I got my W2 today, as well as the last two tax forms from banks. I had entered in my stock sale info based off what I could find on Vanguard's site.
I had fully expected to not only not get the tax saver's credit this year, but to have to pay 3 or 4 thousand in taxes.
I guess this tax bill worked in our favor this year....
Not only do we not have to pay anything in, but it looks like a $554 Federal refund! I am flabbergasted.
The money I left sitting in the account to cover the taxes can now actually be put to use!
I'm going to test this on a couple other tax prep sites just to be sure …
One thing I'm not sure about. I paid for one class in 2018. I'm being reimbursed for it in 2019. Do I claim it on my 2018 taxes - because the reimbursement will be on my 2019 taxes?
Viewing the 'Financial' Category
I got my W2 today, as well as the last two tax forms from banks. I had entered in my stock sale info based off what I could find on Vanguard's site.
I was playing SwagIQ tonight and not really listening to the guy rambling about the winners, when all of the sudden I heard "creditcardfree!"
Was that you CCF?!
I stayed home and vegged all weekend. Finished Season 2 of Handmaid's Tale. Got myself a week and a half ahead in my online class. (You're allowed to work ahead.) Not much else really.
DH and I went out to eat Sunday night at Hacienda Rael. I got the veggie fajitas. I ate 1/3 Sunday night, and then had some for breakfast and dinner today. Yummy!
I'm 8 days out with no added sugar! (Partly why I holed myself up this weekend - my sweet tooth was saying go out and get something …)
Tonight I made something that might be very dangerous. I soaked 8 mejoodl dates, and then pitted them. Put them in my small food processor, added a Tbsp of cacoa powder (the non-sugar kind), about 1/4 cup of almond milk, and 2 Tbsp of natural pb. OH MY YUM!!! I could have eaten the whole thing right then and there.
But I put it in the freezer to set (after scoring it into 6 pieces.) I'm going to try to restrain myself to one a day.
I cashed out for another $50 SBs PayPal. It was a payout from a focus group I did a bit over a month ago. I'm glad I was patient - was getting ready to email to find out what the delay was about.
I made over $500 in spending money this month! $200 from signing up for Doordash via Swagbucks, and then a couple other offers credited, plus CC cash rewards, etc. If only I could do that every month!
My plane ticket for France is fully funded, and now I'm working on funding lodging/travel expenses.
I'm starting my 4th book of 2019 - Atomic Habits by James Clear. It has to be back to the library by Thursday - it has holds on it. So, I'll have to read quickly. My first non-fiction book of the year. (I'm going to try to do 1 non-fiction per month. Not counting cookbooks …)
I won another Stepbet - it looks like a $10.50 payout ($50.50 altogether.) If we get a treadmill, then I'm going to do the Runbet again.
Right now we have spent the least on groceries in nearly a year! There's still 9 days left of course … but I don't need anything for this week, and won't need much for next week.
So DH found an insurance company that will cover him (did I mention he'd been given the pink slip by Farmer's??) His current liability only for 3 vehicles is $332 for 6 months. As of February, liability only (with slightly higher coverages) will be $882 for 6 months.
Ever since August I have been saving more than normal for his car insurance renewal - but nowhere near enough for this.
The vehicle which he has been dragging his feet on selling is $349 of that. I'm of half a mind to tell him he can pay that portion out of his spending money - then when he actually sells the darn thing, he can be reimbursed for whatever portion they reimburse.
But in reality, it probably is a good thing he hadn't sold it yet. Since his CRV developed bad suspension issues. We were quoted $1700+ by Brakes Plus. The husband of a lady who I go to church with, did the labor for $285 and DH ebayed the parts for another $230.
Of course, it now desperately needs new tires - to the tune of $500. We have $440 in our car repair fund.
A couple of times DH has mentioned that we really should have at least $1k in our car repair fund. Um … yeah, we would have that - if his cars weren't needing repairs all the time!
The property appraisals came out last weekend. Our house had a $25k increase. Um …. There are also rumblings about increasing property taxes.
That's about a $55/mo increase - which isn't terrible … but when you couple it with the huge hike in insurance premiums, increased ROTH contributions to max out, and other piddly increases in various services … Ugh.
We're going to have to seriously reconsider how we do the budget. And I know he's going to hate my suggestion. Not that I'm going to like it much either. But the money has to come from somewhere, right?
Oh, we still are deciding on if we are getting a treadmill or not. DH is worried we'd get shocked when using it since our plugs aren't grounded. So .. he's looking into joining a health club.
That's fine - it's just it only benefits him, and it'd make it easier to not do it.
So if he decides to go the gym route, that's another monthly expense to add.
Some of this is mitigated by a 3rd paycheck this month. That will cover the increased insurance premium and the shortfall in the tires. I had other ideas for the money … but what can you do?
I also received a very generous check from my aunt for Christmas. When she told me about it, it almost sounded to me like she wanted it to all be for me only. I did not tell DH this, because I didn't want him to feel bad.
It's not his fault that he basically has no family left, nor that my family is pretty generous. I feel when I'm given money like that - that it belongs to us equally. My mom has sent me $100 for my birthday before - but none for him on his birthday. I split it with him (again, he doesn't know it was meant just for me.)
I have 3 family members who could quite possibly pass on in the next year to two years. Cancer, old age and Parkinson's/defeated attitude. I have travel money set aside for this. 2 of the 3 I'd probably be reimbursed at least plane fare.
I have not done any shops for Shipt. I have tried, but it really doesn't seem to be busy in my area.
I kind of have given up on it.
I signed up for Door Dash through SBs when it had the $200 bonus. I actually kind of like it! I have done 10 orders over 4 dashes and made about $72 + the $200 bonus came through early from SBs.
When it stays light out longer, I might do a few hours during the week, and a few on the weekend.
I was going to dash last weekend, but decided the weather wasn't something I wanted to deal with in my car. This weekend could be a repeat of that unfortunately.
I managed to finish reading/read 3 books in one day … thanks to being snowed in. (2 by Tracie Peterson - Embers of Love/Hearts Aglow, 1 by Petersheim called The Divide) I started the 3rd book in the Peterson series - Hope Rendered.
I had read about half of Embers of Love while on … Jury Duty! Yes, last week (and this week) I was slated for jury duty. I actually got further than Ii ever have before - into the courtroom and sitting in the pews to listen to the voir dire (sp?) After 2 hours, all but 12 of us were dismissed.
I learned one thing though that made me glad I didn't get on the jury - if we were sequestered, not only no tv, no Internet, etc. But NO books!! Sorry, I'm not down with that.
I'm curious to find out how much I'll be paid for my time. For work, I just had to keep track of my time away, but got paid normally.
So I've been doing some banking today.
First, I decided to transfer the funds from my Brink Mastercard account back to my credit union. My CU is paying 4% now, so the hassle of the Brinks card for 5% isn't really worth it anymore. Done.
Then I paid my gas bill. (I have to do this manually each month to pay via my US Bank Cash+ card for the 5% back.) It's on budget billing. I decided to look at our energy usage - it was pretty obvious that we've been using a lot less energy the last 6 months or so. (I would have to check to be sure, but I think it might correlate with the installation of our new water heater.)
So … I looked at our most recent bill. Yep, we have a $120 credit. That means that whenever they readjust our budget billing amount, our monthly amount will go down. Sweet. (I much prefer the budget billing method, even if it does mean there's sometimes a credit or a debit. Makes the budget much smoother in my opinion.)
THEN … I created an account to pay the bill for DH's first part of his hospital stay. The one where I had called to ask about any adjustments for paying in full.
The paper bill said $1289. The online bill said we only owed $59!! Say what???
I did some more sleuthing, and it appears that they adjusted the balance to where we only owe $59!!
This is going to make getting the spending bonus on the new credit card a little more difficult .. but I'm okay with that!
Now if the ambulance balance will do the same thing … wouldn't that be marvelous? (We owe $1001 - the city sent me a remimbursement for $982 to pay towards it. Not sure why, but I'll take it.)
Oh, I also opened a new checking account due to doctor of Credit - Elements Financial CU. It should be a $200 bonus after a couple direct deposits.
Looking back at 2018 financially …
We increased our EF by $1200.
I had a goal to increase by $3000, but we had several weeks where DH was off work due to his heart attack, plus lots more medical costs. So I'm ok with it only increasing that much.
We fully funded both of our IRA's to the tune of $12k. ($1k of that funding did come from selling non-IRA stock the month after DHs hospital stay.)
We sold all of the electric car stock at $350/share. It went up to $369 a few weeks later, but is now at around $300 … so I'm glad to be off that roller coaster ride. All the funds were put into an index fund - either in the taxable account or our IRA's.
DH successfully raised and sold his first batch of angel fish. Fish are his main hobby right now (he owned two pet stores when he was younger.) This hobby comes from his fun money so it doesn't really affect our finances.
I paid for my cruise vacation with my mom fully out of my fun money - earned via Swagbucks, Earnably, Earnhoney, YouGov, credit card rewards, etc. etc.
Our medical fund was pretty much wiped out this year … but we had the money set aside for it. I'm putting it all on a credit card which will give me $500 cash back. So … a small win there.
DH has lost 45 lbs+ since Oct. I have gained 30lbs since January ….
At work my employer added 9% of my salary to my retirement, took 6% of my salary, and then I added another 11% or so. I increased the amount in February when I got a step raise, but since the new contract hasn't been signed yet, I haven't gotten my cost of living raise yet (usually in August) so that's all I increased it.
We paid $2k cash for some yardwork / improvements. This hopefully will reap dividends in ease of maintenance going forward.
I completed one course towards my AA degree - advanced typing, with a 97%. As soon as I get the official grade report, I'll be putting in for reimbursement.
I will be taking 2 -3 more courses towards my AA degree in 2019. (Microsoft Applications 1 and 2, and possibly Intro to Accounting)
My supervisor will be retiring in November … so I'm not sure how that is going to affect things at work. She's working on our main boss to reclassify me to a higher level of pay.
I would like to add $2k to our EF.
I want to save $2k towards our medical deductible again.
We will fully fund our IRA's at $13k this year.
We need to focus on putting money towards our car repair fund. 3 of our 4 vehicles are really old and eating up money.
We will either be purchasing a treadmill or DH will be signing up for a gym membership. Purchasing a treadmill may involve getting an electrician to ground some of our electrical outlets - this is something we are still researching.
Hopefully a fence will happen this year. We have the money set aside for it - its just getting someone to actually do it!
DH wants to continue to grow his fish business.
I'm continuing to save towards a possible France trip - once my SIL is able to leave the US again. I have $600 of my $2000 goal.
Some of my usual earnings sites are getting more difficult to earn from. I have signed up with Shipt and Doordash to hopefully make up for lost fun money from those sites. My goal is to bring in $200/month besides what I can manage on the various sites.
I must stop the weight gain. The big culprit is my not avoiding the junkfood - i.e. sugar and chocolate. I have managed to avoid soda for over 2 years now - mainly by not allowing myself even a "sip" of DHs when eating out. I think that may be the only way for me to overcome the sugar/junkfood thing too - just say 100% NO.
This will also help the grocery spending …
I'm doing well overall with a whole foods plant based diet - except when I make exceptions for the junk I crave. No more exceptions! Lets see the power of this way of eating.
I bought a pedal exerciser thing from Aldi, and am looking at one of those bike stands if we don't get a treadmill.
Tonight I participated in an online discussion focus group. It took a little over an hour, and I'll get $50 in a few weeks.
I applied to be a Shipt shopper several months ago. As of today, I am officially one! I should be getting my package soon with my materials. Hopefully this will be a decent source of side money.
I paid several bills today, and called the place with the largest bill. I asked what kind of a discount they could offer for paying in full. None. When I asked why, I was told we'd already been given a discount. Um … that was what you gave the insurance company, not us!
So … now deciding how I want to pay it. Just min payments for a few months, then pay the remainder at the last possible minute (to take advantage of CC spend bonus) or just bite the bullet.
First, the good news.
I checked on our insurer's site today to see if there was any update to the $42k hospital charge for my DH's 3 day stay. It showed that it has been paid, and we have $0 obligation! (We more than met his deductible for 2018 and out of pocket.)
So … that is a huge relief to not have to fight that.
The not so great news …
We dropped off our CRV last night at a local auto shop. This morning they called DH and told him that it had some major alignment issues, and possibly bad ball bearings. To the tune of $1400. Plus the vehicle needs new tires.
This may or may not be all that's wrong with it. (The check engine light has been flashing on and off for a month or more.)
We have about $500 in the car repairs fund.
DH has about $1300 in his car replacement fund.
We are discussing whether or not it would be prudent to try to sell the CRV (might get 3 or 400 for it in current condition) or to borrow from the EF and fix it. Hoping that the fix will do the trick.
We might be able to get another $500 or so from the Prizm (which DH planned to sell already.)
A $2000 vehicle won't be great … but spending $1400 + tires when we're not sure it's going to fix the problem …
We are going out to a pizza place tonight called Mellow Mushroom. I found it highly recommended on the Happy Cow app (for vegetarian and vegan places.) DH can have his meat, and I can get tofu or tempeh plus tons of vegetable options for toppings!
It's a bit on the expensive side, but it is my choice to celebrate the waning days of my 42nd year. Tomorrow will be my last day, then Saturday I'll be a new number.
My mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday / Christmas. I told her, "Of course, you know you don't have to get me anything?" She responded, "But you know I will anyway." So, I gave her a list of 6 or 7 different ideas.
So far, I have already received: a pedal for my keyboard (sustain sound) and a new piano bench! Now I won't have to worry about the bench breaking in the middle of me playing a song.
She said she's going to send the kitchen items for Christmas - an immersion blender and a food processor (are the two ideas I gave.)
(Our little food processor I bought at Aldi's a couple years ago had the plastic container thing crack. I still can use it, sort of. I asked for a 10 cup one, because more than a few times I could definitely have used a larger one.)
So Friday morning the garage door remote wasn't working. I had to get out of my car to close the door. I wasn't thinking about where I was stepping, or how.
Both feet slipped right out from under me and I landed flat on my back. I don't think I hit my head. (I was wearing a banana clip, so unless I hit the side of my head …)
I was able to get right up with no issues and continued to work. A few hours later I started really feeling it.
My supervisor let me leave 30 minutes early so I could go to my chiropractor. So frustrating because I'd just gotten my back to feeling good.
DH got a strongly worded email suggesting that something needed to be done about the driveway. He did put some salt down when he got home from work.
I bought a couple gel packs from Walgreens that can be frozen or heated, and a thing of Tiger balm. DH says I smell like I'm in a horse barn. Oh well, it's helping.
I've spent most of the weekend icing/resting my back.
I applied for the Citi Savor card. A $500 bonus after a $3k spend. That will be easy - just pay all the medical bills on it, and will be mostly there.
Lemonade out of lemons and all that.
Speaking of insurance. I think I mentioned the check we received for $932 from the insurance company. I had no idea what it was for.
We also had received a bill from the ambulance company for $1004.
Come to find out that since the ambulance wasn't under contract with our insurance, they couldn't pay them directly. So .. they sent us the money to pay them.
Works for me - that's nearly 1/3 of the CC spend needed. It just seems really bizarre.