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Archive for February, 2019

Fixing our cable bill (due to my own error)

February 27th, 2019 at 07:06 am

A couple of months ago I took a look at our cable bill, something I had neglected to do for way too long. I noticed we were being billed for 2 convertor boxes at $6.99/mo. each. However, we only have one. I went over to the office and told them and they agreed to take one off the bill.

Fast forward to last week. I was in the basement and came across a convertor box. Sure enough it is the one they insisted we had and have been paying for. I have absolutely no memory of why we have an extra box or why I never returned it. I brought it up and figured I'd drop it off next time I was over that way.

A couple of days ago, I get a letter in the mail from, the cable company. An account review showed that we're paying for one box but their records still indicate we have two so they're going to start charging for it again.

Now that I actually have the extra box, I can fix this once and for all. I'll go over today and return it and make sure our account is updated accordingly so that we can stop paying that $6.99/mo. fee.

Portfolio up 110K YTD

February 23rd, 2019 at 07:00 pm

I spent some time tonight updating our portfolio spreadsheet and adding a few lines to make it easier to track things. I used to have some accounts like my wife's 401k listed as a single item even though that account holds 2 different funds. Now every fund is listed separately which makes updating easier and also makes tracking asset allocation easier.

Anyway, once I was finished doing all of that, the bottom line was that the total as of today is up by just under $110,000 since 12/31/18. Considering how awful December was, it's very nice to see how quickly things recovered. I feel bad for anyone who sold in a panic 2 months ago. Had I done that, I'd be $110,000 poorer right now.

Saw the accountant today; "new" printer

February 20th, 2019 at 05:39 pm

I met with our accountant today to do our taxes. I don't know the outcome yet but everything is submitted except for a couple of forgotten items I sent over tonight. I should know in a week or so how we made out.

A few weeks ago when I went to print something, my printer made an awful grinding noise. It did ultimately print but each time I tried after that, same noise. The printer was over 8 years old so I wasn't terribly upset, and it wasn't an expensive item to begin with.

The only thing I was annoyed about was that I bought a set of ink cartridges for it not long before that. I knew if I bought a new printer, those would go to waste.

So I checked the box for the cartridge for a list of compatible printers and then searched on ebay for the newest of those models. I lucked out and found someone selling the newest one for $15 plus $17 shipping. I was happy to spend $32 to get an upgraded printer and not waste about $60 worth of ink cartridges. It arrived yesterday and I just set it up tonight. It seems to be working just fine so I'm back in business for a pretty modest expenditure.

Mortgage payment, decluttering, and date night

February 18th, 2019 at 01:04 pm

There are 3 savings things that I do manually each month. I send $1,000 to our Ally savings account, $1,000 to our taxable Vanguard account, and $1,000 extra to our mortgage. I don't usually do them all at once but it worked out that way this time. I just did the Ally and Vanguard transfers.

When I went to do the mortgage payment, I discovered a notice that the annual escrow review showed a shortage (doesn't it always?) of $114.89. So I had to pay that. I also had already decided to up the extra going to principal from $1,000 to $1,500. So I did all of that and made that payment. I can't wait until the mortgage is gone in a few months.

If you really want to follow our decluttering process, I'd head over to the forums: https://www.savingadvice.com/forums/forum/financial-chit-chat/general-discussion/700407-2019-decluttering-thread. We just went through all of our sheets and mattress covers and are getting rid of a whole trash bag full that will go to Goodwill. Some worn out stuff is also going in the trash.

I didn't realize it but my wife and I have a "date night" tonight. Our daughter is heading back to her college for a fraternity event and will be gone from about 4:30 until after 11:00. I think we're going to cook dinner together and then rent a movie on one of the online services and relax with a couple of drinks. Not sure what we'll see but maybe A Star is Born.

Went to Aldi today

February 17th, 2019 at 06:51 pm

My mom loves Aldi and I've taken her there a few times as she no longer drives. My wife has always kind of looked down on the place. Even though she's frugal and a good shopper in general, she's never been a fan of the deep discount places.

Last time I took my mom over, my wife was also with us. We noticed that they sell the same brand of Italian rolls we buy all the time. I think they were over $1/bag cheaper. And one of the things my mom went for was strawberries which were on sale for $1.39. I had just bought a container of them at Wegmans the day before but I paid $4.49. That's a big difference.

There happens to be an Aldi on my way home from work if I take a certain route, so I stopped there today. I was going to just buy strawberries. They are no longer on sale so they were $2.99, but that's still $1.50 less than Wegmans. I also picked up blueberries for $1.99. I'm not sure how much those are at Wegmans but I know it's more than that. DD had some of each tonight and said they were good.

Next step is to actually go over and browse and buy some things to try out and see how we like the store brands. Hopefully we can find a few things we like. I'm happy to stop there after work occasionally, especially if every trip saves us several dollars. I'll count that as a win for sure.

Update and an attempt at blogging more

February 15th, 2019 at 07:01 pm

I've never been that active over here on the blogging part of the site although I'm very active on the forums. I'm going to attempt to change that. I like answering questions and helping people there but I'd also like a place to share more of my own (our own) journey.

Let me start by re-introducing myself here. I'm Steve. I'm 54, married for 26 years, one daughter age 23. I'm a family practice physician who spent 24 years in private practice. Starting in April 2016, I gradually transitioned to working in urgent care, first going per diem, then part time, and finally full time in November 2017.

The result of that job transition has been a dramatic change in our financial situation. I went from earning about 120K to earning about 210K. The new position also has much better benefits including cheaper and better health coverage, a 401k with match, and more.

Another big change in the past year was our daughter graduating college. We paid for the 1st 2 years with the 529 money we had saved since she was little. We paid the 2nd 2 years mostly out of pocket so that was a bit tight as we were spending about $3,000/month for that. Once she graduated, our disposable income jumped up basically overnight.

The next big change will happen in a few months when we pay off our mortgage. I'm not exactly sure when that will be but no later than the November 1, 2019 payment. I expect to do it before that though. That will free up a total of about $1,700/month. I'm still debating what to do with that money going forward.

One thing that has been on our future list forever is buying a house in Florida and potentially moving there. As I am very happy in my job now, which wasn't the case previously, I'm actually finding that the drive to move isn't really there, but I do like the idea of getting a place of our own down there for vacations. We rent a condo or townhouse every time we go down, almost always in the same development. Last time we were there in November, I started looking at the real estate listings and we can definitely afford to buy one of those homes as a second home once our house is paid off. We haven't seriously talked about it or looked into it in great detail but I know that we can swing it if we decide to. I know a couple of realtors down there who I trust and plan to contact when we're actually ready to look for real.

I'm going to stop there for now but, as I said, I plan to make an effort to hang out here more and tell more of our story as long as people want to hear it.

Have a great weekend everyone. I'm working but also have some fun plans as we're going out to dinner with friends tomorrow night.