Home > Archive: January, 2020

Archive for January, 2020

I'm a Spammer on Lucky Robin's Blog

January 24th, 2020 at 10:23 pm

Apparently, you can't type the word congratulations in the comments on someone's blog any more?!?

Anyway, Lucky Robin, Congratulations!! You did great paying off debt this month.

$2,020 In 2020

January 23rd, 2020 at 06:23 pm

I plan to save an additional $2,020 for the year. I've decided to simply automate this, and add it to the Big Goal total. Prior to making this decision I had already increased our automated savings of $175 each pay period to $200. This works out to an additional $50 per month saved.

In order to make the $2,020 increase for the year, I will change the automatic savings amount to $260. This increases each savings deposit by $85, compared to last year.

$85 x 24 pay periods is $2,040, which meets the goal exceeds it just a little.

I realized I didn't actually change the amount from $175 to the new $200 until the 15th of January. So I am short on both January deposits by $145 total.

I am moving that shortage today to make that the full $520 saved for the month. I will also adjust our automatic transfers as of February 1 to be $260 per pay period.

I have some apprehension in making this increase despite knowing my husbands annual raise was only enough to cover the added insurance premium for our daughter. This means we are forcing ourselves to have less to spend each month by $170 per month.

I think if it gets pulled out each pay period we just won't see it and will not have it to spend. At least that is the hope. Worse case scenario, I have over saved and can use the money if needed. I'm just going on some faith that the money will be there.

I'm not kidding, but seconds after I typed that I was going on faith, I received a notification on my phone that I sold a book on eBay. I'm taking that as a sign that we definitely should do this extra savings. The money we need will be there when we need it.

Are you saving more in 2020? How are you making it happen? Or if you have debt, are you paying more towards your debt?

Note to self, added $125 for January shortage, since additional $20 would actually put over goal. Transfers set up as $260 twice per month beginning February 1.

Equifax Data Breach Last Day to File Claim

January 22nd, 2020 at 11:20 pm

Today is the last day to file a claim as part of the class action against Equifax for the data breach.

"In September of 2017, Equifax announced it experienced a data breach, which impacted the personal information of approximately 147 million people. A federal court is considering a proposed class action settlement submitted on July 22, 2019, that, if approved by the Court, would resolve lawsuits brought by consumers after the data breach. Equifax denies any wrongdoing, and no judgment or finding of wrongdoing has been made."


Text is here and Link is
here to file a claim or get more information about options available to you.

I just filed today! I remember hearing about it months ago, I just didn't act until today.

Random Money Thoughts

January 21st, 2020 at 03:25 pm

I have not been good at focusing on much of anything lately, including getting a blog post together. So this is all just random.

I paid our youngest daughter's tuition and housing bill. I had saved $500 a month for the last five months to pay the tuition out of pocket. I used her ESA to pay $5700 to pay for room and board. No loans for her yet!

Our oldest daughter's tuition and housing bill is at about $9,294. She is only taking six credits to finish up this May with her two degrees. I have $6,170 in our account towards that and I believe her loan and a couple small scholarships total $3471. So we will have nearly $300 left. I will likely give this to her at graduation to put towards the loans. No point in doing it earlier, as the loans are subsidized interest.

We got a utility refund for being under the average. That was $27.30. This program is likely going away at least in the short term while they do a military housing wide evaluation, due to complaints. I can see the next refund will be larger at $32.11 and appears to be pending now. I save this money towards our Big Goal.

I redeemed credit card rewards recently. Amex $67.30 and Chase Freedom $3.82, and US Bank $13.00. It all adds up!

I earned an Amazon gift card ($25) from Swagbucks since January 1. I earned $506 in gift cards in 2019. Many of which I think I failed to count towards our Big Goal.

I have kept my eye out of for some Christmas cards on clearance and finally found a box of 14 cards by Papyrus for 90% off. I paid just $1.89 at the local exchange store. This is the only Christmas item I was in need of.

This weekend I went to Dollar Tree and bought 9 cards for $6. 8 were 2 for $1. The valentine card my husband picked out for me was $1. This is a win, as he probably would have ended up elsewhere for a card and paid $7! I also bought some of those foil containers with a lid for food. I put a meal in the set of three for a neighbor who is recovering from surgery. Great deal so they won't have to worry about returning dishes.

I did decide to keep YNAB for now. It is a time saver as far as reconciling accounts, and helps me keep good records of our spending and savings. That will be charged to our account today for $75.59. I have looked at other options but will say they don't quite add up to what YNAB can do.

I think I mentioned this once but my husband raise for the year (not the likely upcoming promotion), is going to end up covering our oldest daughters insurance premium. It sort of doesn't feel like a raise when you don't feel like you get to decide what to do with it. But in reality I'm grateful the money came at the right time for the additional expense and didn't have reduce our savings.

It's going to be a busy year. Lots of travel for my husband. Our oldest daughter will graduate in May (with unknown plans after). Will she move elsewhere? What job will she get? She just seems very focused on finishing up. We will travel to her town for graduation. I just made a hotel reservation and probably am lucky I found something at a reasonable price at this late date!

Our youngest has talked about study abroad for this summer, but I'm insistent that any classes she does take must count for her major or minor. So far, we may be striking out. While the experience would be great, it doesn't make sense to pay for a class that doesn't count.

My parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary just after Christmas this year. They have talked about wanting to take a trip with my family and my sisters family on a trip. We have said we will definitely go, but we have no idea where or what the trip may cost.

That potential trip has me wanting to sock away more money in 2020! I mentioned before the year end that some are looking to save $2,020 and I'm thinking of adding that to my savings plans to help with this trip. Hopefully in my next blog post I can try to have it flushed out where I will find this money! I think I just have to make it happen like a bill ($2,020/24 pay periods is $84.17 or $168.34 a month).

Thanks for listening to my brain dump! I didn't even mention taxes...I will save that for another time, too.

Looking Back Ten Years: Financial Point Of View

January 15th, 2020 at 08:15 pm

I'll attempt to include a screenshot of my

Text is December 2009 post and Link is
December 2009 post, but the run down I posted then was that we contributed $14,147 to retirement, our retirement accounts had increased by $33,219, and the value had exceed $100K for the first time.

We had paid over $10K on a home equity loan, with total debt decreasing by $17K. Not sure our total debt amount, but we may have had a loan on my van and home debt. If I had to guess $160K to $175K in debt.

I also reported paying our daughter's braces in cash along with a trip to Disney World. We were also getting ready for my husband to deploy to the Middle East for the second time.

Ten years later:

Husband is cosigner on a car loan for our daughter which had a balance of $4,959 at the end of December 2019. Otherwise we have zero debt.

We do not own a home and live on a military installation. We pay rent equal to our housing allowance. At this point we have rented since June of 2015.

We have $95,327 in cash (most of it invested in high interest rate CDs.) Part of that, $72,083.93, is cash towards our Big Savings Goal of $200,000.

We saved $21,627.56 in 2019 towards retirement. Our retirement accounts increased $172,287.30 in one year, with an ending balance of $660,822.27.

In 2019 both of our daughters were in college full time for the first time. Tuition bills were paid in full, with our oldest daughter taking out her first loan in the fall for $2,750. No parent loans thus far!

Our 2007 Honda vehicles are still paid off. While they have lots of miles they still run and look fantastic.

In ten years there has been significant progress in retirement and we have mostly stayed out of debt (just a little help for our daughter).

It's fun to look back and I look forward to another ten years of financial progress. It should make for an interesting story!

One Way To Use Up and Declutter

January 11th, 2020 at 09:14 pm

Since the girls left my plan is to start making meals around food we have on hand. It's not a ton, but one does buy extra during the holidays and when trying to please different palates. But the extra is definitely not as extensive as someone with a deep freeze might have. In a future post I may list what I have to use up.

This morning I decided to prep our

Text is dinner. and Link is
dinner. I had everything on hand except the cauliflower which I had purchased for $1.99 a day earlier. I made just half a batch. It smelled so good. I almost suggested to my husband that we have it for lunch, only to realize he had already made his salad for lunch. So as I put it into the fridge...I dropped the entire thing. It was in a oval pyrex dish with a glass lid. Glass shattered everywhere! Luckily, no injuries, but it was a big clean up.

I guess I can say I used up some stuff and decluttered a frequently used dish. I have a round one that I will probably try to use as a replacement (I never use it and thought of letting it go just the day before), but it may be too small and have to be replaced.

It was tempting to go back to the store to buy the ingredients needed, but we usually shop on Sunday, so I will wait and make something else. We have leftover shrimp and cocktail sauce, and I could make a small batch of taco dip with items on hand. It will be an appetizer type meal of a night.

Budget is in check so far. There has not been a lot of extra spending since the new year started. I have put money towards our oldest daughter's conference she needs to attend in February, and also paid for youngest daughter's books out of current cash flow. I have redeemed shares of her ESA to cover housing portion of the semester bill due on January 20. I did sell most of it sometime back and had it in a money market, but did need to sell a little more to cover everything. Happy that both transactions were at high share prices!

Did you, or do you, have food to use up from the holidays? Are you shopping your pantry this month to make meals?

Back To Empty Nesting

January 10th, 2020 at 03:41 pm

Both of our daughters have taken off for their respective schools. We are empty nesters once again. Amazing to think our oldest will graduate in May. Time to make plans for that and spring break!

I still need to do my ten year look back financially. I didn't forget!

I've thought about some goals, but not ready to write them, nor are they that much different than past years. Just plan to save MORE!

I'm not specifically doing Uber Frugal Month, but trying to be conscious of spending going forward. I did buy some groceries at Target in the last week using the gift cards I bought at 10% discount in December. So there will end up being less spent in the grocery budget.

I did spend some money recently to get items to start growing my own broccoli sprouts. I do like sprouts, but can't find them very often. They are really good for you, so I'm going to grow my own inside in jars. Do you grow anything inside your home that is edible?

The Year of Big Expansion

January 3rd, 2020 at 10:51 pm

That is not my word of the year, but the description that popped into my mind when thinking about our retirement growth this year.

We ended 2018 with a balance of $488,534.97. Those funds along with contributions grew to a final total of $660,822.27!!

That is $172,287.30 change in ONE year!! Yes, expansion!

We contributed $13,000 to Roth IRAs in 2019 and $10,657.56 to my husband's TSP (Thrift Savings Plan). Or in total $23,657.56.

Not too shabby! Wouldn't we all love if every year could be like this? Let's see what 2020 brings!

Paying Ourselves Back: December

January 1st, 2020 at 03:12 pm

We are paying ourselves back for money we put down on our daughter's car in May. I am putting all sources of extra funds towards that goal. Here's what I found in December:

US Bank $13.00
Chase Rewards $13.77
Amex Rewards $57.06
Extra travel funds $58.40
USAA Rewards $9.14
USAA Subscriber Disbursement $193.20
Under Christmas Budget $17.75
Pinecone Surveys $6
Swagbucks (Paypal) $25
Ebay Sale $5.34
Discover reward $0.34
FB Sale $25

Total $424.00

Prior Payback Balance: $$1,299.75
New Payback Balance: $875.75

At one time I thought we could get this paid back by the end of the year, but it seems we had expenses I hadn't accounted for. But it feels great to get this under $1000! I feel really motivated to get this paid back as soon as possible.

Big Savings Goal: December

January 1st, 2020 at 02:53 pm

While we continue to pay ourselves back for the car down payment we continue to send money to our savings goal.

December Big Goal Additions
Paycheck 12/1 $175.00
Paycheck 12/15 $175.00
Total Interest $185.03
Total $535.03
New YTD Big Goal Total $9,098.48
New Big Goal Total $72,083.93

December's tally brings us 36.04% of goal.

Another $9K added to our goal this year. If we weren't paying ourselves back for the car down payment we would have exceeded $10K. I predict that next year we will exceed that mark! In fact, that is going to be the goal.

I am increasing our two paycheck contributions to $200 per pay period starting with the January 15 paycheck, as that is when my husband's annual raise begins. Later in the year when he is promoted I hope to increase this significantly more!

Interest Earned in December

January 1st, 2020 at 02:46 pm

Here's the interest we earned on our cash savings last month:

FNBO $59.60
NFCU $125.40
USAA $0.03
Total $185.03

All interest was saved towards our Big Goal. Progress on that for the year in a separate post.