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3 paycheck month -> boosted savings

August 31st, 2019 at 12:46 pm

August was the 2nd month of 2019 when I got 3 paychecks. Although we don't do any sort of strict budgeting, our monthly spending and saving is still built around 2 checks per month.

On top of the extra check, I also worked 8 hours per diem for the pay period in addition to my regular hours so my take home was about $1,000 higher than usual. And due to paying off our mortgage from funds in our escrow account, we didn't make a regular mortgage payment this month which would have been just over $1,700.

Add it all up and we suddenly had about $8,200 extra in our checking account. There's also another $500 that was left in the escrow account after the payoff that we'll get back in a week or so.

I transferred $8,000 to our Ally account and $500 to our taxable Vanguard account. I'm probably going to take $5,000 in the Ally account and buy another CD to bump up the interest some. I do want to keep a nice cash balance in case I need to replace my car sooner than expected. It is almost 14 years old and I'm having an issue that I'm hoping doesn't turn out to be expensive to fix, but if it is, I may just get rid of it and replace it. It's not worth spending a bunch of money on the car at this point. It's only worth a couple thousand dollars.

Mortgage paid off!! Totally debt-free!

August 27th, 2019 at 01:55 pm

I posted this on the boards but thought I'd share here, too.

We just paid off our mortgage. For the first time in our adult lives, we are completely debt-free.

The financial impact of not having that payment anymore will take a month or so to really kick in, but our scheduled P&I was about $700 and I've been paying an extra $1,000/month or more so it really frees up $1,700/month.

The plan right now is to mostly add it to savings. We may start seriously talking about increasing our presence in Florida somehow. DW and I haven't discussed it in great detail but I'm thinking we might think about doing a "snow bird rental" for a month or two during the winter. She could spend time down there and I could travel back and forth arranging my time off to get down as much as I can without using up too much PTO. We'll see. If not this winter, probably next winter. It might be a bit late to plan it for this year.

So that's our big news.

Daughter got a new job

July 18th, 2019 at 10:21 am

Our daughter graduated college in 2018. Last fall, she got a job as a preschool teacher. She liked the work itself but there were some problems with the overall situation. She stuck it out until the end of the school year but let them know she wouldn't be continuing on with their summer program or returning in the fall.

We had a family vacation planned in June and another in August so we had all agreed that she didn't need to look for something new right away as the travel plans might have been an issue.

She did recently apply for an online position that wouldn't have been impacted by the travel. She hasn't heard anything about that yet. But the other day she applied for a position at a local swim school teaching little ones to swim. They called her for a phone interview and then asked her to come for an in-person interview yesterday. She did that and they called today to offer her a position!

I'm not sure when she starts (I'm at work so don't know the details yet) but I'm guessing it's after we get back from vacation. There is about 40 hours of training she needs to do first. She will get paid for that but at a reduced rate. Once she actually starts working, her salary will be a few dollars/hour higher. It will be a bit less than she made at the preschool but that job was actually paying an unusually high wage for the area so she wasn't expecting to match that.

I'm just proud of the fact that so far she has stayed employed since shortly after graduating except for a couple of brief periods where she was purposely not working. And she found this new job entirely on her own (we pointed her toward the last one as we had a connection). I know this won't be "the" job for her long term but that's okay. It's good work experience and builds more connections. And since starting the last job, she has been adding to her savings and contributing to her Roth from each paycheck.

Next to last mortgage payment made

July 17th, 2019 at 05:59 pm

I made our August 1st mortgage payment today (well, scheduled it today to process on Monday). I paid an extra $1,725 principal. Next month, we should be all set to make the final payment of approximately the same amount and we will be done!

Once we do that, we will be debt-free for the first time in our adult lives. No mortgage. No credit cards (never had that debt). No student loans. No car loans. Nothing.

Our mortgage P&I is about $700 and we've been paying at least an extra $1,000 every month for the past year. Once that final payment is made, that frees ups about $1,700/month in our budget.

Yes, we are planning to celebrate. Also today, I booked a 4-day/3-night getaway for my wife and I in early November. I splurged for a premium room at one of our favorite resorts. That'll run about $1,500 plus some spending money, so basically one month's worth of savings from not having a mortgage anymore.

After that, the bulk of that money will go into additional savings every month. My car is getting up there (it's a 2006) so that will need replacing in the relatively near future like the next 1-2 years, so I want to be sure money is set aside for that. There's also some house stuff that needs to get done.

So we're not debt-free quite yet, but we're very close. One more month if all goes as planned.

General update

July 3rd, 2019 at 05:30 pm

It's been almost a month since my last post so I thought I'd update.

We got back from a week in Dallas the other night. First time in Texas for my wife and I. Our daughter had been there once before for a youth group convention in high school. We had a great time and did some fun and interesting things like visiting the 6th Floor Museum from which Oswald shot JFK, the Dallas World Aquarium, the Reunion Tower observation deck, the National Video Game Museum, and more.

Next up is our Disney World trip in less than 5 weeks.

Need to get my wife's van in for routine service. There was also a recall for the airbag. I have to get that done soon as that's the car we drive to Florida.

I had originally thought we'd pay off our mortgage with the August payment but the past couple of months were particularly expensive due mostly to travel-related expenses so I didn't pay as much extra as I had thought I would. I'm pretty sure now we can make the final payment in September. That will drop our monthly expenses by about $700 going forward which will be very nice. It will mostly go to pad the retirement savings but I'm sure we'll spend some too.

Nothing else major going on that I can think of at the moment.

Costly few months coming up, but all good

May 21st, 2019 at 11:07 am

We are very close to paying off our mortgage. I was actually thinking about splitting the remainder into two and paying half as the June payment and half as the July payment.

However, I thought about it more and realized that we are going on vacation for a week in June. Airfare is already paid for but the hotel, rental car, and all spending money is not. We are also going on vacation for two weeks in August. We're renting a house in Florida and have paid a deposit but the balance will be due in July. We also have to buy theme park tickets, meals, travel expenses, and such.

So I probably will ease back on the mortgage and pay it off over 3 months instead of 2. That was the original plan.

Ultimately, we actually have the money to pay it off today and still do all the other stuff but I hate taking money out of savings. I prefer to pay everything out of current income. We're paying very little interest on the mortgage at this point so accelerating the last couple of payments doesn't really save us much.

Charity and community support

April 29th, 2019 at 04:10 pm

One thing that both my wife and I have been talking about is upping our game as far as charitable donations and support of community and cultural causes. Honestly, we haven't been as good with that as we could have been in recent years.

We used to have a subscription to an area theater company but dropped that a couple of years ago. We want to get back to either that group or another one in the area. There's actually a theater company very close to home that we might join.

Many years ago, we had a membership to Longwood Gardens in PA and we went several times during the year. We might sign up for that again.

As far as straight out donations, I always donate to my college's annual fund but will probably up the amount this year. I think the older I get, the more I appreciate how I got to where I am in life. It's time to do a little more giving back.

First new paycheck

April 24th, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Pay day is tomorrow so I got my stub yesterday. This is the first check since my raise went into effect. I was estimating my take home would go up by about $900 and that was accurate. This check included some per diem hours so I don't have an exact number but it comes in right around $916. That works out to $1,985/month.

We already run a monthly surplus of nearly $4,000 so this bumps that up closer to $6,000. And as soon as the mortgage is paid off, another $700 gets added to that surplus. That's about $80,000/year that can pretty much all go to savings in addition to the 25K that goes into my 401K (plus the company match). I'm still kind of shocked that within a few months, we're going to be saving 100K/year or more. Just 3 years ago at my old job, I was only earning about 120K/year so this is a pretty major change for us.

Huge update on my raise!

April 10th, 2019 at 07:35 am

I posted a couple of weeks ago that I unexpectedly got a new contract at work that included a substantial raise. I thought the numbers needed to be adjusted based on my hours. I was finally able to confirm that the numbers I got were actually correct.

I thought my raise would be $15,833.
My actual raise is $40,493!!!
I am shocked and obviously very pleased.

It will be a couple of weeks before I get the first new paycheck to see how my take home changes but it should be around 2K/month. I have to sit down and figure out what we're going to do with the added income but what a nice problem to have.

Got our state tax refund

April 3rd, 2019 at 04:06 pm

We got our state tax refund yesterday. When I subtract what we owed on our Federal return plus what we paid our accountant, we came out about $1,300 ahead which will probably all go to the mortgage. We are on track to pay it off in August but that would speed it up even more.

Forgot the sewer bill - oops

April 3rd, 2019 at 04:02 pm

I was going through some papers just now and found the sewer bill mixed in. I don't even remember getting it. Clearly I must have thought it was junk mail when it arrived as it was with some other junk. It was due 4/1. I normally pay by check since there's no charge for that (other than a stamp) but I went and paid it online. There's a $.99 fee for doing that but a stamp is $.55 anyway so really only an extra $.44 and it's done. I doubt there will be any sort of late fee for 2 days but if there is, it'll be my own fault so I can't complain.

Odds and ends

March 20th, 2019 at 03:55 pm

I said I'd try to blog more regularly so figured I actually need to post every couple of weeks.

I made our latest mortgage payment which brought our principal under the $10,000 mark. The end is near. I expect to pay it off in August most likely so that's exciting.

I haven't picked up any extra shifts at work the past week or two. I need to take a look at the schedule and pick up something in the coming weeks.

My wife and I are doing an overnight getaway this weekend. We're just going across the river into the city. There's a whiskey bar we've been wanting to try (we are big bourbon and whiskey fans). We didn't really care for their dinner menu so we're eating at a different place in the next block and planning to then go to the bar for drinks and dessert. The only problem with that is that we couldn't reserve a table just for that so we'll have to wait for space at the bar on a Saturday night. Hopefully around 6:30-7:00 it won't be too crazy yet. We're using a free hotel voucher for our stay. Just have to pay for parking.

Haven't done any decluttering lately. I'm hoping spring brings a nice weekend soon when I'm off and can start attacking the garage.

Need to start working on plans for our June trip to Dallas. The hotel was booked months ago but I haven't bought airfare yet. DW has been browsing the tourist sites looking for things to see and do when we're there.

I can't think of anything else of significance from the past couple of weeks so I'll stop there.

Happy Spring!

Results of our taxes

March 4th, 2019 at 04:07 pm

I heard back from our accountant today. As expected, the Trump tax changes impacted us but not as badly as I had feared. For the first time in many years, we owe for our Federal return but only $453. Still, in previous years we've always gotten at least a small refund.

The good news is we're getting $2,458 back from the state which offsets that making our net refund just over $2,000.

Our accountant had warned us months ago that the Trump stuff would be bad so I was happy that it wasn't any worse than that. And I must admit filing was so much easier because I didn't have to compile everything for itemizing deductions since we weren't able to deduct all of that stuff anymore.