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Archive for February, 2021

Payday 2/26/21

February 26th, 2021 at 05:00 pm

What seemed like it was going to be a relatively quiet week on the financial front ended up turning out to be pretty busy.

Between my bank account bonus and federal refund, I got some "snowflakes" earlier than expected.  That combined with payday meant a good deal of progress on debt and savings goals.  I'm looking forward to my monthly summary on Monday. 

Over the weekend, I will likely have to take a little bit of money out of savings for some auto maintenance....I don't yet have an auto sinking fund set up, but am getting started on that soon.  While I don't relish the thought of taking it out of savings, it's certainly better than putting it on a credit card.  I need to get my oil changed, and my wiper blades (front and rear) replaced.  I'm going to the dealer, merely because I have a good coupon for the oil change.  Hoping it all costs less than $100, but we shall see.  I don't spend a lot on auto maintenance, I think it was less than $400 for all of 2020.  I'm starting to funnel money into the sinking fund for that in a few months.  

Once the low hanging fruit of credit cards has been paid off (the smaller balances that I am able to knock out with snowflakes), I am planning to increase my 401k contribution.  I am currently at 10% (I forget what the terms of my match are exactly, but I know I am contributing more than enough to max the match).  I'd like to bump this to 14% by the end of the year. In order to max at my current salary, I need to be at 23% - ideally I can get close to there by the time I'm 45.  As time goes on in my massive debt paydown, I should be able to keep increasing this contribution.  I think 23% by 45 is very doable.  

I also spoke with HR this morning to iron out my questions about the tuition reimbursement program and was pleased with the answers I got.  I'm still waiting on my transfer credit evaluation, and then I will update my roadmap of courses, and speak to the financial aid office to find out if I am eligible for loans for any courses taken prior to matriculation.  That's the big outstanding question right now. 

I've been helping my mother and aunt this week in settling my grandfather's estate.  It's a little frustrating because no one seems to move as quickly as I do.  But I'm glad I have the skillset to be able to push through the inefficiencies for them to lift that burden.  It's also highlighted areas where I would like to conduct pre-planning for my mother's affairs (I will likely be her executor because I'm best suited for it out of my siblings).  We decided that she will sign POAs now, so that it's taken care of long before needed.  My sister and I are already on her bank accounts as joint holders, I can get into most if not all of her credit card accounts, and we are listed as beneficiaries on everything.  Should be pretty straightforward.  I am going to curate a list of all financial info, and just keep it updated as her situation changes.  Right now the only outstanding things are the house and her car, and hopefully those will no longer be an issue by the time we have to deal with any of this.   

Updates All Over the Place...

February 24th, 2021 at 03:53 pm

My federal refund hit my account this morning, a full week earlier than expected.  I immediately began distributing it as planned - a small amount to pay my mom back for some money I owed her (outside of the Big Mom Loan lol), a big chunk into savings, paying one credit card off in full, paying about 40% of another....I'm left with about 6% of the refund lol.  That money was originally going to be allocated towards a haircut and pedicure.  I ultimately decided to use part of the remainder towards a fee for school, and hold the rest in escrow for some future indulgence, whatever it may be.  Feels good to be making progress.  Since the beginning of the year, when I started getting really serious about fixing my mess and tracking everything granularly....I have reduced my priority debt by 6%, and my non-priority debt by 1%, for an overall debt reduction of 1% (lol....math).  I've increased my general savings by more than 2000% (no, not a typo hahaha), my 401k by 17%, and my overall savings by 20%.  I am on track to be pretty far ahead of my goals for the year.  

I can't remember if I posted about this yet or not, but in my state they opened up vaccine eligibility to folks with underlying conditions.  One of them is obesity.  My BMI is still technically obese by a few points, although I don't look it.  I've never been so grateful to not yet be at my goal weight haha.  I was able to initially make an appointment for a vaccine site about an hour away for early April.  But this morning, they opened up appointments for a new site about 4 miles away, and they are only taking residents of a few zip codes right now.  Mine is one of the zip codes, so I went in and was able to get an appt for next week!  Very happy about this.  It means I will be fully vaccinated by the end of March, and the vaccine will be fully active by mid April, when my mom and I go to Vegas to close up her dad's apartment.  (Of course I cancelled the original appointment to open it back up for someone who was hoping to get one).  My mom's second dose is this weekend, so she will be good to go as well.  Her sister is meeting us there, and she got her first dose last week.  Happy on all accounts here.

I've started making consult appointments with some plastic surgeons.  i was hoping to do all of the procedures I need in one surgery, but am willing to separate them if insurance is covering the main one I need.  If I have to pay anything out of pocket, I am not prepared to do that this year, but I do want to start getting real prices so I can come up with my plan to fund it.  I was estimating $40k, but it now seems like it will be a LOT less (maybe $20k total?  Big difference).  I have a very generous STD plan at work, that with my tenure at the company, allows me to take 3 months of fully paid leave per year (I believe per 12 month period, so if the surgeries are 6 months apart, then 3 months total).  All things to think about.  

Other than that....I had a bit of spending yesterday.  My printer ran out of ink in January.  I replaced the black cartridge, figuring I could print everything I needed in black & white.  Well, the other day it started refusing to do even that, although the black cartridge is full.  I now have too many things I need to print to hold off any longer, and well, I had the extra money, so I went ahead and ordered the color cartridges.  $42.26.  Hopefully I don't need to buy ink again for a few months.  My February spending is currently sitting at just under $500.  There will definitely be a few more purchases over the next few days though, so I am not ready to close the books on it yet.  Depending on how I choose to reflect some of it, I think I'll still end up coming in lower than January after it all nets out, although some of that will carry over into March.  I have 2 more grocery trips to make for the month as well, but they will both be small.  

Capital One Bonus Received & New Savings Account

February 23rd, 2021 at 04:57 pm

While doing my daily roundup of checking all of my financial apps, I was very pleased to see that my $400 bonus for opening a Cap One checking account was received yesterday!  I wasn't expecting this until the end of April.  

Originally, when I thought this was coming a little later, I was going to send the entire bonus to one of the credit cards I am working to pay off.  Since it came earlier, I decided to mix it up a little bit.  Every year, I am eligible for a $250 wellness reimbursement from my company.  This year, I decided to purchase a new fitness tracker, and a strap for it.  That only gets me to $247 and change lol, so thankfully I have a standalone receipt for protein powder I can use to make up the difference.  As long as my receipts are submitted by somewhere around 3/20, I will receive this in my 3/31 paycheck (it's processed quarterly) - I will likely submit the receipts Friday, so wellllll within the timeframe needed.

I was originally going to purchase these items out of my federal tax refund money.  I decided to pay for these items out of the bonus, since that's here first.  I rearranged the amounts going to this credit card based on the "snowflake".  It's all coming out the same in the end, just adjusting the individual snowflake allocations.  Because I'm a bit of a lunatic.  I'm still on track to pay off all but 2 credit cards by April/May, mostly using snowflake money.  Of the 2 remaining, one is a store card on a fixed interest promo (it was for my bed), and so I'll likely just continue making the payment as scheduled.  The other is a MasterCard that I would actively like to get the balance/utilization down on.  Looking good!

As I work through my planning, I realized I am ready to start using buckets for my savings - for whatever sinking funds I identify, and some upcoming expenses that I am saving for in the short term.  Long term general savings will probably just stay in my attached savings for now, but this will help me organize these things.  I opened a savings account online with Ally Bank, and created 3 buckets.  Homeowners Insurance (this will be a sinking fund I will start funding in August, after I pay this year's premium in full out of general savings), Plastics (this won't get used just yet, but extra money coming in later this year that will be used to directly or indirectly fund plastic surgery), & Education (any money I allocate for anything having to do with my degree program.  Lots of individual fees coming up that I want to make sure I know how much I have funded).  I'm sure this will continue evolving.  I'd like to be able to fund my car insurance in advance to pay the premium in full twice a year, instead of monthly like I currently do.  It won't save much, but even the $30 it'll save helps.  Not sure what else may make sense in the near term, but I'm sure I'll come up with a way to make it more complicated than it needs to be Smile

What a Mess...

February 22nd, 2021 at 05:48 pm

My mother's father passed away on Saturday, after a long battle with cancer.  He was 91 years old, lived a full life, and was ready to go.  My grandmother is still alive, but has advanced Alzheimer's.  I would be very surprised if she lived through the end of this year.  I did/do not have a very close relationship with them, but am hurting for my mother.  They retired to Las Vegas 25 years ago, and as they aged/became ill, my mother was going out to visit them 3-4 times per year.  Unfortunately, with the pandemic hitting, she has not been able to visit since February of 2020.  Thankfully, she was able to speak to him one last time on Friday to say goodbye.

We had already been planning to make a trip to Vegas in April to clean out his apartment (my mother's second vaccine dose is this weekend, so she will be fully vaccinated mid-March).  I am also elgiible based on the underlying conditions in our state, and as of right now my first dose is the week before we are booked to go.  A new vaccine site is opening in the next city over though, and so I am hoping I can reschedule for an earlier date so I will also be fully vaccinated by the time we have to travel.  I'm very much not thrilled about this trip overall, but it's unfortunately necessary.  

The mess part is that neither of my grandparents were at all technologically savvy, did not use the internet at all, and so none of their accounts etc are managed online.  My mother and her sister also do not seem to have the necessary documents to settle their estate, so I am getting thrown in to handle all of this.  We have a POA for my grandfather, but for my grandmother, we only seem to have a healthcare POA.  75% of the papers are still at the nursing home that my grandfather has lived in for the past few weeks (my grandmother has been there for 4.5 years), so we need the manager of the home to send them to us this week to sort through.  My mother's sister is who is technically named on the POA, but she is very emotional and disorganized in the best of times.  So I told my mother to have the docs sent to us, and I will sort them out and figure out what they need to do.

All of this renewed my determination to not go through when my mother passes.  She's much more technologically savvy, and I have all of her passwords to everything/am already a signer on her bank account.  I mentioned to her this morning that I think we should get POAs in place now that way they're handled long before they're needed.  In our state, an attorney does not need to draw them up, they just need to be notarized.  She agreed, and will name my sister and I POA.  I'm then going to start a list of all of her financial info in a Google doc to share with my brother and sister, and will update as she makes changes.  That way we don't have to go looking all over the place for the info.  I'd rather create the list while she can still give us info.  

Anything left over after my grandfather's estate has been settled will go into my grandmother's account (after being married for 70+ years, they still had separate bank accounts ha).  My mother and her sisters all have bonds that my grandfather purchased for them, which should be around $20k.  He also purchased bonds for my brother in the amount of about $1k.  My mother has said that she will give my sister and I $1k each from her bonds to make it equal.  I am not expecting anything more from his estate.  I've made a tentative plan for the $1k (it'll be split between savings, some upcoming educational expenses, and some debt payoff).  

A Few Updates in an Otherwise Quiet Week

February 18th, 2021 at 04:04 pm

My planned weekend spending went ok.  I spent more on clothing than planned but not by a lot.  I made the mistake of going into the clearance section of the website and a holiday sweater (that I hope I can still wear by then) and a dress (same - I haven't worn a dress in over a year lol) called my name and needed to be mine.  Between the 2 of them, they were $22 more than budgeted so it's ok.  I just adjusted how much of the Rakuten payout was allocated.  Target ended up being way less than planned, Wendy's and CVS as expected.  Staying on track, and I feel like I got a little extra retail therapy to boot.  

I got an email on Sunday that my federal return had been accepted, so now I am tracking the status of my refund.  Still showing as received in the IRS2GO app.  I'm really looking forward to that refund, as it makes some major inroads in savings goals and pays off an entire credit card balance.  I knew I was going to start getting crazy with projecting progress out once I set up my balance on everything in the format that I did.  But it looks like if all stays on track, by the end of the year I will have paid off 75% of my non-consolidated balances, and put $4k into my general savings.  That doesn't include any progress on installment debt!  Pretty cool what you can accomplish once you put your mind to it.  

I was notified yesterday of my acceptance into the degree program I applied for!  Very exciting stuff.  I just need to wat on the transfer credit evaluation to be completed (3-4 weeks, I believe), to see what they take and what courses I still need and then I can refine the degree roadmap I created a few weeks ago.  I was considering the idea of taking classes this summer, and may still take 1 or 2, but most likely will start with fall.  I don't believe I can use student loans for non-credit bearing classes.  And since you can only matriculate in the fall or spring, I would have to take the classes as a non-matriculated student, then I can have them converted to credit bearing.  I am also trying to find out if they would be eligible for tuition reimbursement since at the time of taking them, they would not be for credit.  Seems annoying and complicated, so I may just skip it.  I'll need to take classes in 1-2 winter/summer sessions if I want to get the majority of my classes completed in 4 fall/spring semesters.  

Things are otherwise quiet.  I am self-quarantining.  I was with my mother and sister on Sunday.  My sister let me know on Tuesday that a guy she worked with on Friday lives with his aunt who tested positive.  Unfortunately, this guy seems flaky and has not gotten tested, to our knowledge.  Mom and sister were tested Tuesday, both negative.  They will get tested again tomorrow.  I am going to wait until Saturday, and go get tested myself.  I am fairly confident I will be negative as well, and a week since my tertiary exposure feels like enough time to trust the test.  I am probably being overly cautious, but I would rather do that, especially since it's really no hardship to quarantine.  Mildly inconvenient....I put off doing my laundry, ordered groceries for delivery instead of going to the store, cancelled my appointment to get my license renewed at the DMV, and cancelled an oil change appointment for my car.  Nothing major, and ends up keeping my February spending lower than it would have been (except the DMV and oil change will just get moved to March instead ha).  

Finally Some Action! :)

February 12th, 2021 at 05:27 pm

It's payday, which feels like I have tangible action on some of my goals, instead of just planning out actions and waiting for the calendar to tick over.

I now have a more accurate picture of what my new take home pay is at the lower withholding rate, and while for some pay periods it's not quite enough, it's close enough that I am just going to make it work.  Once some of the "snowflakes" I am expecting come in, and I am able to eliminate some monthly debt payments, this will get better, so I don't see the value in continuing to fiddle with it.  

I paid about $400 towards debt today, sent $25 to savings, and once I transfer from one of the other checking accounts I have my direct deposit split into, will pay another $450 towards debt, and pay the rest of my bills.  Sometime next week, my mortgage will be auto-deducted from the separate account I keep for housing costs, so another $415 towards debt.  I don't have a huge buffer left over when that's all done, but I'm going to try to stay within it for grocery spending over the next 2 weeks til my next paycheck. 

Looking forward to a few months from now when I have a larger checking buffer to cover that kind of stuff.  How do you figure out what your checking buffer should be?  Is it a set dollar amount, or is it a certain % of expenses etc?  I know both methods are valid, just curious why you chose to go the way you did.  I think what I would ultimately like to have in my checking account is a month of expenses, and then tiered savings (3 months in my attached savings account, an additional x amount of months in a separate higher yield savings, etc....)  I'm still at the baby steps portion of this all.  I'm going to start with $250 as a goal, then gradually increase until I get to a month's worth of expenses.  Do you consider your checking buffer as part of savings?

Today, the IRS opened up acceptance of federal tax returns for 2020.  I have not yet gotten notification that mine was accepted.....fingers crossed that comes in a few days so I can get a better idea of when I will receive my refund and put it to good use.  I was able to complete my state taxes yesterday, and am getting back a whopping $89 lol.  Oh well, it's better than owing, and it will go directly to debt.  Once I receive that refund, I can then work on amending my 2019 state return, and should get some money back from that too.  

My quarterly Rakuten payment is scheduled to come Monday.  I am expecting around $115.  Some of that will be used for spending this weekend (~$30), and I had not decided where the rest was going to be allocated (~$85), as I wanted to see what the situation was with my new take home before overcommitting.  I think what I am leaning towards now is just leaving in checking as the start to my buffer.  

Spending on tap for this weekend:

*$30 at a clothing store I like - will be combined with a $20 birthday reward for a total budget of $50 (out of Rakuten).  This is definitely not a need, but I could use some new leggings and I like theirs.  And it's funded out of extra money, so fits the parameters I've set for fun spending.

*Target - will buy the few groceries I need for next week (using existing cash buffer), and also want to pick up a jar for my newest bedtime snack obsession (DIY Instant Oatmeal lol).  I've been using a jar I had but it is not the right shape, I need something with a much wider opening.  Target looks like they have several options that will work well, all for under $10.  I'll be using the merch credit I got from Target a few weeks ago to cover this ($19.80).  I will also be using the merch credit to cover ingredients for Rice Krispy Treats that I am making for a friend later next week.   

*Wendy's - this is a treat for both my diet and my budget Smile I'll probably only spend a few dollars here, which can come out of existing cash buffer.  I haven't purchased takeout for about a month, and this will be a very economical way to feel like I am treating myself, while still staying within my calories for the day and my financial goals.  

*CVS - will probably stop at one at some point tomorrow and pick up some candy.  I have $1 in ExtraBucks so whatever the balance is (maybe a few cents?) will come out of cash buffer.  I let myself have candy once a week.  Same concept as above!

That's a long enough entry for now hahaha.  I'll leave on this note.  I know a lot of people here are fans of Dave Ramsey, and I have mentioned in the past that I am not a fan of his.  He just rubs me the wrong way.  Well, I saw this article yesterday, and if his quote in here is accurate, it just proves further that he's a jerk.  How judgemental can you be?!?!  Ugh.  This is why I will not ever follow his program, even if some of the advice is sound.  He's a <insert many curse words here>, kicking people while they're down. 

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Still Waiting!

February 10th, 2021 at 04:20 pm

Since my last entry, I am still doing a lot of sitting around waiting.  Harrumph Smile

I did receive word from the debt consolidation company that another balance will be paid off.  That lowers the remaining balance there, and takes me to 5 paid, 7 to go.  Based on amounts, I think 2 more will be paid this year, and then the remaining 5 will be spread over the year and a half left in the program (runs through Aug 2023).  


Taxes - still waiting for the IRS to open up (Friday!  Come on!) and waiting for my state to be available via Credit Karma so I can file those.  Once this year's state taxes have been accepted and whatever refund (fingers crossed) has been received, I'll readdress amending my 2019 state taxes to properly reflect my move out of NYC.  

School - all transcripts are still making their way to the school.  There's a helpful portal that shows me the status, none have been received yet.  I only requested them last week, so I need to calm myself haha.  I've done about as much mapping out of courses as I can do until I find out what they will accept as transfer credits.

Upcoming Snowflakes - as I've mentioned, I count anything that isn't paycheck income as a snowflake, even if that isn't the technical definition.  Quite a few coming up....federal tax refund, (hopefully) state tax refund, 2019 state tax refund, Q1 Rakuten payout, annual wellness stipend from my company, a few bank bonuses and (very hopefully) a third stimulus payment.  Where those will go has been sketched out....mostly being split between savings and debt, which gives me a leg up on those, with small portions being held for educational expenses and some "fun spending" (a haircut, a pedicure, etc).  

Overall Finances - with the help of those snowflakes, I'll be over $2k ahead on the debt payoff goals for the year, and almost $2k ahead on savings goals.  Not having to make monthly payments on those debts (all credit cards right now) frees up room in my semi-monthly pay.  Eventually I hope to use that room to increase debt payments to other bigger accounts, but right now it'll help solve the current shortfall.  

I was talking to a friend the other day, and I said you know, I just realized that between the ages of 40 and 45, if all goes to plan, I will have bought and extensively renovated my first home, paid off $50k+ worth of debt, completed my degree, accomplished a 100 pound weight loss, cash flowed expensive plastic surgery, and excelled in my career.  And that makes me frightened for what I come up with for 46-50 lol.  Her response was well whatever it is, I bet you'll make it look easy.  That made me smile Smile

I'm Antsy, Haha

February 5th, 2021 at 06:36 pm

No real updates, but I'm so into all of my tracking that I find lack of updates has me antsy lol.  

It's been a few low spend days, as expected.  The only spending so far this month is for groceries/household, and educational expenses (transcript & application fees).  Last night I went to CVS to purchase a money order for my high school transcript (they don't seem to realize it is 2021....), and unfortunately, they do not do money orders at that location.  I had $4 in extra bucks that were expiring soon, so I bought some chocolate to treat myself with over the weekend.  Total out of pocket cost was 14 cents Smile  I then ran over to the supermarket, in hopes that their customer service desk was still open, and luckily was able to get the money order there.  I was pleased to find that the MO fee was cheaper than the post office.  Win win all around.  

Everything with my school is a waiting game right now.  All of my transcripts have been requested, and I need them to be received by the school before they will make their admission decision.  FAFSA was completed and processed.  I'm not expecting any aid, so it was a moot exercise really (but needed to do it in order to get loans).  The transfer admissions advisor has been wonderful, and is answering all of my (many) questions via email.  It's helping me sketch out my roadmap.  That obviously won't be solidified until 1. I am accepted and 2. they complete my transfer credit evaluation, but I will take any opportunity to go down the rabbit hole lol.  

Much like school, finances are also a waiting game.  Waiting for further updates from debt consolidation, waiting for next paycheck, waiting for federal tax refund, waiting for state return to be available, waiting for potential 3rd stimulus info.......this is sometimes the problem with planning too much ahead.  I know what I am doing with all of these things when they come in, but can't make them happen faster!  Because I front loaded so much of my Feb grocery spending, I am not even planning on hitting the grocery store again until mid next week haha.  I usually go for small trips 2-3 times a week depending on what fresh items I need to replace.  I'm very good about making a list and sticking to it, so this cadence works for me.  I just happen to not need anything fresh before then this week.  It's all kind of boring and frustrating.

Lastly, and this is semi financial related.....weight loss journey is slow but progressing.  I have 15 pounds to lose this year.  I am determined to do it.  I recently tweaked my daily caloric intake, and think I may have finally found a sweet spot where I am not hungry at all based on the mix of foods I eat in a day, but it's also low enough to have a consistent deficit.  I've been looking into different plastic surgeons who specialize in the procedures I am looking for, in the population I fit into (post major weight loss/bariatric patients).  I've started getting some pricing and am very surprised to find that there's a surgeon whose work I am very impressed with - he has done a number of patients in the extended community I follow.  It looks like I can get all of the procedures I want/need for under $20k.  Which is half of what I would pay at the surgeon I really want.  This makes getting this done next year sometime much more within reach than it seemed.  I am starting to reach out to docs for quotes/virtual consults etc just to make sure I have the right numbers in mind as I (overly) plan.  

Update on Schooling

February 2nd, 2021 at 07:39 pm

I've been in full steam discovery mode since learning last week that my company is now offering tuition reimbursement.  I was going to hold off and take my time, but.....that's generally not how I operate haha.

I looked into what schools in my state system (as well as NYC since I am eligible for resident tuition there as well) would work, narrowed it down to 2 programs, and chose one based on where I thought I could complete it faster/more credits would transfer etc.  It's a completely online program at one of the State University of NY campuses.

I submitted my application today ($50), requested transcripts from previous school ($17.40) and the College Board for CLEP exams ($20).  I need to go get a money order for $7 and mail in the form to request my high school transcript.  We had a blizzard here yesterday so that will have to wait a few days haha.  Not worth trekking out in the snow to do!  I also submitted my FAFSA.  There's now an app for that, that made the entire process take about 10 minutes.  

I also modeled what transfer credits I think/hope they'll accept, what CLEP exams I have already taken that they should accept, what CLEP exams I can take to satisfy requirements/get more transfer credits, and finally what of their courses that leaves me with.  It's a little rabbit hole-y....but it's kind of what I do lol.  It leaves me with about 4 semesters of full time study.  Based on tuition costs alone (not sure what fees/books will run), I am looking at paying around $3,300 out of pocket, and the rest will be reimbursed.  Additional CLEP exams will be on top of that, and I don't think those are eligible for reimbursement.  The College Board charges $89 per exam, and the test center at can also charge something on top.  Right now I am looking at needing to take 10-11 exams (CLEP exams are essentially exams you can take to demonstrate your knowledge in a subject area, and you can treat them like transfer credits).  I could of course take the equivalent courses, but....I don't wanna.  This would also be way cheaper and far faster than taking the courses.  The total cost for an exam is usually less than a single credit.

I will be taking out new student loans to cover the cost upfront.  The estimated loan amount (again, based on tuition alone) is around $14,000.  I will most likely use the reimbursement amounts to pay off higher interest debt rather than putting it towards the loans.  I'll have to see where things stand at the time of each reimbursement though.  

Exciting stuff!!!

January Summary

February 1st, 2021 at 05:21 pm

Friday was payday, and it was uneventful.  For some reason, my spreadsheet "checkbook" register is showing $39 less than my online banking.....I can't see anything missing, but there are too many pending transactions and it's annoying me.  I'll give it a day or two then go back in and look.

The increase to my net pay after adjusting my withholdings does not seem to be enough to meet the ongoing shortfall....but this was an anomaly check.  I received a $50 gift card for a project I worked on and it was taxable, so that was factored in to this check.  Shouldn't be very different, but I'll still wait til next check to adjust and decide if I need to make more changes or if I can get by on this.  I did decide to sell some dumbbells that I acquired in 2020 that should bring in some cash, so that should help.  Right now the going price for the ones I am definitely willing to sell is around $825 conservatively (at $2.50 a pound).  I am not planning on using these anytime soon....weight training makes me too hungry and I eat more than the calories I need to intake in order to lose weight.  So I am going to hold off on starting to left weights until after I hit my goal weight and can increase to maintenance calories.  At that point, I'm hoping that I'll feel comfrotable going to a gym and I won't need as extensive of a weight collection at home.  Eventually I'd like ot move to a larger home and will build a gym but the supply chain issues surrounding weights will have hopefully been cleared up by then.  Right now, they're not being used and can help plug some of the leaks, so out they'll go.  

In the meantime, I sold off/cashed out the assets in my Coinbase and Robinhood accounts.  I realized that while I'd like to keep some stuff on the side invested and potentially growing, if I need money to pay bills now, then I had to prioritize that.  Coinbase has already been transferred to my checking, and Robinhood should arrive in a few days.  It honestly had nothing to do with the $GME controversy although the timing aligns lol.

After all of my bills from this pay period are posted (some are autopay and don't come out right away), I am left with a surplus, woo!  I'm either going to move it to savings, or keep it in checking as a buffer.  I don't foresee much spending in the next few weeks, as I pre-bought a lot of groceries that count against January spending.  There will be some grocery spending (fresh produce etc), but nothing major.  

The final tally for January spending (anything that isn't a bill) is $706.83.  Way higher than I hoped for!  Of that, almost $400 was groceries/household/toiletries.  It's artifically high though, and should not be indicative of what I spend on groceries in a month.  I had to replace some protein powder earlier in January, that's $30 right there....and I also got a FreshDirect offer (that's a NYC based grocery delivery service).  $50 off each of my first 2 orders of $99 or more.  So basically $200 worth of groceries for $100.  They are a little pricier, but it seemed like it was worth it to stock up on non-perishables.  I placed my first order this weekend (included in Jan spending), and will place my second (offer expires 2/17) next weekend.  I went to the grocery store on Friday and again yesterday, and spent a total of $80, but those trips were basically pre-buying February groceries.  So I am hoping that I can keep groceries to $250 or so for Feb.  Otherwise, I spent $32 on prescriptions (90 day supply), and $291 on variables (sparking wine for New Year's Day brunch, parking meters/gas, a gift for my cousin when her cat passed, some office supplies, my annual Prime subscription, and some miscellaneous items.  Happy to see that I only spent $15 total on my takeout/entertainment category.)  Looking forward to having a few months of this spending data to really hone in on what I should be ballparking every month. 

I also decided to take a look at where my baseline debt/savings numbers progressed to.  Small changes but in the right direction.  

  1/1/2021 2/1/2021
Debt Balance Balance Net $ Change Net % Change
Consolidated Balances $30,361.05 $29,519.00 -$842.05 -3%
Non-Consolidated Balances $11,485.85 $11,211.01 -$274.84 -2%
Mom $17,500.00 $17,500.00 $0.00 0%
Mortgage $150,447.16 $150,244.09 -$203.07 0%
Car Loan $15,017.11 $14,599.36 -$417.75 -3%
Student Loan $3,082.55 $3,082.55 $0.00 0%
401k Loan #1 $7,392.73 $7,125.07 -$267.66 -4%
401k Loan #2 $6,634.05 $6,450.11 -$183.94 -3%
Total Priority Debts $59,346.90 $58,230.01 -$1,116.89 -2%
Total Non-Priority Debts $182,573.60 $181,501.18 -$1,072.42 -1%
Total Debt $241,920.50 $239,731.19 -$2,189.31 -1%
General Savings $50.00 $50.39 $0.39 1%
401k $25,605.69 $26,913.12 $1,307.43 5%
Robinhood $292.69 $0.00 -$292.69 -100%
Coinbase $35.63 $0.00 -$35.63 -100%
Total Savings $25,984.01 $26,963.51 $979.50 4%

Glad to see that debt went down and savings went up, even with cashing out the Coinbase and Robinhood accounts.  This doesn't include the 401k contributions and loan payments from Friday's paycheck, those take a few days to reflect.  So the progress is even a little more than shown here, but I wanted to keep it clean and set the update on the 1st of every month.