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May 2020 Budget Report

June 2nd, 2020 at 02:06 am

May was a 3 paycheck month for me so I had a little extra income to work with. I planned that I would transfer in $50 from a sinking fund for a birthday gift. "Buffer" is the starting amount in checking and not much "other" income was expected.

3 paychecks means 3 cash withdrawals during the month. We have been buying groceries mainly in our little town, rather than driving down to a larger town with lower prices but more shoppers. SB and I agreed I would kick in an extra $100 for groceries. However, with gas prices low and not going anyplace but to work and back, I have been consistently spending less cash than budgeted.

I did finally get around to switching back to Ting. So far, all is going fine. I am hoping to enjoy a lower monthly phone expense.

Sinking fund deposits went exactly as planned. Spending from sinking funds included my great-grandniece's birthday gift (just a check for her savings account) and a vet bill for Bella. She had another ear infection. Frown It's a good thing I started tucking a little bit away for her expenses, and now that fund is all but wiped out.

I had planned to send $2,392.57 of extra principal to the 5th wheel loan, and am pleased to report I managed to send $2,564.54.

I have a niece who is very active in cat rescue and she reported on Facebook that she could really use some food donations. So, I purchased $26.13 worth of cat food for her use. (She has a wish list on Amazon, which does make the process simple.)

The month ended with $1,637.60 in checking.

I had wanted to end the month with $1,637.58 in checking. That's my 1k buffer, a $230 sinking funds transfer scheduled for 6/2/20, and my monthly 5th wheel payment of $407.58 which happens automatically on 6/3/20.

All in all, a good month financially. Smile

5th Wheel Loan Payment #12

May 3rd, 2020 at 11:55 pm

or #7 since the refi.

I haven't done one of these updates in 3 months, and some solid progress has been made in the interim. During the past 3 months, I managed to pay an extra $3,559.95.

The new principal balance is $30,468.52. I have now passed the 1/3 repaid point. Super glad about that!

The last payment date has moved up to 10/3/27; that is 7 years and 5 months to go, assuming no further extra principal payments.

My "5th Wheel Amortization" page has been updated, if you care to take a peak.

April 2020 Budget Report

May 3rd, 2020 at 04:36 pm

Other income included:

$2,045.55 - refund from Citibank from our cancelled Princess cruise. I owed about half of it to my mom. (We do a full reconciliation after a trip. Sometimes I pay initially for her share of things, sometimes she pays for mine. Also, the refund was less than the credits from Princess because I had other charges on the card which do not come out of vacation money.)

$1,200.00 - stimulus

$396.28 - redeemed credit card rewards

$200.00 - short-term loan repayment

$0.02 - checking account interest

You sure don't spend much cash when you are self-isolating. Smile

Mostly as expected. I have not yet looked into switching my own line back to Ting.

Sinking funds were deposited as planned. My total vacation costs ended up being less than I had withdrawn, so the excess of $409.55 went back to travel/vacation. There are no vacations on my horizon at the moment.

The only withdrawal in April was $481 for 5th wheel registration.

Other expenditures for the month. Here is the repayment to my mom as well as a payment to Capital One Savor card for vacation expenses. The rewards have already been redeemed, so I will cancel this card now. (I opened it for the $300 bonus and I am not interested in paying the $95 annual fee for this card.)

The $2 bank fee is for a non-Wells Fargo ATM. I normally get reimbursed for these, but my qualifying balance slipped below 250k so I did not. It was worth it, though. I like to use the ATM at the only bank in my tiny town. Especially right now, since we are all trying to avoid encountering other people.

Ending balance in checking is $2,428.82.

My target ending balance for checking is $1,407.58. The excess will go to extra principal on the 5th wheel loan in May. (In fact, it already has).

Home From Cruise

March 27th, 2020 at 01:43 am

Well, that was an eventful vacation. As you know, we were booked on the Caribbean Princess. We flew to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Tuesday, 3/10/20. My daughter drove from Illinois and met us at our motel. We were having dinner in the attached restaurant about 9pm when I received emails from Princess that our cruise had been cancelled. The email also said we would receive a 100% refund plus a 100% credit towards a future Princess voyage. (I have already received credits to my credit card). Following a short discussion, I called VacationsToGo and was able to book a 7 day cruise on the Holland America Veendam leaving Fort Lauderdale the next day. It had a different itinerary of course. The ship is a much smaller ship than we are used to, but it was perfectly nice. Because of all of the cancellations (I assume), the fare was surprisingly low.
Before boarding the Veendam, every passenger had their temperature taken and anyone out of the normal range was not allowed to board.
We visited Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, Ocho Rios in Jamaica, and Cozumel in Mexico. We were scheduled to visit Grand Cayman but were not allowed to stop there. We returned to Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday 3/18/20. Since we had originally booked a 10 day cruise, we had a few extra days to play with.
We decided to return to the same motel (it was affordable, surprisingly nice, with a great shuttle service). On Thursday, we visited the Everglades and took a fan boat into the swamp to view wildlife. For me, that was the highlight of the trip. I called to see if we could change our flights from Saturday 3/21/20 to Friday 3/20/20, and if so what it would cost. Well, they switched our flights with no fee whatsoever plus a $52 voucher per person.
As always, it was no fun to say good-bye to my daughter after having enjoyed her company non-stop for 10 days. We had a wonderful time together, though.
As it happened, we landed in Saramento a few hours before the shelter-in-place order in our state went into effect.
So what is going on with my job? It turns out that my department has been deemed essential so we are working. Some people are choosing to work from home which isn't really a good option for me as our internet is unreliable (to put it mildly). I have chosen to self-isolate and am taking sick time. (My supervisor is fully aware that I am not actually sick, nor is anyone in my family). We are having a lot of rain, hail, and snow, so I am not even going outside much.

Going With a Partial; Almost Time for Cruise

March 7th, 2020 at 05:16 pm

On Thursday my new dentist confirmed that a partial would work for me. So, that is the route I am going. I realize it will be an adjustment to get used to wearing it, but lots of people do it and I can do it too. The cost for a partial is about $1600 before insurance pays their portion. Currently, there is a balance of $2232.79 in my dental sinking fund. I will wait until all is done and paid for, then throw the remaining balance at debt.

Yesterday was payday and I was able to send $248.29 off to the 5th wheel loan, bringing the balance down to $34,351.95. It feels great to make a little progress.

We fly to Florida Tuesday morning and sail on Wednesday. We are not canceling our trip due to the current panic, which I personally feel is blown way out of proportion.

The cruise line sent an email stating that we can cancel for a 100% credit towards another sailing if we wish. We don't. Also, they are crediting us $200 per cabin as a thank you for not canceling.

Our ship is the Caribbean Princess. So I guess if you hear that the Caribbean Princess has been detained someplace, you'll know what is going on with me.

February 2020 Budget Report

March 1st, 2020 at 08:04 pm

Wages - as expected.

Transfer in - money in from sinking funds (see below).

Buffer - beginning checking account balance.

Other - income tax refunds, a cash birthday gift, CC rewards, and checking account interest.

Managed to spend a bit less than budgeted. It's a wash, though. (See Wal-mart item under "other").

Now that Ting is offering service on Verizon's network, I am looking forward to shaving a bit of money from my phone bill. I will be looking into that this month.

Deposits went mostly as expected. I think I have sufficient money now for my dental expense. I have an appointment this Thursday and will know more then.

Money that went out:

Car Ins & Reg - CR-V registration

Car R & M - a minor tune-up

Clothing - replaced my jacket which got too close to a space heater and melted a bit. Also, a new bathing suit, cover up, and casual dress for the cruise. All items purchased on Amazon.

travel/vacation - paid for cruise fare for self and daughter, air fare for self. Remaining balance plus $300 Capital One Savor sign-up bonus will need to cover gratuity, excursions, and 1 night lodging in a motel. It should be enough.

These items were mostly paid with sinking funds, so discussed above. Those which weren't:

Bella vet - transferring money from the appropriate sinking fund would have wiped it out. Instead, I just let it go.

electric toothbrush - recommended by dental hygienist.

Wal-Mart - a mixed bag of household and personal items. Normally I would pay cash for these items, but I just used a CC as it was simpler at the time.

And that is it. Not a bad month all in all, and I am hopeful that I am now ready to apply extra funds to the 5th wheel loan.

5th Wheel Loan Payment #9

February 17th, 2020 at 07:59 pm

This entry is very overdue. Loan payment #9, or #4 since the refinance, has posted. The new principal balance is $34,868.16.

Since the previous regularly scheduled payment, I managed to pay an extra $1,668.98.

The last payment date has moved up to 10/3/28; that is 8 years and 8 months to go.

When I went for my dental cleaning, the hygienist asked if I had considered a partial. I am going to discuss it with the dentist when I go for my next filling.

My birth mom has been here visiting for the past 2 weeks, which included my birthday. She has recently given up her apartment and is, for now, completely nomadic. I am so jealous! I hope that she enjoys this next chapter of her life. She plans to be back this way in a few months, so we will see her again then.

January 2020 Budget Report

February 1st, 2020 at 08:22 pm

Income mostly went as expected; I transferred in money from my car replacement sinking fund which was unplanned at the time I made January's budget.

I spent a little less than planned on gas and personal.

My mom's cell phone bill was quite low in January. Other than that, nothing unexpected here.

For January, I am showing car replacement and dental as two separate funds. In reality, it is the same account which has been re-purposed.

Aha! Here we have a bit of unplanned spending. A dinner out, some items from the pharmacy, a concert ticket (for tonight!) and a new thermostat for the 5th wheel.

The middle box in the yellow line says that January ended with $1,413.60 in checking.

The target amount for checking at the end of the month was $1,407.58.

Made Dental Decision; Tax Returns Filed

January 26th, 2020 at 01:25 am

So I did end up cancelling the appointment to do the prep work for the implants. They re-scheduled for the crowns, but I have decided I am going to cancel that too. I am just not happy about the abrupt change in treatment plans. The former dentist, whom I really liked, said that I needed more fillings and a deep cleaning (below the gum lines). The new dentist says I don't need any of that, but do need crowns. The former dentist said nothing about needing crowns.

Maybe I am completely wrong, but I kind of get the vibe that I am more a source of revenue than a patient. I am going to get another opinion and most likely switch dentists.

Yesterday was payday and I sent $374.25 off to my dental sinking fund. I wish that I were sending it off towards the 5th wheel loan instead.

I filed my tax returns this morning using Credit Karma's free service. I am expecting a total of $1,109 between federal and state. Those dollars will go into the dental fund too.

We have booked our Panama Canal cruise ("we" being my mom, my nephew, my daughter and I). Sailing on the Caribbean Princess, with stops in Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama. Should be a great deal of fun.

Extra Principal and Dental Expenses

January 14th, 2020 at 02:11 pm

Made another principal payment yesterday in the amount of $1,668.98. Balance is down to $35,183.28.

I also had a dental visit yesterday. The dentist I had been seeing left the practice some months ago. The new dentist has a new treatment plan. This new plan includes two crowns and prep to do implants, which I will need to have done elsewhere. My share of cost is $5,400 plus whatever the periodontist charges for the implants. So, we are talking about a large dental bill.

Background: I have ruined my teeth with vitamin C drops and cough drops by having one in my mouth constantly. I have used this method to cope with my constant persistent cough. (I switched to only sugarless cough drops with no citric acid, but the damage was already done.) In the past year, I have had 3 extractions and 8 fillings. I still need more fillings and a deep cleaning, below the gum line. Previous dentist recommended doing a little at a time, which I had been doing.

The dentist wants to begin right away. I made an appointment 2 weeks out, but may cancel. I am not certain I wish to proceed. I think I may try to find where the previous dentist went. SB said I should also consider Mexico.

Also, the extractions were all in the back of my mouth. Two on the lower left and one on the lower right. So I don't APPEAR to be missing any teeth.

I think I am going to stop my extra principal payments for now and save the money instead, until I have a plan of action for my teeth.