Saturday, January 26, 2019

Vacation reflection

Having a job that gives 2 weeks vacation is something I didn't have for a long time. We're forced to take our time off by the week for logistical reasons. There's a bid process and those with seniority get first dibs and have more weeks to plot.
I couldn't pick any week my kids were off from school more than 1 day. Summer, fall and spring break were all taken, while winter break is blocked due to it being peak.
Well, kids had Monday off and 2 hour delays on Tuesday and Friday, so my week off was mostly with the kids, regardless.
Meh, I didn't do much out of norm, so aside from no work... Wasn't much of a vacation. Nice being away, the daily grind makes every day blur.
I read an article about being more productive by waking up early and utilizing 5am-7am. Not sure it's practical given my schedule, but I used to be a morning person. I haven't been motivated is a very long time. I will look into whether going to bed before 2am is possible. I get home after 10pm and spend time on my phone catching up on world events bore eating and showing. If I can avoid my phone after work and shower promptly, I could sleep without eating...
Most things are easier said than done. I will not set any goals... But if I do something enough times it will become a habit. I need to rid myself of bad habits. Obsessing about my 401(k) is a waste of time when I know the daily ups and downs don't mean anything when I am so far from retiring.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

ice cream

We had snow last couple of weekends. We beat the snow Saturday to hit Young's Dairy to take advantage of their 150th anniversary celebration.

It rained buckets until turning to ice and then snow in the evening.  We ate lunch there. I drove. I usually don't do the driving but I've been less than stellar as a spouse/parent. Season 2 of The Punisher dropped the day before and I had spent too much time devouring episodes.

Thankfully, I finished the whole season before we lost our internet from the ice/snow storm. We didn't get our internet back until 3:39pm on Sunday. We played 2 rounds of Simpsons Clue to kill time.

Yesterday, the kids and I were off, but the weather was cold and Jenn. worked, so we hit Magic Castle for half-price Monday. I drove again. Darcy still had swimming at the Y, but refused to wear her swim cap, so I didn't run errands after wards.

A 2-hour delay messed up my running errands plans today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

goals don't work

I would like to say I have fully embraced systems thinking with regards to saving money. Primary "goal" is to eliminate credit card debt, secondary "goal" is max out my 401(k) contributions, tertiary "goal" is to maintain a happy household.
I want to be "rich" one day. Not sure how I will get there, but being "rich" is better than being poor.

In September, I was seriously considering canceling our YMCA membership, until I figured it would be better to use it more effectively by enrolling Darcy into swim classes. Darcy was afraid after her first lesson but now is happily going twice a week. Wednesday, She got bumped into the next level. Betsy was re-enrolled in volleyball after taking much of last year off, but it's a no-go given not enough her age enrolled.

We are a 3 cell phone family. I pre-paid for the next few months before the 5% cashback quarter ended on my US Bank card. Now the cashback category is replaced by gym membership. I have no idea if YMCA membership counts. The other 5% category I picked is utilities... our water bill is quarterly, but it's more in that bill for the quarter than all other categories from which we can choose.

My Discover card gets 5% on groceries this quarter. They void 5% at Target and Walmart, while US Bank gives 2% back at Walmart.

Always use my Sam's credit card for gas... it's 5% cashback year round, unlike the random quarter that Chase Freedom currently has. Chase doesn't tell you what's on their yearly quarter schedule like Discover does. They're both meh cards outside their 5% element.

I use my Bank of America card almost exclusively for shopping at Sam's Club for 2% cashback, while the Amex gets used primarily for groceries due to its no strings 3% cashback, whenever a 5% quarterly perk isn't such categories, at least.

The Bank of America card has a changeable 3% bonus that includes online shopping and home improvement, rather than just the default gasoline bonus.

We earned over $1,100 in cashback from credit cards last calendar year. Between Checkout 51 and Ibotta, another $500 cashback.

We maxed out our HSA contributions, and used almost every penny. Seriously, we didn't meet deductibles because Darcy's speech doesn't count towards it after 20 sessions. I took her twice a week for much of the year and spent well over $4,000 of our money. We'll max out again this year. Hopefully we won't spend as much since Darcy is down to weekly sessions, but we still have to see the cardiologist, which we didn't last year.

We saved $1,200 by changing our home and auto insurance companies.

Did I mention our pay raises? We're making roughly $8k more this year, hence we're able to bump up my 401(k) contributions.

Our student loans are on pace to be put to bed in the next year or so, which frees up a good chunk.

Will we ever be "rich?" Being debt-free would be a start...our son will be 17 in 2020, so we'll have to pay federal taxes sooner than later.  We'll have one car paid off 2020, but we'll probably need another... so there's a moot savings.  We'll get to a point that we can pay off more towards the mortgage... but we'll have college age child(ren) sooner than later. I keep getting credit card offers which make urgency in paying off credit cards moot when the 0% interest rate goes 15 months.

Goals don't really work when variables always come up, having a system and continuing with the mindset seems like goal setting but it's a way of life that doesn't stop upon completion.