Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Numbers

March was a good month.  I went on a shopping trip to Minneapolis with two of my sisters.  I got a ton of cute spring clothes, shoes and jewelry.  I've definitely gotten picky about what clothes I like.  I spent around $400 but I should be good for summer now.  We've had a ton of kids activities this month, skating finale, swimming lessons and gymnastics.  I also bought two tickets to Garth Brooks with our friends for $280 total.  We never go to concerts but I love Garth and the first concert I ever went to was him.

Regarding savings, I maxed out my Roth for 2015 this month.  That along with our other savings this month totalled $5900.  Our savings year to date is $8200 which puts us behind of where we should be.  To meet our $50,000 goal, we should be at $12,500.  However, it's not looking like I will achieve that lofty goal.  My income is down quite a bit from last year but we're only done with the first quarter.

Another goal for the year was to make $2000 I'm dividends on our stock account.  I made $143.97 in March bringing the annual total to $281.94 thus far.  With this pace, I won't even hit $1200.  I haven't bought any stocks yet this year because I've been focused on my Roth.

The other number that is always important to me is our grocery spending.  We spent $590 this month, squeaking under our $600 monthly goal.  I didn't add up all the other categories but they all looked pretty in line with our regular spending.  I've been keeping our grocery trips to once a week. I need to go that often to keep our fresh produce stocked but it gets way more expensive if we go more than that.

I'm thinking of doing a mini personal grocery challenge.  I just need to do a bit of planning.

I'm also hoping that April is a good month.  Bring on Spring!!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Garden is Started!!

The kids and I planted a long row of potatoes today.  We used the potatoes from last year that were hanging out in our basement.  We've had a very warm spring so I think we should be okay by planting this early.  I will still buy other potatoes to plant at a later date but I was eager to get those in the ground.

I do wish we lived in an area with a longer growing season.  I just love gardening!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tuesday update

Today is our payday and I moved $3200 into my Roth for 2015.  I want to max it out this month and I might take money out of our savings to just be done with it.

My income has been reduced quite a bit from last year.  Working on commission can be a roller coast ride sometimes.  I'm hoping my income goes up but I'm also enjoying the relaxing pace at work.  A part of me wishes that I was content with making less money because I probably would have less stress.

I'm going out of town on Thursday and Friday this week.  My sister and I are meeting in Minneapolis for a couple days.  We will have so much fun shopping and going out.

Lil Punk is sick today so I'm home with her.  We're just chilling watching Paw Patrol now.  It's actually a pretty good cartoon.  Does anybody else have a Paw Patrol fan in their house?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

10 Random Facts About Me

I'm copying Sharon at Midlife Musings for this one.

1. My major in college was history, completely unrelated to the sales field I'm in now.
2.  For a long time my favorite car was a Mitsubishi 3000GT.  I wanted one so bad!!
3.  Growing up, I showed in 4-H.  The animals I showed were cattle, horses, cats and rabbits.
4.  My first concert was Garth Brooks, still love his music.
5.  I first vacation was a month after high school graduation when I went to Dallas to visit my sister and I loved it!
6.  I love Texas.  They think big and I just love the culture.
7.  I just recently started eating 12 grain bread.  It's the only non-white bread that I will eat.
8.  I view both of my maternity leaves as the most relaxing and zen time.  I loved having a newborn.
9.   I strive for a zen life.  I only like chaos if it's created--like we have a party or something.
10.  I am the league manager for Fantasy Football at my work and I also do the brackets for March Madness.  I do not like to lose!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Credit Card Churning

We've opened two cards in the last couple months to prepare for our free vacation.  I opened up a Citi Hilton card for 40,000 bonus points after spending $1000. I already spent the $1000 on propane and dental work for Y.  I was kind of annoyed that they increased the bonus to 75,000 miles after I opened it.  I called and they won't change it.

Y opened up a Barclay's card for a 40,000 bonus after spending $3000 in 3 months.  I already put our auto insurance for six months on it.  We will spend enough in the next three months to easily get the bonus.  This card will actually replace our US Bank Travel credit card that I've have for about 5 years.  It offers double points all the time.  The redemption system is also way better for our needs.  You book your travel and then use the points to take care of the charge.  Using it this way, this is the only card that I've found where you can book with discount airlines like Allegiant.  This is very important to us because Allegiant is the only airline to fly out of the small airport near us with direct flights to Vegas, Phoenix, Orlando, Tampa, LA and a few other destinations.

It makes me a little sad to be getting rid of our US Bank card because we've booked some vacations with it.  Our family went to Florida and our flights and hotel were covered.  We also paid for our flights to Mexico with this card.  I have about 28,000 points left on it.  I will likely save the points and book a few hotels for when we do go on vacation.  It will be closed after that because it does have an annual fee.  The points are 1 point per dollar with double points for phone charges, groceries and gas.  It just doesn't compare to the Barclayscard.

I'm also debating getting the Marriott credit card.  After I opened the Hilton one, my credit score is still 822 so I'm good there.  Y's is 792 so lower but still very good.  Or maybe I should have him open the Marriott one and I will open the Barclay's one at a later time.

What is your preferred credit card and why?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Savings Update

In January we saved $1400 and in February, we saved $900.  The total of $2300 is $47,700 shy of our $50,000 goal.  I hope to save the remainder for my Roth IRA for 2015 this month, $5000 remaining.  It seems like I've been saving for these Roth's for so long and I'm eager to buy more stocks in our retail account.  We have a lot of savings left to go if we're going to meet our goal this year.

We've done very well with groceries the past 2 months.  Last month we were below $500.  I've been doing my best to go shopping no more than once per week.  When we go more often than that, it tends to be more expensive.  I've also been menu planning which helps.

This is our menu for this week:
Tonight:  pork chops with leftover veggie pasta salad
Tuesday:  pizza, I'm doing happy hour with my friend so Y and the kids are on their own
Wednesday:  spaghetti with veggies
Thursday:  BLT's with veggies
Friday:  shredded pork tacos

We've been hanging out with our neighbors more often and that tends to be a frugal get together.  We have been doing dinner or BBQ's at each other's houses.  The only money we spent all weekend was for groceries.  This is a slow time of year for me at work so I need to be extra careful on what we spend.  My kids have outgrown all of their clothes though.  They both need entirely new summer wardrobes.

Happy Monday!