First Friday Finance Flip Flops for February

By Melissa

Hey it’s March! It is time for another round of First Friday Finance Farts…or rather, Finance Flip Flops this time! (I personally am still a fan of Finance Farts, but am trying to be openminded.) The month of February was a little on the bonkers side of things, so let’s jump in and see where we did flips and where we did flops.

Savings Rate

So we have a new opportunity to increase our savings! My employer set up a Simple IRA for our office (bless him), and I have decided to front load it. Front loading means that I basically try to max it out as quickly as possible. Since I can put $13,500 in that account this year, and because I’m a little bonkers, I wanted the to do a nice round number that divided evenly into $13,500. That way I know exactly how many pay periods it will take to max it out. So now I have $900 taken out of each paycheck and sent off to Charles Schwab, and will do so for 15 pay periods . But here’s the thing… I only work part time. I don’t make tons and tons more than that amount. Then, on the first check that money was taken out for the IRA, I hadn’t even worked all of my regular hours so the amount that was actually deposited into my checking account was just shy of $165. GULP. 😬 Nothing like feeling like your are working for free, huh? I know that it is all going to savings, and the second pay period wasn’t as bad since I had more hours, but geez, it will be an adjustment! Only 13 pay periods left!

However unamused my tiny paycheck made me feel though, it has really helped escalate our savings rate. So between that IRA, Philip’s 401K and HSA, as well as principal on our mortgage, we ended our month with a savings rate of 41.4%. So yay! I guess feeling poor is super worth it!

The Market
Our kids watching their inheritance go down the drain with the market. :/

Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the stock market went down. Like WAAAAY down. And then it bounced around. And who knows what it will do from here?! Since half of our net worth is in investment accounts, that means that our net worth has gone down too. Philip tried his hardest not to look at his Personal Capital account to see our numbers, but he went like a moth to a flame. Needless to say, it was a bit of a gut punch for him to see that our investment accounts have decreased by over $30,000 in the past two weeks. It will come back, its part of riding out the market. But in the mean time, deeeeeeeep breaths.

Budget Breakdown

Since we went out of town this month, our budget was a little wonky in some areas. Like we spent less on childcare and car expenses/gas since we weren’t here needing babysitters or driving our cars. On top of that, since my take-home pay is incredibly reduced and that’s where I find a lot of wiggle room in our budget, I had very little desire to spend money on extras. I spent zero dollars on clothing and only $4.57 on home stuff, which is a bit of a miracle for me. I’m not sure that the trend will continue, but was impressed that for the month I did pretty well!

We did have some increased expenses for our vacation though. We paid for a rental car while there (but was able to get a discount thanks to a family member who works for Enterprise!), we bought some food and groceries, but other than that, it really was an inexpensive vacation! I had booked our flights using points, so it only cost us $44 in taxes and fees to get there. Then we stayed with our amazing family members there who were so gracious and kind to put up with us. And most of the activities and sight-seeing that we did were free! Not only that, but since multiple parades were involved, we even got a TON of free toys and beads! Most of which we left for our in-laws to enjoy, but enough came home with us that we will be able to complete another minimalist challenge just in the toy room once they all break or get ridiculously tangled. 🙃

Blog Income

Here it comes guys. We are officially ballers. Well, not really at all, but our blog has made money! Thank you so much to those that have clicked through our Amazon links to purchase items! Because of you, we have officially earned $3.01 from our Amazon affiliate links. Granted, we can’t actually cash out until we get much higher, but it is a great start!

Also, you’ve probably noticed, we have started putting ads on our blog. We have really tried to limit them to areas where they aren’t super annoying or distracting. But unfortunately, sometimes ads are annoying and distracting. It is what it is, I guess. However, thank you for putting up with them, and continuing to click on our pages and to different posts, it really helps! We have been able to make little over $2 from that also!

We know that this is basically pennies, especially in proportion to the amount of time we are devoting to this here blog, but hope to continue to grow it as we share more with you and have more readers in the future! And honestly, it is so incredibly fulfilling to make any money whatsoever. Philip found this chart that perfectly illustrates our feelings on this new little side hustle of ours. We were cracking up because it is just too accurate!

Looking Towards March

March will be interesting. We have a few random large expenses coming up (estate planning, prepaying deductible for fertility treatments, new tires on my car, etc.) that will eat into our budget for sure. On top of that, we don’t know where the market is going to go. And while that doesn’t change our “save and invest” plan, it still creates some unease. Philip is also making some changes at his job so his schedule will be changing. It will ultimately be good for our family, but means that we will have a couple more hours of childcare to pay during the week. So a few odd ball things to account for.

On the bright side, March is a three pay period month for me! Since Philip and I each get paid every two weeks, rather than twice a month, every six-ish months we have a month that we get paid three times rather than two. I seriously look forward to these months as it feels like free money! (Especially since I now make like 26 cents an hour. Ha!) So it will be nice to have a little extra income this month for me and next month for Philip as we do have these larger expenses pending. Yay for being an adult! Isn’t planning wills and trusts fun? And isn’t paying for it even more fun?

Anyway, February was good, but a little different, and March will be good, but a little different! I don’t know how anyone has the same budget every month. I feel like ours is all over the place with random expenses or income! That’s kind of why I hate budgeting, you know? Does your budget fluctuate like crazy too? Let us know if you have similarities! And per usual, thank you for reading along, we are so grateful. Forever and always!

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