Month of Highs and Lows
February certainly wasn’t an easy month. We lost a family companion that had been with my wife for almost fifteen years. You can read more about that here if you like. The grieving process definitely had an impact on the weekly routines so I knew our budget would be a little out of whack.
We had two blocks of extra income this month with ESPP shares being sold and my bonus for the second half of 2015 arriving. The extra money was mostly put toward outstanding debt, but some was used to cover the costs of our DIY project, our upcoming trip to Florida in April, and of course the additional vet bills.
To top it all off, I got a cold on the last day of the month. Gross!
Current Goal Status:
- Reduce overall outstanding debt (including mortgage) by 15%.
- Debt reduction for the month was 4.41% which puts us on track for a 8.76% overall reduction for the year. Paying off the last credit card balance with the bonus was a huge boost!
- Make contributions to investments (taxable and retirement) of 15% of salary.
- We contributed 15.83% of our income to investment accounts including 401k, 529, ESPP, and Brokerage. A portion of the bonus is also put toward 401k and ESPP which puts us on track.
- Eliminate outstanding credit card debt.
- The interest for the balance transfer card did show up on the Feb. statement and cost us $58.82. I am OK with this since I thought it might happen originally and also because the balance is eliminated!
- Eliminate remaining student loan debt.
- The only progress this month was the regular payment leaving a balance of $5600.
- Make a contribution to an IRA.
- No progress here… yet!
- Generate revenue from a new income stream.
- No progress here… yet!
Expense goals in Feb were not much better than January. Still, it was a little better:
- Meet the $800 per month grocery budget
- Grocery planning/shopping went to hell this month. Over budget by $350.
- Reduce dining out to $400 per month (2015 – $600)
- Over budget by $140 this month. This is $50 lower than last month.
- Reduce entertainment/alcohol to $250 per month (2015 – $435)
- This one is also over budget by $200 this month. While it’s down by $65 from last month, there were extenuating circumstances this month that called for a few more distractions.
- Meditate at least three days a week
- I managed one day this month. Again, things got a bit unraveled this month.
- Take walks at least three days a week
- Down to about 50k steps this month. Not as good as I would have liked.
- Spend at least seven days camping
- Nothing this month, but plans in place for June and maybe October.
- Go kayaking at least one time
- Still Brrr. Not yet
- Take one family vacation
- Only five weeks until we go!
DIY Project Update
At the end of six weeks into the project, I have around 75% of the ceiling complete. We also went and picked out the new sofa from Ikea. We wanted something a little nicer, but didn’t want to spend a lot on it. Finally, two new light fixtures arrived. We switched from the old spot light type to a new hanging fixture.
Even after two weeks or so of no progress, it’s starting to come together and I expect to have it completed in the next two weeks. We still need some chairs and a coffee table. Hopefully we can find a creative way to accomplish that without a lot of additional expense.
Spring is for Growth
On a final note, I’m really looking forward to March. It’s the time of year where things start growing again. I’ve been doing the pre-Spring maintenance work on some of my bonsai and I can’t wait to start seeing leaves and flowers emerge. It’s also time to play in the dirt and get the garden planted. I have around 80 tomato plants started. I will get fresh tomatoes in abundance this year!