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Archive for December, 2014

2015 budget

December 31st, 2014 at 04:30 pm

We have been in negotiation again with the sellers for the house we want. After the inspection turned up some significant problems, it looked like the sellers weren't going to agree to cover the costs and we would have to walk away. At almost the last minute yesterday, the sellers agreed to the new negotiated price. We are homeowners!

Now to start planning the 2015 budget. There are so many unknowns still but I have plugged into an excel sheet all the income I expect to receive and all my expenses for the year. Things like insurance, car maintenance, gas, taxes, gifts and travel costs. I am sure I have missed things but I think I have a good framework. As it stands we need to come up with an extra $5,883.07 over the year.

I am not too concerned (yet) with that number because there are so many variables that are hard to take into account right now. I am getting a 2.5% raise which should amount to $25 more per paycheck, but I am also having $50 taken out for the HSA. So I won't know what my paychecks will look like until mid January.

I have also budgeted for the renovation costs and major repairs we want to do in the spring. One of the problems we have to fix is a new roof. The inspector said we'd be lucky to get one more summer out of it. We have an estimate for a dimensional tile roof, but we think that in the future we want to put solar panels on the house. A metal roof will work much better for that. I have budgeted $10,000 for that but that's an arbitrary number because we haven't had any estimates yet.

I have also budgeted $10,000 for the renovations we want to do. We had a contractor look at the space and told him what we want and he said it could probably be done around $6,000-$7,000 but I would rather estimate high because there are always problems.

We currently rent so we are looking to find someone to take over our lease. I've budgeted that we'll be paying the mortgage and the rent through March. Hopefully we will find someone to take over before then and if we do that's $825 we don't have to find.

After we put in the MIL apartment in our basement we will look for a tenant. I have estimated that we will get one in August, but if we get one before that could be up to $1000 extra.

I've budgeted $75 for gas each month but I only fill up my tank every 2-3 weeks and at the prices right now I should only spend $50. But who knows how long gas will stay this low.

I also didn't account for the 2 extra paychecks I get during the year. And the budget right now has us paying for the homeowners insurance for the year but the sellers have agreed to pay our closing costs (which include insurance for a year) so I will probably be able to deduct that.

The budget includes contributions to my IRA (non-negotiable, I am not cutting back on that unless I am in a dire financial situation) and contributions to other savings accounts. I want to be able to save as much as I can and keep a health emergency fund, but obviously I might have to sacrifice some of the monthly savings in order to pay off the renovation costs. When we get better estimates I will post about how we plan to pay for it. Right now it's looking like a combination of paying for some of it cash and the rest on 0% interest credit cards (and making sure to pay it of 2 months before the deadline is up to be positive we don't pay any interest fees)

Right now the game plan is to keep spending to the absolute minimum and to start planning for the changes to the house Smile We are so excited to start making this house our home!

I probably won't make this month's goal...

December 15th, 2014 at 12:27 pm

...or the next several months.

First, the market has been very volatile and I have been depending on my money in the market appreciating to make my monthly goal. I'm not concerned about the long term effects of this month-I am not planning on touching any of this money for 30-40 years. There will be plenty of time to make up for this month's losses.

The other thing is that my partner and I are buying a house. We settled on a price with the sellers on Saturday and this week will be used to get the mortgaged settled and start the inspection process. We agreed to a price $5000 higher than I wanted to pay, but when we ran the numbers it added very little to the monthly payment. I was most concerned about the down payment at that price. It is going to make for a couple of tight months. The mortgage payment itself, though, should be right around what we are paying in rent so that won't be a burden at all.

We are paying a very fair price for the house. When we decide to move from our town we can easily rent it out for $500 more than the mortgage. We have some upgrades planned for it over the next couple of years. This year we are turning the basement into a "bonus room" with a kitchenette and full bathroom. It has an exterior door and we think we can rent it out easily once the work is done. We live in a college town and our house is in a very desirable neighborhood for grad students.
We'll update the kitchen and bathroom next year. Both will add significant value to the house and make it more attractive if we ever want to sell it. We plan on keeping it forever but if we need to we're reasonably sure that we'll be able to at least get our money back if we ever sell.

We are trying harder than we have in the past to tighten our belts. We had a fantastic grocery trip to Aldi and are set on dinners through Thursday. We are probably eating our last meal out on Tuesday. This is a planned meal-a celebration for me finally graduating with my TWO master's degrees. (They were held up until I finished my thesis. I got confirmation last week that my thesis has been accepted!)

We're being more mindful with the heat settings and are cutting back on alcohol consumption. I'm going to push my braces start date back a month so that I have a little more wiggle room in my budget (though the HSA should take care of 80-90% of it.) We're thinking of fun things we can do at home, or cheapest things out when we work from home and just need an excuse to get out. All in all, we're heading in the right direction. I am going to try to start updating more regularly to make sure I/we stay on track.

1st of the month updates

December 1st, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I technically made my November goal of increasing my net worth by $5,850.98. Here's how it worked out.


House: +1359
Beneficiary accounts: +1235.26
IRA: +551.66 (458.33 deposit + 93.33 market appreciation)
Work retirement: +66.78
Short term savings: +1307.04 (1300 deposit + 7.04 interest)
Long term savings: +406.72 (100 deposit + 306.72 market appreciation)
Credit cards (paid in full each month): -2408.35

...The credit card total is a little misleading. I scheduled a payment for the 1st, so my total spending on the credit card is down significantly, but the corresponding amount has not been taken out of my bank account yet. I technically did not make my goal this month, but since I run the numbers the same time every month I am going to count it. I will probably not make my goal for next month.

December goal: increase network by $5,846.02.

These goals might start to get harder to reach because I have gotten the process rolling for getting braces. So far it has only cost me $32 and I have used my HSA to pay for it. I'll be getting another deposit in my account next month, and it might have about $1000 in it by then, but I'll have to either start contributing to it, or using some of the money I've saved in my short term savings account. I've been putting $500/month in there for the purpose of braces so it is definitely planned spending.

Still need to get the food spending under control. I have been working on a project that has been especially stressful and need to devote as much time to it as possible. Hopefully that will end tomorrow morning and I can tackle the food spending with renewed vigor.