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Archive for April, 2015

Home improvement progress

April 29th, 2015 at 10:00 am

We are slowly making progress on the many home-improvement projects we are hoping to do this year. I bought a new kitchen sink and faucet at the Home Depot and had the plumber out last week to install them. (We also had him deal with some leaky fixtures while he was here.)

Last week I also met with the roofing company about our damaged gutters. I'm waiting on an estimate from them, along with an estimate for installing a vent in our attic.

This morning, I met with a landscaper about clearing out areas around our house and simplifying our landscaping. He won't be able to start work for a month, but it's nice to have that scheduled as well.

There's still a long list of projects, but it feels good to make progress even as more items get added to the back end! I've updated my sidebar with money saved vs. money spent.

Sister help

April 27th, 2015 at 06:30 am

It's been awhile since I last posted -- I've been tired and busy and chugging along. And I've been reading blogs even though I haven't been posting. Smile

My sister and are are currently helping each other out. She is pretty frugal and a good saver, but not really sure what to do with her money. So she has just been accumulating it in her checking account and letting it sit there. Like for 10 years! She does contribute to her retirement account at work and makes a Roth IRA contribution every year. But other than that, everything was just sitting in one account.

Like I said, she's a great saver, so she'd accumulated a fully-funded emergency fund, a downpayment for a house (she's thinking of buying next year), and more.

Anyway, I finally convinced her to let me come up with a plan for her funds. It was actually really fun, since our finances are pretty automatic at this point. We opened up a high-yield savings account for her EF and downpayment (not super high interest, but better than what she was getting before!) and opened up a taxable investment account at Vanguard.

After opening accounts and moving money around, we also set up automatic transfers for each month, so that her money won't just accumulate in one account again. Since she is a nervous investor, we left a big buffer in her checking account and chose pretty moderate funds to invest in. She seems happy with it, and I think she will stick with it!

In return, she is doing me a favor. She is in great shape and is very good about eating well and exercising. So now every time I eat something, I send her an email. (Thankfully Gmail threads them all together.) It seems to be working so far! Since she is my sister, I am completely honest about what I'm eating, but knowing someone is actually seeing what I eat (as opposed to just writing it down somewhere) is helping me make better choices.

So far it seems like a win-win situation. Smile

Opened accounts for the kids

April 2nd, 2015 at 07:31 pm

I took fifteen minutes tonight to open investment accounts for each kid at Vanguard. These are UTMA accounts with myself as custodian. The plan is to fund them with any gifts from relatives that are meant for college, as well as contributions from us so that $500 per year is added for each kid.

I had hoped to open them with $2500 for three-year-old DS1 and $1000 for zero-year-old DS2, but the minimum to open a Vanguard account is $3000, not $1000. So I put in $3000 for DS2 and $4500 for DS1. Since these will be in their names, I want to keep the contributions as fair as possible.

So that's another item off the goals list. I had planned to add $500 to each account on their birthdays (gifts from relatives plus additional from us), but since the opening amounts were higher than I intended, I'll call the goal done for the year.

We plan to put most of our "college savings" in regular investment accounts under our names, since we don't know what the plan will be to pay for college down the line. These will be the only accounts that are in the kids names.

March spending

April 2nd, 2015 at 08:19 am

Here's our variable spending for March, compared to the previous two months.



Mostly posted for my records, and to meet my goal of tracking/posting for the entire year. Not going to say much about it, except that overall it does appear to be decreasing a little bit each month...