I did (mostly) receive the past due rent. The money orders for March were dated March 1 and totalled $1215. So apparently, the tenant purchased the money orders, put them someplace, then thought he had mailed them. All of the info regarding what MoneyGram had told him was obviously fabricated. When I received them, I texted him to let him know I had received them then asked where he had found them. No response. No explanation as to why they were $35 short.
Yesterday I received June rent in full, but no additional $35.
Regarding paying for the cruise, I did lower my 457 plan contribution from 15% to 3%. I also changed my withholding from single 0 to single 1. The net result to my paycheck is an additional $214.02 per. All of this will go towards the cruise.
At the end of May, I had $630.80 saved. I have already purchased my daughter and son-in-law's airfare, and I have already paid $800 towards the cruise. So I still need to pay $4,370, which means I need to save $3,739.20 more.
My Mom and nephew came up here the Friday before Mother's Day and stayed (at the bed and breakfast in town) until Sunday afternoon. We had such a good time.
My birth mother is coming for a visit towards the end of July. She has a camper van so will stay right on the property with us. I will take some time off while she is here. I'm really looking forward to that.
My former father-in-law died about a month ago. I went down to the viewing (not the service) and did get to speak a bit with my former mother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew. The financial situation former m-i-l finds herself now in is not good. Various family members and friends helped contribute towards the modest yet tasteful final expenses. (F-i-l and m-i-l did have some money set aside for this, but it was not enough) I helped a little, as he was my children's grandfather. Despite the circumstances, it was nice to see all of them.
Viewing the 'Budgeting' Category
So I've been thinking about how exactly I am going to pay for that planned family cruise. I loathe the debt I am already carrying and am uninterested in carrying more.
After a great deal of consideration, I have decided to cut my 457 plan contributions from 15% to 3%. I will bank the extra take home pay and should have enough by January to pay in full. I need 7k to cover 5 fares, port taxes, gratuities, and air fare for 2. I have $1,356.25 in my travel/vacation fund right now, with 9 more $150 deposits budgeted for this year. That's $2700, I need another $4,300. I calculate I will take home an additional $2,808 this year from reducing 457 contributions. That still leaves $1500. I do have those 2 extra paycheck months. I think I can do it.
I think my retirement plans can withstand the hit. I am on track to surpass my minimum nest egg goal. This trip is very important to me. I will fill out the paperwork tomorrow and expect to see the extra take home pay beginning in May.
Finally tallied up March. Of course, I knew it was bad, having received no rent. The shortfall came from WF savings and checking buffer.
I took some of my overtime in pay and some in my comp time bank.
I did not need to pay AmEx anything after all; I had transferred the entire balance (I had remembered transferring balance - $100).
Unbudgeted includes a tank of gas for a trip to see my mom, one night hotel stay when a plumbing problem made sleeping in the travel trailer not such a good option, stocking up on a hair product I use called "silk drops", tax prep fee for my son and d-i-l (I just paid it, didnt even tell them), and some medical supplies from the pharmacy.
My car registration was due ($275) but I dont count that as it was paid from a sinking fund.
March budget is ready to go.
I applied and was approved for a new BofA MasterCard. The terms are 0% for 15 months, no balance transfer fee. I requested that $9300 of my existing $9400 AmEx balance be transferred. That leaves me with $100 to pay to AmEx in March, and then the minimum payment to the new MasterCard. I budgeted $100, but of course it might be more.
If the time comes I can no longer keep this debt at 0%, I will take a Heloc draw and finance it that way. Meanwhile, it is (oh so) slowly decreasing.
Nothing newsy here. SB and I continue to live our quiet little life in the woods; I continue to commute to the big town with 11k people and be gainfully employed.
Heres how it went in February.
Income - In addition to my one-time bonus, I received my federal and state income tax refunds. I filed with 1040.com this year.
Unbudgeted spending was mostly misc household items and medical supplies I picked up at Rite Aid (125.96). I bought two tickets for a community theater production (36.00), had to pay for a lost Netflix disc (15.02), paid to file my state tax return (4.95), and used up 2.76 of a 54.00 annual renewal for Allstate Motor Club. (I no longer need it).
So, all in all, not too bad. Im making progress towards my goal of building up my savings.
Here is how my January budget plan shook out:
Wages - I worked some OT. I took some as pay and banked some in my Comp Time hours.
Repay NB - I was asked and chose to agree to a 2 week extension. Instead of two $200 repayments, I received one. The other should be arriving any day. I am not worried about this.
Groceries - We were eating down our pantry and so spent less than usual. It's really best to not stock up when you have very limited space, a lesson we are still learning.
Unbudgeted spending: An area which continues to be a struggle for me. $141.59. This included several meals out and a $24.99 purchase on Google Play - season 9 of Sister Wives, my guilty pleasure. It also includes $36 at a drug store for medical type supplies.
I did manage to sock $540.72 aeay in savings, in addition to sinking funds.
All in all, I'm pleased with the month.
As I have mentioned, I have become enamored with fancypants planners. I've even taken to watching YouTube channels about "planning". Videos depicting laying out a week or a budget or what-have-you are called plan with me videos.
I have no interest in starting a YouTube channel, but I thought I might give plan with me blog posts a try. How is the picture quality? Can you read it?
And please don't get too excited about my "leftover" money; it's only that high because I am expecting a short-term $400 loan to be repaid.
Edit: I don't like it. I will try to get a better picture. Tomorrow.
Update: that's better.
Wages - both of my paychecks were for 10 days (rather than 11) in April.
Other Income - included a work bonus, my side gig, and some credit card rewards.
Cash Allowance - I gave myself an extra $100 to cover expenses for our weekend in Bodega Bay.
dining out 376.63 (!!)
hair cut 20.00
Pokemon Go 9.99
Allergy Dr. 6.05
Better late than never, right?
Utilities are low because...I neglected to pay my electric bill. I just forgot. Never before in my 30+ years of adulthood have I "just forgot" to pay a utility bill. My goodness. I looked at it a dozen times or so, there on my list of bills to pay, not highlighted, and it never clicked that "Oh, I need to PAY this".
Savings did not happen, but I also paid for my root canal and plane ticket (see below) without pulling from savings.
Everything else this month:
Balance of new roof and gutters - 9,550.00
dentist (root canal) - 550.00
airline ticket - 291.20
dining out - 182.83
gift cards - 60.00
clothes - 57.13
Plum Paper Planner - 52.89
oil change - 44.27
OTC allergy - 16.74
purse insert - 6.99
Pokemon Go - 4.99
My new roof and rain gutters are installed and look great. I am very pleased with the quality. Now there is just the small matter of paying for them. I did pull $700 from GS Savings to throw at the Heloc debt. Only 9.4k to go.
The airline ticket is for the trip Mom and I are making next weekend to Spokane to visit my cousin and his wife.
The dining out and gift card expenses are related to birthdays. I have a lot of friend birthdays in March.
I must now confess that I bought myself a fancypants planner! And...I just love it. It is nothing but an indulgence. The paper is creamy smooth, the colors are lovely, it has tabbed sections for each month. I have a place to track my bills, my debt progress, my savings progress, etc., all on beautiful paper which I can touch.
And for the first time I spent real dollars to play a virtual game. I have been playing Pokemon Go enthusiastically since last July. The game has a built in limit of how many pokemon you can have at any one time. With the release of Gen 2 pokemon, I was bumping the limit. I had to pay real money to increase my "storage" limit. Otherwise, I was in grave danger of not being able to catch 'em all.
Wages - The second pay period of the month had only 9 work days, which made for a little pay check.
Other Income - My state and federal income tax refunds, as well as a bit of CC rewards.
Everything Else -
dining out 212.31
clothes and purse - 194.84
medical co-pay 60.00
annual road service club - 43.50
Rx co-pays 40.72
CVS - allergy pills, hygiene products 32.79
Here is my January budget report. I paid my January mortgage payment in December. In January, I paid the balance on my Citi Double Cash Card from December's statement. It was not due until 1/8, so that worked out OK.
Everything Else this month was:
wall repair 1260
American Heart Assn 100
CVS medical supplies 47.62
movie tickets 16
Rx co-pay 10
The repair to my leaking wall was pricey.
SB and I bought a new mattress and split the cost. It's the first piece of furniture we have co-purchased. It is one of those which gets delivered in a box and you unfold it. It is surprisingly comfortable. SB chose it. I think we will be getting a topper of some kind too.
The American Heart Association donation is in memory of my cousin once removed who died last September. Several of his immediate family and good friends have formed a team and are doing a 5k walk.
The library fine is for a book J's dog ate! Bad dog.
The movie tickets were a splurge. SB's favorite movie of all time is The Princess Bride. It's one of my favorites, too. Our local indie movie house is showing it on Valentine's Day.
Income - one additional day's pay
Savings - fell short of my goal
Utilities - paid J's cell bill twice
Groceries - so close
Gasoline - buying gas for just me now; J is buying his own
Everything Else - This month I spent $340 at the dentist. A visit each for J and I, plus I had two cavities so I got two fillings. I paid the GP another $100 for J's office visit. His medical card was expired, even though he is still covered. I will submit a claim for partial reimbursement.