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March Side Gigs

March 31st, 2014 at 10:51 am

This month's extra $$$ from side jobs.

Tutoring $280

Online Surveys $12

Total for the month $292

$292 added to the emergency fund.

February Savings

February 28th, 2014 at 07:10 am

Monies put away in savings during February:

401k (includes match) $867
Roth IRA (Hers) $300
Roth IRA (His) $300
HSA account $500
Taxable Mutual Fund $210
Emergency Fund $300
Extra EF from side-gigs/found money $305

Total saved for the month $2,782

We may have to trim the amount going into savings in the spring/summer since the kids have more activities (sports and such). But we won't let it go below $2k per month. In late spring thru early fall, I have regular side-gig work of $500-$700 per month (cutting lawns 1 or 2 evenings per week after work. I've been doing that since 1992). So I am hopeful we can stay in the $2,500 per month range.

The grass cutting money is normally used to max-out the HIS and HERS IRA's. And for our vacation at the beach.

February Side Gigs

February 27th, 2014 at 11:03 am

My stay at home bride makes extra $$$ now and again by watching others kids a few hours at the time or by tutoring them. She home-schools our kids, so mixing in another one isn't too much stress.

This month's extra $$$

02/06/14 - childcare $40
6 days this month - tutoring $150
02/20/14 - childcare $40
02/27/14 - childcare $25

Total for the month $255

Plus $50 bill found on side of the road while running.

Grand total $305

$305 extra dollars added to the emergency fund.

From April thru September I have a side gig cutting grass. Averages about $600 per month.

Exercise Pays Off

February 23rd, 2014 at 11:33 am

I've been a life-long runner. Well since I was 12. I run daily, as in everyday. About once a month I find loose change on the road. 5 years ago I found a $20 bill one morning.

Today that was topped. Found this on the side of the road. Mushed into some gravel and leftover road-salt. I'd like to put it into one of our retirement accounts. My bride wants me to take her out to dinner.


February 21st, 2014 at 08:11 am

Today is payday #2 of the month. Most monies are already allocated for expenses so it's not like I'm going shopping this weekend. But I love seeing the automatic transfers to savings/retirement accounts that happen on paydays.

On the 2nd payday of the month this happens:
$433.50 to my 401k (my contribution part goes into a Roth 401k and my employers into a regular 401k)
$300 to His Roth IRA
$150 to Her Roth IRA
$300 to emergency fun
$250 to HSA*

*we contribute $500 a month to our HSA. $300 mine and $200 from my employer. I don't use the HSA for medical expenses. I let it grow tax-free. Every dollar over $1,000 is in a mutual fund

Date Night

February 20th, 2014 at 06:06 pm

We were married on the 20th of May, almost 25 years ago. On the 20th of each month we try and do something together...without the kids. Dinner, lunch, coffee and dessert, walk in the park and neck etc...

Tonight we went to Outback Steakhouse. Had a gift card we got for Christmas. Including tip, we spent $10 more than the gift card amount. $10 for dinner out and no kids for a few hours = Priceless.

One of the college kids stayed home tonight to watch the younger ones. Fed them and then watched a movie with them while we were out.

I'm a Beef guy, But...

February 17th, 2014 at 09:49 am

Ground turkey is $1.69lb at Aldi today. Got 30 pounds cause my bride and kids like it. Give me ground beef any old day but at that price I'll eat turkey.

Boneless chicken thighs are $1.49lb this Wednesday. Will have to stock-up. Love marinated chicken thighs on the grill. Just need to dig some of this snow away from the grill.

VD Spending

February 15th, 2014 at 08:42 am

Valentine's Day, not the other kind of VD.

We've been married almost 25 years so we don't do a lot money/gift/dinner wise on V-Day.

This year we went to a potluck dinner at church with about 50 other couples. We brought 2 large salad's and a dessert. $10 or so I'd guesstimate.

Gifts-we bought an old movie on DVD for ourselves, $5. And wrote each other a letter, free.

Went to the dinner from 6-9pm. Some of our older kids watched the younger kids, no babysitting fee. Watched a movie from 9:30-11:30. Then "lights-out", no details to share on the light-out part Wink

So we had a blast and spent around $15. All in all a great night.

More Snow

February 12th, 2014 at 11:44 am

We are supposed to get 5-10 inches of that four-letter word "snow" (DC area), depending on what weather-person you choose to believe. While my wife and kids are thrilled, all I see are $$$ going away.

Heating bills go up, I burn more wood in our wood stove, we stock up on food and since the kids are inside a lot more they seem to eat more. If the power goes out I run our gasoline generator, which costs more than regular power. I work from home so at least it doesn't cost me work hours.

Am I the only one that doesn't like this white stuff?

OK, done whining...for now Smile

Curse You Mr Snow Miser

February 10th, 2014 at 02:08 pm

Our January Gas and Electric bill was $597. The monthly average for 2013 was $365. We live in an older, much added on to, 8 bedroom house. I don't expect it to be very energy efficient. But the extra cold January got us good, like many across the country.

Hopefully the spring will be pleasant and mild and we can have nice low utility bills for a few months...before the humid air of summer arrives.

What We Do With Our Tax Refund

February 10th, 2014 at 11:22 am

Getting a chunk of money back from the Feds and/or State? What to do with that money? Here is the strategy we use each year. I will use a refund of $5,000 to make the math easier.

10% - $500 to Charity
10% - $500 hers
10% - $500 his (which really means hers)
70% - $3,500 to savings (retirement, emergency fund, regular savings)

So 20% will probably be going for wicker furniture or upgrading a bathroom or new drapes or some other exhilarating project. Sadly it probably won't be going towards a shopping spree at Victoria Secrets.

If we had any outstanding debt I would use at least half of the 70% for debt repayment.

Don't forget to consider adjusting your withholding with your payroll department so you get more money each paycheck instead of a large refund. The only reason we get a tax refund is because of the EIC (earned income credit) we get because of all the yard-apes.

Now all I have to do is finish gathering all my 2013 tax docs so I can get my refund. Lame I know. I should have done that by now.

A Short Post About 2013

February 9th, 2014 at 09:33 am

Here are a few stats from our 2013 budget/expenditures. The good and the not so good.


This is for a family of 14. At any given time 1 or 2 kids could be out of the house but we also have friends, acquaintances and those we can hardly tolerate over for meals a lot.

Food and Drink Expenditures for 2013 (includes eating out).

Year - $15,120 ($1,080 per person per year)

Monthly - $1,260 ($90 per person per month)

Daily - $41.54

Average cost per meal per person = $1.15. I used 12 family members since sometimes kids are out of the house. But really it's more like 99 cents per person per meal.

We used to spend $1,600 per month a few years ago. But when Aldis opened our monthly bill dropped dramatically.

Granted some of the kids are young. But 7 of them are age 12 and older. Plus my wife eats like she is going to the chair.

And no we aren't eating junk all day long. Plenty of fruits, veggies and meats. Everyone is fairly healthy...well Sam is coughing like she's gonna hack up a spleen, but she'll live.

I could save even more if I could break the gallon-a-day milk habit my kids have.

The Feds need to take cost efficiency advice from us.


Average Monthly Expenditures

Electric - $250

Natural Gas - $115

Water - $100

Average per month for all 3: $465

Before 2013 we were spending well over $500 per month. So it's improved but is still too high. This older rambling house that has been added on to many a time is very inefficient to heat and cool. And 5 loads of laundry and 2 loads in the dishwasher daily adds up. Plus thankfully the kids bathe/shower daily...for the most part.

Retirement Savings:

Without going into specific dollar amounts. I was able to funnel 30% of my salary into retirement investments. A major improvement over years past when it was usually in the 10-15% range. The main reason for this was the paying off of our mortgage in the fall of 2012.

Medical Expenses:

$225 per month. I could reimburse myself for these costs from my Health Savings Account (HSA) but choose to pay for them out of pocket and let the HSA buildup tax-free.


$150 per month (no work commute and no excessive hauling the kids around)

Kids Activities/Sports/Piano/Trips/Fun etc:

$200 per month

Homeschool Expenses:

K-8th grade (5 kids) -$1,000 for the year. That is mostly for an at-home tutor/teacher helper. Less than $100 was for books and supplies.

Tutor Fees for 2 high-schoolers - $5,050. Plus a few hundred dollars for books.