas, onions, cucumber and strawberries. I'm going to do the strawberries in a pot on our screened in porch to keep the birds away! I'm not real optimistic about them, but my younger daughter insists since she didn't like them when she was younger and didn't get to eat any!
Oh, I thought I'd ask those of you world travelers what you think about exchanging currency before a trip? How much of the total expected costs would you want to have in the foreign currency? 20%? 50%? The teacher leading the trip can exchange for a lower fee at her bank. We know some cash is likely a good idea. She would need pounds for the two days in London, and euros for the remaining ten or eleven days. She also has a no foreign transaction fee debit card that she will likely use as well. I think we may also add her as an authorized user on one of our credit cards, as an extra back up option.
I totaled the interest on our cash investment for the month of September and came up with $80.18. I think this may be the highest monthly total in awhile. Not positive on that, as I don't track it anywhere but in my blog posts. It would be higher as I have more money at invested at higher rates (2% plus) than ever.
I sure wish it was more, but $80 month does equal $960 a year that we don't even have to work for.
I was reconciling our Citi Thank You card on YNAB today. I still don't have it quite balanced, but I did find two $25 Category Bonus that were applied on July 12. I didn't have any points to redeem, so these must have been applied from some promotion. Not exactly sure what that was! So an extra $50 is a nice surprise. I added this cash to our emergency fund.
The other surprise was a class action settlement from Kashi that arrived in the mail today. It was for $44.08! I quickly deposited it to our savings.
I added up the interest (which was expected) earned in our savings accounts for the month of July. A bit fat $81.35 to add to our savings. We never spend our interest. We just let it keep accumulating. If I had some sort of debt, I would be throwing it that way!
Since I was thinking about early retirement. I looked up the dividends we've earned from our investments last quarter. $1518.17 from our investments at Vanguard. This was the total ending June 30. My husband has an account with American Funds and that one paid $860 in December. It seems to pay annually. Currently these are all reinvested. But in retirement these could be withdrawn. If those quarterly amounts were somewhat equal that would mean over $6K in income based on what we currently own. That's very promising!!
This probably won't be a well thought out post, but I just need to write out some thoughts. We have seven years until my husband can retire from the Army with a paycheck starting immediately. He will be 54. I will be 51.
According to military retirement calculators his retirement pay before taxes would be $4,572 per month or $54,863 per year. So, theoretically, our goal should be to have expenses less than $4,572 per month. At least if we didn't want to pull any money from our retirement savings. I'm pretty sure we could live on less than this, even while doing some traveling.
If he can get into a particular position in the next two years, he may be willing to continue to work until 60 for the Army. Which gee, at that point, isn't really early retirement! I'm not sure he cares, he does like to be busy. The retirement check would be $8746 per month or $104,959 per year. That's less than he makes now, but not by much.
One issue for me in thinking about retirement is our living situation. We have around $40K that came from selling two homes. Thus enough for 20% down on a $200,000 home. I would be fine buying a home in that price range or less. We are currently renting, so we are not building any equity. I can tell our savings has increased in the last six months, by around $7K. I think this is better than if we owned a home.
Honestly, I'd love to buy a house with cash at the time we retire. Of course, that feels overwhelming to think about when we only have $40K specifically set aside as house money. If I were to make that happen, I need to be much more diligent about saving cash to make it happen. It's not that I'm unwilling, I'm just not sure what I'm aiming for. I think we would move back to the midwest, which is where family is and likely both of our daughter's will be (although one never knows on that for sure).
We are currently in the middle of paying for college for our daughter's. We have some savings. Scholarships have been helpful so far. And we have the Post 911 GI bill that I expect will cover half the cost of each of them to attend college. The best case scenario is that they leave college with zero loans. Worse case is they leave college with one years worth of loans. Our oldest is going to be a sophomore this year in college. Our youngest is going to be a junior in high school. Thus they should both be out of college at the time my husband would retire at the earliest.
I feel we are currently living in a home with too much space for our needs and we are paying too much as a result. The home is 2800 sq ft, four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, two living areas, two dining areas, a kitchen, screened in porch, and very large yard. We pay $1800 per month in rent, which is the going rate for this size property. We are not overpaying for the property itself, but probably paying more because we have a home larger than our needs. Most of the time it's just three of us living here, with two cats. We could probably move elsewhere in the area, but I know that is disruptive to our daughter. It also costs some money to move, even in town.
Another thought I have, that may or may not be related to retiring early is buying rental property. Specifically, thinking about buying a home in the college town our daughter lives in so that she could live there rather than a dorm. Not sure if this would involve roommates or not. We wouldn't be living in that town thus as owners, that could be an issue. Although, our daughter would likely learn some things about home ownership through the process.
We max out our Roth IRAs, and put 10% in the tax deferred TSP. We would save 15% on taxes if we put that Roth money into IRAs instead, yet, I'm not sure that is really smart if we would want to use that money in early retirement. That would be $1650 in our pockets each that could go towards the saving for a home. I know we could easily save $1000 a month, which is $12,000 a year. In 7 years time, that would be at least $84K, preferably more if invested.
Again...random thoughts. I would really like to simplify overall and have some clear financial goals going forward. We save what we can for retirement and college, but I've been lazy about the plan for the next seven years. If I want to make something happen we need to start making it a focus. I don't want to only have $40K set aside in seven years for a home.
Feel free to chime in with thoughts or questions. I don't have all the answers yet.
The first round of my Transformer Diet Bet is complete. And I won! I received notification that my winnings were $16.09. The bet for this month was $25, but half is saved for the final round (six months). So my portion of the pot was $12.50. I made $3.59 on my bet for an ROI of 28.7%. Not shabby at all!
I'm most pleased with the weight loss, but I'm finding that the idea of losing my bet is VERY motivational. I was very close to not making it this month.
The other thing about Diet Bet that I like is that there is a defined date and amount of weight one should be striving for. It can be so easy to say I want to lose ten pounds this month. Is 10 pounds reasonable? What date exactly do you want to lose those pounds? Diet Bets usually encourage 3-4% of weight loss in order to stay in the healthy range. These specific numbers are really helpful to a numbers person like me!
We had changed the withholding on my husband's pay late in the year to account for overpaying. We have now changed it back to 8 for the coming year. It will go into effect for January 15 pay. The net check will be lower, but it is still higher than it had been before. It may still put us on target to pay around $400 each year, but that I can deal with.
I also remembered that we had put extra funds in my daughter's Educational Savings account (ESA) early last year and dropped our Roth IRA payments initially. By April we increased them to make sure we got the maximum funds in by year end. It worked well, but it means we now have $167 each month in our favor to budget with.
Along with a small pay increase, we actually have another $336 more each month to work with in 2016. I'm thinking I just need to funnel it away and not think to specifically what it needs to go for. By year end that would amount to $4032. I'd really like to make sure we are still adding to our savings, particularly now that we don't have a mortgage. I would pay that down if we did.
In other news, I took my daughter to the dentist today. All good. We have known that she will need her wisdom teeth pulled. We have set into motion a plan to make that happen. We have a consult over spring break with the oral surgeon. We had to pay $95 to even make the appointment, but it will be applied to any costs we incur. We expect the oral surgeon will want to remove all four wisdom teeth, and will have that done in the summer when she is home on break. That will give us time to monitor her for any complications. I think our insurance will cover most of the cost of oral surgery, but I will be attempting to get more information on that soon so I can plan. Checked and our insurance covers 40% up to $1300, so we will definitely have some costs.
Do you need to change your paycheck withholding now that it is a new year? It's a good time to calculate what you might need it to be. The IRS has a withholding calculator on their website. Have you paid for wisdom teeth removal? What did you pay?
Happy New Year!
I checked our interest bearing accounts and found we earned $60.58 on our cash in December. Not too exciting but if we earn that every month for a year we would have $726.96 more in our pockets.
We are watching the Rose Bowl parade this morning...well now afternoon here. We are either taking a road trip to visit a nearby art museum (free admission). This was a request by artist daughter! If we don't end up there today, we'll go tomorrow.
And whichever day we don't go to the museum, we plan to take down our holiday decorations. So hopefully not too much spending as we start off the new year.
My husband and I need to sit down and finalize our YNAB budget. I think it is looking pretty good as we start the year.
I'll post of picture of my December 2015 income sources and total. Those amounted to $448.13! Ebay sales helped quite a bit, along with credit card rewards.
As for the entire year of 2015, my snowflake totals equal $2,725.47. I did have many months where I wasn't too focused on bringing in extra funds, primarily because of our move. We also limited our acquisition of new credit cards as well, so there were not many large bonus rewards.
I didn't add the cash we received from our damage claim. That was just over $1400, and could really be considered a snowflake. That would bring the total up to at least $4,135 for 2015. We also had other money come in as a result of our move, but I didn't track that well. Those payments would probably bring add another $7200. Of course, those were really reimbursements for money spent...so it's not like I have a large chunk of cash sitting around as a result.
Overall, it was a good year for finding extra funds. I hope to make 2016 even better! Will you be tracking your extra income/snowflakes in 2016? How did you do in 2015?
I suppose I stopped doing snowflake updates around the same time that we stopped being able to add pictures to our blogs. Maybe that will be a thing again. Not sure that I feel too confident on that yet.
Last month, in November, I accumulated just under $80. Specifically $79.29. Primarily made of Bing, Swagbucks, Ebates and US Bank (credit card) rewards.
So far December has far exceed November. I will disclose that total at the end of the month with details too.
The year to date total for 2015 is $2612.56...so far. I think there will be some more to add before the year ends. I have had better years of accumulation, but with a major move this year I'm not going to beat myself up about it!
Have you continued to track your found money in 2015? Will you have a total at the end of the year?
We received our 'refund of premium' from USAA. We get one every year. And each year it seems to go up! Last year it was $69. This year $81.12. This sort of makes up for the fact that our auto insurance rates went up when we moved.
I don't have specific plans for the money other than to save the money. I'll count it as a snowflake for the month. I'm guessing it might help cover the cost of college books in the spring. Or could offset the money spent for our adopted family. However, I think that actually ended up being covered by our Christmas budget!
Today, I'm spending money on postage to mail two gifts. I bought fuel for my van. Later I'm getting a haircut. We are also out of coffee, so need to pick that up! Dinner is planned for here at home tonight. We may have lunch out tomorrow as we will be viewing our daughter in the Christmas parade downtown.
I'd like to think it will be at least a low spend weekend, so we don't have much more to spend until payday! And as I write that I've been thinking about doing a no spend month, likely in February. It's the shortest month, even with it being a leap year! And I think it may be one where we don't have as much going on. Has anyone done a no spend month recently, ever or want to?
I'm terrible at remembering we have savings that earns interest. Maybe because it isn't much. One account earned $25, while two CDs earned almost $29 in the month of November. We also deposit $25 into a savings account as part of the agreement on one of the CDs. So we are accumulating $75+ each month. Not a lot but it counts!!
I sold another item on eBay yesterday. Already paid and mailed! That is another $12 added to the $63 profit. If the buyer of an auction that ended Monday would pay I have ANOTHER $12 to add. Hoping the payment is soon. I also have a bid on another item!
I mentioned photo books a few posts back. I did get one complete for my parents. It was $9.99 plus $7.99 shipping. It has photos of the grandchildren. It will arrive in time to wrap and mail for Christmas. I think I can fit it in a Flat Rate Priority envelope, so shipping should only be an additional $6. I debated about having it sent direct, but it seemed less personal. Nice gift for less than $25.
I paid all the current credit card spending. One card had over $1200 on it! But since we use YNAB, I knew the money was there to pay it. Our available spending is a bit sparse for the next two weeks, since there was a little overspending on our Thanksgiving trip. I don't think it should impact us much, since we just plan to stay home and do minimal outings.
We got our claim check from the moving company's insurance. We agreed to their settlement amounts on all but one heavily damaged item which they offered no money for. Their reason was it was prior damage. Well it wasn't listed on the damage report at origin and we know it wasn't there when we moved. We have an appeal filed for that item, although we aren't holding our breath.
The check for our damaged goods is $1437. We are depositing it into our checking account and holding it for a bit. We are interested in getting a new set of furniture, so it may be applied to that purchase. For now no big rush to spend it. I do wonder if I should put it into our regular checking and put it into a category in YNAB. The other option would be to put into a second checking we have that I'm not tracking on YNAB (except for the balance). A good problem to have I guess.
At this point, I can get rid of the broken items and choose to sell others that were part of our claim. They expect we would use some of the money to fix the damage, but we're not sure which pieces if any are worth repair. The only item I can't get rid of is the item on appeal until that is finalized. We are using the item so no big issue there.
My information was stolen from the government along with my husband's and 21.5 MILLION other people this summer. Ironically just this week the Army posted reminders about how to avoid identity theft. As if we only need to do these things to avoid theft of identity. What about our own government keeping the information provided to them safe?
We have been given three years of credit monitoring including our daughter under 18. Not sure about our oldest daughter seems she should get it too. She may be notified separately. There is identity restoration service and $1 million worth of insurance attached to this as well in case our identities are stolen causing financial harm.
Ick. Sometimes I really do dislike the government!
Oh, and the insurance company for the moving company is offering us $1400 of the $2600 we claimed for the damage they did to our things. One of the items that is damaged the most is being denied! We can appeal. We are going to discuss tonight to determine if we will or not.
Everything that was moved was put on an inventory. The driver logs it along with current damage. He seems to have logged damage on an entertainment center that would match the area we are claiming, but I think his notes were for other damage in that same area...not the big damage we now have and didn't have before. It is really hard to prove this unless we had up close pics before, which we don't. Why would we take a close up of the corner of furniture when it wasn't damaged? It appears someone attempted to repair the area with wax, marker and spray stain. It looks awful. And I feel so mad when I think about it.
I'm working on calculating our net paychecks for next year. I won't really have all information until January, but I have the taxable portion so I should be able to roughly calculate taxes owed for 2016. I need to know this to figure the withholding necessary. I was way off this year since I hadn't figured out the tuition tax credits. The main reason I want to figure net pay is so I can determine if we can actually afford this Europe trip my daughter wants to take. It is a trip that will cost us close to $5K. It is definitely something to plan for and figure out.
My husband and I sat down and did our budget last night in YNAB. This is our third budget of income and it seems like it is getting easier. I expect it will keep getting better too.
One neat thing about YNAB is that you can click on a category and see the transactions that flowed out of it. For example in our Household category we had spent about $122 during the first two weeks of the October. We talked about doubling it, but then when we looked at the transactions we recorded there we realized that $42 was an Amazon purchase that I had but actually had snowflakes that covered it and the YNAB cost of $54 was in that category. These were unique expenses that we don't need to be part our budget for the remainder of the month. So we simply added $35 to cover the remainder of October.
We paid off all transaction that occurred on credit cards since the beginning of the month. And I paid off the Citi Thank You card IN FULL that I mentioned needed to paid by the end of the month to avoid interest!! That feels so much better to have that off our plate.
The next 'bill' we need to be aware of and budget in is our airline tickets we purchased earlier this month for Thanksgiving. I believe this is due in the last part of November. The charges were $882. I already found about $25 to apply to it. If we can stay under budget this month then I will send the extra in to start working on that charge.
Moving right along!
I completed a Pinecone survey last week. I was credited today. And since I had 1500 points, I redeemed them for $15! I should have that money in my PayPal account soon. Yes, more snowflakes!!
I'm looking forward to Payday on Thursday. It seems our cash is running out. We should be fine and within budget until then. It's just time for more cash!
I'd like to get some items listed on eBay soon. I have items that should sell. I just need to get it together and done!!
Our moving company sent their insurance company over today to take picture of items damaged and broken during the move. Of course, we already took pictures, but they need their own. Now we wait to hear what they will offer us.
It is payday today. The market was up. And I sold another item on eBay! And the weather was a 10 out of 10 in my book. It's like all of the stars aligned and angels are singing. At least it sort of feels that way!!
I'd pay bills usually, but DH is not available to work on YNAB until Thursday, so we will wait. I can probably start on it a little tomorrow, but I want him to learn along with me, so if I do too much it won't help him.
I think ten minutes after I returned from mailing the eBay item I sold yesterday, I sold another item. I promise to ship the next business day following payment so it's not a big deal. If I had waited a bit I could have mailed them at the same time. But of course, I didn't know!
As far as the stock market is concerned, I still haven't sold any shares from my daughter's college account. I'm watching the markets to see if they get closer to break even for the year at least. I would like to sell as few shares as possible. The lower the share price the more shares it will take to come up with the dollar value I need.
I also lucked out getting a big survey completed on Swagbucks today for 175 SB. I had a 50SB one as well. Even after redeeming nearly all my Swagbucks yesterday, I already have 535 again tonight. Moving right along towards my snowflake goals.
How was your day? Did the stars align and angels sing?
My husband did change the withholding on his W2 to 18 last week. The change is already showing on his paystub for pay on September 15. The goal was to avoid having any further withholding through the end of the year, as we have determined we have already paid enough to cover taxes on our return. The increase in pay is $259.32 each paycheck through January 1. This money is going straight to savings to pay ourselves back for tuition just paid.
We have a CD with Navy Federal Credit Union that is expiring on the 17th. It was a 5% interest CD for 12 months. The maximum we could invest was $5,000, which we did. That means $250 earned! I only wish all our money was earning this rate. I may invest in another CD with NFCU that has a maximum investment of $3K earning 3% for 12 months. Much better than 1% on savings. I'll get that all figured out once the CD matures next week. Does anyone know of any CD specials with secure banks earning a decent rate?
We will have a little spending tonight as we are going to an away high school football game to see our daughter perform with the marching band. Admission is $7 each. Plus concessions, we usually need a least a water since they won't let you bring any in and it's HOT here! I gave my daughter $15 since we weren't sure about dinner, but she thinks the band boosters are covering the cost of pizza for the group. (The game is 45 minutes away and they leave right after school...going to be a LONG night!)
Really hoping to keep the rest of the weekend LOW or NO spend!
I'm procrastinating using YNAB. I know I can probably catch back up since we aren't too far into September. My husband did get paid so that is easy. I have already set up my normal way of paying bills. Thus it doesn't seem necessary. It feel like MORE work to use YNAB.
I still want to try. I'm just being honest. I'm procrastinating getting it done. Maybe this weekend? I'll let you know.
I do have one question. We make our Roth IRA investments out of our net paycheck received on the 15th of the month. Do I include these contributions as an expense? Or should I deducted them from income before I input that amount?
For those of you that use YNAB, what do you like most about using it?
We downloaded YNAB this weekend. I've taken one class and entered in some things (primarily savings pots that already exist in our checking account). Tomorrow is payday so seems a good day to start using it! I think initially I'm going to be entering things the old way in my spreadsheet to make sure it is lining up with what I expect YNAB to do.
My husband and I did sit down last night for a discussion. He is now aware of our total cash savings, the current amount on credit cards (not paying any interest), the net income, our expenses and how much we are saving annually for retirement. He seemed very pleased to know all the details. He was a bit surprised that there wasn't as much extra as he thought. He admitted to spending thinking that with his raise there is a lot of extra. There really is plenty. To me, it's about not wasting the extra on lunches out. We need to make sure we are accomplishing what we want with our money.
It was a good start. We didn't make any decisions on buying anything new. No changes have been made to anything yet, which is fine. We'll get where we want to go soon.
The first month of YNAB will be interesting as I'm not entirely sure how much we spend on groceries or gas each month. I will do my best to make an educated guess. The nice thing is I do know how to save cash for non monthly expenses, such as an insurance bill. I already have that part of the budget figured out....well for some things. I'd like to do this for more items as we move forward.
What do you like best about using YNAB? Did anyone try using it and then give up?
I now have more information about the costs of tuition this semester, what can be claimed for the American Opportunity tax credit and how it will impact our taxes owed. And the good news is we will owe less in taxes as a result!
The bad news(good news?) is we have already had too much tax withheld to cover our taxes. A whopping $1775. Yes, most people rejoice at such things praising the government for providing them a tax refund. Unfortunately, I blame myself. I actually increased our tax withholding to compensate for the fact that we would no longer be able to claim the child tax credit (of $1000) for our oldest daughter and my husbands increase in pay. I didn't take the time to figure out about the college credits available and how that would impact our taxes. Oops!
The good news is I have changed our withholding to 10 for the time being. In order to avoid any more withholding we need to claim 18! My husband will need to do this in person, as I can't change the amount higher than 10 online. Once it is changed to 18 his monthly paychecks will be $518 larger! Money that I plan to set aside for the tuition bill in February.
Of course, I will need to change the withholding in January to make sure we do have money withheld in 2016! I haven't figured the correct amount to withhold right now, but trust me I will do a better job this year in getting it right. I will have more clear information this time around.
Do you know where you stand on your withholding and taxes owed for 2015? Is it possible you need to make changes due to a change in circumstances? Do you prefer a refund or just to owe a little on your tax return?
We received a payment for our temporary lodging expenses yesterday. The amount was $1550.50. This is less than the rent we actually paid for 30 days. But the Army made this payment based on their calculation for 10 days worth of lodging and meals. Works for me!
I can now make the final payment on our Citi Premiere card, which is under $800. That will make the balance zero. It should remain that way and we will get it closed in the near future.
I still have a running balance on our Citi Preferred card, maybe about $3K. This card has 0% interest, so I have been just paying what I can from paychecks. I will need to dip into savings soon to get it all paid off, which is fine. I haven't even used all the money the Army has sent yet.
I expect I can put at least $1500 on it today, and have another $500 available on pay day. Of course, we have our trip expenses, but some of that Army money is covering the trip. I'm finally feeling a little more in control of the cash inflows and outflows again.
It will be interesting to see how college and making payments feels in the next couple months! It's coming up fast.
The escrow check from our mortgage company arrived today. A nice fat check in the amount of $2,033.05. We are still owed $21.98 for cancelling our homeowners insurance. The insurance company sent that money to our mortgage company, but apparently it did not arrive in time to be included with this check. I'll be depositing it using my mobile phone!
We are still waiting on one more Army reimbursement. It should cover some of our time in our temporary apartment. I'm guessing that could take a couple more weeks.
One day soon all the money flowing out and in will settle down a bit. It has been a crazy year so far!
All of our items arrived at our rental home on Monday. I've nearly unpacked all boxes inside the home. I will need to find a cool morning for the few in the garage. We were even able to unpack quite a few boxes while the movers were on a break waiting for a second truck to arrive. That means they already hauled away all the boxes and papers we unpacked then. Actually kind of nice!
Unfortunately, not all of our items made it halfway across the country in good condition. I've seen a broken plate, broken (in half) candle holder, grease and debris on several of the mattresses, a hole chewed in the corner of our big wood desk (a mouse while in storage?), a broken bike reflector, damage to the bottom of our entertainment center that seems to have been already repaired using two stains and wax (and not in a good way)...and some other minor dings that I will live with and avoid mentioning.
It's payday! We also received a payment for the items we moved in our van. That payment is taxable, so the net amount was $734.51. I haven't logged on to see the rest of the details for how much the total was and how much was withheld for taxes. I think they withhold 25%! We'll get that back early 2016 when we file our taxes. Now we are just waiting for one more payment...the one that is for the temporary lodging. Maybe two more weeks at least on that one.
That's it for now. More details later when I have more time. I want to get back to the unpacking. Although I did appreciate the few minutes it took to write this post to get off my feet. Moving is tiring!
Most of our travel reimbursement from the Army is pending in our checking account today. This one is for our Dislocation Allowance, mileage and per diem for our actual driving trip to our new location. At least that what it looks like from the amount.
The amount pending is $4,656.55. Definitely plenty to work with to get our credit card paid off. I'll give more updates when it is all complete.
We are still waiting on the reimbursement from the Army. Maybe tomorrow? I know it will come eventually. It just takes patience on my part!
The good news is we finally got a daily itemized bill from the corporate housing company. My husband can turn this in to get some reimbursement from the military for our temporary quarters. They will only cover 10 days, but they include a per diem for food for those ten days with the assumption you are probably in a hotel and eating out for all meals. That extra food money will help defray some of the costs as well. I'm going to guess this would come to around $700 if we get it. It could be more, but I'm not going to pin my hopes on it.
Have a super Independence Day weekend!!
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