Tag Archives: personal finance

The State of Our Financial Union: 2018 is Here!

YOU GUYS. I just don’t know what to say here. At the current moment we are not planning exotically interesting things financially. More stay the course.

As always we’ll contribute 10 – 11% of our income to our 401(k)s. We’ll plan to save another 10% of our post-tax income in cash and investments. Something that helps us with this strategy is that we do not spend our raises. Thus, we can increase our budget when we need to due to cost of living increases, but we still have some extra cushion.

What do we have planned?

We’ll max out a Dependent Care FSA. We have never had one of these before! It won’t fully cover this year’s daycare bill but it WILL lower our taxable income. WIN!

Continue to max out our HSA. Contribute to Section 529 plans for both children. Contribute to our 401(k)s and Roth IRA. Boring dot com. Planning on our future selves thanking our past selves for this.

Last year we maxed out our HSA and we spent all but $400 of it paying for Glitter’s birth and meeting our max out of pocket (party!). We’re hopeful we might be able to keep a little more cash in the HSA this year and actually invest it.

We’re planning for some (bigger) house purchases. We’ll be replacing both garage doors and openers this spring. It simply needs to be done. Our water softener has died (RIP) so we’re having a new one installed Friday. We also have saved to purchase a kitchen table (when we find it). I would like to (myself) paint our master bathroom. An entertainment center for the family room is on the way (and a new rug and lamp arrived earlier this month). All of these expenses are covered by the moving budget that we allocated last year – we didn’t spend all of the money in July when we moved because we knew it would take time to settle in and see what we needed.

Stay off cable TV.

We didn’t set up cable when we moved into our house and we plan to keep it this way. Instead we are using a combination of: an antenna (free TV from the air!!!), Sling, and Netflix. This combination allows us to watch all of the shows we love and thanks to Sling’s setup, we can watch TV when we want, not just live!

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The State of our Financial Union: 2017 in Review

Why am I sharing this? As always, on the chance you are curious about what others do with their $$$. I’ll also share in separate posts what we are doing for 2018 and some tools or information sources I have found to be useful this year. As always, I’d love to hear what you are up to or any resources you want to share!

This was a banner year and I will just say outright I give thanks to the Lord every day for provisioning us. Marcus and I try to keep up our end of the bargain by being mindful of what we have, and by paying it forward to those who need it through financial donations and volunteerism.

Our post-tax savings rate (Roth 401(k)s, Roth IRAs, brokerage accounts, 529 plans, cold hard cash) was about 25% of our income this year. Pre-tax, we also maxed out an HSA (which we promptly spent most of having a baby!). Back pat, golf clap. What did we all do?

We saved some money.  Things that help us to achieve our savings goals: not spending our raises, living with my parents while we were trying to find a house. Other motivations: not wanting to worry about money. Ever.

We bought a house. Our overall cash stash decreased a bit this year because we were saving to purchase a house! That said, the down payment and repair/renovation money was always in its own silo if that makes sense? We always knew where and what it was going to. I will say that we greatly benefitted from the sale price of our home. There is a high demand in our market for “affordable” housing, which is what our townhouse was considered.

We sold some stuff.  Like the fan that was in the dining room of our house (who has a ceiling fan in their dining room?!).  The refrigerator in our basement.  The large sectional couch I should not have allowed into my house in the first place (it has a new life as a throne for a squad of Dungeons and Dragons players…seriously).  Our old patio furniture that does not fit on our new deck.  So we made a few extra bucks.  I also want to give a shout-out to Marcus for believing that we actually could sell that couch.  It took about three tries to find serious buyers but we did it!

We started using our Roth IRAs as a medium term savings vehicle. This is a longer story so it is going to be a separate post with some additional information so you can determine if this is right for you.

We pre-paid our 2018 property taxes.  To take advantage of current tax laws before the new tax laws go into effect for 2018. There is some debate about whether or not you can deduct these on your 2017 taxes. Either way we were going to pay the property taxes so this gives us our best shot at maximizing a tax benefit. If we didn’t pre-pay them our window of opportunity shrunk to zero.

We advanced some 2018 charitable giving into the end of 2017.  Again to take advantage of current tax laws before the new tax laws go into effect for 2018. We didn’t give anything we weren’t planning to already.